Sunday, November 26, 2006

giving thanks

Thanksgiving Day is past and gone, and in the wake of near-sinful consumption of food bordering on gluttony, it would be wise to stop and consider the real meaning of thanksgiving.

Though one day designated to express gratitude is past, our life of thanksgiving ought never to end.

Thanksgiving is not a "holiday"; it is a way of life for the child of God.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, the Apostle Paul tells us exactly what "God's will for us is in Christ Jesus" is:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do you know that being thankful is God's will for you?

We tend to be preoccupied with what appears to be more "critical" aspects of our lives such as;

"Is it God's will that I pursue this?"

"Is it God's will that I marry this person?"

But the Bible is very clear on what God's will is - part of it being thankful in all circumstances.

Whether things be good or bad, happy or sad, pleasant or downright infuriating and stressful - in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES - we are called to be thankful to our Faithful Creator.

Even people without Christ know to be thankful when things are going their way, when the outlook is bright, their future assured, their finances settled, their dreams or hopes achieved, etc.

What differentiates a believer from a non-believer is not only what he confesses in his creed; it is his lifestyle and character that saturates and breathes life into that lifestyle.

The only way a Christian can truly obey God's command to fulfill his will by being thankful in all circumstances is if he takes on the perspective of God Himself in every facet of his life.

Be thankful...

1. For Difficult Circumstances, that suffocating trial, hardship that keeps you on your knees before God. King David as we had recently studied fell at the height of prosperity and ease. Your trials are not stumblingblocks to overcome, but a blessing in disguise - a means by which God keeps you in His sight at all times.

2. For Difficult People, that person that is in so many ways a "thorn in your side." She's someone you consider a "fly" in your ointment, one who truly brings out the worst in you. But remember, she cannot bring out what is not already inside of you. God desires to mold and shape you into the image of Christ, and the most powerful with which He accomplishes that is through people.

As Solomon says in Proverbs 27:17(AMP), those difficult people God brings into our lives is the chisel God is using to shape you into the vessel, the image He desires.

And finally, be thankful...

3. that God does not give you everything you want in prayer.

Imagine if God gave you every desire of your heart. I am confident very few of us would even be alive this day if God answered every one of our self-centered, childish, short-sighted prayers.

Are you truly thankful?

Then your heart will beat with the same heartbeat of a man named Horatio Spafford who penned these incredible words the moment he crossed the Atlantic Ocean gazing at the very spot where his four daughters had died previous day in a tragic shipwreck, his wife the sole survivor:

When peace like the river attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billow roll,
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul!

--from Nakwon EM Sunday Nov. 26 Worship Service

1 comment:

jane h. said...

oh wow... great message :)
i was like nodding my head while reading this, haha.