I Thes. 5:15-19 Make sure that nobody PAYS BACK wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks IN all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire.
For a follower of Jesus Christ life has a new set of imperatives:
Not retaliation (pay backs), but kindness.
Not worldly circumstantial happiness, but inner joy from God.
Not stressed out, but prayed up.
A thankful heart is a sweet aroma that pleases God instead of the stench of self-centered complaints.
A refusal to throw water on God's fire in your heart.
I. Refocuses my perspective
Phi. 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
It is easy to focus on what I do not have, rather than what I do have.
I have permission from God not to live a life full of stress, worry and anxiety.
I can approach his throne of grace and mercy because he cares for me.
I can focus on him rather than my lack.
Worry assassinates every promise that God has given me.
Prosperity can lull us to sleep, but when a crisis comes you must determine what is of importance.
How often do you grumble about finances?
There's not enough money at the end of the paycheck to cover expenses?
What's lacking in perspective? The first mission trip I did to Africa was back in the summer of 1988.
My wife and daughter, who is an RN, went on that trip and worked on the medical team. The medical team saw over 200 people a day, most of whom had never seen a real doctor in person before. They met incredible needs. God used them to help the sick and even save the dying.
One little baby had pneumonia and was terribly dehydrated. They worked for a long time trying to get an IV started, but it was impossible to get it flowing. I could see the concern in the eyes of the physician. He looked up to me and said, "We need to transport this one to the hospital."
The young mother of the baby said, "Our hospital is not where you go to get well, but to die."
II. Refreshes my heart
Psalm 95:2 Let us come before Him with thanksgiving.... do not harden your hearts.
Eddie in Brooklyn at teen challenge, being refreshed in private worship of God, simply expressing thanks.
III. Reaches the unconvinced
Phi. 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.
The testimony of a thankful heart draws people to the great God who satisfies!
It is so rare to find a genuinely happy person who is happy because they have chosen to be thankful in God, instead of grumbling about everything they do not like!
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