Thankful IN All Things!

Please find my teaching notes below to my 2013 Thanksgiving Weekend message.

 Ok, confession time!!  How many of you ate way too much on Thanksgiving?  How many of you watched a ton of football?  How many of you shopped until you dropped on Black Friday?  How many of you were glad to have family around?  How about see some family leave?

799-thanksgiving-cartoonCheck out this cartoon!  I’m not sure the turkeys should be thankful for that!!

So what’s the best way to approach being “thankful?”  It’s learning it’s not about being thankful FOR all things, but IN all things!

Story: The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.  They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that IN all things there were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.  Corrie’s sister Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.  This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing.  Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.  Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened.  They found that the guards never entered their barracks.  This meant that the women were not assaulted.   It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.  Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.  Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.  It was because of the fleas.

Why is it important for us to be thankful IN all things?

Phil. 4:6-76 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

1 Thess. 5:18 Be thankful IN all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Ps. 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad IN it!

“Be thankful IN… Be glad IN it… There’s the key!!  And it starts with…

HAVING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE IS HEALTHY!

It may not be very healthy to overeat on Thanksgiving or anytime for that matter.  But it is healthy to have an attitude of gratitude.  As a matter of fact…

The healthiest human emotion is not love- the healthiest human emotion is gratitude.  It actually increases your immunities.  It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness.  It’s the healthiest emotion.  The attitude of gratitude!

But let’s get real here.  We often don’t have this attitude and we have stress and lack of health- physically and emotionally in our lives, because we WORRY!  

How many of you worry?  How about being worried about something or someone in your life right now??  Aren’t we all susceptible to worry?

Just like we’re all susceptible to colds or the flu or to germs…  And what do we do to avoid a cold or flu or germs, or if we think we have a cold or the flu??  We go to the doctor or we take some medicine or we get vaccinated!

We get a PRESCRIPTION.  Well the Bible’s remedy, or more importantly, means of avoiding stress and anxiety and sickness that accompanies those things, IS, are you ready for this??  “DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING!”  (Mt. 6).

But Jesus tells me not to worry!!  Paul writes this prescription, “Instead pray about everything.  Tell God want you need, and thank him for all he’s done!”  There it is, to avoid worry and stress and unhealthiness, PRAY and choose to be THANKFUL!

Old Hymn: “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One.”  Want me to sing it??  “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done!  Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!”

Psalms 103 tells us to count our blessings! 1-5 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.  2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.  3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases  4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.  5 He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS may be the hardest commandment in Scripture because YOU CANNOT COUNT THAT HIGH!! 

Try and make a list this week!!!  I dare you to do it- it’ll be good for your soul!

BEING THANKFUL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!

1 Thess. 5:18 Be thankful IN all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Get it?  “IN” all circumstances… It does not say “Give thanks FOR all circumstances!”  That’s a misinterpretation!  The Bible doesn’t teach that.  It says give thanks in everything, in every circumstance.  You have a car wreck… “Thank God.”!?  You just found out you have a serious illness… “Praise the Lord!?”  You just lost a loved one or you lost a job or a home… “Well, glory, hallelujah!??   Be serious.  That’s loony Christianity not biblical Christianity.

You don’t have to give thanks for evil in the world!  Like wars, diseases, murders, and perversion, etc.  I’m not thankful that men and women in the armed forces have died or that their families have had to bury them!  But I am thankful that they were willing to pay that price for other people’s freedom!  I’m not thankful that my father got cancer in his lung!  But I am thankful that the doctors were able to remove it and that God recently healed him!  ETC.

The Bible does not say be thankful for evil.  It says IN everything, IN every circumstance give thanks.”  NOT FOR everything or every circumstance!

What’s the BIG difference?  Even out of bad things, God can bring good things.  In everything, in every circumstance, no matter how bad it is, you can give thanks to God because:

He has a purpose bigger than the problem!  He will give me the power to overcome the problem!  I will grow through the experience if I allow it to help me grow

Rom. 8:26-28 helps us to put everything into perspective!  Praying, Praising, Petitioning- when we don’t know what to do, what to think, how to pray, etc. God helps us by His Spirit- 

Rom. 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

SO, CHOOSING TO BE THANKFUL IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE!

The Bible (Paul) says, “Be thankful… for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  What is God’s will?  To CHOOSE thankfulness, to be thankful!  In fact, if you’re not experiencing the attitude of gratitude you’re out of God’s will.

How can I be grateful when I’ve lost so much?  I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost my health, I’ve lost my husband or wife.  How can I be thankful in that situation?  You don’t look at what you’ve lost.  You look at what you have left.

Don’t take anything for granted- be grateful!

What are you taking for granted?  Your health?  Your freedom?  Your relationships?  IN all circumstanceschoose thankful!  Gratitude is a stress reliever because it gets your eyes off the problem and puts it on the positive things in your life.

And when you’re grateful, you GIVE because THANKS and GIVING go together! The way we express thanks is by giving.  And the most giving people are the most thankful people.  It’s an expression of gratitude.

This week thinking about what I’m thankful for- my family, this church, friends, recent MIRACLES (Start a new series next week- “The Mary Miracle”)

Here’s the practical takeaway and steps (Phil. 4:6-7)

Don’t worry about anything!  God promises to take care of you!!  Pray about everything!  God is in control!!   Be thankful IN all things!  God isn’t confined by your circumstances!!

What do you need to be thankful IN right now??

 

 

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