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No matter the circumstances, give God thanks | Faith

by | December 1, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 26, 2019 at 11:16 am

As a nation we celebrate Thanksgiving the last Thursday in every November, but it should be something that we do daily as Christians. Even though it is a holiday that families and friends come together to fellowship, have dinner, watch football and have fun, it should also be a day to reflect on how good God has been to us.
I Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) reminds us, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Some people may be struggling in more ways than one and feel that they have nothing for which to be thankful. Do not allow Satan to convince you of this. If this is what he is whispering to you, get him off your trail and let him know, “God’s got my back, and I am thanking and praising Him in advance for what He is going to do!” Do not let the devil speak any louder to you because he will keep you right where he wants you — in a state of ingratitude. No matter the circumstances, give God thanks!
In November 2017, the late Rev. Billy Graham left us a very powerful message of reflection about gratitude, “How to be Thankful in All Things.” Let me share an excerpt of this message for all times, for all people:
“Are you thankful no matter what? Perhaps you have lost your job recently, as the economy has continued to struggle. Or you may have lost your health or a loved one. Such circumstances can be tremendously difficult. But even so, we all have much to be thankful for. Look with me at the story of a man who had every right to be bitter — but wasn’t.
“The next footsteps in the corridor, he knew, might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone floor of the dank, cramped prison cell. Not an hour passed when he was free from the constant irritation of the chains and the pain of the iron manacles cutting into his wrists and legs.
“Separated from friends, unjustly accused, brutally treated — if ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man, languishing, almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his lips rang with words of praise and thanksgiving!
“The man was the Apostle Paul — a man who had learned the meaning of true thanksgiving, even in the midst of great adversity. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, ‘Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV).
“Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything — no matter the circumstances! Thanksgiving for the Apostle Paul was not a once-a-year celebration, but a daily reality that changed his life and made him a joyful person in every situation.
“Thanksgiving — the giving of thanks — to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ. We must not allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden our heart and chill our relationship with God and with others. Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness.”
Four years ago on Thanksgiving morning, as we were heading out-of-town, I received a telephone call that threw me into a state of shock that made me feel as if I were losing my mind. I received some news that I had hoped was just a bad dream, but as it turned out, it was a nightmare. However, four years later, in spite of the circumstances, we remain thankful. Although the situation is not over, God is still awesome and worthy to be praised. Through these circumstances, God has continued to bless us in a number of ways, and for that, we are thankful:
My oldest son has completely turned his life over to Christ. In doing so, he has become a vessel for the Lord. He has led so many souls to Christ and has encouraged many who had given up on Christ to recommit their lives to Him.
My faith in God has become so much stronger, and I know the power of prayer as I have never known it before.
Satan was trying to coerce me “to throw in the towel” with my writing ministry, but through my husband’s support and encouragement, and consequently, the encouragement of countless others, four years later, I am still writing and so thankful that I am inspiring and helping so many souls in the name of the Lord.
At the onset of the circumstances, there were several family members and friends who have genuinely been there for us and are still there today even stronger. God, I thank you! Those who fell by the wayside and chose to turn their backs, I will continue to pray for them, and I am thankful I can turn it over to Jesus.
Through it all, God has connected us with so many loving people who have embraced us and have been most supportive in so many ways.
We continue to pray for and uplift everyone affected.
God has told and shown us that everything will work out in His time. To God be the Glory!
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s not just think about our families and ourselves only. Remember those who are less fortunate, the men and women in uniform, especially the ones who will not be able to spend this holiday with their families, our leaders, all who are incarcerated, patients in hospitals and nursing homes, the homeless, the abused, families who don’t have a home, children who need the love and responsibility of their parents, cancer patients and survivors, the hungry, educators and pastors everywhere, students, church congregations, those who are suffering addictions, and countless others who are in need of a blessing.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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