Summary: How can you be thankful when you have just lost everything, and almost your lives too?
HOW CAN I SAY THANKS?
(Message outline from Charles R. Wood)
A. It was 1964. Our family, along with 5 other families and some
single ladies had to escape for our lives. from the Kafumba mission
station - because our lives had been threatened by communist rebels.
1. I remember it well. We each took a half hour to pack up a
few things, and tried to get out of the mission station. The rebels had already burned the bridge out on one side of us.
2. We only had one vehicle on the mission station for 25 people. Most of us piled into that vehicle.
- We headed out to the nearest city that was 35 miles away. Because the dirt road with gullies and large potholes, it took 1 1/2 hours to make the trip.
3. Meanwhile, another vehicle was sent out to pick up the rest of the people left on the mission station.
4. We all escaped with only one way out; and a short time later, the rebels came to Kafumba. They looted and burned our once beautiful station.
5. When the rebels came to the station, they took some of the church leaders, and made them dig their own graves with their hands.
6. In thankfulness, we praised God that he had spared our lives,even though we had lost most of our belongings.
7. During this evacuation, we moved 7 times in 7 months.
B. It was 1964, and now living in the big city of Kinshasa, and short while later, Thanksgiving came.
1. We gathered around the table for our Thanksgiving dinner. But on this day, and in that home, we were joined by the McMillian and
the Tucker families.
2. Mrs. McMillian sat around our table with 5 boys. The oldest of her 6 boys was in the hospital, because he had been shot in the hip by
a Communist soldier.
3. Mrs. Tucker sat at our table with her two sons. Both Mr. McMillian and Mr. Tucker had been killed in another part of the country.
4. These families had come from the northeastern part of the Congo that had very intense fighting, and was very anti-white, and
5. Many missionaries, catholic priests, and nuns in that area had been severely tortured and killed.
6. How can we thank the Lord, in a situation like this??
C. Thanksgiving is a reminder for all of us to be grateful and thankful to our Lord God.
1. The Bible says a lot about gratitude. What kind of gratitude attitude do you have today? How can I say "thanks" during this season?
2. I want to suggest five ways in which we can say, "thanks" to our God today!
I. BY GIVING THANKS FOR GOD’S BLESSINGS!
A. We need to gratefully acknowledge God’s blessings to us!
1. In Psalm 65 we read, "Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled...You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the
2. In Psalm 67 we read, "May the people’s praise you, O God, may all the people’s praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy...Then the land will yield it’s harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.".
B. By giving thanks, we recognize and accept God’s blessings.
1. READ Psalm 92:1-5. "Count your many blessings, name them one by one."
2. As a part of accepting the blessings from the Lord, and from above; this means that we give praise to our God for all His blessings to us.
II. BY GIVING THANKS ALWAYS.
A. Pray without ceasing; Give thanks to the Lord without ceasing!
1. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, or pray continually; in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thess. 5:16-18).
2. Is our thanks? Is our giving? Is our Thanksgiving done only once, or never done?
3. These verses emphatically call us to give thanks; to praise; to pray without ceasing; because of what the Lord has done for us.
4. Phil. 4:6 reminds us not to, "Be anxious about anything, butin everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let your
requests be made known to God."
B. By giving thanks all the time, covers every situation. Even before the situation, we must stand on God’s great and precious promises!
1. The more we get into the habit of giving thanks, the stronger our faith will be, and our dependence upon the Lord; when tough circumstances come our way. (REPEAT).
2. The more we get into the habit of giving thanks to the Lord;the more thanksgiving to God, becomes a natural part of who we are.