Thanksgiving and praise…two crucial keys to the heart of God. What is the difference between thanksgiving and praise?
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! (Psalm 30:11-12 NLT)
What is thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done. He blesses us all the time. There is always something for which to be thankful. Much like a parent gets joy from hearing heartfelt appreciation from their child, God gets joy from our heartfelt appreciation. How do we gain access to His heart? “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).
Thanksgiving is important in the life of a believer. “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God” (Ephesians 5:4 NLT). I am reminded to be conscious of what comes out of my mouth. We are in this world, but not of it. Rather than copy the customs of this world, we should use our words to thank God for what He has done.
We express our thankfulness to God because everything He created is good:
“Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks” (1 Timothy 4:4).
Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks are easy when things are going well, but we are called to do them at all times:
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Whereas thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done, praise is honoring Him for who He is.
What is praise?
Many Christians respond when something good happens with the term Praise God. The word praise can be defined as to give thanks, confess, honor, or commend. To praise God is to thank Him and to honor Him because of who He is.
Like me, you may have experienced times when your prayers seem to hit a wall and you wonder if your petitions are being heard. During those times, I have found that if I take a step back and spend time praising God, telling Him how good He is and what He means to me, and then thanking Him for what He has already done, I get an immediate sense of closeness to Him and my faith grows stronger. This is when I know I am touching His heart, and there is joy and peace in His presence.
When we ponder the great compassion that the Father has toward us in making a way of redemption through Jesus, it becomes easy to understand why all praise belongs to God:
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3 NLT). The Blood of Jesus Christ gives us access to God, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 NLT).
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).
What about you? What can you thank God for today? How will you praise God today?
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