WHY We Can Give Thanks in Everything

Harry Durgin

The Sunday before Thanksgiving I told you that I was going to list why we are able to do as God commands: Give thanks in everything. Sometimes, of course, it is easy to give Him thanks. Other times, though, the situation is so horrible, we can’t imagine doing so.

For Christians, here is what we absolutely must remember in order to give thanks in everything:

Our God is totally sovereign over everything and everybody all the time,

God is in control of what we experience (even though we are responsible),

God loves us with an everlasting love,

God promises to work all things for good, making us into the image of His Son,

God has a loving purpose for everything we experience,

God promises to make us more and more holy during our time on earth and to bring us to glory later, and

God is with us (and for us) always, giving us what we need to act righteously in every situation.

There are a lot of underlying details, of course. We continually need to develop our understanding of:

Who God is,

Who we are to God,

What God does for us, His children, and

What we “get” out of whatever God allows/brings into our lives.

THANK DON’T RESIST

Pray, of course, about whether the Lord wants you to do something to change the situation and He wants you to think, say, and do.

Remind yourself of the four points above and determine to believe He has a loving purpose for what is happening.

Determine to trust His loving sovereignty.

Obey Him by giving Him thanks.

(and keep developing this list!)

Thank You!

Thanksgiving 2022

I got talking with a lady at the Post Office about Thanksgiving and asked her two little boys what they were thankful for. One said: “Whales!”

What are you thankful for? Spiritual blessings? Relationships? Health? Material blessings? Whales?

Thanksgiving Day is a great time to count our many blessings.

This year I am going to list why we are able to do as God commands: Give thanks in everything.

Will you join me?

And thanks to you for reading these posts!!!

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Here are some starter ideas: God DOES Tell Us Why; Silver Linings; Hope in the Land of the Living.

God DOES Tell Us Why

Stepantsminda (Kazbegi), Eastern Georgia

Our most common question: “Why?” Certainly, that is often, often, asked by young children as any parent can confirm.

I’d heard, and even thought, that God doesn’t answer our “why?” questions. But He does.

God answers “why?” with Himself

In more than 125 verses, God tells Job that He is God and Job is not! God tells Job He is Creator, He knows everything, He is in control of war and battle, gives wisdom, deals with the wicked, and on and on. And on. Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. (Job 41:11)

Job was satisfied and repented, I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted … I repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:2,6)

God answers “why?” by telling us how it benefits us

Our suffering and trials benefit us.

Trials, the testing of our faith, produces endurance, And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)

We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Alrighty then!

Our humanness

We ask God; Why do I (or a friend or family) have cancer? Why did I lose my job?

I doubt many ask: Why God, WHY, did I win the $2+ billion lottery?

We tend to think we don’t deserve the bad stuff, but do deserve the good stuff.

Of course, we all are sinners. We all deserve God’s wrath. If we got what we deserve, we’d be heading to hell. But God, in His great mercy, provided a savior, and if we believe in Jesus Christ, we’re saved and headed to heaven. Hallelujah!

Rejoice! Pray! Give Thanks in Everything!

We are commanded to rejoice aways, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:26-18). That includes our trials, which are controlled by our loving sovereign God, and which are for our benefit. Praise Him!

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Father, thank You for Your great wisdom and love, allowing or bringing into our lives what makes us grow in Christ, and what makes us more in His image. Help us accept what comes from your loving hand.

P.S. Our trials often benefit others as well. That’s a topic for another time.

My Country

A few years ago, I was so upset about the events in my country that I had trouble sleeping. I prayed a lot about it, increasingly troubled by what was happening, and asked God that my country be more like my childhood, that we would repent and seek Him, and that my country be one He could bless.

God’s answer?

“Do you love your country more than Me?”

That question made me examine myself, and the answer wasn’t as quick and good as I wished. God had to work on me.

Put them in fear, O LORD; Let the nations know that they are but men. (Psalm 9:20)

For the kingdom is the LORD’s and He rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:28)

God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne. (Psalm 47:8)

Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. (Psalm 82:8)

I don’t know for sure about your country, but many countries are under God’s judgment for rejecting Him, for their evil ways. Nations pay consequences for their peoples’ choices.

For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head. (Obadiah 15)

And, according to Romans 1:18-32, God has given us over to our own, self-centered, anti-God choices. This is called God’s wrath of abandonment. Alas!

God, help! We want to love you with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Mark 12:30). We want to have no other gods before You, including our countries. (Exodus 20:3)

