What a time to offer up thanks to Almighty God!
Highly publicized wars and others seldom heard about, more crime, more violence, a down economy, the continuing breakdown of families — all of these conditions might discourage us. Some despairing souls might even call for a moratorium on Thanksgiving observances. Yet people have thanked God in times like ours before. One of them was the writer of Psalms 66 who thanked the Lord for the past, for the present, and for the future.
Thank You, Lord, for Yesterday
In Psalms 66:5-6, the psalmist recalls the mighty acts of God in the past: “Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot; come, let us rejoice in him.”
Israel was grateful for its heritage: the patriarchs who took God at His word and stepped out on faith, the prophets who courageously spoke the Word of God, the psalmists who sang songs of praise on dark days.
Every Christian can thank God for the great events that have brought us hope for this life and for eternity: the coming of Christ, the cross, the resurrection, the great affirmations from the pen of Paul, such as “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
And we can thank God for our Christian heritage which has permitted us ready access to the faith. Think of some of the elements of that heritage:
– those who labored to faithfully transmit the text of the Bible
– the founders of our churches
– grandparents and parents who were models of what Christians should be
– faithful pastors and Sunday school teachers
– a friend who told us about Christ
– and many more.
We can say, “Thank You, Lord, for yesterday.”
Thank You, Lord, for Today
The psalmist says in Psalms 66:8-9, “Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.”
Let us thank God for life, as did a little girl who prayed, “Thank You, Lord, for Mommy and Daddy, for Grandma and Grandpa, thank You for John and Joel, and thank You, Lord, for me.”
There never were any “good old days.” The great leaders of the Christian church despaired over conditions in their times. However, they believed that God was alive, and their actions and writings have blessed the church for centuries.
Tremendous opportunities challenge the church today. Large parts of the world — including Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America — are open to the gospel as never before:
– we have the technology and the volunteers to reach the people groups that have never had a Christian church planted in their midsts.
– more people of all ages and from all walks of life are volunteering for short terms of overseas Christian service;
– many of the young people ready to do missionary work today come from young churches in third-world countries;
– God is alive, and He is using His people to do good things.
In Europe there are some bells strung across a mountain range. There is no rope suspended from the bells; no human hand ever rings them. Their sound is heard when the wind blows. In the autumn there may be a few tingles as gentle winds move the bells, but during the gales of winter they peal forth their most majestic music.
God brings out the best in us under the pressure of tough times. Let us thank Him that we are alive today.
Thank You, Lord, for Tomorrow
In Psalms 66:4 of this Psalm, the writer looks forward to the day ahead: “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” The psalmist saw the day when God will reign and the world will respond to Him in worship.
Though we may not be sure of all the details, we do know the end of the story. God’s promises will be fulfilled and His purposes completed. God is working in history to bring about His ultimate victory.
We work for the Lord because we are confident that He is in control. That was the attitude of a man who lived during days of great turmoil in England. In a chapel at Stanton Harold, outside of London, these words are engraved on a plaque:
“In the year 1653, when all things sacred throughout the nation were either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley Baronet founded this church whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous.”

Share This On: