Daily Devotional for Thursday November 22, 2007
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
On this day we celebrate as Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for. I want to point out an aspect of this great verse in Paul's letter to the church at Thessalonica that is usually overlooked and almost never preached on. While we are so thankful today for all of God's blessings, this verse requires a great amount of maturity because it says give thanks in ALL things. How quickly we run over those words without ever thinking about the true meaning. In this society where we are so focused on winning, so focused on the positive, so focused on things being in a state of perfection....God tries His best to help us be realistic about this sinful world we live in.
Aside from our own sinfulness, we live in a world that is infested with sin in every nook and cranny of our existence. Jesus, trying to prepare His disciples for the reality of living in this world without Him, trying to make them understand that despite the close intimate relationship they had, told them that in this world they would have problems and things would not always be perfect. This verse tell us that every day we should give thanks in "all" things.
Spiritual maturity comes in when you understand that this verse is actually telling you to give thanks not only for those things you look at as good, but also the bad things that happen to you as well. That is hard for us to understand why we should be thankful for those terrible things that happen to us along life's journey, but we have no way of knowing the mind of God, we have no way of understanding completely His plan or purpose, we just can't comprehend all of the things God does in the situations we live through. It is hard to imagine giving thanks for things like marriage problems, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial difficulties, health problems, strife with friends, problems in your local fellowship, difficulties on the job, and any other bad things we experience in life. Hard to imagine.
But when you realize that God is still on the throne, that He is still in control, then you by faith, have to thank Him and trust Him even in those bad situations. He is working on your behalf and will not let you down. As painful as the experience must be, we have to thank Him because He is often perfecting us for work in the future. We give thanks out of obedience, and out of faith that God knows what He is doing in allowing those bad things we live through in our life to occur. Remember a man named Job?
I realize that today would be a great day to just say some warm and fuzzy things to make us feel good. It is a holiday, many are with family. The Christmas season is upon us. We have so much to be thankful for. But the job God gave me was not to give you something each day to just make you feel good, but to challenge you to a closer daily walk and to help you grow spiritually. Many problems that I see each day occur because people have been given too much "feel good" talk, and not adequately prepared for the reality of this life in relationship to their life in Christ. When the storms come, they just aren't equipped to handle the onslaught.
The one thing that I will never do is hold back, compromise the Word of God, or tell you something just to make you feel good. I will tell you the truth, God's Truth right from the Bible, in an attempt to help you be prepared for living a victorious and productive life for Christ. In these last days, He needs bold, mature, fearless men and women to do the work necessary here on earth. It is no accident that you are getting these Devotionals, and no accident that you read them. God is speaking to you through these daily writings to sharpen you, prepare you, encourage you to be all He has called you to be.
I love you and care about you so much. I am so grateful for you. Your love and prayers have been an inspiration to me personally and to our people here at Liveprayer.com. We are pressing forward each day. Thank you again for standing with me, for praying, for giving, for helping us add people to our Daily Devotional list and letting others know about Liveprayer.com. My thoughts and prayers are with you this day. I am truly thankful for you. For those traveling, may His mercies be with you as you go to and from your destinations. For those of you going through the fire today, remember...give thanks in ALL things!!!