Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Praise and Thanks to God

God's fundamental spiritual law is love. The two great commandments are to love God with all our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5).

God teaches us in the Bible that one of the ways we are to love Him is to offer thanks and praise to Him in prayer. Thanks and praise go together. Both express appreciation for God's greatness and perfection.

When we praise God, we express our agreement with His character and His way of life, and we express our gladness that God is good, that He is powerful, and that He is wise. He always knows the best thing to do and He has the power to carry out His decisions. When we praise God, we acknowledge to God that we know He is good and great and we rejoice in that.

When we give thanks to God, we are expressing gladness and appreciation for particular things He has done for us or even for His nature. We are acknowledging that we owe Him appreciation and love for what He is and what He has done. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong has said that one of the things he thanked God for was the fact that the greatest power in the universe, God Himself, is a power for good, not evil.

God's word, the Bible, is filled with commands and instruction for giving God thanks and praise. The Bible is also filled with examples of thanks and praise to God.

"Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name" (Psalm 30:4). "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!" (Psalm 105:1). "Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1).

Many of the Psalms are examples of praise and thanks to God.

Daniel risked his life to give thanks to God three times a day (Daniel 6:6-10).

Paul's epistles are filled with the giving of thanks to God, and Paul taught that we should give thanks.

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).

There is a promise in one of our old Church of God hymns that if we pay all our vows to God and give Him praise and thanks, He will hear our prayers when we are in trouble. This is the hymn, "Give Thanks and Offer Praise", on page 40 of the old purple hymnal, which says, "Pay all your vows to God Most High, give thanks and offer praise, and when the day of trouble comes, I'll hear and answer you". This is based on Psalm 50, which says, "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:14-15).

The most important vow to God that we should pay is our vow at baptism to obey Him. We need to obey His commandments, praise Him, and give Him thanks as a way of life, and then trust Him to hear our prayers and deliver us in time of trouble. This is important. It may not seem so important when things are going well for us, but when we are in a severe trial we will know it is important. We will be able to pray with confidence, knowing that we have kept our vows and have given God praise and thanks regularly. We will be able to trust God to save us.

And trials will come. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19).

We need to be in the habit of frequently praising God and giving Him thanks.

One of the greatest things we should thank Him for is the sacrifice and saving work of Jesus Christ. We should thank Him for creating us and all mankind. We can thank Him for the universe. We can thank Him for revealing His truth and His wonderful plan for the salvation of mankind to us. This is especially important because so few in this world have that calling and that gift of understanding. Perhaps one out of 50,000 or one out of 100,000 people on earth have that gift. Most of us have it, and we should thank God for it. We should thank Him for our calling.

We can thank God for His plan to save the majority of mankind and for the awesome salvation He offers us - the opportunity to become part of His divine family forever.

We should build the habit of giving God thanks for the good things that happen in our life, even the small things that happen day to day. We can silently pray and give God thanks whenever something good happens to us during the day. For we should know that, without God's protection and help, Satan would no doubt destroy us quickly. Apart from God's restraining influence, Satan has that power, power to take everything away from us, power even to kill us outright if God didn't protect us (Job 1:9-19, 2:4-7). We live and have good things only because God protects us and blesses us, even though God also allows us to suffer some trials for our good in the end.

Obeying God, thanking Him, and praising Him are three important ways we love God.

Here is a link to another post in this blog related to this subject:

"Give God Thanks", dated November 27, 2013, link:


Anonymous said...

Author you wrote:

"...We can thank God for His plan to save the majority of mankind and for the awesome salvation He offers us - the opportunity to become part of His divine family forever..."

Why aren't you thanking God for saving all mankind? Why just a majority?

And opportunity to become part of God's divine family forever: where do you find that in scripture?

I ask questions like that b/c I believe God our Father is a perfect Father. It is His will to save all human beings and not to lose one human being. If He loses one human being, then just how perfect would God our Father really be?

For example, if we look at some verses, such as the following, how can we conclude otherwise?

