Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Romans 1:21, Romans 8:28, 1 Corinthians 14:16, 2 Corinthians 4:15, Ephesians 5:4, Ephesians 5:18-20, Philippians 4:6-7
Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day in America. For what are you thankful? What's not right in your life? What circumstances are you definitely not thankful concerning? I want to help us today. Maybe, just maybe, if you can change your thanksgiving, you can change your circumstances, or at least change your attitude about your circumstances.
Understand that I am NOT saying don't pray; don't positively confess healing and good things over your life. But, what if you have done all those things and your circumstances remain the same?
The Bible gives us three areas we can judge our spirituality to make certain we are not only doing religious things and being hypocrites.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, for this is GOD'S WILL FOR YOU in Christ Jesus. Do not PUT OUT THE SPIRIT'S FIRE.
God's will for you, if you are in Christ Jesus, is you: 1) Be joyful always. Really? Always? Ever had anything you were not joyful about? 2) Pray continually. Really? Continually? 3) Give thanks in all circumstances. What? Give thanks? In all circumstances? Yes. No circumstance is an exception. No circumstance is an excuse. No circumstance is outside this circle. In connection with everything in life, give thanks. No matter what happens to you in life, you are to be thankful. No matter what the situation, we are to find a reason to thank God. Why? For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Really? Does God want me to go through this circumstance? Yes. All circumstances in my life are God's will for me. I know. I know this is not how we think. It's easier to blame the devil than give thanks to God.
Over the next several weeks, we will be learning this concept from a series I'm calling "It's Not Right." Is it not right? Here's the concept:If you are in Christ Jesus, whatever you go through in life, all circumstances good or bad, is God's will for you and we are to give thanks to God in it. Wow Delbert! What a Thanksgiving message this is! Yes, I know, but how revolutionary, life changing could it be if we look at all circumstances, especially those not right, as God doing something good in our lives.
Thanksgiving is the essence of Christian life. Being unthankful displays those who put out the Spirit's fire in their lives and now have a dark heart.
Romans 1:21 For although THEY KNEW GOD, they neither glorified him as God NOR GAVE THANKS TO HIM, but their THINKING became futile and their foolish HEARTS WERE DARKENED.
Even though a person once knew God, wrong thinking darkened their foolish hearts. Not giving thanks to God displays a person with a dark heart. Where are you concerning giving thanks to God in all circumstances? So, here is a first thought: what circumstances darkened your heart - health, marital problems, finances, a death, etc.? What dark circumstances cause you great difficulty to give thanks to God? What do you hate in your life? What if, just what if you began giving thanks to God for the dark circumstance and it changed?
Something good will happen and a person says, "Praise God! I thank you God! Praise Jesus!" How do they respond to negative circumstances? Whom should we thank for the circumstances we consider not right? Someone says, "You don't give anyone thanks for negative circumstance. What are you talking about?"
As we evaluate people, we find people align into certain categories concerning their giving thanks, or their being thankless. Let's evaluate ourselves.
1) Luck: People go through life thinking things happen resulting from luck. Life is about either being "lucky" or "unlucky" in circumstances of life. If good luck didn't happen, they become angry and find a new "lucky charm," or put their pants on differently. They're always attempting to change their luck. There's no thankfulness. Who's to thank? You can't thank luck. They are thankless people going through life either lucky or unlucky. Do you relate to this?
I'm not lucky. God blesses me. However, when "It's not right" moments take place in my life, to whom do I look? Is God speaking to me, is it the devil, or am I simply unlucky?
2) Fatalists: Some people think there is some invisible unnamed force out there. It has something to do with the stars alignment, astrology, or something. No one knows exactly what it is, but whatever, or whoever it is, preset the inevitable and unchangeable. We must simply accept it. It's "Que Sera, Sera, what will be will be" as Doris Day sang. Don't argue with it. It's just how it is. Again, who's to thank? You can't thank a nameless force. Do you relate to this type thinking?
I'm not fatalistic, but I know some things are predestinated. God will stop the sun and the moon in my life as he did Joshua. He will change the orbit of things in my life as long as I'm thankful.
3) Self: These believe they control their lives. Everything happening good to them is because they made it happen. They arranged it. They dreamed it, schemed it, planned it, and pulled it off. All the credit goes to them, so they are the only one to thank. They are their own god. There's no thanks given to God Almighty. What did he have to do with it?
I know there are things I am to do. I know I need to pray, give financially, speak positive confessions, plan it, dream it, and do everything I know to do. However, after I've done all these things and it doesn't happen, I need to realize God is doing something I can't yet see.
