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Thanksgiving 1

Thanksgiving 1 In our modern culture, there seems to be a greater emphasis on complaints, arguments, fault finding, and ungratefulness than gratitude and thankfulness. More and more we are seeing a society motivated by “What’s in it for me” and special entitlements, with little or no appreciation for what it costs others to afford them those privileges. There has been a growing trend of individuals wanting and expecting something for nothing. Those with this mindset are often demanding and have been spoiled by the systems fueling this type of attitude and behavior. The Kingdom of God is totally different and operates on much higher principles. One of those principles is thanksgiving. Being thankful sets the stage for God’s continued favor, whereas the opposite is true when we complain or grumble. A great example is when the Israelites murmured in the wilderness and were destroyed (see 1 Corinthians 10:10; Exodus 16:1-8; Numbers 14:11-23). Anyone can complain, and most of us do a good job of it, if we are honest. However, it takes a mature person to deal with the negative issues of life with an attitude of thanksgiving. Paul told the church at Thessalonica to always give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18) because this is always the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. There is a popular teaching (in some circles) that says we should be thankful for all things regardless of if it’s good or evil. They base this teaching upon Ephesians 5:20, but I believe this is a gross misinterpretation of the verse. “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ….” Ephesians 5:20 This passage is not telling us to thank God for everything the devil is doing, but all things (pertaining) to God the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not be thankful for someone we know hardening their heart towards Christ and dying as a lost sinner. We should not be thankful for someone we love becoming sick with a deadly disease, or children being abducted and exploited by evil men and women. Obviously, the list can go on and on, but hopefully, you get the picture. If we were expected to thank God for sickness, we would be in sin to ask for healing or see a doctor. If we were expected to thank God for poverty, we would be sinning to ask for His blessings on our businesses, jobs, or career paths. The scripture is perfectly clear God is not the author of sickness or poverty (see Psalm 5:12; Psalm 23; Psalm 103) and that every good gift is from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Jesus made it clear that the devil only comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and that He (Jesus) came to give us life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10). Therefore, it’s unimaginable to think Jesus wants us thanking God for the devil’s destructive works. What the Bible teaches is for us to have a heart of thanksgiving despite everything going on around us, because we know God will bring justice in His own time and way, and we know His word is truth. Although we do not thank God for the evil going on around us, we can thank Him despite those things, because He is always good. We can thank God for what He has already done for us in Christ Jesus, even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1 and 2). We can thank God because He deserves thanksgiving for His rich mercy and grace towards us through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. There is so much to be thankful for, and we must constantly pull ourselves away from the spirit of this world that wants us to grumble and complain. Yes, there is a time to lift our voice for justice, and to cry out for what is right, but we can do it with an attitude of thanksgiving to God for His intervention. Jesus lived in one of the worst times in the history of mankind, yet He remained thankful. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. Matthew 15:36 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; Matthew 26:27 The apostle Paul constantly gave thanks to God, through Jesus Christ. Here are a few examples. Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 1Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 1Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 1Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 2Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Philemon 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers…. By looking at these passages, it is apparent Paul made thanksgiving a consistent part of his daily life, and relationship with God. We will look at more examples of thanksgiving next time. Until then, may our God and Father richly bless and keep you. James Brown CST 06/12/2022
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