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:19

Christ isn't reconciling the world, but the Father is reconciling the world unto Himself. This is not about opportunity to be reconciled for some majority. It's for the world, all human beings in the world. Notice also that because of God our Father accomplishing that reconciling He will also not impute this world's "trespasses unto them."

Doesn't that sound like "good news?"

How about the following verses?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Do you believe God has that much for the world, not just some majority, but the entire world?

Oh, you may say they must believe first, and that is correct, but where does believing come from? This world can't believe on its own (John 14:17).

Ephesians 1:19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"

It is God who gives the power to believe. Without that power none of us can believe on our own, of and by self. God our Father did not send His son to condemn this world, did He?

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Might be saved? What is God's will?

"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." I Tim 2:4

It is God's will that "all men to be saved."

How can one get around that will of God? Who can resist God? Who can tell God He cannot will such a thing?

Yes, all men to come to the knowledge of the truth too! We are told all will be taught of God, aren't we? God has His timing and His perfect infallible Plan of Salvation, doesn't He? Sure He does.

Some come to a knowledge of the truth now; the rest come after the second resurrection occurs. Some men saved in the first resurrection. "The rest" saved in the second resurrection; God does not need a 3rd resurrection within His perfect Plan of Salvation. God is not interested in saving only some majority.

God's will? All men to be saved! Isn't that good news? One more verse to keep this short: Jesus Christ, with the mind of the Father developing within Him, said the following:

"Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." Matthew 18:14

The Father's will is law. There isn't anything bigger or better? His will is it! He doesn't change. His will is His thinking. Who is going to tell the Father that He might lose one little one, especially when He tells us that His will is not to lose one, not to have one little one perish? Isn't that good news? Too good to be true? Did the Father lie to us? Did His Son lie to us?

It appears that your use of the word "majority" is saying that God will lose some.

What do you think?

John said...

God wills that all be saved. But God does not force His will on those who refuse to repent. God gives the gift of repentance, but everyone has free choice and anyone can refuse the gift. God's gift makes it possible for us to repent, but it does not force us to repent. We still have to make our own choice.

There are scriptures that indicate that not everyone will be in the Kingdom of God. Some will go into the lake of fire.

"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:28).

"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink" (Matthew 25:41-42).

"Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:20).

Editor said...

Dear author;

I have read your reply to the anony/John comment to what you stated in your article, and must say you are absolutely right on your statement of it being the “Majority” who will be saved. This seems to be what anony/John was concerned about.
“John” may not see that truth in Scripture, but seems to be sincere.
However, God does not force anyone to go His way, but certainly does desire (As John is saying) for all to be saved.
However, God realized from the beginning that not all will choose to be saved. God, thru Christ made the provision, as is recorded in; John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” NKJV
Those who insist on having their own way, now or in the judgement will come up in the 3rd resurrection. This is something else it seems that “John” does not understand. 2 Thess. 1:9, speaking of those who do not know God, by coming thru Christ, says; “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord--- NKJV---and this is a reference to the 3rd resurrection.
So I have decided to offer John (With your permission by this posting) and anyone else who may read this, the opportunity to hear a split sermon dealing with the 3rd resurrection, as it is revealed in Scripture. For that they can visit: "" which is found on "" and the COG audio page.

Thanks for the article and take care,
Editor said...

Thank you Editor.

Overall, I agree with your points and your conclusion, but here is something to consider. You seem to be saying that Revelation 20:13 refers to the third resurrection. It says, "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works." My understanding is that those who come up in the third resurrection have already been judged prior to that resurrection. If that is true, then why would a judgment (second part of verse 13) come after the third resurrection (first part of verse 13)?

My understanding is Revelation 20:14 starts the passage about the third resurrection, and verse 13 is just a continuation of and restatement of verse 12.

Editor said...

