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Extreme Gratitude

By Henry Nelson



16 “Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 givethanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you inChrist Jesus.” 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 The pilgrims made seven times moregraves than huts nevertheless, they set aside a day of thanksgiving. ThePilgrims revealed an example of extreme gratitude toward God for all that Hehad done for them. Their situation was bleak but their God was amazing. Therewas more than enough reason to offer thanks to God. The word thanksgiving literally means togive thanks. This means that we show our gratitude for the things that weare blessed with. We need to be thankful at all times and in all circumstances.The real question on our minds is not whether we should be thankful but who weneed to be thankful to. The Hebrew word for thanks means to make public. Amen! {{more}} Biblical examples of extreme gratitude are: Job praised God even after he losteverything, David praised God even when Saul was trying to kill him, Mary, the mother ofJesus, praised God for being the earthly mother of Jesus, The disciples praisedGod for being beaten by the Sanhedrin because they were worthy of suffering forChrist. Paul and Silas praised God from their prison cell in Philippi. Amen! We see the people of God giving thanks in strange situations that we would notthink of people being thankful in. Being Thankful is an attitude. Paul closeshis letter to the Thessalonians with three clear practices to help personal andspiritual growth. Each day we should experience: joy, peace and thanks. When we have a personal relationship with Jesus; there is a joy that nothingcan take away. We experience that joy on a daily basis. Prayer is the means wecontinue the relationship with God. Prayer becomes our point of connection withChrist. Through prayer, we speak with God and experience His divine presence.Paul finishes these three needed behaviors with thanksgiving. We need to livewith a daily attitude of thankfulness because of all the blessings that God givesus. Is it possible to be thankful in all circumstances? Can we be thankful for evilsituations, trials, and tragedies? Bad things happen to good, godly peopleevery day. Paul does not say we should be thankful for bad things or evilsituations. Notice what Paul said: be thankful in all circumstances. There isnever a time when we should be thankful for evil. However, we can be thankfulin difficult times. We are to be thankful in bad situations not for them. AsChristians, we know that life has its share of hard times, but we also knowthat Christ is with us through those hard times. No matter what life may throwat us, Christ is with us. Amen! We can be victorious in the midst of hardships and trials. Listen to what Jesustold the disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you mayhave peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I haveovercome the world.” John 16:33 says, “Jesus brings us His victory overthe world. He brings us the spirit of overcoming.” Amen! Being thankful is an action. Colossians 3:17 says, “We should have the desireto live in a manner that brings honor to the name of Christ. Thankfulness meansthat we are different.”  Can you imagine having to walk to church? Canyou imagine not having running water in your home? Can you imagine trying tolive without electricity? Can you imagine having to live on only one meal everyfew days? We have been blessed in so many ways that we no longer know what contentmentlooks like. Contentment simply means to be satisfied with what you have. We areconstantly bombarded with message that we need more this or more of that. Wehave a culture that sells materialism and we buy into it. We are too busy looking out for #1 to see the fact that the world needs us. Inthe midst of our amazing abundance, we fail to truly give. I believe that Godhas blessed the United States, so that, we can bless the world. God toldAbraham that He would be a blessing so that others would be blessed. Thisapplies to us as well; we have been blessed by God to bless others. We seldom ever give up something in our society. True sacrifice is a rare thingin our nation today. We are so busy indulging our desires and our wants that weforget where our blessings came from and how truly blessed we are. We indulgeourselves and think nothing of it. We are surrounded with the message that wedeserve more and should get more out of life. Life is not determined by whatyou get but by what you give. What stirs your memory of Christ has done foryou? What is it that makes you live out a lifestyle of gratitude. Now you know whywe should have extreme gratitude. Amen!

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