Do you have friends, neighbors and loved ones who do not have faith in God or even know of Jesus? How can that cause me to be thankful? Worried and concerned for their eternal fate is more like it. However, Isaiah 55:6-9 holds facts about God Almighty that will create thankfulness in the midst of these troubling thoughts.
Isaiah was writing a message to the future Israelites who would become captives in Babylon. He was imploring them to remember God and return to the Lord as He alone can satisfy. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;” Isaiah 55 verse 1. He continues with his call to return in verses 6-9 giving them and us profound hope and thankful hearts.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9
Why would these verses cause us to have hope, creating thankfulness in our hearts? 1- verse 7 God promises to freely forgive anyone who turns to Him and forsakes his sinning ways. 2- God promises to have mercy on them by not giving them what they deserve for their sins, but treating them with grace and love. These two things bring us hope for our loved ones and friends that do not know Jesus. We know that God is waiting and promises forgiveness and mercy towards anyone who comes to Him! God will not change His mind and decide their sins were to numerous or egregious. God is unchanging and we can depend upon Him as He is the same “yesterday, today and forever” Hebrews 13:8.
Why include verses 8-9 in this discussion as they are not part of the promise of forgiveness?Verses 8 and 9 explain to us the fact that God does not think or act like us. He is does not harbor hate, grudges, or resentments. We cannot think or act like God as it is not in our nature, but it is in His! This is something to be thankful for too. God is above us and His way of dealing with people and circumstances are not anything like ours. How many times have you seen God answer prayer in amazing, out of the box, ways! I am thankful that He my merciful, omnipotent God and that His ways and thoughts are greater than mine.
Let these promises of mercy and love for the lost fill you with hope as you continue to pray for the salvation of those you know who do not know Jesus as Savior. Let the knowledge of God’s ways being so unlike our own cause you to be thankful for Him and fill you with Hope.
A lesson and truth I received from the scriptures we studies this month on cultivating a habit of thankfulness in our lives is this: Thankfulness has a powerful affect on me and all those around me.
How have you seen this to be true this season of thanksgiving? Is your mindset towards thanks contagious? “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul felt that the thanks he had for his fellow believers, for their faith and love for God, caused him to rejoice. He saw God working in their lives and this brought joy and thankfulness to his own worship. I would call that contagious thanks. Have you ever been thankful for someone or something and it caused you to give thanks to God? As we live our lives, we need to look for those things that God gives us that create ‘contagious thanks’ within our hearts. As we give thanks to Him in these situations, God will faithfully create in us a thanks that will be contagious and will result in our being in a constant state of thankfulness and joy. Paul left the Thessalonianswith these words in 5:16-18 “Always be joyful.Never stop praying.Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Develop that attitude of gratitude and watch it grow in your own life and then watch it rub off into the lives of those around you.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:16-17
Having an attitude of gratitude is what Paul is talking about in Colossians. He commends us to be filled with Christ and be used to bless each others lives with thankful hearts. The ministry we have with each other is to be done with thankfulness because we are being representatives of Jesus to each other. That is a staggering thought that God considers me to be Jesus’ representative when I talk with my neighbors, greet strangers, do my job at work and talk with my family day to day. Our Jesus ‘face’ is not just for Sunday or when we desire to be like Him but all day every day. Paul is teaching us that everything we say and do reflects on Jesus. His final words in this passage are that we should thank God for all these opportunities.
Today– face the world with the Love of Jesus in your heart knowing that you represent Him before all that you meet. Thank God for every person and opportunity that comes your way with an attitude of gratitude. Now that is kingdom living at its best!
Have a blessed day filled with encounters for Jesus,