Thanksgiving

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In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

I often hear people say that they do not know their purpose or the will of God for their lives. Well, this scripture lays it out real plain. It is God’s will for each of us to walk in thankfulness to God in everything. Everything might not be exciting or even feel good in the moment, but we are exhorted to give thanks anyways.  As it states in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” All things are not necessarily good, but He will work them out for the good if we trust Him and walk in thankfulness toward Him. How?
 
We can be thankful that God has demonstrated His love toward us that He sent His only Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we could have eternal life with Him. We know that whatever we find ourselves going through that He is there with us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Because of this love we can build on the faith that God has bestowed upon us.
 
Pastor Dave gave a powerful message on setting your life in order from Peter’s message in 2 Peter:
 
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. – 2 Peter 1:10-14.
 
Not many people are given the timeline of their life. We can predict with almost pinpoint accuracy when a person will be born but not many people know when they will pass from this life into eternity. Peter knew he was close to the end of his life on earth because the Lord showed it to him. He was ready for it.
 
I am reminded of the story of King Hezekiah, in 2 Kings 20, who was ill and close to death and God sent the prophet Isaiah and told him to set his house in order because he was about to die. Hezekiah then turned his face to the wall and prayed to God to remember how he had walked in faithfulness before Him He had an undivided heart and he had done that which was good in God’s sight. He wept bitterly before God. He had a warning of his impending death and wanted God to remember him. Because Hezekiah made God the #1 priority in his life, God showed him favor and added 15 years to his life. Do you think that he was thankful?
 
Peter, in a sense was saying, “get your house in order” Make your calling and election sure. Make it sure now when there is time. How? By adding to your faith. Not just adding but adding with all diligence, eagerness, haste, like you were doing earnest business.  Add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. Why did Peter encourage believers in this way? Because he witnessed Jesus; he was there when the Father spoke on the holy mountain, he saw Jesus transfigured before him. He had no doubt in his mind that Jesus was God and that the urgency in his spirit was real and he wanted to communicate this message to all who would hear. As we read 2 Peter, there is a sense of thankfulness in Peter’s writing.  He was thankful for the experience with Jesus. He had a purpose and that purpose was to communicate the love of God, through Jesus Christ to the world. Knowing that he had a short time to live on this earth, heightened the urgency to speak that message out. He knew that he was about to enter his eternal reward.  You too have an eternal reward.
 
Unless God has spoken to each of us specifically, we do not know the time when we will die. But when we believe on Jesus Christ as the only begotten of the Father and that He died for our salvation and in that sacrifice, that He arose from the dead and He offered us eternal life and life abundantly. This should give us more than enough to be thankful for.
 
During Thanksgiving, we are thankful for so much, for family, friends, health, supply and more.  Let us not forget to thank God for His great love and the huge sacrifice Jesus paid so that we can live with Him for eternity.
 
Rev. Billy Graham shared a message on “How to Be Thankful in All Things” In his message, from the example of the Apostle Paul, he encourages us to be thankful for the material blessings that God gives us because everything comes from God; to be thankful for the people in our lives, who have touched our lives in special ways; to be thankful ,in the midst of trials, and even persecutions and to be especially thankful for His salvation in Jesus Christ and His continued presence and power in our lives. In Ephesians 5:19-20 Paul writes, “Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
Be thankful for what God has given you. Keep adding to your faith, keep being thankful, keep demonstrating what Christ has done for you, and keep sharing the hope that lies within you, so others can receive that hope also. Keep setting your house in order and making your calling and election sure.