Thanksgiving Series, Part II
Impact Christian Church
Pastor Stephen Paul With
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
- The Time of Thanks
- The Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to heighten our sensitivity to the Blessings bestowed by God. Thanksgiving grabs your attention, shakes the cobwebs loose, and reminds you of all God’s most precious gifts. That’s one reason Thanksgiving has always held such a special place in my heart. It rekindles in me the kind of God-centered gratitude that our Lord demands and deserves—the kind that should readily be on our lips year round.
- To help stimulate that kind of deeper gratitude, my family has adopted a Thanksgiving tradition we’ve found extremely helpful. Each year during our Thanksgiving meal we gather around our tables and simply recite the blessings of God that have touched our lives. We always share our thanks to God.
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
II. 6 blessings that deeply touch me every year
…and prompt me to thank God. Perhaps it’ll catch and you’ll be able to rekindle your gratitude! Many of you in this room have have these same blessings to count
But before I start I have a thought from the Apostle Paul.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:15, “15 As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.”
The sequence goes like this: God’s grace is experienced as wonderful and undeserved; heartfelt thanks*feeling* rises in the heart; this true thanks*feeling* overflows with thanks*giving*; thus God is shown to be glorious — he is glorified. So our ThanksGiving glorifies God.
1. We’re Saved and We Know It
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
- No work of God’s is more beyond my comprehension yet closer to my heart and more worthy of gratitude than Salvation .
- Before coming to know Christ, each of us lived in a Self-imposed Prison, Condemned, Spiritually blind, and Separated from God.
- But Christ not only rescued us from the power and penalty of our sins, He also lifted us to a place of blessing…He delivered us from punishment and brought glory. He took away the threat of hell and gave us the hope of heaven.
We sing of salvation. We talk of salvation. Salvation is the essence of Christianity. Thanking God for saving us should be the unceasing occupation of our lips—only a stone-cold heart could offer anything less. – Pastor John MacArthur
2. The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth
32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
- Watch a half hour of news and tell me if the word chaos doesn’t come to mind. The world is gripped by it liberalism and relativism… Conflict about elections, racism, religions, philosophy…one thing after another. Then we have the media that turns and twists things against all that is pure. The purity and value of life is gone…Life is all questions and no answers. There is no concrete guideline or standard by which to judge good and bad, right and wrong. The suppression of truth exacts a tremendous price.
- But thanks to God, we have His Word! From the Bible we can understand life and knowledge better than all the educators, philosophers, and politicians combined. We have a Standard !!
… We have a way of knowing what is right and what is wrong…God’s Word offers us a window on the real issues people battle. We know how to be good employees, to love our spouses, to raise our families, to truly love our neighbors.
Meaning in life is not a question, it’s a fact. I thank God for revealing His truth to us and for allowing me the privilege of studying and teaching it.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
3. The Value Life’s Storms
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:1-4
- Perhaps the Most Difficult time to be Thankful is when we’re in the midst of a Setback, a Challenge, a Sickness, a Concussion or a Trial. or Bronchitis
- Being thankful for adversity is never easy, but it is always right. From experience we know the difficult times are the ones in which God seems to be most at work in our lives, strengthening our weak spots, comforting our hurts, and drawing us to greater dependence.
18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18
- Faithful Church & Churches
61 And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today. 1 Kings 8:61
- We can thank the Lord for our church and though we are small we have stayed true to the Lord and strived together to become more like Jesus.
- We may not be a big church, but we are certainly growing spiritually.
- Large or small, the congregations that remain faithful to God’s Word are the ones that are alive, vital, flourishing, reaching their communities with great effectiveness, and advancing the kingdom of God. I’m grateful to Him for those churches, and for the encouragement they are to me and to the Body of Christ.
- As many of you know I have been helping train pastors and church leaders in the RCA and CRC. It is been very encouraging and inspiring to see their commitments to follow the Lord. It has been a great joy for me.
- The Country We Live In
- The USA is a free, prosperous country. We can worship in our churches, buy homes, own land, vote, shop, eat, live in freedom!!
- All over the world right now: millions of people are wondering where their next meal will come from. They have never traveled more than a few miles…had running water or health care…have only the clothes on their back…have never owned a pair of shoes.
- We have so Much . But sometimes we get in the dangerous game of comparing ourselves to others around us who have more!! …and we can become unhappy that we only have 2 cars when someone we know has 3. We can become unhappy with 3 bedrooms when someone we know has
- May we never become so spoiled that we take for granted all the simple luxuries we enjoy every day.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
- The People Who Make a Difference
6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. 3 John 1:6
- I thank God daily for the many people who add so much Love, Support, Faith and Strength to my life. Without my family and friends there would be many vacant areas in my life. I think first of my best friend and wife, Jill. Wonderful Loving children (Natalie and Paul) and soon to be a grandchild (Stephen Paul With Jr.). Then I am thankful for my family and for my parents and brothers and sisters and my spiritual brothers and sisters in this church.
- Many of the family and friends in my Life have Labored with for the sake of the Gospel. We have traveled all over the world to Serve the Lord. Those Moments and Missions are life changing for me!
- Let me Encourage you not to Allow this Thanksgiving Season to come and go without taking Inventory. Who are you Thankful for? How can you share your Gratitude to the Lord? Who needs to hear you are Thankful?
May you, your family, and friends enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving season
. . . all year!