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November - Pastor's Message

posted Nov 18, 2014, 11:00 AM by Karen Lindsey   [ updated Nov 18, 2014, 11:02 AM ]
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
        --1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.
        -- Psalm 107:1

Dear Friends in Christ,
November is the month we emphasize giving thanks.  Giving thanks to God isn't meant to be limited to one month out of the year.  In fact, we can and should express our thanks to God every day and all year round.

Paul writes that "In everything" we should give thanks.  That seems a little unrealistic, don't you think?  Do you feel like giving thanks when your child comes home from school feeling hurt by friends who have marginalized or made fun of him/her?  Do you feel like giving thanks when someone leaves a big old ding in your car door but doesn't leave a note of apology?  Do you feel like giving thanks when your big plans fall through?  Do you feel like giving thanks when health and strength diminishes?   

It's important to understand what Paul said and meant: "IN everything give thanks."  He isn't suggesting that we should be thankful FOR all the bad things that come our way.  Disappointment and evil do not come from God, so we certainly don't want to thank God for things that don't have their origins in him.  

But when bad things do happen we can be thankful for God's presence and the peace he gives us in the midst of trouble.  We can also give thanks because as we learned in our study of Romans 8 God can take trouble and evil and still accomplish good in our lives and the lives of others.  "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  (Rom. 8:28)

Obviously, it's easy to give thanks when life goes along smoothly.  But when difficulty and trouble knocks us down we feel angry, we feel like God is unfair, we feel overwhelmed.  Thankfulness is the last thing we feel!  Yet, Paul invites -- commands, really -- that in everything we should give thanks.  In fact, Paul says it is God's will that we do so.

Learning to give thanks IN ALL THINGS doesn't come easily.  Yet this is our assignment: "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  Learning to give thanks IN ALL THINGS is learning to trust God when things are falling apart in our lives; it is to recognize that God is sovereign and can redeem any situation; it is to acknowledge that our understanding of the events in our lives is very limited, but that God sees the big picture.  
Learning to give thanks IN ALL THINGS is to acknowledge, as the Psalmist wrote, that God is good and his faithful love endures forever.  God is completely in control and is always working out his will.  THAT is the reason we can give thanks IN ALL THINGS! 

Practice giving thanks -- not just in November, but every day of every year; and IN EVERYTHING.

In Christ,
Pastor Lori