November 26, 2008

The Spirit of Praise


2008 1533 page22 cap sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let 
the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” [Ps. 96, KJV].
The Blessing of Son Light
I think we have something to be thankful for. We ought to be glad, and rejoice in God; for he has given us many mercies. The thought comes to me that we may have a Thanksgiving in the future without any giving. It may be that the time of trouble will be upon us. But to-day let us rejoice that we are granted this opportunity of coming within the courts of the Lord. We ought to come with humble thanks for all his mercies that have been given us all through the year. But I fear too many of us encourage the habit of looking always upon the dark side of life, and that at a time when God has crowned us with his goodness and mercy. This is wrong. We should be enjoying the sunshine of his golden blessings, that have crowned the year with plenty. When God pours his blessings into our hearts, we should not shut them up as we would precious ointment, lest the perfume escape; we should bestow them upon those around us, that they also may be glad and rejoice. In my experience I have found that when I brought joy to the hearts of others, my own soul rejoiced, and was filled with the melting Spirit of God. In the morning and all through the day, a sense of God’s goodness filled my heart, and it awakened such feelings of gratitude as I cannot express.
2008 1533 page22We want this Thanksgiving to be all it implies. Do not let it be perverted, mingled with dross; but let it be what its name implies—giving thanks. Let our voices ascend in praise. Let our hearts lay hold on the Exalted One; for the train of his glory fills the temple.
“Think on These Things”
We should individually aim for a higher and holier standard. The mind will surely become dwarfed if it is continually occupied with earthly things. But if trained to dwell upon heavenly, eternal themes, it will be expanded, elevated, and strengthened. The mind should take hold of things unseen, and meditate thereon; then things of eternal interest will be so exalted above the earthly, that temporal affairs will sink into insignificance in comparison. We do not regard divine things as of high value; and by neglecting to train the mind to prize eternal things more than earthly, we lose a valuable experience. We fail to obtain the wisdom God has brought within our reach. Suppose we change this order of things, and begin from to-day to train the thoughts to dwell upon the great plan of salvation, devoting less time to self-serving. Suppose you try to count all your blessings. You have thought so little upon them, and they have been so continual, that when reverses or afflictions come, you are grieved, and think God is unjust. You do not call to mind how little gratitude you have manifested for all the blessings of God. You have not deserved them; but because they have flowed in upon you day by day, year by year, you have looked upon them as a matter of course, thinking it was your right to receive every advantage, and give nothing in return. The Lord sometimes withdraws his mercies to bring people to their senses. Shall we make it necessary in our case for him to do so? Look away from your own trials and difficulties. Cease to magnify your little grievances. Put all thoughts of self out of your heart. Cease self-service, and serve the only true and living God. Let his melody be in your heart, and his praises on your lips. The blessings of God are more than the hairs of our head, more than the sands of the seashore. Meditate upon his love and care for us, and may it inspire you with love that trials cannot interrupt nor afflictions quench.
Thanks Be to God
Let us give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good, and his mercy endureth forever. What kind of a Thanksgiving shall we keep,—one to ourselves, bestowing all our benefits upon ourselves and receiving the attentions of others, but bringing no thanksgiving offering to God? This is idolatry of the most offensive character in the sight of a jealous God. Everything should be avoided that would have a tendency to draw our hearts’ worship from God. Let not any more Thanksgiving days be observed to please and gratify the appetite, and glorify self. We have reason for coming into the courts of the Lord with offerings of gratitude that he has preserved our lives another year. 
This article is excerpted from a Thanksgiving sermon delivered on November 27, 1884, which appeared December 23, 1884, in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the Adventist Review. Seventh-day Adventists believe Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.