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On Being Thankful
November 5, 2007
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
"Thank God." I hear this phrase often on the news, in the marketplace, in homes, and in churches. In the aftermath of the California wildfires, people thanked God they were alive. They thanked God for the firefighters. They thanked God that they even lived in a country that could give them assistance. They thanked God for their communities, for the volunteers, for the hope of rebuilding. We thank God along with them.
Two people received Christ at Craighouse® just this past week. Others were healed of everything from emotional disorders to joint pain to heart problems to loneliness. Lives change. Thank God!
When we are thankful people, we sing unto the Lord. Our hearts leap with joy, and we praise God for all He is and has done for us. We look into His face and draw close to the One who loves us and gives us every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1). We seek the Giver and not just His gifts (John 6). We consider His power, His help, His comfort. We consider the works of His hands. (Psalm 24, Psalm 8) We see that His arm is not too short, for He reaches us wherever we are and touches us that we might be healed. (Psalm 139, Isaiah chapter 40 on)
We enter into God's gates with thanksgiving. (Psalm 100) Thankfulness is an attitude that should pervade our lives. Every believer can be a thankful person by exercising the following guidelines for living:
1. Live in an attitude of gratitude. The attitude comes when we become aware of our redemption, that we have been delivered through Christ from indwelling sin, from the curse and eternal judgment. Because of Christ, victory has been achieved over death, hell, and the grave. The gospel has triumphed in us. We recognize that all things come of God, and of His own have we given back to Him. (1 Chronicles 29.10-19) We are to bless the Lord because daily He loads us with benefits. (Psalm 103) How has the Lord blessed you?
2. Live in acknowledgment of God's goodness. Give thanks to God for His goodness in the continual supply of our daily need. (Phil. 4.19, Matt. 6.9-13) When we give thanks before meals, we follow Jesus' example (Matt. 15.16, Luke 9.16) of recognizing God as the giver of all things and our Source and Supplier. We acknowledge His Lordship.
3. Live in anticipation of a good outcome. All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8.28) Anticipate good from a good God.
4. Live in appreciation of others. Thank God for your family in Christ. Remember to thank others and lift them up to God in your prayers. (Eph. 1.15-19; Col. 1.3ff; 2 Cor. 8; 1 Thess. 1.2, 3; 3.9)
5. Live in acceptance of God's will. In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also has set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. (Eccl. 7.14) Whatever is happening is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us. Give thanks in everything. (1 Thess. 5.18) He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
6. Live in agreement with God's character. Agree with who God is, what He says, with His plans and purposes. (Job 22.21-28) When you state a thing that is in agreement with God's heart, mind, and will, He will do it because you are in perfect agreement with Him, not seeking your own. Pray in the Name, in agreement with Christ's character, i.e., pray in the same spirit, conviction, faith, and purpose that His prayers would be given. Live on the Vine. (John 15)
7. Live in awe of God's grace. Marvel in the atmosphere of God's presence. Marvel at His authority, at your redemption, at God-who-forgives, at the Good Shepherd who loses not one sheep.
The old English word for thanks means to know or to think. Thanking is linked to thinking. Our thinking needs to be disciplined in order to live thankfully. (Romans 12.2; Psalm 104; Deut. 8.2-19; Phil. 4.8; Psalm 103) An event happens, and how we interpret that event will influence our response, bitter or better. Perception, prejudice, and past history all affect interpretation. Remember the Lord your God!
When spies were sent to search the land God was giving the Israelites, they brought back excellent fruit and declared,
"surely it flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it." (Numbers 13.27) But then others began to grumble over the giants in the land, saying it was "a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof." (Numbers 13.32) Joshua and Caleb knew for sure they could go in to possess the land God had given them, but the people began to murmur and talk about returning to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people that the land was "an exceeding good land."
If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it us; a land which flows with milk
and honey. Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear the people of the land; for they are bread for us;
their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Fear them not. (Numbers 14.8, 9)
It all comes down to how we choose to live. Grumble over giants, or focus on fruit. Murmur or be thankful. Take God for granted or honor Him for His love. Martin Luther said, "When we have come to this conclusion that our life in this world is a gift of God's mercy which we ought to remember with gratitude, because we owe it to him, it will then be time for us to consider its misery." Live thankfully.
We are thankful for you! Your gifts make a difference. Saturday, December 8th, we have a Barnabas Project distribution, this time, in Homestead, Florida. Please co-labor with us as we preach the gospel here and around the world. Give and it will be given unto you.
Thanking God for you,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org. Order books from our Catalog section, using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.
And let the peace
of God rule in your hearts,
To the which also you are called in one body;
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
Teaching and admonishing one another
In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever you do in word or deed,
Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
Giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
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