Summary: verse by verse through Acts
Well, Thanksgiving is just a few days away! I can’t wait! I love Thanksgiving! And this year we’re going to have a whole host of relatives around to celebrate with. And that definitely makes it a fun time – because every family has some ‘interesting’ people in it.
[Thanksgiving crazy relatives – close talker, quiet talker, Uncle Joe unbuttoning pants.]
But those kinds of things make it fun. Thanksgiving is such a good day.
You know it’s easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, after all, the family’s all together, the food’s great, you don’t have to go into the office, football’s on tv all day, the weather’s great – it’s easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving.
But what if it was all taken away? What if you were alone on Thanksgiving? What if money was tight and the meal was, meager? What if you couldn’t watch the game? What if you had to work all day? What if Thanksgiving was just another day of hardship for you? Would you still be thankful?
The point is, we need to do more than just celebrate Thanksgiving.  We need to start thanksliving! We need to rejoice our way through life!
Do you know people like this? People who rejoice their way through life no matter what’s going on around them? They’re always happy and joyful and have something good to say. That’s thanksliving. And because of the Lord we can all experience that kind of life.
[Read Romans 8:35-39.]
God is with us, God loves us, and nothing can separate us from Him. Knowing that enables us to experience thanksliving – even when we go through tough times!
This morning we’re going to look at how Paul and Silas never stopped thanksliving even when they went through tough times. We’ll see how they were mistreated, how they were falsely accused, how they were beaten and tortured, and how they were even imprisoned. But in the midst of it all they never stopped thanksliving.
You see,  true thanksliving isn’t dependant on circumstances. Turn to Acts chapter sixteen and let’s see what Paul and Silas went through.
[Read Acts 16:16-18.]
Remember last week we saw how the power of the Spirit of God freed this girl from demon possession. This was a life-changing experience that enabled her to be able to worship God free of demonic spirits. But it did get Paul and Silas into a bit of trouble.
[Read Acts 16:19-21.]
The girl’s masters realized that she wasn’t able to make them money any more. So instead of being happy for her new lease on life, they went after Paul and Silas who cause them this financial problem. They then brought them before the city’s judges and accused them of three things:
1. Being Jews, outsiders, Claudius expelled Jews, (Acts 18:2)
2. Throwing the city into confusion
3. Unlawful teachings
But we know that the real reason the slave-owners were upset was because their
slave-girl couldn’t make them rich any more. These charges were simply a means of revenge.
So here sits Paul and Silas in front of the city’s judges with serious charges leveled against them. But instead of getting a fair trial, they were met with some Roman injustice.
[Read Acts 16:22-25.]
They’re publicly stripped, they’re beaten by an angry mob, they’re thrown into maximum security, and they’re feet are even put into stocks – yet at midnight they’re praying and singing praise to God! Amazing! Life couldn’t be worse, yet they’re still thanksliving.
How could they do this? How could they be joyful while in this dire situation? Paul explains this thanksliving attitude in the book of Philippians.
[Read Philippians 4:11-13.]
Paul understood that God was with Him and would strengthen him for whatever God’s will for his life was. True thanksliving isn’t dependant on circumstances.
Now the circumstances of life can bring us happiness, and the circumstances of life can bring us sorrow. But true inner peace and joy isn’t dependant on what’s going on around us. True inner peace and joy come from knowing that God loves us, is with us, and will help us with whatever we’re going through. That’s thanksliving.
We also see here how that  thanksliving enables us to endure life’s trials. Look back at the passage in Acts.
[Read Acts 16:22-25.]
Now we need to understand just what kind of state these men were in as they worshipped at midnight. They were falsely accused; They were publicly stripped and beaten; They were thrown into maximum security; And they’re feet were put into stocks.
[Roman stocks description.]
They laid there in hopeless pain – yet they praised the Lord!
They were probably singing some of the songs of praise that we find in the book of Psalms. Now we don’t know which songs they sung, but probably ones like Psalm 145. As I read a few verses of what they might have sung, try and imagine the scene of these bloodied men, immobilized in a dark, Roman cell, lifting their voices to God.