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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Everything Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The essence of thanksgiving is the giving of thanks. This indicates that there is a giver and a receiver. The receiver is to give thanks to the giver. The words “thank you” is taught as a basic element of polite society. In a limited sense we receive things all the time from our fellow man and when we are the receivers we should be thankful. But in a much broader sense everything we have comes from God.

James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

The very fact that we have a national day of thanksgiving on our calendar is evidence of our Christian heritage. Historically we have not given thanks to Allah, or Buddha, or Mary, or to ourselves, but to the God of the Bible. There has been a self-evident willingness to acknowledge the God of the Bible as the giver of all things.

Matthew 5:45 - That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So ultimately God is always the giver and we are always the receiver. Thus the natural result should be thanksgiving, the giving of thanks to the giver.

There are problems though.

When we receive something consistently we begin to look upon it as an entitlement. Yes, we may be receiving it, but we are only receiving what we deserve. The mentality of deserving quenches the spirit of giving thanks. In fact the mentality of deserving tends to breed the spirit of dissatisfaction. Consistent provision becomes commonplace and is thus taken for granted, is looked upon as next to nothing. Because we have developed a spirit of dissatisfaction we begin to complain about what we do have and yearn for something more or better. If we do not receive more or better we fall prey to a spirit of murmuring and complaining. We become small, greedy, spiritually deficient cry babies.

Waaa, Waaaa, as we toss aside what has been given and point to the other thing we want in its place.

So I want to take a little space and review some of the things for which I have to be thankful.

I was saved through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as a 7 year old boy
I grew up in a Christain home where we were taught the Bible is God's word
God counted me faithful calling me to ministry at the age of 14
The opportunity to pastor the same church for almost 20 years

Parents who have faithfully served God for years
Brothers and a sister who are more kin to me than any other living person
Wife - Strong
Sara - Mother
Caleb - Dependable
Olivia - Domestic/food
Daniel - Affable
Kimberly - Laughter
Lydia - Sweet
John - Food/scrabble
Heather - Committed
Klarisa - Sincere
Five grandchildren with one on the way
Stable extended family

Flock who loves me and has proven their support
Friends from Alaska to South Africa to Japan
Trip to Colorado with the Kellys
Bible study with the Mannings

The American flag
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Gaurd

Comfortable, reliable transportation
Copy machines
Hand guns

Ability to read with comprehension
Large home
New roof

Part time employment that provides health insurance

Trials that provide opportunity for testing
Adversity that grows faith
Problems that point me to God
Discouragement that helps me to appreciate encouragment

Philippians 4:11 - Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8 - And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
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