Be Thankful ….. November 22, 2020
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV. I
I believe in our present day we must remember to think, speak, and live thankful. It is an understatement to say we are surrounded with thoughts of negativity, stressful thinking, unkind language… all of which can cause us to think, behave, and be unthankful. I do not believe it to be God’s will for the Christian to live with such a mindset. I say this based on 1 Thessalonians 5 which instructs the believer to give thanks in all circumstances. We are to live with attitudes of gratitude and to do so on purpose even in difficult times. When we as Christians do this, we are giving evidence that we believe God to be in control in every aspect of life. Is this easy or simple?…. absolutely not; however, the fact remains that it is the call upon our life as a disciple/follower of Christ. So how do we accomplish this in a manner that will honor and glorify God?
The definition of "rejoice" is to ~ feel or show great joy or delight. Every day is a day that the Lord has made and according to Psalm 118:24 Let us rejoice and be glad in it. To find delight in a day is not focusing upon that over which we have no control, but to focus on the One who controls the day. It is to seek His face and live in his abiding presence in the reality that he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5). This is not living unaware that we face difficulties; it is just knowing that he has overcome the despair and concern of the future. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33b ESV. When you focus upon the Lord, you will grow to experience joy and great delight, and this joy brings strength. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV
Pray without ceasing:
This is to live a life that is in constant awareness of the presence of God. It is also an encouragement to speak often to our God throughout the day giving him praise and worship with thanksgiving. I know that during these past days, weeks, and months people have prayed more for family, friends, and even themselves in light of the troubling days that we are experiencing. It is unfortunate that we must experience such times to cause us to pray, yet God, as always, is there listening to each and every prayer. I also believe that we must trust God to answer each prayer in accordance with Romans 8: 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV) Trusting God in this fashion is to believe that whatever the outcome of any situation, God hasn’t failed nor is he unaware of the outcome. This is why we honor him as God and worship Him as the same. God is God …..not our personal genie to give us everything we wish for. Again, to pray without ceasing is living a life knowing and believing in the abiding presence of God with you in every moment… of every day….. in every circumstance of life.
Simply … Give Thanks:
When we fail to give thanks, we lose joy and become vulnerable to the attacks of the devil. If the joy of the Lord is our strength, then the lack of joy robs us of strength. To pray and praise God in the storms of life gives evidence that you trust him. It does not mean you are weak; it means you know from where your strength comes. It is the attitude and belief of Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV). This does not mean you understand everything going on around you; it means you trust the one who does.
Most likely you are experiencing or have experienced the anxiety of our day in which there seems at times to be no end in sight. Life can be difficult enough at times with what we call normal, but these days are unprecedented for many of us. The conflict is this ….Do I live complaining or giving thanks? It is during these times that we must give thanks to God for all the blessings he has provided. I am not thankful for a pandemic that has caused so much hard ache nor the unrest in our nation as a whole, but in these times and circumstances, I attempt to focus on what I can give thanks for. For starters, I am thankful for the grace, mercy, and love of God for me. I am thankful for the beauty of the days……. sunrises and sunsets. I am thankful for the breeze on a warm day or the warmth of the sun on a cool day. I am thankful for family, friends, and things that make me smile and laugh. I am thankful in the storm that reminds me of my need for God and in the calm He can bring. I’M THANKFUL FOR GOD!!!!! May I encourage you to do and be the same. It is important in our witness to the world that they know we serve an AWESOME GOD!
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David