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In All Things Give Thanks!

The Lord has been dealing with me lately on the issue of thanksgiving and I felt to share the revelations He has shown me with His people.

Let us start with Psalm 100:4:
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name."

As you can see we are commanded first of all to enter His gates with thanksgiving. We are to have an attitude of thankfulness before we even come before God. Now before we go any further I should establish just what it means to be thankful. Matthew 11:25 says, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

The root meaning of the word thank in this verse comes from the Greek word: Exomologeo, which means to acknowledge and agree fully. This word in turn comes from two Greek words: Ek or Ex which denotes the origin or beginning of action, and Homologeo which means to give thanks.

So as you can see, thanksgiving is not passive, it is an action. We are to show our thankfulness to the world for all that God has done in our lives. We should be happy that we even have breath in our body and acknowledge that the only reason we do is because it is part of God's plan. It is to give Him glory, and that is the only reason. Thank God that you are healthy and show others that thanks in the way you live your life. And if you are not whole and healthy then thank God that in his infinite wisdom He has a plan for you, and think how much more of a testimony you can give by showing others your willingness to love and follow God in spite of infirmities.

I know of brothers and sisters in the Lord that, in spite of debilitating infirmities, still show others the glory of God. Why should we boast or have pride in anything that we can do when the only reason that we can is because God, in His love and mercy, gave us the ability.

So we have established that thanksgiving is an action. And as James 2:17 tell us: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

So faith without the action of thanksgiving is no faith at all. How can you have faith if you do not agree fully with what God is doing in your life? You cannot! Let us use Jesus as an example. Jesus gave thanks to God at both ends of the scale. He gave thanks for the wisdom of God acknowledging that His plan was right and good and He agreed fully with God's plans for His life, even though it meant that He would have to die on the cross. And in numerous verses in the Bible Jesus gave thanks to God for the everyday things, like food. Jesus is the example of how we are to live, so we must give thanks to our Lord in all things even if it leads to our death. Even Jonah who was stuck in the belly of a fish for three days was thankful, as we see in Jonah 2:9:
"But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving: I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."

Jonah was in one of the most disgusting places on earth for three days. He was languishing in the intestines of a fish covered in the remains of its last meal and probably up to his neck in intestinal acid. Now if he can be thankful to God in that situation then how much more can we, who do not have it that bad, give thanks in our everyday lives. We are to be cheerful that we are counted worthy to be called children of God, to suffer for His name. And we are to reflect that cheer in our life without ceasing. This is the part most people have trouble with; we are to be cheerful about it.

Let us look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Even though we cannot know what God's complete plan is for us we must be happy about it. This ties in with Hebrew 11:1 where it says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Let me go back to a previous point. Jesus thanked and agreed with His Father's plans, even though it meant that He would suffer the rejection of His own people, that He would be ridiculed, flogged, beaten, spit on, forced to carry the cross (the instrument of His own death), and ultimately die on that cross, one of the most agonizing means of execution ever devised. (Read the Pastor's message on the crucifixion for a better understanding of what Jesus went through.) Even though it meant He would have to endure all of this Jesus still did the will of God cheerfully. How much more should we, who do not have do endure anything like what our Lord did, be thankful and happy to be part of God's plan. And yet the Church today is full of sniveling, weak people who call themselves men and women of God. They complain about the smallest thing and then wonder why God does not bless them with more. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! If you cannot be trusted with the smallest of things then what makes you think that you can be trusted with anything more? (read the parable of the talents). It is simple enough to understand. God is in charge. This is His creation. We are His, to do with as He chooses. We are to follow His plans not ours, because we were bought with a price and are no longer our own person (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We do all things for His glory and any thought or action to the contrary is pride and as I mentioned before we can do nothing except that which God has given us the ability to do.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not perfect in any way and I have fallen into the same traps, but the Lord in His great mercy has shown me how to escape, and it is not because of anything that I have done but because of His love and mercy. Acts 10:34 tells us that God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one He will do for all. If God can show me my sin and a way to escape from it then He can and will show you. All you have to do is believe and obey. Be Warned, if you do this then you will be tested. I was and still am being tested daily, but God does not want passive Christians, He wants soldiers, real men. You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says "Real Men Love Jesus." I would like to add a line that I once heard in a song "Get on your knees and fight like a man." How can you show your thankfulness to God if you are trying to stand on your own? You will fall. Get on your knees before God in supplication and thanksgiving and only then can you show God and the world the glory of our Savior. It will not be easy. The devil will come in like a roaring lion to try and drag you away from God and devour you. (1 Peter 5:8). We are tested for a reason as we are shown in Romans 5:3-5. And remember above all, that all things are possible through God (Matthew 19:26). So I urge you to wake up, get on your knees and fight for the glory of our God.

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