Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thes. 5:18

 

       Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year.  It is nice to have a specific time of the year where you purposefully think about the many reasons you have to be thankful.  As Christians, we are commanded to “give thanks in all circumstances.”  Of all people in the world, we have the most reasons to be thankful because we have had our sins forgiven, we have been brought into God’s family (through faith in Jesus), we have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we have a glorious future with Christ, we have an invitation to come to the throne of grace, and so many other precious promises in God’s Word.  Yet, when I evaluate my life, I realize that I don’t give thanks to God nearly as much as I should.  

       Our Men’s Bible study has been emphasizing our prayer time and communication with God the past several weeks.  Our lesson this past week encouraged a WAR strategy for our praying.  W stands for Worship, A stands for Admit (confession of our sin), and R stands for Request (our actual prayer request).  The recommendation is to start our prayers with a time of worshipping and praising God.  First, we should praise Him for who He is and what He has done for us.  Then, we should thank Him for His many blessings and even the privilege of calling Him our Father.  We should also spend some time listening to Him in light of what He says in the Scriptures. 

       As we discussed on Sunday, it’s easy to skip over the worship and praise/thanks part of praying.  It is tempting to jump right to the request part and start sharing our needs with God.  I think it is important to give some focus on Whom (Almighty God) it is that we are praying to when we pray.  He is not only our Creator, He is our Redeemer and our Sustainer.  He is the giver of every good thing.  He is a good Father and we should thank Him for all the good He gives us (salvation, wisdom, comfort, family, relationships, purity, finances, help, favor, grace, mercy, etc.).  Often, God answers our prayers and yet we fail to thank Him.  Often, He gives us answers to our prayers that are better than what we even asked of Him. 

       Now, we must admit that it is hard to give thanks in all circumstances because there are some circumstances that we do not like or is not the way we planned them.  It is in the more difficult circumstances in life that we have to trust God to use for our good and for His glory.  He is bigger than our circumstances and He is able to turn difficult circumstances into good.  If God allows certain circumstances to come into my life, I trust that my Father wants to use them in some way in my life to make me more like Jesus.  

       I have so much to be thankful for.  God gave me a Christian family where I was able to hear the Gospel and be saved.  I am thankful for a wonderful wife (Jenny), and children (Kyle and Katelyn) who know and love the Lord.  I am thankful that Kyle and his wife (Cierra) are getting more and more involved in their church in Richmond and hosting a small group in their home.  I’m thankful to serve at Burlington Baptist Church with so many wonderful and kind people.  You are so encouraging to me and my family.  I’m thankful for a good year at church and seeing the Lord regularly add to our number and keep us unified.  I don’t take any of that for granted. 

       As we gather with our families this week, let us take some time to count our blessings and give thanks to our gracious God.  May “thankful” be a noticeable characteristic in each of our lives.  Happy Thanksgiving Burlington Baptist.  Thank you for being such an awesome church to pastor.

 

Bro. Harold