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How to “give thanks” IN every circumstance

“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

In this article, I devoted quite a lot to what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 does not mean. So I thought that it might be beneficial to share a little bit about what this most important verse DOES convey to us.

Even though I have never felt that this verse instructed us to be thankful FOR the painful and hurtful type of circumstances in life, to be candid, for most of my life I had great difficulty with the concept of giving thanks to God in every situation. Not only did I just not want to, but neither did I feel that I even understood what the verse was trying to say.

My thinking may have been something like “OK, I am thankful that God is with me: But what I am going through here really stinks and I wish it were over”: But the reality is my thoughts would have been much simpler and pointed such as; “This stinks” and “How do I get out of this”.

A little history
To explain, I think a little background is in order. In my younger years, I was quite independent. I didn’t feel that I needed anyone for much of anything. I thought that I could handle pretty much everything that came along. And, in my very limited scope of view, I pretty much did. During those years, I was getting along fine with just me, myself, and I.

As life forged on things became a little more complicated but I still felt that I could pretty much keep it together but hey, if I couldn’t, I would eventually fix the problem and move on.

Later, after I had submitted myself to God, I thought that I was walking with Him but, looking back, I see now that I was hardly even close. I thought that I was serving Him in various capacities of ministry, but in actuality, I still was on a very different path than He was.
As more time went on things became more complicated and things happened that made me see that I had absolutely NO control over much of anything.

There were times in the process that I felt that I had hit my bottom… Things can usually be worse than they are but I was certainly feeling the pinch… That was for sure.

God made it through – It’s all for naught….
It was at that point that God was finally able to punch through my self-will. I then began to understand that I was basically just an overgrown infant that could hardly even wipe my own nose.

I began to see that all of the “accomplishments”, all of the education, training, experiences, accolades, achievements, awards, etcetera that I had in my life were pretty much as nothing.

In fact, in many ways, they were less than nothing. They were even detrimental because much of it helped to steer me away from an intimate relationship with my Creator.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
James 4:10

The Gospel in the light of humility
Oh, how I wish I could effectively share, with everyone, the need for God’s salvation and deliverance, that we all have, in order to spare them the misery…

What I have learned is that we are all merely a breath away from disaster and it is only Yeshua who can keep us together.

And he is before all things, and BY HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST (are held together).
Colossians 1:17

Many who read this will nod, shake their head and agree. However until you come to a point that you REALLY embrace your helplessness apart from Him, you will never be able thank God as Apostle Paul intended when he wrote those words.

“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

You don’t have to be as stiff-necked or blind as I was. Praise God that if you didn’t know before, you now know that there is a better way.

Ask God to open your eyes so that you have eyes to see what He has for you

What I have come to know is; the more you humble yourself before Him, the more He will respond to you.

The more you come to know Him, the more you learn to trust Him.

The more you trust Him, the more you really can, genuinely, thank Him for watching out over you even in the mids storms. You can do this with confidence because you realize that He really IS watching out over you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

I was going to end this here but felt prompted to add another perspective to the discussion.

Without faith…
In Hebrews 11:6 the Bible says that “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him”. This is another verse that seemed a bit elusive to me for several years. I could read it, I quoted it numerous times, but I felt that I struggled to really grasp its meaning.

At this point in my life I wouldn’t be so bold to assume that I fully understand it but I certainly have a better handle on it than ever before.

I used to treat the kind of faith that this verse references as a type of currency. I would think something like “Okay, if I trade God five pounds of faith I can please Him”. So I would manufacture some currency (faith), and offer it in trade; in hopes that He would be pleased.

What Hebrews 11:6 is trying to convey to us is God is looking for relationships with His Children that self generate faith and trust in such a way that we wholly and completely trust Him in every situation.

It’s all a journey
If you aren’t quite there yet I encourage you to not fall into condemnation. That won’t help anything and it will hurt things. Just know that, that is where He would like your relationship with Him to go.

When you enter in to this type of a relationship with Him, you really, truly can “give thanks”, in every thing, because you are so grateful that He has invited you behind the veil.

This is why Apostle Paul was able to say:

....I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Philippians 4:11

Even though you may be facing a challenge of some sort, the faith that He has given you has led you to a confidence that you are longer orphaned and that He will see you through.

“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Today I am a long way from where I used to be: I am so thankful. Not to say that I am perfected; I’m not, but I know the way, and I am getting closer day by day.

Come join us! See below.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning – 1806-1861

Blessings in Yeshua
Parson Rayphe
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