Monday, September 4, 2017

The Power of Thanksgiving




Lately, it seems, the Lord is stopping me in my tracks while reading very, very familiar verses.  Shedding entirely new light onto verses I thought I understood to their fullest...

And so it happened with 1 Thessalonians 5:18...

Give thanks in all circumstances;
 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


The way I've always internalized this verse was that even in trials, I must be thankful to the Lord.  Something that does not come easy, and if I were to be honest, I rarely put into practice...  

I saw this verse at face value, nothing more and nothing less.

But I realized there is so much more to be mined out of this verse.

 
Dictionary.com shares the following definition of the word thank...

:a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, favor, or the like,

I'm sure you would all agree, this definition pretty much sums up why we say "thank you" or  "thanks".  Usually in response to someone who has complemented us, has helped us out or has offered to help us out, or someone who has given us a gift.

As I pondered the word "thank", I thought more deeply about what it is that the Apostle Paul is implying when he exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances...

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good
 to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

All circumstances that effect our lives, even fiery trials, have been ordained by God, as a gift, if you will, to show His favor... 
 
As for you, you meant evil against me, 
but God meant it for good, 
to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, 
as they are today.
Genesis 50:20

Here we see Joseph telling his brothers, who had originally purposed to kill him, but then sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites, that God meant it for good.  

While we are walking a hard road, we too can absolutely know that God's favor has not left us.

Joseph's story beautifully showcases the favor of the Lord when circumstances would have otherwise seemed hopeless.

But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, 
and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
Genesis 39:21

Now his master saw that the LORD was with him 
and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Genesis 39:3

Let that sink in.  No matter what circumstances or trials we find ourselves in,  the Lord will always be with us and will cause all that we do, in His name and for His Glory, to prosper.

The Apostle Paul, who is exhorting us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, himself had many, many opportunities to practice what he preaches...

with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.  Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.  Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;  on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;  in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[b] in cold and exposure.  And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 
2 Corinthians 11:23b-27

Yet the Apostle Paul's ministry prospered, even while he was in prison chains, because the Lord prospered the work of His hands.

We may not have a pivotal mission like the Apostle Paul, and our sufferings may be of a very private nature, but the Lord sees and He knows His Kingdom purposes for having us walk in those circumstances.  The Lord may not prosper our hands to save an entire nation, like Joseph did, but from our own private hurt, He will prosper us to have the words of comfort that will plant seeds which will save one person to Christ...  and the Heaven's will rejoice over - even just one.

In God's economy, the word thank is a very powerful word which holds promise to be realized.

As we saw from the definition of "thank", and what we know to be true from our own experience, we don't thank someone unless we have received something or know we will be receiving something from someone.

God's Word tells us that when we pray, we are to do so with an attitude of thanksgiving - to thank Him.

We can know then that whatever we ask in prayer, with thanksgiving, we WILL receive an answer from the Lord!  The Lord would not ask us to thank Him if He did not fully intend to answer our prayers.

Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication
 with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
Colossians 4:2


See that, keeping alert with an attitude of thanksgiving.  There it is!  The promise to be realized!

And so we come full circle with this very familiar verse from 1 Thessalonians 5...

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

God's will for you and for me is to expect much from Him, in all circumstances, and in every prayer.  

For in thankful expectation we receive.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights, 
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17


Give thanks in all circumstances...

The Lord has now opened my eyes to the power of thanksgiving, and that indeed, I can be thankful in ALL circumstances, for God's power is at work in me.

May you all realize the power of thanksgiving.



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

24 comments:

  1. Best take-away for me? No matter what circumstances or trials we find ourselves in, the Lord will always be with us and will cause all that we do, in His name and for His Glory, to prosper. Awesome thoughts for me today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, Praise God! Happy to hear you were encouraged!

      Your comment has blessed me. Thank you. :-)

      Delete
  2. Thanksgiving in truly powerful because we are to Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Psalm 100:4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miriam, Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks for sharing that.

      And thank you for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  3. "We may not have a pivotal mission like the Apostle Paul, and our sufferings may be of a very private nature, but the Lord sees and He knows His Kingdom purposes for having us walk in those circumstances." Amen! We can give thanks knowing that God has a purpose in what we are going through. Blessings to you, Karen! I'm your neighbor at #TeaAndWord.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayl, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate it!

      I'm so glad you were my neighbor! :-)

      Blessings,

      Delete
  4. Knowing that we are beloved and in the Lord's favor is crucial to thanksgiving! Thanks for the great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helene, Thank you so much for your kind words. They were a blessing. :-)

      Delete
  5. As I watch Hurricane Irma ready to impact my loved ones in South FL I am still grateful and praying for supernatural protection over them. Visiting from Susan Mead's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, Indeed! The power of the Lord's army of Angels is profound, and He can calm the waters and redirect the wind.

      Trusting that your loved ones are safe.

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  6. I just love this....And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    Romans 8:28....Whenever I think I can't handle it; I always remember God causes all things. So I can handle this to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracey, I love your "rephrase"!

      Indeed and Amen! :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I love this!: " In God's economy, the word thank is a very powerful word which holds promise to be realized.

    As we saw from the definition of "thank", and what we know to be true from our own experience, we don't thank someone unless we have received something or know we will be receiving something from someone."

    What a great reminder that we both have already, and will again, receive great things from God. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie, Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate them!

      You are welcome. :-)

      Delete
  8. I've recently been having the experience of the Lord opening my eyes to things I've never seen before in very familiar verses and passages! It's so wonderful, isn't it? Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina, Indeed it is! :-)

      You are welcome!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  9. God's power is at work and we can be thankful in any circumstances. This is so true! Thank you for sharing at Grace and Truth last week. I would love to feature this post tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dawn, You are welcome!

      And thank you so much for the feature at Grace and Truth! I always enjoy the fellowship there. :-)

      Blessings,

      Delete
  10. AHHH!!! Karen! I've missed you! I know: you haven't gone anywhere.;) I've been out-of-the-loop for a while (see: high school senior in my house last year) but was so glad to find you this morning at #Grace&Truth. Congratulations on your feature! And on one of my favorite subjects. I've been working on being more intentionally grateful ever since I learned in women's Bible study last year that thanksgiving is what activates the shoes of peace in our spiritual armor. So glad to reconnect with you...and so excited to keep up with you via Facebook from now on! Bless you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe Hi Elizabeth!! When the notification came up that you had liked my Facebook page a big smile came across my face as I have not seen you in a while! Oh boy! I remember those days. :-)

      Thank you! I was so blessed to be featured.

      Thanks for sharing that nugget of wisdom about thanksgiving! Wonderful!

      Yes, it is wonderful to reconnect! Have a blessed weekend!

      Delete
  11. Hi Karen--congrats on being featured on Grace and Truth this week! I have started thanking God out loud in both mornings and evenings, and the practice is giving me much more peace than when I don't. Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, Thank you! It is a blessing to be featured.

      They do say there is power in speaking to the Lord out loud. Thanks for sharing that. :-)

      Blessings,

      Delete
  12. Grateful and thankful in my circumstances! Thankful I discovered your post from Grace and Truth link-up today. 'm currently devoting more time to living intentionally certainly with gratitude. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate it so much.

      I am thankful that you stopped by!

      You are very welcome. :-)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment.