There are many verses in the Bible telling us to give thanks. In this video, Pastor Ted Wilson reminds us of one story of thankfulness from the Bible and the importance of thanking God for the blessings in our lives. During this time of year, especially here in the United States, our thoughts often turn homeward as families eagerly anticipate gathering together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday—a special time to thank God for the blessings of the year, spend time with dear ones, and help those less fortunate. This year is very different. Due to the coronavirus, life has been disrupted in so many ways. Families and friends are discouraged from gathering together, many church congregations no longer meet in person, economic challenges are affecting people everywhere, and tragically, more than 1 million lives around the world have been lost to this deadly disease. As we look back on the year 2020, it doesn’t seem as if there is much for which to be thankful! Nevertheless, we are urged in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Amazing! Right here in this short passage of Scripture, we are given a clear description of what God’s will is for each of us. It is to:
1. Rejoice always.
2. Pray without ceasing.
3. Give thanks in everything. Why would God ask us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, even in difficult circumstances? In the Bible, we are given several examples of people who did just that. One is found in the book of Acts. Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi, preaching the gospel, when a demon-possessed girl began following them, crying out and causing a disturbance everywhere they went. We read about in Acts 16, beginning in verses 18 and 19: And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. False witnesses were brought in to testify against the two missionaries, who were then beaten mercilessly and thrown into prison. As they lay on the cold stone floor, bruised and bleeding, were Paul and Silas complaining about their terrible circumstances and the completely unfair treatment that put them there? No! In verse 25 we read, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Amazing! They were praying and singing hymns to God! And notice the very important last part of this verse—the prisoners were listening to them. Perhaps this gives us a clue as to at least one reason God invites us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances—because others are listening, watching how we deal with situations—and this provides a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to work through us as His witnesses. No matter what difficulties we may face, with God as our Savior, we have every reason to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XGkJ0vCPmU
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