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In today’s Western society thanksgiving has become rare. And when it does emerge, usually it is faint and in context to us getting what we want while giving credit to ourselves. Complaint has always been the leading trend in our present culture and continues to validate itself with greater ease.

Since the beginning of humanity it has been in God’s heart to anchor the human heart in His goodness, which beckons humility and righteousness unto salvation. And His goodness culminates at the Day of the Lord where He makes all things new and restores. No matter what the situation or circumstance, our contentment and thanks should be anchored in that.

This teaching was taught at Bethany Global University.



The content of this teaching’s notes are below with partial formatting. If you would like to see the notes with complete formatting, click

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Psalms 77:11-14 

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.

      1. In the Bible it seems like God is continually trying to point the eyes of His people toward Him and His ways.  Not because he has an ego to take care of, but because it serves their well being.  When we place our eyes on His greatness and goodness, then our priorities begin to align with His priorities, by the work of the Spirit in our lives. Some examples of this are Joshua 24 & Nehemiah 9,10.  After taking the time to remember the Lord moving in their midst over time, they repented and then committed their ways back to Him.
      2. Men’s hearts were always meant to be gripped by the goodness of God. When we remember His goodness, then our lives are stripped of complaint/self-seeking, and we die in order for His agenda to live through us.  We desire to serve His purposes above our own.

Joshua 24:14-16  (ESV)

14 “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods,

Nehemiah 9:38  (ESV)

“Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests. 

      1. Prayer is such a gift to us, so that we might remember who He is, gain right perspective and be encouraged by His Spirit to pursue a pure and holy life in light of that.
      2. Remembering God’s grace and salvation helps us to see God’s commands through eyes of understanding and love, instead of rebellion.  God constantly sought to encourage Israel in this way, that they might obey and know Him.

Exodus 13:3 

Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place.” 



Ex. 20:2

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Thou shall not…)

Numbers 15:37-41

37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations…39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 5:15

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 15:15

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.  

      1. Many of the Davidic Psalms are great examples of what remembrance looks like in real life situations and how it can set the tone for how we live.

Psalms 4:1-2,7-8  

1 A Psalm of David. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?…7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 11:1-4,7 

1 To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man…7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Psalms 31:9-10,19-21  

9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away…19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! 20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.



    1. A person’s prayer life can be made known through the level of thanks that exudes from their life.  As we behold Him & His goodness (remembering), thanksgiving becomes a common declaration in our minds and off our lips.  We all have struggles as did David and many in the Word. But it is in remembering the depths of who He is in the midst of those struggles that we exalt Him above those problems.

Psalms 107:21-22

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loyal love, and for the amazing things he has done for people! 22 Let them present thank offerings, and loudly proclaim what he has done!

  1. Remembrance clears the fog that life can bring, lifts anxiety of current turmoil by seeing the bigger picture, and ultimately leads to genuine thanksgiving.
  2. Before we can declare His goodness (thanksgiving), we must first remember it. Throughout the Bible, declaration of God and His goodness surrounds the remembrance of God and His goodness. When we remember Him, thanksgiving and declaration naturally follows.  (i.e. when we get a great deal on something, our heart is thankful and we then declare it in thanks, and many times then promote or proclaim it to others)

1 Chronicles 16:10-12,15,19-22,34

10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! 11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered 15 Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations 19 When you were few in number, and of little account, and sojourners in it, 20 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 21 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, 22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth… 34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!




Acts 16:22-23,25-26

22 The crowd joined in attacking them…23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison…25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.

  1. Paul and Silas responded with remembrance in their situation, which eventually led to their divine release. Problems will arise in our lives without doubt, but our attitude can be a testimony and witness to the reality of our hearts! Even to the point of it affecting our environment and those around us.
    1. In thanksgiving there is a strengthening of trust, which allows you to go through hard times without offense. Thankfulness recognizes, or brings to light faithfulness in the One we are giving thanks for.  As a result, it can strengthen our trust and resolve in the Lord, as we remember, give thanks for who He is, what He has done in our lives and His Kingdom (justice) to come.

Psalms 28:6-7

6 Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. 7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalms 37:3-5

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend (feed on) faithfulness.           4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

  1. When thanksgiving toward the Lord’s goodness is really at work in our hearts, peace is the outcome even in times of distress because it helps us place trust in His ultimate resolution.  It bypasses anxiety and makes way for peace through having proper perspective and trusting Him with it.

Philippians 4:5-7

5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    1. Just as a parent loves to bless & reward the thankful heart of a child, the Lord is the same with us. But blessing does not always mean a better situation or circumstance.  Blessing means to serve and sometimes (for me many times) our blessing comes through strengthening in our inner man to walk righteous even when it is hard.
    1. Our tongue is one easy and clear sign of the state of our heart. Thanksgiving or complaint become the “tip of the spear” when it comes to those clear signs of the tongue.