Hello again Author,
I appreciate your concern on the point you mention for the sake of truth and a right understanding.(Rev.20:13)
It seems to me that I gave a lengthy explanation of that in the audio--but maybe it was not clear enough as to why I concluded that. I will go back and review it. (perhaps I was mistaken)
However let me state here that I used to see it the same as you have mentioned, until a deeper study on it--but I will not take space here to go into that.
Let me just ask you this question concerning this (which makes no difference one way or the other, as the point was to confirm a third resurrection, which those scriptures do, as well as the message given.)
But-Don't you think that those who go into the lake of fire (Those still dead in their graves at the white throne judgment) will be brought back to life and made aware of their judgment (Even though previously judged--a different judgment period) before they are to be cast into the lake of fire? (I mentioned Lazarus & the rich man as an example) It seems that will be when they are given their judgment and then realize a second death?
My apologies for any possible mistake--but the message was to make clear a 3rd resurrection, which I am sure the message does.
Take care,

Editor said...

BTW Author,
I forgot to mention in my last comment that others in the COG see this discussion similar to the what I do, as pertains to Rev.20:13. For example here is a quote from page 37 (PDF version) of the booklet on Revelation, produced by LHT/ COGWA.

“Since they were fully able to understand and act upon God’s truth, He judged
them during their lives just as He judges the faithful. There is no further
period of judging for these people. Their time of judging is complete. However,
these individuals died, never having received the ultimate judgment—
sentencing—from God.
According to Revelation 20:13-14, some will be brought back to physical life to
be punished for their unrighteous conduct—they will be mercifully destroyed
for eternity by means of the lake of fire, which will then engulf the entire
earth (2 Peter 3:7).”

Thought you might be interested to know this—though this does not make this absolutely right or wrong—it does show others in the COG see this verse the same as I have presented it.
Thanks again,
Editor said...

Good point, Editor. Yes, it is possible that there will be a judgment in the sense you described, in effect the announcing and delivery of the judgment to the person who has been judged, in verse 13.

The main thing is we agree on the third resurrection. There will be a third resurrection in which the unrepentant wicked will be burned up, and you helped to show this from the Bible.

John from Australia said...

What did HWA write on the subject?

“All others who have not been called to eternal salvation by God during their human lifetimes will be resurrected after the thousand-year-reign of the Kingdom of God under Christ, in the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12)... Then, finally, there will be a last resurrection (Rev 20:13-15)...” (The Incredible Human Potential, p.88).

So from the above selected quote the second resurrection, as defined by HWA, is pictured in 20:11-12 and, the third resurrection is pictured by 20:13-15.

Rev 20:12b and the dead were judged [krino] out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13b and they were judged [krino] every man according to their works.

I would suggest that if verse 12 and verse 13 were describing the same event then the third resurrection hypothesis would fail.

I would suggest that Revelation 20:11-15 is not describing two resurrection and two judgments, one in verse 12 and one in verse 13.

Saying that these verses picture two resurrections/judgments would be like saying that there are two Gog attacks before the start of the Millennium, one in chapter 38 and one in chapter 39.

As John B. Taylor observes on a Hebraic literary device:

“The overthrow of Gog and his forces is here retold in different language and in fuller detail. This is typical of Hebrew poetical writing which is used in these oracles. It is fond of repetition and delights to revert to previous statements and enlarge on them, even though the result is to destroy all sense of consecutive arrangement” (Ezekiel, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, p.247).

Just as there is only one Gog attack in Ezekiel 38 & 39 before the Millennium I would suggest that there is only one resurrection and judgment in Revelation 20:11-15.

The reason I say that the Gog attack occurs before the beginning of the Millennium is based on these verse:

Eze 43:1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:
Eze 43:2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
Eze 43:3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.
Eze 43:4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
Eze 43:5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
Eze 43:6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
Eze 43:7a And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever...

As Leroy Neff wrote in God’s Temple in Prophecy:

“Even though these physical aspects are important, the most important part, the part that makes the Temple of God so grand and glorious is that Jesus Christ, in all of His glory will be there...

“In the debir of the new temple, yet to be built, the coming Lord of the whole universe will take up residence and will rule the world. He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ the Messiah” (pp.13 & 34).

For me, Christ taking up residence in the Most Holy Place begins the Millennium.

Question, initiated by this verse:

Jer 42:17 So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.

Does “none” mean “none”?