ARE YOU GIVING THANKS?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I love the story of the twin boys. Although they looked identical, they were poles apart in personality. One boy was very negative in his outlook on life, and the other was very positive. One saw difficulty in every opportunity, and the other saw opportunity in every difficulty.
For Christmas one year, their parents decided to conduct an experiment. They gave the negative boy a great present–a brand new lap top computer! As he opened his gift, he began to mutter under his breath, "I wanted an Apple, not a Dell! I wanted a 17” screen, not a 16”! It’s blue. Crud! I wanted red!"
For the positive twin, they gave him a box of horse manure. As he opened the box, he sifted through the manure. After processing this strange gift, he began to giggle with excitement, "You can’t fool me, mom and dad. Where there’s this much manure, there’s just got to be a pony!"
Which twin best describes you?
The command to every one of us is clear: “in everything give thanks.” An attitude of gratitude is the attitude that pleases God and sees life from the proper perspective. But how does one adopt this attitude?
1. You must understand that God doesn’t owe you anything. Everything you and I have is a gift from God. It is not owed or deserved, but graciously given. Ingrates adopt an attitude of entitlement and focus on how they are getting cheated because they have less than someone else. Grateful people, however, focus on the goodness of God in blessing them with what they certainly don’t deserve. They thank God for breath, health, provision (no matter how large or little), family, and friends. They stand in awe of God for the unfathomable gifts of salvation, forgiveness, the indwelling Holy Spirit, a home in heaven, and an opportunity to make a difference in this world for Christ.
2. You must understand that thanksgiving is faith turned inside out. When you and I are thankful, regardless of the problems, it shows that we trust God and truly believe He is in control. We don't walk by sight or circumstances, but we walk by faith in God's Word. We hold fast to the truthfulness of Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose."
3. You must understand that thanksgiving honors God. Psalm 50:23 tells us, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me." Sometimes, giving thanks can be very hard. If life has just caved in on you, thanksgiving can truly be a sacrifice. But in that sacrifice of praise and thanks, God is honored, and the devil is defeated.
This Thanksgiving season, let me encourage you to be truly thankful for the blessings God has given you. If bitterness has entered your heart over hurts from the past, get them out of the shadows and under His blood. Ask God to do a new and fresh work within you. Endeavor to be that positive, grateful twin, because the Word is true–"with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Direct questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 149 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
Built to Last: How to Build a Successful Marriage and Family
Marriage and family are the first institutions the Lord established at the dawn of civilization. And He created them to last the test of time and troubles. In this eye-opening series, Dr. Jeff Schreve shares six practical and powerful lessons to help your marriage and family survive and thrive for the glory of God.