ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Praise the Lord in everything

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

110219.F.PRE.TimWilson.jpg
Pastor Tim Wilson
unknown

Have you ever noticed that people who are habitually ungrateful are strangers to happiness?

One of the greatest privileges of being a Christian is to have the capacity to give thanks regardless of what happens. It is easy to be thankful when things are going our way, but a Christian can rise above situations to thank God for causing all things to work together for good.

The Christians in Thessalonica were being persecuted. Property was being seized. Workers were stopped from practicing their trades. Those who found a new faith were shunned by their families. Some were insulted, some beaten, and some put to death. They were experiencing suffering of the worst kind.

Paul, the apostle, wrote to these persecuted Christians; "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

It would have been easy for even Paul to feel sorry for himself. The Jews wanted to put him to death. The Romans hunted him like a dog and imprisoned him with chains. Even his best friends deserted him, yet he gave thanks because He knew that God is in control of whatever might happen to him.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 1636, in the midst of the darkness of the Thirty Years’ War, a German Lutheran pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried 5,000 of his community in that one year. It was his misfortune to minister in the worst of times.

He lived in a walled town into which hordes of refugees poured. Great armies crossed the land, pillaging shops and farms, leaving ruin and desolation behind. Farming activities were so interrupted by the war that famine ensued throughout Saxony.

Then the plague broke out. The other two ministers in town died, leaving Martin to care for the multitudes alone. All day he went from bed to bed, nursing the sick and comforting the dying. He conducted thousands of funerals, sometimes reading the funeral service over 40 or 50 bodies at once. Among the thousands who perished in one particular year was his own wife. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster.

In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children: “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices; Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”

Our Thanksgiving is not centered around a holiday, a special feast, a gathering of family and friends or even the pleasantries that we have experienced in life. Our Thanksgiving is centered around Jesus Christ and all He is to us, and all He has done for us in the past, in the present and, by faith, in the future.

So, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Pastor Tim Wilson serves at Park Rapids Assembly of God.

Related Topics: FAITH
What To Read Next
This week, gardening columnist Don Kinzler fields questions on hibiscus plants, beating apple trees and how long grass seeds will last.
Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.
If it plays well in Winnipeg, it’ll be a hit in Fargo, and all points within planting distance.
Faith briefs from area churches.