Summary: Thanksgiving is a choice, so what should be choose to be thankful for?
CHOOSING TO BE THANKFUL: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The Apostle Paul is finishing up his first letter to the church at Thessalonica.
• This was a congregation of believers who were suffering because of their faith.
• But in spite of their suffering, they remained faith to God!
• They were “choosing to be thankful.”
We are told that being thankful flows out of a heart that is experiencing the blessings of life.
• But what happens when we find it hard to see those blessings?
Life is not always a bed of roses
• As a matter of fact, more often it seems to be a bed of thorns!
• Sometimes life just stinks!
• Things aren’t going my way ~ people seem to be coming against me ~ got the family mad at me ~ money’s tight, and things don’t look to get any better!
MY own body doesn’t even seem to like me anymore:
• My eyesight’s going ~ my hearing is going ~ my hairline’s receeding
• And every time I try to get up off the couch, my body starts talking back to me!
• We begin to wonder: “What have I got to be thankful for???”
That’s when we have to CHOOSE TO BE THANKFUL
I). We choose to be thankful for the provisions of life:
A). Psalm 68:19, “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For every day He carries us in His arms!”
• The literal translation is: “day by day He carries the load for us!”
• When we think of the provision, we think of what is being given to us.
• But here, the Bible talks about what is being done for us!
B). God, like a loving Father, is carrying us in His arms.
• Each day, when the things in life seem to be burdening us and breaking us down, we need to remember that ~ if we’ll cast our cares on Him ~ He carries the load for us!
• What a wonderful provision that is: Not only does God supply our every need, but He’ll carry the load when we feel the need is getting too much for us to handle!
II). We choose to be thankful for His Word:
A). Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
• Not only does the Word of God inform us of His will, but, as a light on a path in darkness, it shows us how to follow the right and avoid the wrong way.
• So many times we neglect to read & study the Word of God ~ we see it as a burden ~ a necessary evil ~ something we really should work ino our daily routine one of these days.
B). But the Word is not only the Bible ~ it is also His Son, Jesus!
• John 1 tells us, “The Word was with God and the Word was God.”
• When we choose to neglect the Word of God, we are neglecting God himself. We are showing a lack of thanksgiving for Jesus and all that He has done for us!
• So we need to choose to the thankful for His Word by making it a constant prt of our lives.
III). We choose to be thankful for the victory we have!
A). 1 Corinthians 15:57, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ.”
• We didn’t WIN the victory, it was GIVEN to us.
• It wasn’t by our might ~ our power ~ our works ~ our giving
• Victory was given to us by a loving Savior.
B). Paul tells Timothy (1 Tim. 1:12), “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord for enabling me and counting me faithful…”
• Not only are we to be thankful for the victory that we have, but because Christ has given us more than just a victory:
• Romans 8:37, “In everything we have won more than a victory (more than conquerors), because of Christ who loves us.”
C). What kind of victory is it?
• It is a victory over a battle (yes).
o But just because you win the battle doesn’t mean you have won the war ~ you need to have more than just a victory.
• It is a victory over a war (yes)
o But just because you win the war doesn’t guarantee everlasting peace ~ you need more than just a victory.
• We’ll go thru the battles ~ and we’ll go thru the wars ~ but God has promised that we have won more than a victory!
o Everything (and every one) that comes against a child of God will one day be defeated.
o Isaiah 54:17 promises that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and all who rise up against you shall fall.”