Having An Attitude of Gratitude

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

The past few Sundays we talked about the Second Coming of Christ. The Scripture presents His Second Coming in two stages: His coming in the Air:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Jesus’ Second Coming in the Air – the Rapture – will be to save the Church from a “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

At the end of that seven year period Jesus will return with His Church to save Israel, and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, a Kingdom of Peace, for 1000 years.

Though Jesus will return to save His Church from the Great Tribulation, there are times when His Church has gone through suffering and tribulation. The International Mission Board of the SBC notes that in 2020:

• 340 million Christians experience high levels of persecution
• 4,761 Christians were killed for their faith
• 4,488 Church buildings were attacked and destroyed

In Finland, former Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen was criminally charged with “hate speech” for posting a picture of the Bible opened to

Romans 1:24-27 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Päivi said, “The early Christians did not renounce their faith in lions’ caves, why should I then renounce my faith in a court room?”.

In America we as Christians have freedom of speech. The big tech social networks are pushing hard to remove our freedom of speech. There may come a day when the American Christian loses our public freedom of speech. Facebook, I am told, is already blocking some Christian content, especially if it is Bible and Family based.

As I was mowing my grass this past Thursday, and talking with my Lord God, He caused a text of Scripture to pop into my head. In Exodus 1 the Scripture lists the twelve children of Jacob, and says:

Exodus 1:5-8 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

God allowed Egypt to be a sanctuary for His Old Covenant people, Israel. Israel was blessed in that land. The Bible says “the land was filled with them”. Israel prospered in Egypt, just as the Christian has prospered in America. Yet over time Israel stopped being the light that God called them to be. Israel began to blend with the darkness. And in that blending, the light of God was not seen. A king rose up who “knew not Joseph”. Joseph changed his environment by living for and loving the Lord.

When you live for and love the Lord,
you change the world around you.

The King didn’t know Joseph because the believers in Israel compromised with the darkness. When you compromise with the darkness, it isn’t long before the darkness takes you. Because Egypt “knew not Joseph”, in time Egypt enslaved Israel and began to kill her children.

Let us love the Lord our God. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, and have an attitude of gratitude to our Lord and Savior. We are told:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

As children of the King, let us

Rejoice Evermore – At ALL times!

Word Study The little sentence “Rejoice evermore” is very powerful. It is two words in the Greek, χαίρω chaírō, {pronounced khah’-ee-ro} πάντοτε pántote, {pronounced pan’-tot-eh}, meaning “Overflow with joy at all times”. To “rejoice” is to let joy bubble up from your heart and overflow to your mouth and your face, your entire body. Why should we as Christians be filled with joy at all times? Quite simply, because …

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ

Word Study What wonderful words! “God hath not APPOINTED us to wrath”. The word “APPOINTED” is the Greek τίθημι títhēmi, {pronounced tith’-ay-mee}, which means “to assign, to lay down, appoint”. The same word is used in Acts 17:31, where we are told “God hath APPOINTED a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ…”. When Jesus returns, the rejecters of the Gospel will have an appointment with Him. He will judge them, and punish those who have rejected His offer of salvation. The Bible tells us:

Hebrews 9:27 … it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment …

The Christ follower is not “appointed … to wrath”. Our destiny is to be with the Lord Who loves us, and will love us into eternity. Those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are under condemnation – and are the subjects of the future wrath of God. The Bible says:

John 3:17-18 God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The “wrath of God” is a real thing. It was the wrath of God that killed the firstborn of every home NOT under the Blood of the Lamb. God’s wrath comes on those who …

Psalm 78:22 … believe not in God, and trust not in his salvation

God’s wrath came on Israel when she continually rejected His love.

Psalm 78:31 the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

When you reject the Grace of God, and deny Him His glory, you bring His wrath into your life. The wrath of God is not just an Old Testament phenomenon. Listen Beloved,

I looked up the phrase “wrath of God” in the King James, and found that phrase ten times, nine of which are in the New Testament.

One day that grand old preacher John the Baptist was asked, “Are YOU the Christ?” John replied:

John 3:28-30; 34-36 …. I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him …. THIS MY JOY THEREFORE IS FULFILLED … 34-36 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Jesus Christ came to take the wrath of God from us. If we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we “hath everlasting life”. But there is something else we do not have. We are NEVER under the wrath of God. The Apostle said in:

Romans 5:6-9 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

The wrath of God is not my heritage. God does have wrath. Oh yes, He does. We are told in Revelation 20:15, whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This “lake of fire” is a horrible place, described as:

Revelation 14:10-11 … the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night

Regardless as to what is going on in your life, dear Christian, you are not appointed to wrath. What is your appointment? Again we read:

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ

Salvation is ours. Eternity is ours. Jesus is preparing a place for us, and it is a mansion, not a fire! As a believer in Christ I am never alone. We are told:

1 Thessalonians 5:10 {Jesus} died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

It is the Christian’s lot in life that we “live together with him”. We as Christians live in union with Christ. He is with us. He is our Lord. We live WITH Him and FOR Him. We are told in:

Romans 14:8-9 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Rejoice, for Jesus has saved you. Rejoice evermore, because Jesus is with you in the valley and on the mountaintop. Rejoice, for God controls all things for your good. You are His Child by faith in Christ. As you love Him, know He loves you. One of my favorite texts is:

Romans 8:28 … we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Rejoice at all times for whatever is happening in your life – regardless as to whether it seems beautiful or horrid – these things “work together for good” in your life. Rejoice evermore. Rejoice at all times!

