In Everything Give Thanks
I pray that things are well with you. Some of you have asked why you haven’t received anything from me in a while. I haven’t posted a “Kingdom Keys” since June. I feel I should share one of the reasons, because I do covet your prayers. A few months ago I began having severe blood pressure spikes at night and some heart irregularities. I won’t go into all the details, but for the last seven or eight months I have been very tired. It is not an accident that I had just given a word to our church about God renewing the strength of His people. When we make a declaration we become a target. In 1 Timothy 1:18 Paul exhorts Timothy to wage the good warfare with the prophecies concerning him. I confess I have not warred as much as I should. Also, a word from the Lord tests the soil. (Psalms 105:19-22; Matthew 13:4-9) In Luke 8:15, it is those who hear the word and keep it that bear fruit. I believe the waiting on the Lord in Is. 40:31 speaks of great intimacy and oneness with the Lord. The primary root of the Hebrew word means “to bind together” perhaps by twisting. Think of it, bound together with Christ, entwined in Him, the three fold cord that is not easily broken. You can’t move unless He does. For me part of this struggle is a call to a renewed intimacy with Him. I believe God will renew my strength. I believe there is some travel I’m to do, and that the latter end of the ministry to which God has entrusted me will be greater than the former. I would like to ask you to war with me if you feel so led. It may be that you are going through a trial in your life. I would be honored to pray for you and with you. I have a brief thought I’d like to share in keeping with the season and I hope it will be an encouragement to you.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
I have often heard people debate whether this verse means to be thankful for everything, every circumstance that comes in our life or just be thankful to God in the circumstance. I must confess that I don’t know enough about the Greek construct to definitively answer the argument. I have looked at it in various and sundry ways. In my personal experience I have thanked God for what He would He would show me in or the redemptive purpose He would bring out of the circumstance. It was in one of those times He spoke as clearly to me as I have ever heard Him.
Back in 1981, I was going through financial difficulties.God used the area of finances to get my attention. I had surrendered to the call of the ministry and felt great peace about God’s purpose and direction for my life, but I still was in a financial hole. I had been writing checks on money I didn’t have knowing they would debit my Mastercard. One Friday, I went to my box and found three bounced checks. I panicked. I called the bank and the Mastercard people and finally got things straightened out. Over the next two weeks the Lord was doing so much in my life when it happened again I had a different response to the situation. It was a Saturday and I couldn’t do anything until Monday. We were having a big lay witness revival at our church that weekend and I was not going to let it steal my joy. I went home and knelt beside my chair. I prayed, “Lord I know there is something You are showing me through this situation and I thank You for what You are showing me. I have never heard the audible voice of the Lord, but His voice so resonated in my spirit that it could not have been any clearer if it were audible. He led me to take the Mastercard out of my wallet and look at it. As I looked at it, He said, “Herb, where is your trust? Is it in Me or that little plastic card?” I was deeply convicted and cut it up. That was the beginning of my financial healing as I purposed to operate on a cash basis.
I have thanked God in advance for my deliverance in the situation and I have for a season even thanked Him for situations. I cited the verse above one time while preaching and encouraged people to thank God for the circumstance. A guy on the first row tried to correct me. Then I read Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He couldn’t say anything about that one. I don’t like trials and have had difficulty thanking God in some difficult circumstances. If I really believe Romans 8:28,29, then I know that God will bring good (redemptive purpose) out of everything that comes into my life. He didn’t say He necessarily caused the circumstance, but promised He would bring good out of it. So, if I am in difficult circumstances, whether I am thankful for the circumstance or not, I can thank God that He will bring good out of it.
I have heard the different sides of this debate and I know I am not providing a definitive answer, but there is one thing I can say of a surety, it is God’s will that we give thanks, that we live lives of thanksgiving. I had this thought some time back, “Gratefulness leads to great fullness.” Are you not blessed when your children express gratitude to you. Gratitude blesses the Father. Let us live with an attitude of gratitude. In a few days we will celebrate the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. That is great to set aside a day to be thankful, but to us who are in Christ, every day is a day of thanksgiving. “Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift! 2 Cor. 9:15 He has given us a future and an unshakeable hope.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15
I pray that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your hearts would abound with thanksgiving throughout the year. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.