This changes when a person becomes a Christian. It's not luck, fatalistic, or self.Something inside us should desire and cry out to God in thankfulness. We should find reasons to give Thanksgiving in all circumstance, not find reasons to not. Thanksgiving is a part of the fabric of our lives, not cotton. God's given us salvation. We're not going to hell. He's changing our lives and the primary way he does this is when "It's Not Right." Thank him for changing your life during those times.
It's for this reason the Bible tells us repeatedly to direct our thanksgiving to God in everything. We won't and couldn't use all of the scriptures instructing this, but I want to give you enough today, and over the next weeks to settle this in your soul and change your life. It's important to know how and why we are to be thankful to God in everything and when we find ourselves not thankful, or blaming the devil, we will quickly adjust, not put out the Spirits fire and develop a dark heart.
Let's begin in Romans 8:28. It's a verse we sing around here and quote frequently.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This is the covering of everything happening in the life of a person who loves God and called by God. An "It's Not Right" circumstance may not feel good, but God will take the bad circumstance and turn it into our good. You are to live believing God is at work blending all the circumstances of your life together for your good, your eternal purpose, and your salvation. If you live, believing this you will handle anything in life and be thankful to God for every circumstance you encounter.
We are thankful for a surgery when you know there is healing coming because of it. You can be thankful for the pain in your body from the surgery when you know you will be healthier and live longer because of it. This is how we are to look at every painful circumstance in life. If we can see, there will be a good end result we can be thankful during the pain of the process. This is not sadistic or masochistic. It's godly. Yet, so many Christians blame the devil, and become hard and rebellious toward God for allowing a circumstance when God is trying to help them.
1 Corinthians 14:16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" TO YOUR THANKSGIVING, since he does not know what you are saying?
Paul is adjusting this church's use of tongues, but the nugget we see is a primary purpose of their meeting together was to give thanksgiving to God. Clear thanksgiving is more important than the operation of spiritual gifts. They needed to experience thanksgiving corporately so everyone understood its importance. Their doing it corporately encouraged all believers to give thanksgiving to God in all circumstances. At best, most people give God an occasional token religious expression of thanks on Sunday morning, but no serious thanksgiving even in church gatherings.
We live in a thankless age. People have so much, but are so thankless because they don't have more. Instead of being thankful for what they have, they are thankless.
2 Corinthians 4:15 All this is for your benefit, so that THE GRACE that is reaching more and more people may CAUSE THANKSGIVING to OVERFLOW to the glory of God.
The grace of God will cause thanksgiving to overflow. If you want the grace of God - the favor of God - on your life, learn to overflow with thanksgiving in all circumstances. This will reach more and more people when they see how we handle our "It's Not Right" circumstances with thanksgiving. What a witness it is when people see us handle our "It's Not Right" circumstances with thanksgiving and understanding.
Ephesians 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, BUT RATHER THANKSGIVING.
As we saw in our series on Cussing Christians, instead of cussing and filthy talk, we should give thanksgiving. Don't cuss the "It's Not Right" circumstance. Rather give thanksgiving for it. We should be known for our thanksgiving, not for our anger and how well we can cuss.
Ephesians 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, ALWAYS GIVING THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER FOR EVERYTHING, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If filled with the Spirit, we have joy and are always giving thanks to God the Father for everything! Everything? Yes. Thanks for everything is the natural response of a Spirit filled Christian.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but IN EVERYTHING, BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace of God comes when we add thanksgiving to our prayers in everything. Serious circumstances take our peace. The way to get peace back is thanksgiving.
We will stop here for today. There are many more scriptures, but you're getting the concept. What happens when you're thankful to God in every circumstance even the "It's Not Right" circumstances?
1) You do not put out the Spirit's fire.
2) You do not develop a dark heart. Your thinking remains correct.
3) You stop depending on luck, stop being fatalistic, and do not see yourself as god. You depend on God as your Father who blesses and disciplines you.
4) God is working all things for your good even the painful surgical "It's Not Right" times.
5) "It's Not Right" times do not block your corporate worship. You give God true thanksgiving, not a token thanksgiving.
6) The grace of God - favor of God - is upon you.
7) You're not cussing "It's Not Right" circumstances. You give thanksgiving instead.
8) You give thanksgiving to God for everything - the good and what doesn't feel good.
9) You blend thanksgiving with your prayers and petitions.
Point being, nothing bad can happen. Only good happens. See how much you've learned today. Whatever "It's Not Right" moment you're going through now, or went through in the past, try thanking God for it. Find something in it to be thankful. If you will, you open yourself up for God's blessings.
© Life Gate Ministries