Give Thanks Always

15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else._  _16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV)

I heard a good sermon Saturday night by local pastor Neil Franks.  He happened to reference the above scripture as part of his message which was extremely ironic considering it was the same scripture verse we had put in our meal bags on Thursday.  The part that really got Amy and I thinking was the “give thanks in ALL circumstances”.  Now, we know that we can be very thankful if someone walked up to us on the street and handed us a bag full of money, or the local dealership calls and tells us we just won a new car, or if our kid scores the winning touchdown.  These are easy things to be thankful about, but what if our car breaks down when we’re in a hurry to get somewhere?  I know when that happens to me, being thankful is not the first #*!@ thing to come to mind.  What if we lose our job or even our house?  How thankful are we then?  What if tragedy strikes a loved one?  How can we be thankful about that?  The book of James says…

“when troubles 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 1:2-4 (NLT)

I know that I am now very thankful for some of the worst times of my life.  Those moments didn’t last forever, and they certainly sucked while I was going through them.  I can tell you I wasn’t thankful at the moment and sometimes I was just plain pissed off at God, but those times helped mold me and prepare me for different moments in my life.   As 2nd Corinthians say…

“17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Cor 4:17-18 (NLT)

I’m not so sure that I would want to have that person hand me a bag full of money then to experience those “low” moments of life.  The bag of money will only last a short time but the lessons of the trials last a lifetime.  So I’ll leave you with this thought, does it seem as if God isn’t hearing you right now?  Does your job suck?  Is your relationship on the brink?  Maybe, just maybe, God has you right where you need to be in life.  Be thankful.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 (NLT)

Our Jamaican friends are moving on this week.  What a sad day, but what a blessing it has been to get to know them!  While they are from a completely different country and culture, they worship the same God.  We are having a “Fellowship Night with the Jamaicans” at our house on Friday night, November 13th at 7:00 pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend.  We will have hamburgers and soda’s and we’ve asked that you bring a side dish (bag of chips) or a dessert (chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, but the Jamaican Orinthia really likes cheesecake).  Some of you may not know them but you are welcome to attend to experience the “community” that we love.

We are still looking for items for our toiletry “Care Bags” that we will pass out at the dinner. We still need Shampoo, Deodorant, Tooth Paste, Toilet Paper, Razors, Shaving Cream and anything else you can think of as a toiletry item.  We could still use lots of blankets, socks, gloves, and coats as well.  If your business would like to be a sponsor and help us in some way please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We would be glad to provide signage for all business sponsors.  I’ve had lots of calls for volunteers.  If God is urging you to volunteer, please do.  We will find something for you to do.  We try to make it a special night by waiting on the folks hand and foot but more importantly, by building relationships just by being that ear to listen.  I’ll put out a volunteers needs list and times as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

One last request, we would like to capture some information at the dinner and I’ve put together a short survey.  Please look it over and let me know your thoughts, comments and suggestions.  Let me know if you feel like there is something of importance we need to capture.  I’ve attached the .PDF file. Survey

Here is a link to a fantastic video by Rob Bell about the gifts God has given us and what we need to be thankful about. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think.


Have a blessed week,

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