This is an updated re post from November 2017, and while some of the things such as the message of Syria is dated, it’s still relevant from the perspective of Thanksgiving, but I’d like to add the largest growing church in the world right now going on in Iran, and still growing church in China- all the places around the world under persecution, where the believers are so thankful for the Lord and all that He is.
Well, with this week being the time leading not only into Thanksgiving but also Black Friday and Christmas shopping, it should be a natural thing to write about all the things I and we all should be thankful for.
I’m sure there will be plenty of news coming when on Friday we see a few who turn the day after giving thanks into a cringe worthy free for all brawl at any electronics and toy department. I find it amazing year after year that people turn into thugs and act worse than any two year old having a tantrum melt down. But such is giving for the season of the birth of our Savior- He came to save them too.
I can’t help but remember posting a message from Open Doors this past Saturday about the transformation of hearts that are turning to Jesus in Syria. Whenever I read about the many who are coming to know Christ in other parts of the world, and those Christians who are being persecuted in real and violent ways, one recurring message runs through all of the stories…. that of thanks and gratitude.
“‘Thank God for the war in Syria, it brought us to Jesus.’”
Can we in the west imagine giving thanks to God for something so brutal as war and suffering? I would venture a guess and say no.
Too many times have Christians in the west lived and made choices to be comfortable and maintain a lifestyle that millions of people around the world could never imagine. Yet in all our comfortableness, comes complacency- and maybe even ingratitude.
I don’t say this as a mean accusation, but more of something to remind us that living in a society where advertising constantly tells us “You deserve” a break, to buy that special thing, to own that car, that house, to take that vacation you always dreamed about. Or even to live where you had peace and contentment among the swamp and chickens…
Adversity usually brings a different perspective on life and even on what comes next. For many, it teaches us that this world, this life is temporary and that there are a lot more important things than our peace and comfort. And way more important than “having it all”. It’s interesting that many of you and others I know who don’t have anywhere near what the world considers “it all” yet, seem to be some of the most content people I know.
The Bible has many verses on giving thanks- and not just for one day of the year so we can eat a big turkey dinner. In Psalms alone there are at least 22 verses just with the phrase “give thanks”. Mostly on the goodness and mercy of God, but later verses such as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 remind us that it is in the Lord’s will that we give thanks in any circumstance- In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It’s kind of hard to remember to give thanks when everything is going good and trouble free. You ever notice that?
It always amazed me how Paul could be so positive in his messages when we know he had gone through so much, and by the time he knew his end- he still encouraged others. Just like Jesus.
The past few weeks I’ve had, as usual, too many losses and a ton on my mind and things I have to do. Most things are things needing done, I can only depend on the Lord to do in His time. I’ll always be so thankful that He is trustworthy and true, and always a help in every present “trouble”.
With all of the changes over the past few years, I know I’m still not in the place I want to be. But God is present and actively working in my life as I go through things. All the rest He has seen fit to help and bless me with is just added grace and Thank You Lord for all of it.
Have a beautiful Tuesday all!