Summary: What in the world do you have to be thankful for?
the feeling of being thankful to somebody for doing something.
Gratitude takes on three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words and a giving in return. It is from the word gratitude that we get gratefulness. I have heard people discuss many times the need for us to have an attitude of gratitude. As we mature with this attitude and develop, gratitude blossoms into thanksgiving. And for the believer, thanksgiving is part of our very nature; in fact we should be practicing thanks-living.
6My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. 7You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
As I watched those images that went along with our song this morning, as I am remembering this year and the things that have transpired in your life and mine, I see times when it should have been impossible to be thankful. Yet because God has put all of us together, we have tied a knot in the rope sent to hang us and used it to climb higher. The higher we have climbed the more we have exercised the biblical principle of thanksgiving…learning how to be thankful IN the midst of the worst seasons. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Paul said later in that book…2 Thessalonians 1:2-4
3You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. 4We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you.
What in the world have I got to be thankful for? Let me give you my list.
1. Salvation…that God has provided me this piece of armor…the helmet…to cover my head and keep my mind from being infiltrated by diseased thinking. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he and my thoughts can only stay on course when I stay saved. The most important thing I have is the condition of my soul…knowing that should I die today, I will go to be with the Lord.
2.The Body of Christ …that God would care about my life and what happens to me so much He would surround me by a great cloud of witnesses, some who are already victorious and some that are going through the fire when I am. He said that He would never leave me or forsake me, and still He provides me with a support system to cover me with prayer, walk with me through the valleys and celebrate with me on the mountaintops.
14And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. 16Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God!
3. Forgiveness…that I do not have to take the baggage of guilt and pain with me into tomorrow. I can cast my burdens upon Him because He really cares about me…I can forgive those that have hurt me and I can keep my communication with Christ in prayer unhindered. Forgiveness releases me from the hurt and increases my ability to heal.
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
4. Hope…that I have the strength in me to confidently expect the absolute best to come into my life because of Christ living in my heart. That what destroys others does not damage me. That hope is the anchor that stabilizes me when the seas are rough and waves start to crash in around me. Hebrews 12:27-29
27The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
28Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. 29He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!