The Attitude Of Gratitude Is For The Prayerful

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

If God is in partnership with your life, and if the Scripture is true that says:

Hebrews 13:5 … I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. … then

We as Christians should find prayer as
easy and natural as breathing!

Prayer is not just asking God for things. Prayer is talking to God your Father. What a joy it is to know that I have the ear of God, especially when I am going through trials and tribulations. As we pray, we give God the glory by acknowledging that He is Father, and we His children. We honor His name in our prayers, seeking only the glory of God.

Matthew 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Prayer honors God by seeking His will in our lives. When His Kingdom comes in our lives, we are filled with joy.

Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Prayer changes our environment by changing our hearts. Moses prayed:

Exodus 33:13-16 … Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And {Moses}{ said unto {God}, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us?

Prayer gives glory to God, and magnifies His will in our lives. Prayer invites God into our DAILY lives. “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence”.

In prayer, we lay our needs at the Father’s feet. We pray:

Matthew 6:11-13 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…

The closer we are to God, the greater will be our attitude of gratitude. Israel was more focused on where they came from, rather than where God was leading them. Invite God into your environment. Walk with Him: “walk in the light, as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). Confess and repent of any active sin, knowing that sin in the heart muffles your union with God in Christ.

Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

It is sin that quenches or grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

We suppress or grieve the Holy Spirit when we walk in the darkness, following the world instead of the Lord. We are not as we were before we were saved. As Christians, the Holy Spirit of God now lives in us.

We QUENCH the Spirit when we do NOT DO what He says do.
We GRIEVE the Spirit when we do what He says NOT to do.

The Spirit of God now lives inside you, dear Christian. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9). You are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). God knows your hearts. Confess any active sin in your lives, and repent of that way of life. Hear the Word of God, and apply it to your lives.

1 Thessalonians 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.

Hear what the Word of God says, and do it. The Bible that we have is written by God.

2 Peter 1:21 the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Heed the Word of God, and do what it says.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.

Do not live your life based on your feelings, but on what God has said in His Word. So many of us rob ourselves of blessing when we do not prayerfully weigh all things against the Word of God.

Illustrate A little girl came to her daddy and asked for a nickle. The father generously opened his wallet and handed her a five dollar bill. The child tossed the bill on the floor, and demanded the nickle. Her daddy said, “But honey, that’s a five dollar bill!” Her reply is like what many of us stubbornly give God. “I don’t want that. I want a nickle”.

Weigh everything by God’s Word and God’s Spirit. When someone tells you something to be true, verify it by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Make sure that what you are being told is not just a word from man. It is the Word of God that blesses. Your life should align with God’s Word if you expect to have power in prayer.

Be Thankful For All Things – Even The Hard

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Did you get the Covid? Be thankful. That was God’s will for your life. Trials grow the Christian. Thank Him for it.

Are you in a hospital, or long term care facility? Be grateful. This is where God wants you to minister. Tell others of Jesus.

Do you have cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or some other affliction common to mankind. Thank God for it. Do not be filled with sadness or depression or anxiety. Be FILLED with THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Bible says in …

Ephesians 5:18-21 be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Some people take a shot of whiskey, a mixed cocktail, a marijuana product, or a pill to “steady the nerves” or “calm you down”. God’s prescription is to FILL yourself with the Holy Spirit. Chase out the doom and gloom with song! Like a bird, let your hearts be filled with song!

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

If it is true that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), then the trial you are going through is GOOD. Trust God in it. Trials make us more like Christ. As we are told in

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers {trials}; 3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Had the first generation of Israel trusted the God Who saved them, they would have entered the Promised Land. God will not do great things with those who have little faith. Thank God for what you have, and for what you lack. Seek an attitude of gratitude.

Pastor Max Lucado wrote:

“A grateful heart sees each day as a gift. Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have. I attended a banquet recently in which a wounded soldier was presented with the gift of a free house. He nearly fell over with gratitude. He bounded onto the stage with his one good leg and threw both arms around the presenter. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” He hugged the guitar player in the band and the big woman on the front row. He thanked the waiter, the other soldiers, and then the presenter again. Before the night was over, he thanked me! And I didn’t do anything. Shouldn’t we be equally grateful? Jesus is building a house for us (John 14:2). Our deed of ownership is every bit as certain as that of the soldier.”

God did a wonderful thing for us, dear Christian, when He saved our souls. We have Heaven before us, hell behind us, and a Savior and Lord Who cannot be defeated. When we rejoice at all times, pray at all times, and give thanks at all times, we will change our environment. We will be the light that Jesus calls His Church to be. Let us be the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14). May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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