Pastor Paul

Despite the uptick in COVID-19 cases, many people made plans to celebrate Thanksgiving with family & friends. However, I will ask you to pause from your planning just long enough to think about what Thanksgiving means in the Biblical sense?
Is it really all about the social gatherings that could cause this to be the last Thanksgiving your loved ones will spend with family? Is it about what you want or what is best for everyone?  What about the thousands among us who may not feel thankful according to society’s standards.
They lost a loved one to C)VID-19. They didn’t get the job because the virus shut down the company. They didn’t get the medical results they wanted. They couldn’t afford to keep the car or the house. They lost a child or a spouse. According to society’s standards, they have nothing to be thankful for.
Yet the Bible says, “in all things give thanks…”
The language here is not a suggestion but rather a command. In the true sense, the apostle Paul said giving thanks is an involuntary response, like a beating heart or a reflex that happens without even thinking. When Job got mad news, then bad news, then sad news, he didn’t think about what to do. His reflex was to do what came naturally. He worshipped God, Job 1: 20-22…
When Paul & Silas were in prison, their reflex was not to complain but to sing hymns of praise to God, Acts 26:25…
When the apostle Paul was wrongly accused, persecuted for the Word of God, shipwrecked, flogged, stoned, betrayed, and imprisoned, In all these circumstances, he gave thanks.
Admittedly, giving thanks is hard for anyone to do while going through a difficult time. But when we understand the why behind the what, our motivation to be thankful will come from a place of divine reflections.
Give thanks even when you lost your job. Give thanks despite a failed marriage. Give thanks when your child has an undiagnosed illness. Give thanks when you are being criticized, ostracized, or marginalized. “In all things,” the Word of God says, “give thanks.”  Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ, Jesus for you.
The will of God transcends our “light affliction,” as described by the apostle in 2 Corinthians 4:17. The will of God has the final say in our lives. Circumstances will change, but God’s Will stands forever. The pain will end; the sorrows will cease. You will be employed again. You will find love again. Your child will be restored to health again. You will see loved ones who have died again. You will be vindicated of all accusations. You will be repaid for all you have suffered. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ, Jesus for you.
No matter what does or doesn’t, has or hasn’t, will or won’t go your way in this life, the why behind the Bible’s command to give thanks is based on the single most important historical event that did go your way. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed,” 1 Peter 2:24.
So, as you plan and prepare this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with family & friends, be thankful, not because of what you have in this world, but because of Who you have in God, our Savior and friend, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15
My prayer for you is that you Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

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