Let’s resolve to praise Him, our righteous judge, for both His blessings and His judgments. He always does right.

~~~

Father, forgive me for putting my country, for putting anything, ahead of You. Help me love You with everything I am. Help me praise You. Help me glorify You with my entire life.

Trust Your Instruments

A pilot took off and crashed almost immediately. He took off with nearly empty fuel tanks.

Checking the fuel tanks is a standard procedure during pre-flight checks.

Checking the instruments before take-off, including the fuel gauges, is routine.

He didn’t do that, and it killed him.

In more advanced flying, pilots are taught to fly without visual references, understanding and trusting in their instruments. Ignoring what the instruments show, “flying by the seat of your pants,” can lead to disaster.

Spiritually, we have similar lessons.

Do we know what God says to us in His word? Do we trust God’s word? Do we do what He says?

Relying on emotions, instinct, “sight,” and ignoring God’s word can lead to disaster.

God’s word, the Bible, is our instrument panel.

We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

The Whole Counsel of God

MegRichardsPhotography.com

More than ten years ago a south Texas newspaper published an opinion piece that claimed that because humans are made in the image of God, we are perfect and do not need salvation. The article said the only thing we needed to be saved from was the idea that we are, or ever were, “unsaved.”

I guess the author stopped reading the Bible after Genesis 1:26!

That is an extreme example of ignoring the whole counsel of God.

We see this failure everywhere: in various people, cults, false teachers, some churches.

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Know the Truth

We must know truth in order to be protected against error and lies. We must know God’s truth to live stable and righteous lives. We must be able to discern error.

It is hazardous to lock onto one verse without looking at its context. Scripture does not contradict Scripture. We need to absorb the whole counsel of God.

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:27-28)

Let’s Resolve

Let’s resolve to diligently study the Bible, meditate on His word, and hide His word in our hearts. By accurately handling the word of God, we’ll be equipped for every good work.

All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Press on!

Dangerous Hope

“Hope is dangerous as an NFL fan,” said someone somewhere on the World Wide Web.

Yep.

And trusting in your job or health or resources is dangerous also.

The only certain hope is Almighty God, who knows everything, can do anything, and from whom comes eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Putting trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior never goes wrong.

We are to be responsible about our health, relationships, and finances, for example, but if we rely on something or someone in this world rather than Christ, we are in danger. Be aware of those times, confess, and determine to make the God of hope your hope.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

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See also False Hope.

Guaranteed!

God guarantees many things for Christians, those who have repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ; those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In the verses below, insert your name as noted.

God chose [your name] in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)

Once God chose [your name], the whole chain started: justification, sanctification, glorification.

[Your name] whom He predestined, He also called; and [your name] whom He called, He also justified; and [your name] whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

The verse about God choosing [your name] also has God’s intent for doing so:

Just as He chose [your name] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [your name] would be holy and blameless before Him. (Ephesians 1:4)

God guarantees that [your name] will be holy and blameless before Him!

He guarantees that He is making [your name] to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)

God began a good work in [your name] and will perfect [His work] in [your name] until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Guaranteed!

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if these verses don’t apply to you, PLEASE recognize that you have rebelled against Almighty God, have committed cosmic treason, have sinned, and repent! Repent and believe in Jesus Christ, our only Savior, and have eternal life.

Deal with Disappointment!

MegRichardsPhotography.com

We have all been disappointed. I don’t have to give examples, because I know there is some sort of disappointment in your recent past. Maybe even today.

Every disappointment is based on wanting something other than what you got. Disappointment is from an expectation or hope that didn’t come to pass.

Disappointment may sound trivial, but it is not. In fact, if we don’t deal with disappointment, it may start a chain of increasing disaster.

Ok, so you may think I overstated that. I didn’t.

Kay Arthur, in Learning to Embrace Life’s Disappointments, talks about the Five Deadly D’s: Disappointment, Discouragement, Dejection, Despair, Demoralization.

I’ve seen a similar chain that included damage with family felationships.

Deal with disappointment NOW

Quickly recognize disappointment. Don’t ignore it. Don’t minimize it. Deal with it.

Remind yourself that your loving sovereign is in control and caused or allowed the situation. As Kay says: “Change “disappointment” to “HISappointment.”

Prayerfully discern whether you need to (or even can) change the situation. If so, get on it.

Prayerfully consider the cause. Did you have ungodly or unrealistic expectations? Have you been regularly praying and studying God’s Word? Are you knowingly and joyfully dependent on Him? You may need to make some changes.

If He doesn’t want you to act to change it, thank Him for the situation. Be grateful. Be content. Know that His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Beware

How we deal with disappointment is an indicator of our spiritual health.

If we sink into disappointment, we’ve started a awful chain that may lead to bitterness, depression, and lack of trust in Almighty God.

Deal with disappointment early; dealing with it later is harder and more painful.

Resolve

Resolve to give thanks to God in everything.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Remember

The only One who never disappoints a Christian is God.

Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. (Romans 10:11)

Press on!

Ambition

Ambition can be good or bad, depending on whether it is self-focused or God-focused. The dictionary definition: “An excessive desire for honor, power, or wealth.” Or, more neutrally: “A desire to achieve a particular end.”

Selfish Ambition

We’ve all seen selfish ambition. A co-worker that only wants promotions and doesn’t care who gets in the way. An actress who wants fame through magazine covers and leading roles, and schemes to get it. A politician who sells votes to get on a ramp for higher office. Or. Or. Or.

There are many examples in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3, Daniel 4:30). Herod (Acts 12:21-23). Pharisees (e.g. Matthew 6:2).

Selfish ambition does NOT please God. Nebuchadnezzar was driven away for seven years to eat grass like cattle (Daniel 4:31-32). Herod was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:23). Pharisees, by seeking and getting their rewards from men, had their reward in full (and not from God).

But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them. (Jeremiah 45:5)

Sanctified Ambition

For Christians, believers in Christ, we are to make our ambition to please God.

We also have as our ambition … to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)

We are to hunger and thirst for righteousness. (Matthew 5:6)

This does not mean we cannot seek specific work, for example 1 Timothy 3:1, but our motive is key.

The Lord … will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)

In whatever path we take, our ambition must be to please the Lord. And whatever God gives us, we must keep our goal to please Him.

And we know that the Lord will reward us.

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

We [Christians] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad [worthless]. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Examine Ourselves

We need to routinely examine our motives. Are we doing something for a selfish reason or to please the Lord? We should pray that the Lord will make our intentions clear to ourselves. If they are selfish, we must confess our sin.

As we go through our days, we can ask the Lord: “Does this (thought, plan, action) please You?” And then decide accordingly.

Father, please help us make pleasing You our ambition.