Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reasons to be Thankful, Part 2

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Chuckle: A woman wrote on an accident report: "I had to back out of the driveway and by the time I had backed out far enough to see if anything was coming, it already had."
Quote: "Do not take God's gifts for granted. When you receive an unexpected blessing, thank God for his continuing love and be alert to recognize the next time his blessing overtakes you!" --Henry Blackaby
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6 NIV).
Give thanks for all those who help you. Just pause for a moment and think of the people in your life who are always there when you need them. They lovingly place your welfare above their own. We should thank God for them and pray every day for them: wife, husband, mother, father, friend, neighbor, brothers and sisters in Christ, etc. They all help us every day in thousands of ways -- through prayers, encouragement, gifts, kind words, calls, e-mails, etc.
The Christians in Corinth helped Paul by their prayers. ". . . as you help us by your prayers" (2 Corinthians 1:11). The kindnesses and prayers of our Christian friends and family help us in more ways than we can enumerate. The Lord has convicted me that I don't say "thank you" nearly enough to all those who help make my life more enjoyable.
Be thankful for adversity. It has been said: "Travel broadens you and trouble deepens you." As unpleasant as it seems, adversity is good for us. As we saw in previous lessons, God often uses adversity to test, strengthen, and mature us in our faith. J. C. Penny once was asked about the greatest motivators in his life. He said, "I can tell you in four words, Jesus Christ and adversity." Adversity taught him never to give up.
Adversity is to our lives what temper (heat) is to metal -- it makes us stronger and more resilient. Even our Lord had to suffer many adversities during his life here on earth. Like Job, we don't understand all the Lord's ways, but we should always trust him to see us through difficult times. There is no way around adversity and no way over it -- the only way is through it. By God's grace, it builds Christian character.
Be thankful for the time you have. We should relish the moment and never live our lives anchored in the past or in apprehension about the future -- be thankful and enjoy the here and now. Life is precious and extremely brief. "Your life is a mist (vapor) that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14b NIV). We have no guarantee of tomorrow, next week, or next year, and should be thankful for the time God has given us -- time to prepare to meet him when this life is ended. And we should be thankful for the time he has given us to serve him, to show kindnesses, to love, to worship, and to serve others.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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