Thursday, February 5, 2009
Giving Thanks - Part 2
Giving Thanks Part 2
God calls us to give thanks in all things, even in the midst of the not so good times. It is not easy to give thanks when we are in the midst of sadness, sorrows, pain, losses, depression, illness or any type of crisis. In spite of the fact this may appear hard, God says we can do it. He even gave us an example of how to give thanks when we are going through. Let us look to Joseph who was able to give thanks in spite of his circumstances and see what advice we can gleam from his life.
Joseph was sold into slavery, taken from the people he knew and loved, from his father’s care and placed in a foreign country because of jealousy. How could one not be angry and bitter, full of hate? Joseph was not. We can imagine Joseph was confused about how he got into such a predicament; he had not done anything to deserve such punishment. Joseph kept focused on God, he gave thanks to God by continuing to walk upright and faithfully. Joseph teaches us no matter our situation we are not to take our eyes off God and we are to continue to do what is right in God’s eyes. He didn’t compromise his beliefs as demonstrated by his encounter with Potiphar’s wife, he didn’t dishonor his God. Joseph didn’t give Satan any kind of foothold into his life and because He kept God the centered, God gave him His favor, Joseph was successful in all he did. Again we can imagine this strengthen Joseph and kept him with an attitude of thanksgivings and kept him looking up rather than at his situation.
Could life get any worst for Joseph, yes he was thrown into prison because he chose not to disrespect his earthly master and more importantly his heavenly Master. Joseph refused to sin against God and found himself in prison, less freedom but not less opportunity to praise and give thanks to God. God continued to show Joseph his faithful love and Joseph responded to this love by giving God the glory for his gifts and his success. Even when it appeared Joseph wouldn’t be remembered and freed from his prison life he continued down the same path of trusting in and waiting on God. His thankful waiting resulted in not only his release from prison but promotion to the second highest office in the land. In this office Joseph was able to reunite with his family. Though Joseph was still hurting from the treatment of his brothers but he was able to give thanks through his pain by developing an attitude of forgiveness. He looked to God and saw His righteous hand in his life and knew God has set him on a path which would help him to save his family. Joseph’s ability to give thanks in the midst of trouble, trails, loses, lies, forgetfulness resulted in his being able to rejoice over the goodness of God.
When life throws us a curve ball, we can’t lose hope we must continue to give God glory and thanks. “In all things give thank to God for this is His will for you through Christ Jesus”. Ephesians 5:20
Step to giving thanks regardless of our circumstances.
• Remain focus on God; keep Him at the center of your life. Look up and not at your circumstances. “Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up.” Romans 4:19 (the Message)
• Continue to walk righteously and faithfully. “this means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful. Revelation 13:10b (NLT)
• Do not compromise your beliefs. “So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good," says God. "Don't link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. 2 Corinthians 7:17 (The Message)
• Do not dishonor God. “Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2 (NLT)
Don’t give Satan a foothold into your life. Shut him out quickly. “And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. : Ephesians 4:26-27
• Keep an attitude of thanksgiving; look at the good in your situation. If you can see no good, see God’s goodness. “They will declare, "The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is nothing but goodness in him!" Psalm 92:15 (NLT)
• Continue to use the gifts God has blessed you with and give Him glory for those gifts. "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God." 2Timothy 1:6 (NIV)
• Refuse to sin. “Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:13 (NLT)
• Know God is directing your path, don’t forget He has a plan and purpose for your life. “But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God." Psalm 50:23 (NLT)
• Remember God’s timing is not the same as yours. His timing is always right and it will always come. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. Psalm 34:19 (NLT)
• Remember God sees ahead and is preparing the way and preparing you. “The LORD will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me. Psalm138:8 (NLT)
• Be forgiving. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 (NLT)
Know waiting on God will result in you being able to rejoice in His goodness. “ But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. “ Isaiah 40:31 (KJ)
• See God’s righteousness in the midst of troubles and draw your strength from Him. “They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.” Psalm 89:16 (NLT)