You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told. Psalms 40:5 (ESV)
A drought has dominated the climate in Texas and Oklahoma for many years. This spring, the rains finally came! Lakes and rivers are filling up, ending the desolation of the drought. Recently I visited one of those dry lakes that had been transformed into an oasis, full to the brim. The flood gates of the dam had to be opened allowing water to flow out into the river. Opening the flood gates expanded this oasis, spreading it’s transformation to the parched landscape.
God’s glory is like a lake brimming over. David exclaims, in Psalms 40, that none can compare to the wondrous “deeds and thoughts God has toward us”! David’s feeling of thanksgiving flows from the filling up of God’s Glory as he realizes the truth of God.
Like the flood gates, David is ready to release the overflow of God’s glory in his life. David’s thankfulness in his worship of God, is a proclamation for others to take refuge, trusting and relying on God (v3-4) to realize the transformational impact of the blessings of God.
5. Thankfulness in the worship of God
What is the depth of the filling of blessings in your heart? Is it dry or overflowing?
16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I always remember you in my prayers,17 asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. 18 I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. Ephesians 1:17-18 (NCV)
The Amplified Version translates v18: “Having the eyes of your heart flooded with light so that you will know and understand the hope..” . Are the “eyes of your heart” able to see God’s blessings in your life?
The previous action steps to trust God embraced: Truths of God’s Love, Revealing of your hurts and weakness, Understanding the character of God and Seeking the presences of God, opening the eyes of our heart to the Thankfulness in the worship of God. These steps give an awareness of God’s glory and blessing in our lives. Thankfulness is a key action in strengthening all the other steps. The steps are reversible! Praise and thanksgiving amplify God’s truths, character and presences, empowering our trust in Him.
Thankfulness is a habit, a way of observing life. Abraham had the habit of praising God, giving strength to his unwavering trust. David was habitually earnest as he constantly recalled the deeds of the Lord done, not only on his behalf, but on behalf of the nation of Israel. The leader, Moses, often reminded the people of God’s provision and protection as they were freed from the slavery.
Abraham – No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God. Romans 4:20 (AMP)
David – I will (earnestly ) recall the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will (earnestly) remember the wonders (You performed for our fathers) of old. Psalm 77:11 (AMP)
Moses – But you shall (earnestly) remember the Lord you God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 8:18 (AMP)
The eyes of faith can look back at life and see the impact of God’s presence. Examining the past with an eye of thanksgiving can enlighten our outlook of the present. Most of us are not in a habit of intentionally looking at life through the lenses of thanksgiving.
The brain, as an organ, wants to conserve energy. Harvard researchers “have found that nearly half our waking hours are spent on autopilot, in which a wandering mind predominates.” The brain is not naturally “earnest“.
Earnest thankfulness will need to be intentional, persistent, and active. The key to changing any mental habit is to give earnest focus. In a recent article on changing habits in Psychotherapy Networker, Steven Stosny, stated that “Mental focus amplifies and magnifies whatever we’re thinking about, making it more important to us”
The driving force behind our thinking is perception. We all have a default, habitual perception; our “autopilot”. Perception may be from the eyes of fear or the eyes of faith. We can chose to run on autopilot or focus on forming a perception based on the reality of God’s truths and presences. Perception is an important key to changing your life. To earnestly change your life, you must begin to change the way you see.
The attitude of gratitude develops a perception of thankfulness which requires earnest focus on the glory of God filling our world, our lives, and our hearts. It is our choice to let the filling of our hearts begin and open our flood gates to let the flow of thanksgiving into the lives of others.
As, David, a Sixth century Welsh believer wrote:
Through you His love and light and life can freely flow.
Can you receive His love, light and life to allow it to fill you to the brim?
It may be time to re-valuate your life, to look at your life through the eyes of faith, so you can move forward feeling the gift of thanksgiving. Writing a time line of your life is a way to re-evaluate your perception. I have posted, on my resource page, an example of how to do a life timeline. The key is to examine your life from beginning to end recording times and events that were life giving to you. Self examine how these events had an impact on your faith.
Being more aware of those small things you value is an effective way to strengthen your habit of thankfulness. I.E. The laughter of a child, the voice of your loved one, a cool breeze in June, rain on your skin, the fragrance of flowers, the beauty of each unique sunrise…the list goes on. Journaling any affirmation and appreciations you may have each day can also build your awareness of the filling of God.
Let the eyes of you heart see the Glory of God present in your life and let the flood gates open to let His glory flow!
To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalms 30:12 (AMP)