woke up one morning and the very first thing that dropped into my spirit was a
song of thanksgiving – hymn number 10 in the Methodist Hymn Book. It was like
taking my initial steps of the day with praise, worship and thanksgiving on my
lips. I have always been conscious of the fact that I cannot willingly
jump-start the times that I wake up. I also recognise that I did not wake up to
the chimes of an alarm clock either; but for the grace, will and desire of the
Almighty God, it could not have happened this way. That many people went to bed
last night and could not wake up this morning attests to the fact that it is
not a choice that we make; it is as a result of God’s divine plan and purpose.
That we have seen a new day is ample reason to give thanks to Him who gives us breath, health and strength to go through any day. So the hymn writer begins this hymn of praise with; (Let us all) “Now thank our God, with hearts and hands and voices.” How do we thank God? -- with our lips and from the abundance of our hearts. God demands and deserves our never-ending praise for the manifold blessings that He has bestowed and continues to bestow on us - whether we are conscious of this or not. God is the Author and Giver of life; to Him all praise is due.
Dear God, we recognise the workings and the effects of Your mighty right hand upon our lives as we begin to express our gratitude in song and with a cheerful heart for all the benefits that come with it. It is with such immense and profound gratitude for Your goodness and loving kindness that we burst out in joyful songs of praise on a daily basis. For if it had not been for You where would we be?
Anything imaginable could have prevented us from waking up this morning. But for your grace and because you watch over us day and night, we are saved. Yes, we have manifold reasons to give You thanks because on our own we are nothing but defenceless and vulnerable to the snares of the evil one.
The hymn writer continues ‘Who wondrous things have done in whom the world rejoices.’ We thank You for the marvellous things you have done for which the world should be grateful and thankful, but alas! Many will wake up and go about their businesses and wrongly attribute it to their ability and strength.
Countless blessings have followed us from our childhood up until now. “Who, from our mother’s arms has blessed on our way, with
gifts of love, and still is ours today.’
The second stanza opens with: “O may this bounteous God through all our lives be near us; with ever-joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us.” What assurance to know that the presence of our Lord is always with us. Moses said to God that he would cease to lead the Children of Israel through the wilderness if God’s presence did not go with them. (Exodus 33:15) The multiplying effect is that His presence “keeps us in His grace, and guides us when perplexed and it frees us from all ills in this world and the next,” the hymnist pursues.
Assuredly, as the Children of Israel journeyed through the desert under God’s guidance they were not worried for their daily subsistence. They did not have to farm; food, water and shelter were made available to them throughout the journey; food from the heavenly store house in adequate supply. Interestingly, their shoes and clothing did not wear out in forty years. “During the forty years that I Ied you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”(Deuteronomy 29:5)
The hymn writer exhorts us – earth and heaven -- to give praise and thanks to God the Father and to His Son both of whom live in heaven eternally. “All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given; the Son and Him who reigns with them in highest heavens. The One, eternal God whom earth and heaven adore.” He concludes with the statement that as it was in the beginning so shall it be NOW and always – that is to say, the end of age. “For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.”
It is uplifting when we start and end our day giving thanks to God Almighty for how He has affected our lives. We owe a lot to Him for without him we are absolutely nothing – mere weaklings. Praise becomes a culture that we grow up with as we build up a firm relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We cannot carry the load all on our backs, all on our own.
This world abounds with trials and temptations that the devil throws on our way to make us weary and bring us down. But thanks be to God that we have a source of strength we can look up to who bids us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Putting first things first matters in the life of a Christian. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) underscores the apostle Paul.
Praying for the saints in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul wrote: “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) That is my prayer for you as well.
Our unwavering assurance is in Christ Jesus, the One who laid down His life for ALL sinners. Come to Jesus – the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE!