While my American friends and readers are spending today hopefully enjoying a delicious meal, time with loved ones and a football game (if they like such things), the rest of us are doing whatever we normally do on Thursdays. For me, that’s going to work, writing stuff, and making smart aleck-y comments on Twitter. For the college student, it’s going to class. For the homeschooling parent, it’s another day’s lesson.
But holiday or no, there’s no reason for us to not take a moment to be thankful for all God has blessed us with. Indeed, this is something we’re reminded to do at all times and in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And praising God in this way—giving him thanks at all times, in all circumstances, for things big and small—is perhaps one of the best ways for us to truly know him.
As Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote:
If you want to know Him, if you want to know His smile, if you want to know something about this living realization that God is your God and that He has loved you “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), that you are His child and that He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5)—if you want this living witness of the Spirit, this ultimate assurance that is given through the love shed abroad in our hearts, going upward and back to Him in praise, worship, adoration, and thanksgiving, then begin to praise God for what you have.
Praise Him for everything—for the gifts of life and health and strength. Many people are ill and laid aside and cannot attend a place of worship. Do we thank God for our health and strength, our faculties, for all these gifts that He showers upon us so constantly and so freely? Thank God! David, of course, keeps on repeating this: “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name … my mouth will praise thee with joyful lips” (Ps. 63:3–5).1
Praise him for everything? Yep. Everything. All the time. Friends, if we feel distant from God, perhaps the best place to start is to look at all he has done for us, and thank him for it. No matter how insignificant it may seem, there is nothing we should not thank him for, praising him perhaps even with joyful lips (Psalm 63:5). For when we do, we may find we begin to truly rejoice in Him.