Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to
explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly
Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This
morning we consider the values and meanings of thanksgiving.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Value and Meaning of Thanksgiving
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your request be made known unto God." Phillipians, Chapter 4, Verse 6.
Brothers and sisters, today we shall examine thanksgiving, a spontaneous expression of a grateful
heart, a heart that recognizes the goodness of God and his boundless love and mercy. It is a heart that
is eternally grateful.
Spiritual thanksgiving is not to be confused with material thanksgiving. Material thanksgiving is
subject to the circumstances of the material world, with its vicissitudes. It is a function of the
material world. We have to acknowledge that, sooner or later, some experience will usher in a state
where, in all honesty, thanksgiving will not be a spontaneous emotion. We cannot express material
thanksgiving when we have experienced a material loss. Some confused souls who try to associate
the goodness of God with material favor may try to express material thanksgiving in the face of
material loss, but this expression of material gratitude lacks credibility. The goodness of God is real,
not just an illusory state, a fantasy, nor an imagination of the material mind, which is where some
turn to avoid the reality of this life.
The goodness of God being a spiritual quality--in fact being one of the three great revelations of the
Father's love to the universe (the other two being truth and beauty)--is present at all times, regardless
of material ups and downs. While it may be hard to keep this truth in mind at all times, it does
remain as a bona fide spiritual reality in the soul; therefore the soul is justified in being thankful for
this ever present quality of the heavenly Father. Divine goodness is the basis of trust and faith in the
heavenly Father. But to better appreciate the divine goodness of the Father, lets momentarily divert
our discussion to an explanation of the function and nature of divine goodness. In this way we may
be able to better appreciate divine goodness and perhaps go on to a real genuine understanding
appreciation of thanksgiving, which is the springboard for spontaneous true worship, and thus self
But we must first distinguish spiritual goodness from material goodness. We must make this
distinction in our minds and souls. Material goodness is something that is experienced in the material
mind. We are all familiar with its manifestations. Good physical health, a well paying job, a nice
home, a good family, a good circle of friends, nutritious food, emotional health, good weather, and
the list goes on. Now while it is true that spiritual goodness never fails to enhance the appreciation
of the material aspects of life, spiritual goodness is a quality that resides in the soul. And when it is
fully appreciated by the soul, it causes the soul to exclaim that God is good, even in the face of the
most difficult of material situations. When faith is utilized the material mind may utter these truths,
speaking for the soul, or rather allowing the soul to speak through it.
Some additional insights may be gained by looking at the phenomenon of repentance. Repentance
is a state of the soul that recognizes its error, has had a change of heart and has recognized the true
nature of error. This error is overthrown in the soul through experience. When the soul tries to realize
the values and meanings associated with error, there is failure. Only truth can be realized. Error only
leads to disappointment and sorrow. When this sorrow and disappointment reach a certain level of
intensity, it actually becomes painful, and this spiritual pain causes the soul to seek release from it.
It is the goodness of God that heals the soul and vanquishes the pain by replacing it with joy. It is
indeed the goodness of God that causes a soul to repent. Now why is this? What is the power of the
influence of goodness that it causes a misguided soul to change direction from the path of error to
the path of truth? We know that goodness is composed of several elements. Among these are love,
patience, mercy and forgiveness along with the moral elements of absolute faithfulness, absolute
dependability, and absolute reliability. These qualities exposed to the soul on a continuous basis
eventually causes the soul to cry, "God is good."
The soul is that part of us that knows the heavenly Father. It is our identity and spiritual character
of the human being. It is the truth-sensitive aspect of us which has the power to make itself heard
in the material mind. The material mind--not being cognizant of spiritual reality-- may continue to
doubt since it is focused on the material aspects of experiences. But when the soul has made its
forecasts, and when the will has ordered the self to abide by these forecasts, then does that mind
accept these rulings as final, crying "not my will but your will be done."
This now spiritualized mind under the control of an ever-increasing spiritualizing soul becomes the
spokesman for the soul, and thus declares that God is good. The soul perceiving this overwhelming
beneficent influence of goodwill, kindness, mercy, and goodness, becomes thankful for such a loving
friend and divine Father. It thus erupts into spontaneous thanksgiving, thus setting the stage for
accepting divine sonship and true worship--the wholehearted effort to identify with the Father. This
process is the self actualization, the self realization of the soul.
After all, the realization that God is our Father can only mean at the very least that we are his
children. Thus the value of thanksgiving acknowledges the reality of God the Father as well as
sonship for us, his sons and daughters. This meaning opens up limitless possibilities, including
eternal life. If God our Father is eternal, then we must be eternal also, and eternal life is the passport
to an endless career of growth and development, an endless partnership with our heavenly Fathers.
What a glorious faith state is enjoyed by the thankful soul even now and a glorious destiny in
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning and value of thanksgiving. We hope
you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.