Ephesians 5:4

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:19-20

19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  1. This one sentence is made up of three verses.  Many times we separate the three components as separate in and of themselves.  However, I look at verses 16 and 17 and see them pulling from verse 18.  Rejoicing always and walking with an attitude of prayerfulness happens upon the foundation of thanksgiving.
  2. In our Western culture the smallest things go wrong and we can barely draw on anything to give thanks for because the concept is foreign.  Jockeying for our rights through criticism and complaint is the West’s close companion and what we have a love affair with.  I see this as one of the key components that will and has been turning the hearts of some in the Church cold.  The spirit of this age justifies why we should be alive to ourselves and the flesh and not dead to self.  It is all around “us” in our culture.  This subject is vital to remaining faithful as the end of this age approaches.  As suffering increases, thanksgiving in the Spirit’s grace will set apart those who clearly know Him or don’t.  It is what caused those in the Word to suffer joyfully, even unto martyrdom, while counting it a privilege to die for the Lord as a faithful witness.
  3. There is one element that can anchor thanksgiving in our lives and always be available: I deserve hell but God sent His Son who made way for the Spirit to lead me unto salvation at the Day of the Lord.  If I am drawing a blank when it comes to genuine thanksgiving, my default and constant attitude of gratitude is based in the fact that Jesus is returning to restore broken humanity, bring justice across the earth as the Messiah and redeem me through resurrection.  Thanksgiving should keep our attention on Him and the ultimate solution.  That is the thanksgiving that should anchor all other thanksgiving!  However, if the end game isn’t real in our hearts, then the basis for giving thanks becomes deflated and gratitude serves as just an occasional gesture to the Lord.  




Psalms 78:4-8,11

4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God…11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.

Deuteronomy 4:9,23

9 Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children–…23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you.

Deuteronomy 6:10-15

10 “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you–with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant–and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you– 15 for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God–lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Psalms 9:17 (NET)

The wicked are turned back and sent to Sheol; this is the destiny of all the nations that ignore (“forget” ESV) God,

Psalms 78:10-12

10 They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. 11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.

Isaiah 17:10-11

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore , though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, 11 though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain.

Romans 1:19-23,25

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man…25 they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature (human-istic) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.


Luke 17:11-19

11 Now on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was entering a village, ten men with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance, 13 raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went along, they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He fell with his face to the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. (Now he was a Samaritan.) 17 Then Jesus said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to turn back and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to the man, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

  1. NET Bible note for end of verse 19: “tn Or “has delivered you”; Grk “has saved you.” The remark about faith suggests the benefit of trusting in Jesus’ ability to deliver (as the One true Messiah).” The Samaritan stopped and recognized Jesus as the Son of God and soon to be restorer of all things.  This man was not just healed outwardly but had something significant happen inwardly.  When we stop to recognize God and His movement in our lives, it strengthens us inwardly and makes way for righteousness.



    1. Corporate & individual complaint severely hinders faith to pursue what God has said. Discouragement, Self-pity, and giving up slowly take us down a road of pride and eventually giving up.

Numbers 13:27-28,30-33;14:20-23

27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there…     30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height…33 and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers…14:20 Then the Lord said…21 ‘But truly, as I live…22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land… (Promised Land).”

    1. Complaint almost always leads to some type of finger pointing and blame game.  Selfishness feeds complaint, and then births blame.  Those who complain, blame…and are lame. 🙂  Exodus 16:7-15;17:2-6
    2. Complaint is also the instigator of gossip and even suicidal thoughts. Because of discouragement or unmet expectations, people are prone to gossip, complain, and ultimately want to give up through suicide or going back to the bondage they once were in.

Numbers 14:1-3

1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron (gossiped amongst each other). The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! (suicidal thoughts) 3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (caused them to see bondage as better than it was)

    1. Complaint is not yet dead to self but alive to individual/corporate “rights.” Numbers 16:3,12-15,21,31-35,41 gives a great outline of this.
  • A competition birthed out of hearts that thought they deserved better. That competition ended with God’s judgment.  The losers get violently taken to Sheol.
  • v.41-Just a few verses later (next morning) they complain again!  Another 14,700 die before atonement can be brought
  • Complaints continue and in Numbers 21 fiery serpents munch on people and much of Israel dies (21:6)!
  1. Assumption is many times self-governed rights

Matthew 20:1-2,10-11,13-14

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard…Now when those hired first came, they thought (supposed) they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house…But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.

  • v.10 “supposed” – Assumption is a dangerous thing!  Be careful where you place your expectations, or else complaint will eat you alive.
  • Assumption that ends in complaint is a result of placing self at the center. Never assume you deserve anything
  • People get angry at God because expectations are set by them, not Him, and thus not fulfilled.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  1. His yoke is easy & burden is light, but we first must come to Him.  Complaint causes things to weigh on a person, so bring those things to Him that you would normally struggle with and complain about.  Do as David did and you will finish your prayers the way David did…praising God.
    1. Complaint while leading will ultimately hinder those you lead.

Num. 12:1-2,10,15

1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses…2 And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it…           10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous…15 So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again.

  1. If thanksgiving is a form of worship to God, then complaint is a form of worship to the enemy.

Phil. 2:14-16

14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.




    1. ohelmoedh: tent of meeting, appointed place for His presence
    2. Place of rendezvous where broken man could meet with God prior to the sacrifice of the Messiah.
    3. Tabernacle was and is an elementary teaching of God to His people.  It is an illustration, technique, or demonstration to teach His children who He is, pointing to the Messiah.

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Richee (7 Posts)

Richee serves as one of the administrators to the Daniel Training Network. He, his wife Grace, and their four children currently live in Bloomington, MN. Richee has a passion to see those in the Church gain a deeper understanding of the gospel.

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