Often I am asked about the statement by God the Holy Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 â€śin everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.â€ť The question being, when I am ill, when I am broke, when things are going wrong and I am unhappy-- how can God expect me to give thanks? (As if doing Godâ€™s will is dependent upon how we feel about our circumstances.) One of the answers to this question/dilemma is to be actively involved in the ministry of the gospel. We would like to share with you two observations and five prayers of thanksgiving, in the hope that it will open your hearts and minds to the reality that it is indeed possible to give thanks in every situation.
First observation concerning thanksgiving in every situation: the ministry of the Gospel --prayer, giving and going When it comes to thanksgiving, some blessings result in a domino effect. That is especially true with those who pray sacrificially for and give generously to the Lordâ€™s work in the harvest fields of the world.
Praying: God the Holy Spirit teaches this in 2 Corinthians 1:11 â€śyou also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.â€ť I have often posted the tears of joy and the boisterous rejoicing of those who have received Bibles and Bible study aids because of the generosity of our support team. The faith and prayers of our prayer warriors have resulted in the blessings of generosity â€śso that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.â€ť You pray for missionaries, God blesses, you thank God for the blessing, the missionary thanks God for the blessing and the mission field thanks God for the blessings. Irrespective of your day to day circumstances there are ample reasons to thank God when you pray for missionaries.
Giving: Again, God the Holy Spirit teaches in 2 Corinthians 9:12-13 â€śFor the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,â€ť. We are continually humbled and offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for the faith, prayers and generosity of our support team. But it does not end there. These men and women of faith, these sacrificially generous saints, bless not only us, but all to whom we ministerâ€”who, in turn, offer prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord. They receive reports of how their gifts are used by God and thank God. We thank God for their generosity, which allows us to bless national ministers and missionaries. These national ministers and missionaries thank God for their generosity. No matter your circumstances--when you give generously to missionaries, you have ample reason to thank God.
Going: When we go to the mission field, we have the privilege of blessing others because of the faith and generosity of those who pray and give. This multiplies thanksgiving. First: We are thankful for their prayers and generosity. Second: Those to whom we minster are thankful for the prayers and generosity which make our blessings of them possible. Third: Those who give and pray can be thankful for the fruit their ministry is bearing and for the riches they will have in heaven because of their ministry. Fourth: Those who pray and give can be thankful because--although it is not possible for them to physically go with us to over 27 countries throughout the world--never-the-less, they can go spiritually as co-laborers, sharing equally in the joys and rewards of the ministry. No matter the immediate circumstances, this ministry of faith and generosity provides ample opportunity to thank God daily.
If you are involved in the ministry to the harvest fields of the world, whether in praying, giving, going or any combination, then, no matter your immediate circumstances, you will find yourself beginning each day with prayers of thanksgiving.
Second observation concerning thanksgiving in every situation: Many times thanksgiving is just a matter of perspective. After over twenty years in the same house, we have decided to move to a smaller, single- story home. We simply do not need this big home and it will be easier for us to pack up and take mission trips from a smaller home. Not only this--our children would like us to move across town to live closer to them. The result, the move is on. When people hear we are moving their first response is, â€śOh, we will pray for you, I am sure it is giving you one big headache,â€ť but this is not true. In the midst of our moving we find ourselves constantly thanking God.
Thanksgiving Prayer #1 â€“ Thank you, Lord, that we can simplify and share. In moving to a much smaller home, we have many things that we can give away. There are some refugees attending our church to whom we gave furniture and kitchen items. We no longer need two cars, as we have an empty nest, so we gave one of our cars to Joe and Lizzy. One of the couples doing remodeling in our home have a daughter but no swing set. Eleanor had shared her faith with the wife and we had given them Spanish Bibles so Eleanor gave them the swing set and they were excited as they were able to give it to their daughter as a birthday present. Those who did the carpet had children but no bikes. (We had previously offered these bikes to our children with no takers.) Again, we had witnessed and given them Spanish Bibles and books, so Eleanor suggested we give them the bikes as well. Not only were we thankful for all the opportunities to witness as we remodeled our home and got it ready to sell, but we were thankful to the Lord that we able to give away so many of our possessions. Those to whom we witnessed and who received the gifts were thankful as well
Thanksgiving Prayer #2 â€“ Thank you, Lord, that we have had the opportunity to witness. All through this experience we have been able to witness!! We are so thankful for this. All those involved in remodeling â€“ tiles, carpets, painting, countertops and repairs, we have been able to witness to them all, as well as give them Bibles and evangelistic books. Everything we own (after giving excess away) is in a storage unit. We have been able to witness to the management, give them books and one employee even joined the church we recommended. We hired a moving company to move the heavy furniture and appliances and were able to witness to these men and supply them with books and Bibles. One told me, â€śI love to read but cannot afford to buy books and really donâ€™t know where to go to find Christian books.â€ť I replied, â€śI can help you with that one!!â€ť He was so thankful to get enough books to keep him and his family busy all summer. We are so thankful that this move has brought us into to contact with so many people with whom we can share the Gospel of salvation.
Thanksgiving Prayer #3 â€“ Thank you, Lord, that we have such loving children and extended family. All through this move, our children have been so loving and helpful. Megan gave up three Saturdays in a row and several nights after work to help her mom with cleaning and packing. Sam has come over a number of times to move the heavy items, working late into the night and on Sunday. Lizzy (now living in Illinois) has called us numerous times throughout each week to express concern over our health, to pray and to cheer up her mom. Becca texted encouragement as the house sold. My sister Mary has called and texted encouragement and lessons they learned from their move. My Aunt Loretta, who has several rental houses, calle-- just to encourage me and give me hints on buying and selling. Sam and Anne opened their home to us and set aside a bedroom, bathroom and living area for us to stay in until our house sold. (Our realtor said it would sell more quickly if it was empty.) Megan set up her apartment so that I could use it as an office to work on my doctorate and do ministry work. She even upgraded her internet service for this purpose. Sam used his truck to transport boxes to the storage unit and would not let me lift and move the heavy ones. We are humbled by the loving responses of our children and could spend the rest of the year just thanking God for all they ways they have blessed us.
Thanksgiving Prayer #4 â€“ Thank you, Lord, that we have the opportunity to open our new home to all these relationships. Luke 14:12-14 12 And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 "But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Our home sold the first week it was on the market for more than we had hoped to get for it. Now we look forward to opportunities to witness as we search for a new home. Not only that but, once in our new home, we plan to have an evangelistic dinner/reception and invite all those we met to celebrate our new home and hear the gospel.
Those who are involved in the harvest fields of the world--whether through prayer, through giving, through going or through reaching out to those around them--always have reason to thank God in everything.
Thanksgiving Prayer #5 â€“ Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to serve you in every situation in which we find ourselves and, no matter the circumstances, to share the glorious Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
By His mercy, II Corinthians 4:1 Rev. John S. Mahon Director â€“ Grace Community Int. Grace Community International goes mobile! The Grace Community International free app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is now available on the App Store. Listen to sermons and workshops delivered at conferences around the world. Keep up-to-date with Rev. Mahon's blog. View Grace Community International's ministry photo albums. Search "Grace Community International" on the App Store today!
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