I Thessalonians 5:9-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Blessing and Admonition
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be thankful to God, is found all through the Bible.
--Thanksgiving is not just a holiday but an attitude.
--An attitude of gratitude, for all God's blessings.
--All of us are so blessed, once a year isn't enough!
"Always try to do good to each other, and to everyone else. Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" (15f).
--Don't you like the way the Living Bible puts it?
--It uses the word "always." "Always be thankful."
--"This is God's will for you ..." For us all.
What is the will of God, for all of us?
--Many things, in His Word. God wills salvation.
--"God is not willing that any should perish."
--He wills that all be saved. Living for Him.
--It is His will that we "Rejoice always."
--To "do good, to all men. Pray, give thanks to God".
Being grateful is a distinctively spiritual attitude.
--It does not depend on physical or material plenty.
--But ever thankful to God for His love and grace.
--A thankful heart is found in those who love God, if they have little or plenty, lonely or with others.
--It is in counting our many blessings God gives!
I Thessalonians 5 has about 22 guidelines to help us.
--Helpful reminders, for we all need to know them.
--What are some of these? "Comfort each other."
--Everybody could use a little comfort, and care.
--"Edify one another. Honor those who labor, in the Lord. Be at peace among yourselves. Warn unruly. Comfort the fainthearted. Uphold the weak. Be patient with all. See that no one render evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good. Re- joice always. Pray without ceasing. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies (preaching). Test all things. Hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil."
--In the midst is, "in everything, give thanks..."
August Storm (1862-1914) was a Salvation Army worker in Sweden, He had a compassion for souls.
--The Salvation Army ministers especially to all the forgotten and needy folk, and set us an example.
--August Storm saw more troubled and sorrowful at his work than most of us, but he also was stricken, by a back problem that left him partially crippled.
--He still ministered! And wrote hymns of thanks!
"Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply. Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace, that none can measure, Thanks for love, beyond compare!"
All of us can give thanks for God's roses, and joys.
--Like roses, life has a few thorns; trouble, trials.
--Dear friends, they have place in God's plans too.
--And, you will note, thorns can precede the rose!
--A few, with one lovely rose. They go together.
--Blessed are those, like August Storm, who thank God "in everything" for this is the will of God."
--To maintain a grateful spirit whatever we face.
--Maybe not for everything, but "in everything."
In I Chronicles 16 read David's Psalm of Thanksgiving.
--Of praises to the Lord God. He "blessed the people in the name of the Lord" (v 2). Let's do that.
--Then, "he distributed to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins" (v 3).
I remember attending church with our granddaughter and her husband for a Thanksgiving service.
--Afterwards, each worshiper was given a loaf of bread - small and home-made - by some loving hands.
--It was a service we will never forget, as David's.
In I Chronicles 16 David urges, "Oh, give thanks ..to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And say, 'Save us, 'O God of our salvation .. To give thanks to Your holy name'" (v 34, 35).
Be thankful we have a Savior. Praying loved ones.
--Churches that care. Freedoms, to worship God.
I think of Paul who wrote I Thessalonians, of all he had gone through, willingly for God! To win some.
--Look what he endured. "In prisons more frequently, in deaths often.. five times I received forty stripes (by a whip) .. three times .. beaten with rods, once I was stoned (left for dead); three times was ship-wrecked; a night and a day I have in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils, of robbers, among false brethren; in weariness, and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting, in nakedness and cold" (II Cor. 11:23f).
--Had Paul forgotten all these when he wrote?
--No! He was thankful! Not for them, but in them!
Thankful that he, and we, have a God Who is faithful.
--Who "will never leave nor forsake us." Who cares.
--A God of everlasting love. Who suffers with us.
Don't say, "I don't have much to be thankful for."
--We all do! In our trials, many blessings in them.
--Take time to count them. And thank God in them!
--Let's not lose the art of being always thankful.
Is simple gratitude slowly fading out of style?
--Etiquette says, "No, never!" Practice says,"Often".
--A man got up on a crowded subway and gave his seat, to a lady who had been standing. The lady fainted!
--When she came to, she thanked the man. He fainted!
--"Thank you" should be the: norm, not the exception.
Ever watch the birds, how they eat, or sip water?
--They lift their eyes to heaven, as giving thanks.
--God is the One who provides for all birds.
--I love to listen, and watch them; learn from them.
--Jesus said, "God clothes them. Feeds and guides."
--He says, if He does for the birds, He will for us!
I think of a 64-year old lady - a shut-in, 16 years.
--Bedfast, in constant pain; has only a thumb to use.
--She reads her Bible every day. Is given to prayer.
--This lady is thankful for so much - even a thumb!
--Especially for her Savior, Jesus Christ her Lord.
--What a blessing of joy and witness is this saint!
--In all her troubles, yet what thankfulness she has!
Our American forefathers who founded the nation were a people of Christian faith!
--Think of their hardships, and fears, and losses!
--Yet that November in Plymouth, MA, began the tradition of Thanksgiving to God for His blessings.
--We do well to keep such a valuable custom.
--A happy time when families and friends gather as we are able, in praise to God and loving fellowship.
--To forget faithfulness to God, is to our peril.
They carved out this great land; its laws, highways, farms, cities and institutions of worship, and learning. Above all, they showed us how to be grateful.
0 America, let's get back to God! To His Holy Word.
--Back to His house in great numbers, and to prayer.
--As we do, revival will come. People converted.
May I thank you for your many kindnesses to us.
--Your patience, prayers, and your encouragement.
--For the love you express. My love goes out to you.
Are there words of love and gratitude that need to be shared with the Lord God? To loved ones? Friends?
--For our freedoms. Our faith; faith of our fathers.
--And all who serve us any way. And defend us.
--Tell them. Show them. Thank them. Be prayerful!
Henry Alford wrote "Come, Ye Thankful People Come."
--It is a lovely hymn by this English pastor.
--For over a hundred years, sung by faithful folks.
--Pastor Alford not only thanked God before they ate.
--At his house, the family stood and offered thanks, after their meals. They were a "thankful people."
--Friend, our world needs God! Needs to thank Him!
Let's thank others, but not forget to thank the Lord!
--After all Jesus did on "a cross, His resurrection!
--And He did it for us all, to be saved; with Him.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 408