Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving by Thanks Living: Thankfulness: In everything give thanks.

We need not lament that our culture is turning to the gospel of the times rather than the gospel of eternity.  God is still in control.  Nothing happens without his permission.  There are no co-incidences, there are only God incidences.

This is the time of year when even secular men and women turn their hearts toward their fellow man ... when we take time as Americans to "be thankful unto Him," to count our material blessings and to seek to give of our material abundance to help those who are in physical need.  As the scripture says, "You refreshed your weary people and from your bounty you provided for the poor."  Jesus Christ said that "in that thou hath done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  We as Americans, have been blessed abundantly in the physical realm and we, as Christians, have been blessed in the spiritual realm.  As we seek to bless those in physical need, we allow God to honor our giving by blessing us in return.

God's heart is always inclined toward the poor:  it starts with those poor in spirit ... poverty manifests itself in physical need. Jesus came to minister to those who were poor in spirit.  They must come to him with empty hands, so that God through Jesus Christ can fill their lives with his Spirit.  God gives spiritually and empowers his people so that they can appropriate His power in their lives to will and to do of His good pleasure.

He chose us before we chose Him.  He gave us an open invitation empowering us to seek Him before we could even acknowledge his presence.  Without his mercy and grace we are nothing.  For God commended his love toward us In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.

Proverbs 4:11-25 states that there is one who scatters but gathers all the more.  The theme is that when you sow you will reap the harvest as a result of allowing God to give the increase.  God is a God of paradoxes.  According to the secular world, getting comes before giving.  However, according to the Word of God, getting is a result of first having given. It's not about getting but rather it's about giving.  God can only bless you when you give.  By giving, you're not subtracting, you're multiplying.  As you plant the seed and water the crop, only then can God honor your act of believing by providing the increase.  In giving, we allow God prove the measure of our faith in Him.

God said to give the sacrifice of praise.  When we give sacrificially from our need, and not from our abundance, we are proving that God is the  source of our sufficiency and not our material abundance. When we hoard and give from our hoard, God cannot bless us as much as when we give from our need. When the widow in the scriptures gave from her need and dedicated all her last bit of food in service to God's prophet Elijah, her meager offering of oil and inadequate supply of meal did not fail her. God sustained her and her son with a miracle. God daily replenished her supply of oil and her daily portion of meal until the famine in the land was over.

In order to receive from God, we must forsake our pride.  Self sufficiency, with the emphasis on self, is contrary to God's will.  According to 2 Corinthians 3:5, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency os of God."  Only God is our sufficiency.  Only he can supply our needs. What needeth thou?  Ultimately, all I need is thee.  He is my portion, my provision, my allotment:  physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  God is our "soul" provider and "sole" provider.

God loved us so much that he gave us a way to express our love for Him in return. The Word of God says that a "God loveth a hilarious giver."  However, God loves us whether or not we give.  God's love (charity. Greek word, agape) is unconditional.  Another, more correct translation of this verse, puts the giver in the active rather than the passive voice:  "a hilarious giver loveth God." 

As we give sacrificially, we praise God.  Wouldn't it be frustrating if we couldn't express our love for our Heavenly Father? Thanks giving by thanks living allows us to love God by giving back to God a token of the blessing with which he has blessed us. We do this by bringing to Him a sacrifice of praise! God allows us to give sacrificially and also from the abundance with which He has blessed us. The sacrifice of giving  is ultimately the sacrifice of praise.

The Word of God says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The Word also says "be ye imitators of Him as dear children." Giving is the nature of God. As we give selflessly and sacrificially, as an act of believing that God is our sufficiency, we bless God by allowing Him to bless us in return. Nothing blesses our Father more than allowing Him to continue to bless us. 

The Greek word for thanks (eucharistia) is derived from the Greek word for gift (charismata) and is related to the word for grace (charis).  Only by God's gracious gift of the Holy Spirit, we are able to thank Him for His "unspeakable gift."  By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continuously... Hebrews 13:15a.  Thanks giving by Thanks Living.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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