Pastoral Perspectives

A Heart of Thankfulness

Thank You, Father God! Do we often thank God for the little things happening in our lives? Or do we only thank God for the big things happening in our lives? Do we set aside time to give thanks to God? What can we learn from God’s Word regarding having a heart of thankfulness? What is the implication of having such a heart? Is it good to give thanks to the Lord? The answer is obvious! Knowing it is one thing, applying it is still another! In Psalm 92:1-2 ESV, the Word of God says, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.”

Today is our Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM). It is appropriate to consider and reflect upon what the LORD has done for this congregation this past year. It is a good time for us to offer to God our thanksgivings for all the various ministries which He has put in place for the spiritual growth and maturity of His people for His church here. We are grateful to God for the availability of 8 people standing for election: 2 as Associate Ministers, 2 as Elders and 4 as Deacons. Thank and praise God! Through their testimonies, we would be able to hear of how the Lord has led them to courageously take this step of service to Him. Recognising God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness, we will never hesitate to give thanks to the Lord for directing each one of them. God is good all the time. He never fails us nor forsakes us but He is always with us. God will empower these candidates to serve Him faithfully and wholeheartedly because they trust Him to guide and help them in this new area of service. On our part, we can uphold them in our prayers lifted up to God. Let us make the effort to know them individually and discover how we can effectively pray for each one of them. They need our encouragement and support. In our personal prayer time, we can thank God for them and for the spiritual gifts which the Lord has given to them to serve Him.

In Psalm 92:5 ESV, the Word of God says, “How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!” In this ACM, we want to be grateful to God for faithfully seeing us through another good year of people responding to the Gospel, of people nurturing in their faith and of people taking the step of faith to be baptised to testify to others of how good and how great God is! We can also give thanks to God for the 32 Discipleship Groups which He has given us and for the new people joining the Discipleship Groups. God has provided us with a non-residential missionary to the SQ people. Let us offer our thanks to God! There is, indeed, a lot to give thanks to God for. Through reading the various ministry reports in the respective Pillars, we would marvel at the great works of God among us. We can never be able to thank God enough but still thanksgivings should continue to flow from our hearts to Him.

Now, looking at our own individual life, let us reflect upon all that the Lord has done for us. Let us cultivate a heart of thankfulness to the Lord our God. In Colossians 3: 15 ESV, the Word of God says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” As for me, I would thank God for His sustaining grace these past 2 weeks. God has given me the calmness and confidence in conducting and teaching the Learning-to-Pray Session. I was having fever and flu and yet with God’s guidance and God’s help, He sustained me through the whole session of teaching that Session on the previous Thursday, 28 April. There were 6 people from Living Stones DG attending that Session. Again, with God’s people praying for me, I was enabled to complete the preparation for the Prayer Retreat message last Saturday, 7 May. There were 32 people who turned up for the Retreat. We had had a wonderful time of spending personal solitude and silence with God. My heart is filled with thanksgivings to our great and gracious God for all that He has done. To God be the glory, honour and praise forever more!

I recalled in Daniel’s life how when his life was threatened, he was still able to go down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he previously had done (see Daniel 6:10 ESV). My encouragement for all of us is to learn to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving to the Lord our God in our life. Our perspective of things happening in our life will change for good as we cultivate a heart of thanksgiving to God! So, give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever! (see Psalm 107: 1 ESV).

Pr George Ang

May 15, 2016