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THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING Give thanks in all circumstances, for this Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 3:18 Thanksgiving is the healthiest of all human emotions. It is known to be a gateway to a wonderful freedom and produces more positive energy than any other attitude in life. Author and Bible teacher, Charles Price, commemorates Thanksgiving Day with a special message that includes three areas of thanksgiving in which our gratitude to God can be expressed, not only in our everyday lives but when faced with hardship and suffering. Natural Thanksgiving In the United States, Thanksgiving dates back to 1621, the year the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Massachusetts. Fifty percent of those who arrived on the Mayflower died in the first year, but at the end of that year, they celebrated a harvest and gave thanks. In Canada, Thanksgiving dates back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher, after three unsuccessful attempts to find the Northwest Passage, arrived in Newfoundland. They gathered the people together and celebrated, giving thanks for the journey, their safety and for provision of food. Thanksgiving is biblical and celebrates the fact that every year the seasons work in providing enough harvest for our daily food. Deuteronomy 16:15 says, The Lord your God will bless you in your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. It is God who gives us the harvest. Everything we have, we receive from God. Paul writes, What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7). Most of us in the western world have been blessed far beyond the dreams of millions of people who live in third world countries, but how often do we forget? When was the last time we thanked God for the clothes we wear, the bed we sleep in or even our morning coffee? These are gifts and privileges we need to be grateful for, but are so frequently taken for granted. In many areas of life, it is the little things that are more important, because the people who look after the little things are usually the ones who look after the big things. We need to be mindful in thanking God for the countless little things in our everyday lives, never lacking for a moment in the knowledge that all we have is God-given. Unnatural Thanksgiving There are many situations we face where it seems completely unnatural to be thankful. Perhaps weve lost our job, our marriage is falling apart, or an illness strikes a loved one, and were so overwhelmed, giving thanks is the last thing on our minds. In answer to this, Paul writes, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). In other words, we take what is making us anxious and it becomes the everything we present to God, and we thank Him for His presence and His sufficiency in our troubling situations. Many of us will bring our problems to God, but dont actually leave them with Him. We still go on wondering and worrying, rehashing things over and over. The only way to know we have given our troubles to God is when our anxiety genuinely turns to thanksgiving. We rest in Christs sufficiency, knowing He is never outwitted by anything that threatens us. In Brennan Mannings book, Ruthless Trust, he says, The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratitude.

In Psalm 13, David writes, How long, O LORD, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? In his despair, David feels forgotten and defeated, but then he says in verse 5, But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation, and in verse 6, I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. We cannot simply jump into verse 6. When were feeling forgotten by God and in despair, we first bring it to Him, and when trusting Him completely, our anxieties change to thanksgiving. And heres the result the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). It is a process where our anxieties turn into thanksgiving, and God will then turn our thanksgiving into a peace that passes our own understanding and guards us safely in Christ. It is a thanksgiving that acknowledges the presence of God in our circumstances, and in total abandon to Him, He becomes our refuge, our strength and our solace. Supernatural Thanksgiving The most remarkable statement of thanksgiving in the Bible is found in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 where Paul writes, The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread and when he had given thanks. This was the night Jesus had told His disciples that He was going to die within 24 hours. It would be a slow, torturous death by the cruellest means possible, yet before distributing the bread and wine, Jesus gave thanks. What lies behind this incredible act of thanksgiving? The Prophet Isaiah gives remarkable insight into the crucifixion of Christ centuries before it happened, and he says of Jesus, He shall see the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11 KJV). Christ gave Himself over to those who were going to kill Him because He had put His trust in the purpose of God. This is giving thanks when there is that deep inner conviction that God to whom we entrust ourselves in every situation is working out something good. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12, I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. We entrust our lives to God, and what we commit to Him, He has undertaken to keep. Though it may be confusing and painful, the day will come when well understand and see the much greater purpose of Gods divine plan in our lives. It is in our thankfulness God has a purpose no matter what we are living with or going through. If we give thanks in all circumstances, what is exempt from that? What doesnt fit into all circumstances? And how can we grumble in our thankfulness? In everything, when giving thanks to the Lord for His presence, His provision and His purpose, we discover within our hearts that sanctuary of peace found only in Christ Jesus. Well experience a God who is not out there, distant or idle, but a God who is present and active within us. This isnt pie-in-the-sky, make believe stuff. This is feet on the ground, living in a real world with all its traumas and brokenness, trusting wholly in God. The language of the Christian faith isnt please, but thank you, and its gratitude in all situations that blesses other people, pleases God, and makes us a much better, happier person. ******* If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than a million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world today.

If you can attend an ideological meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or even death, you are more blessed than 3 billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the worlds population. If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and spare change in a dish some place, you are among the top eight percent of the worlds wealthy. If you can read you are more fortunate than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot read at all. ******* Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart. Psalm 100:4