1 Thes 5:16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We may have had a lousy day or a lousy week or a lousy year. Things may be going form bad to worse, or worse to disastrous, but the Bible still encourages us,
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Note well – it doesn’t say “give thanks FOR all circumstances.” It doesn’t say, give thanks that your loved one has just died. It doesn’t say, give thanks that you’ve just lost your job and you’re about to be thrown out on the streets. It doesn’t say, give thanks that you’ve just been mugged and left half dead. It doesn’t say give thanks FOR all circumstances. But it does say, give thanks IN all circumstances.
In other words, whatever your situation, however grim, each of us should always be grateful to God and express that gratitude in praise and worship and thanksgiving. Because whatever our situation, there are always things we should be thanking God for!
Eph 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Alexander Whyte, the Scottish preacher, always began his prayers with an expression of gratitude. One cold, miserable day his people wondered what he would say. He prayed, “We thank Thee, O Lord, that it is not always like this.”
Bible commentator Matthew Henry, was robbed one day. He wrote this in his diary:
Let me be thankful…
* first because I was never robbed before.
* second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life.
* third, because although they took my all, it was not much.
* fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.
Whatever life may be throwing at you, as we face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, we should still be prepared to give thanks to God for his many blessings.
Psalms 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with
good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Earlier generations of Christians had a word for all the many general blessings of this life which God in his love and generosity gives to all men and women in varying degrees. They called these blessings
At harvest we often thing of the blessings of food and drink. But obviously we should give thanks to God for his provision for all of our needs all year round.
We thank you then O Father, for all things bright and good.
The seed time and the harvest, our life our health our food.
Accept the gifts we offer for all your love imparts
And what you most desire, our humble thankful hearts.
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above
So thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all His love.
Not only food and drink – but other things we take for granted – homes, buildings. Building give shelter from the wind and rain, from heat of sun and cold of winter, AND safety from harm. We can all be grateful that we don’t live in a country where we need to keep our windows closed for fear of wild animals or even of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and other dangerous insects. Nor do we need to have bars fitted to all our windows or live in compounds with armed guards for fear of intruders. In so many ways our lives in this country in this century are so much easier than the lives of most human beings who have ever lived and so many people around the world even today. Food, shelter, safety – and so many other blessings besides.
Health care – there’s always somebody worse off than yourself ! Usually true
G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) said, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
Psalms 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
So many things are God’s good gifts to us! Don’t take them for granted but take them with gratitude. So we should indeed give thanks in all circumstances.
But life isn’t all a bed of roses. Every rose has a thorn. In amongst all these blessings which God showers upon us, and for which we should always be giving thanks, there are also sometimes things that hurt us or make us sad. Accidents. Illness. Tragedies. Disappointments.
The first thing to do in such situations its to ask if God is somehow at work in our crises. We can then thank God for what he is doing, however painful that may be to us. There is an old proverb which says, “every cloud has a silver lining”. There’s that book with the intriguing title, “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade with it”. Sometimes God does bring us blessings in disguise, and it is sometimes right to give thanks to God even when we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives and even when we can’t see how any good can come out of our desperate situation.
Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place explains how she learned this principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She finally succumbed. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was several months later when they learned that reason that the guards would not enter the barracks was precisely because of the fleas. Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place
But what about the times when we can’t possibly see how God can be at work in the disaster or the tragedy that we are facing? The Bible still commands us
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Eph 5:19b Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s when faith comes in. That’s when we just have to trust that God is indeed in control of His universe. We have to put our faith in the God who loves us so much!
William Law, in his book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life writes, “Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice, but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who received everything as an instance of God’s goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.”
There are times when we just have to trust in God’s mercy, when the only thing to do is say with Paul in Romans 8:-
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
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.
And it’s at those times when we are clinging on to God by our fingernails, when we’re not waving but drowning, its at those times that it’s good to express our faith by giving thanks to God for all the blessings which come especially to us as Christians, those blessings which earlier generations called.
Blessings which we enjoy and experience especially as Christians – as believers – as those whom the Lord has redeemed!
Freedom to worship and witness
Most of all we will want to thank God for all the blessings of salvation!!
Ephesians 1 3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,
5 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
13 Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance
18 pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know
the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
TWELVE AMAZING BLESSINGS IN 17 verses! Praise God! Thanks be to God!
Too often we fail to appreciate all the wonderful things God has done for us.
The great Scottish Bible expositor Alexander MacLaren once wrote: ‘We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank and told to help himself, and comes out with one penny, whose fault is it that he is poor?”
1 Thes 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Whatever circumstances you are facing in life today here is God’s word for us all.
Eph 5:18 …. Be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.