I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all the readers and passersby a Happy Thanksgiving! And to say thank you for coming to our site for whatever reason has drawn you here. I hope this website has been a blessing to you and I also hope that your knowledge about our God and Savior has been furthered in some manner. I encourage you all to keep returning to check out our site as we continue to add articles and eventually add more sermons. I see God moving in all of our trials and tribulations. We need to remember, like the Casting Crowns song, Praise You In This Storm, says:
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm”
I want to keep this as upbeat as possible, as there have been enough ill feelings shared here for the time being. So with that said, I decided to look at the word ‘thanksgiving’ and see what I could find. It seemed fitting considering the time of the year. In the Greek the word is eucharistia, eu, “well”, charizomai, “to give freely”. The Bible (KJV) translates it as ‘thanksgiving’ or ‘thanks’. In each case this “thanks” is freely given to God. Here are a few verses.
2 Corinthians 9:11 (KJV)
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12 (KJV)
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
Philippians 4:6 (KJV)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Colossians 2:7 (KJV)
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (KJV)
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Timothy 4:4 (KJV)
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Revelation 7:12 (KJV)
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Being thankful to God and each other is a part of our Christian walk. The hard part is looking at our trials and tribulations and being equally thankful. My old pastor, Dr. Scott, used to say find passages of the Bible and campout on them. Really digest them and understand them. This is one of those hard truths to digest. It’s so easy to be thankful for the good things God does for us and the good things that happen to us in life. We also talk a good game, as it were, when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, but like the song says, we have to praise Him in our storms. You’ve heard me quote this before and I’ll do it again and again, because even I forget. If you haven’t heard it, here it is, “Don’t doubt in the dark, what you have learned in the light.” Don’t get so bogged down in the muck and mire of the situation that you forget what the Bible says about our trials and tribulations.
Romans 8:28 (KJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I know we read this and say AMEN, believe me, I’ve been there. But let the sky darken and the storm clouds roll in… the lightning starts crashing and thunder rolling, and it’s “Oh GOD save me I can’t take it!” As saints of the Most High, we are to stand in the face of adversity and say to our tribulations and afflictions, “I don’t care what the circumstances are, my Bible and my God say this. I am standing on the rock solid promises of God, so damn the circumstances and what I see, God says this.”
A little strong, and unchristian some might say, but so be it. My old pastor would say, quit reading it then and find another blog to read. By the way, I am throwing this in for free, God cursed things throughout the Bible, so I think I find myself in good company. I can always pull the WWJD, What Would Jesus Do, card. He called people asps and vipers, grave holes, whited sepulchers, full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. I might as well warn any new people or old for that matter, you may occasionally hear me swear, especially on matters I deem rather important to standing up for. That’s me, and since I am in Christ, I’m your brother so you have to love me. But I am wandering off topic, so to get back. Camp out on the following with me for a bit.
Romans 5:3 (KJV)
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
We are to ‘glory’ in tribulations, our afflictions as it were. We are to ‘rejoice’. Because these tribulations and afflictions have a purpose. God is not some sadistic god like in other religions. He’s not pulling wings off flies or tormenting people because He gets His kicks from it. There is a reason. I happen to like this reason.
In the Greek, the word is katergazomai. It means to ‘work out fully’, achieve, effect by toil ie. accomplish; by implication, to finish, fashion. I always think of a blacksmith. He takes a piece of iron and begins working with it. Constantly heating it up and hammering on it. Sound like your life? How much heat have you been suffering lately? How much pounding are you enduring? Problems with work? Marriage? Kids? Some tragedy going on currently that you don’t see a way out of? He is trying to accomplish and perfect something here in our lives. What is it God is fashioning?
He starts by working on our patience. Now, the word for patience is hypomone. It’s translated cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy. He’s trying to get us to wait on Him through these trials, cheerfully enduring until He, the Creator of All, will move in and work out our afflictions. What’s the result of this?
Romans 5:4 (KJV)
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Ah, the best teacher in the world…experience. Experience that we can lean on God. The word is dokime. It means test, by implication trustiness. And from that ‘trustiness’ we should gain hope. That word is elpo, expectation or confidence. He’s trying to perfect your TRUST in Him. I keep learning this more and more as I get older, and the truth of what Dr. Scott was getting at when he would ask, “What do you want from your spouse? Your children? Your friends? Do you want perfection or trust?” So when the world is crashing down around you, who are you going to trust? If you haven’t been casting your cares and burdens on the Lord, maybe it’s time to start. God knows you are not perfect. He knows I am not perfect. God never said you have to be perfect. He sent His son to die for us, which Jesus did so willingly, so that whosoever believed on Him would not perish, but have eternal life.
Belief is all it takes. With the heart man believes and with the mouth confession is made. Don’t let anyone tell you it takes more than that to become a Christian. You get these “Christians” that tell you that after that confession that YOU now have to change yourself and walk worthy. You tell them, God does the changing, so butt out. That’s what being born again is all about. The changing force inside of us, if let go to do its work without our interference, fosters that growth of ‘TRUST’ in God. He wants us to learn to lean on Him.
Saints, we are never going to be perfect so quit trying. The best we can do is put our faith in God and let the power of the Holy Spirit change us. Praying that we are not as bad as we were when we started this walk of faith. Bottom line is that God is after trust or faith in Him. He’s got loads of perfection flying around Him in Heaven 24-7. And for this ‘trust’ He grants us grace. A free gift of forgiveness and acceptance that can’t be earned no matter how much good you work into your life. Grace can’t be earned!
“But my darkness and affliction is too much to bear,” says you.
“Horse spit,” I say.
My Bible says that He won’t let any temptation be brought against us that we can’t bear. And as I listened to my old pastor the other day, no I wasn’t speaking to ghosts, his messages are replayed by his wife on the internet, defined temptation as something that pulls you away from God. I’m not talking about these petty things people campout on to beat you over your head about your behavior. It’s the major temptations that God is talking about, deaths, devastating destruction, etc… Things that could really shake your faith and make you turn away from God. Saints, read the following.
Romans 8:35, 38-39 (KJV)
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Afflictions and tribulations be damned. There is nothing that can separate you from your Lord as long as you have your faith and trust planted in the right place. Once you have worked out your faith and salvation with fear and trembling, as the scripture says to do, then you are in the right place. Get your self secured to Jesus Christ and hold fast on the promises of God, spelled out in the Bible.
The seas may rage and the storms come, but God is not going to let you go. You can make it in with just a fingernail’s faith, if you just hold on. That is something to be truly thankful for.
Grace and Peace to you all during this time of Thanksgiving,