April Blog…Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is April 1st, commonly known as “April Fool’s Day.” However, nowadays, for a lot of folks, every day is “Fool’s Day.” The Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Those that deny Christ and reject the God of all creation are fools and they live out their lives as foolish people. Let us not align our hearts with their thinking. We are better than that.

This month my blog will look at being thankful. Here is what the Bible says: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Being thankful has not been what it used to be back in the day. Commercialism and the almighty dollar hijacked its true meaning long ago. Most of us are all caught up in the things of this world and do not realize the significance of being thankful.

I know you will say, “Speak for yourself, John”, and so I will. I look around and see no actual difference between Christians and non-Christians. The divorce rates are still a problem even though they have dropped a bit from the 50% mark.

The governing laws of our society protect gays, abortion, and immorality. The governing laws of our society push us into a state of death where faith is considered inappropriate and prayer is seen as foolish.

If you think I am wrong, and sometimes I just might be, but there is a way to find out. Try taking your own unscientific poll among your family, friends, and coworkers. Survey your church members to see. Ask them one of these simple questions; “Is there anything to be thankful for in this world?” or “Why should we be thankful?”

Most answers will fall into a “Worldly” category. The origin being from something or someone other than God. The giving of thanks centers on the cares of this life and the focus of any thanks centers on family, friends, or things that make us happy.

Here are some examples:

• I am thankful to be from work.
• I am thankful for my family supporting me.
• I am thankful for my good health.
• I am thankful for my job.
• And so on…

Most people do not honor or even acknowledge God as the source of blessing for which we are thankful. They instead, shower their thankfulness on people, places, and things that they feel are important to their daily living.

The scriptures: “Be Thankful Unto Him”, meaning Jesus admonishes us. However, that cannot happen unless we really understand why. What has he done that we should say thank you?

If you do not know the character of God, how then can you appreciate or even recognize the move of his Spirit. The pay raise or promotion you got at work will be seen as because of your efforts alone and not from the hand of God. So will most other things in life. You will miss seeing the hand of God in your life and end up having no reason to praise his name.

The Blame Game

Some Christians even blame God for things that happen. Have you ever heard someone say, “Why did God allow this or that to happen? I have said it myself. If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t he do something?

I got over my “Stinking Thinking” years ago when I realized God is all-powerful and intervenes into the affairs of man but he gave us the right and privilege to think, make intelligent choices and have “Free Will” to govern our own affairs. If we make bad choices, we should not blame God for the outcome.

If we get drunk and run over a kid playing in the street, it is our fault, not God’s. We have the “Free Will” to do foolish things and we will one day stand alone before the judicial system of man and/or the judgment seat of God to give an account.

We must get to know Jesus to be thankful. What is he like? Why does he do what he does? Who is he, anyway? How can we be thankful to someone we do not know?

Some Christians that I have met are shallow and not grateful to God for anything. Others even boast of their own accomplishments and give no praise or thanksgiving to the Lord for their good health, ability to earn a living and all his heavenly blessing.

Their hearts are not full of grace but fear of life and continual confusion because they have only an intellectual faith that cannot carry them in times of trouble.

Let us look at why we should praise God and be thankful to him.

• Easter: Salvation And Eternal Life.

Easter just passed and with it the sales of candy, flowers, cards, and such things. However, people mostly overlooked Jesus dying for the sins of humanity, which includes you and me. It should have been the 1st thing we praise God for and be thankful to God for providing.

• His mercy endures forever.

He is merciful, slow to anger. He has not dealt with us according to our sins. His loving kindness is better than life. His mercy is new every morning. Who is He? He is merciful, recognizing that we were formed from the dust of the earth.

His character is that of mercy. If you feel inadequate, sinful, or downtrodden, knowing that God is merciful or full of mercy will draw you closer to him and build a trust and appreciation for who he is in relationship to you. Will he be merciful to you? You Bet He Will. Hear is what he says to his children…

• “I will never leave you or forsake you. I will be with you always.”

What does that say about Jesus? Is he the type that will stand and fight for you in a clinch? Or run away at the first sign of trouble? If we believe that he is there and never leaves, then why are you so fearful of every little trial and circumstance that pops up in life?

Shouldn’t we be praising his name and thanking him for taking the time out of all eternity to stay right by our side during good and bad times? Genuine faith comes from the belief that he is, in fact, by your side and ready to act on your behalf. The problem with most of us is that we forget to call upon him as our counselor. Instead, we make foolish decisions and end up in a mess.

• While we were lost and dead in our sins, Christ died for us.

What manner of man is this that would be a sacrifice for my sins? Who asked him to do that? He alone opened the door for me to approach God and to be accepted. He alone shed his own blood so that I might live and experience life more abundantly on this earth and in heaven. What manner of man is this? He is my Savior, my friend and the one in whom I trust. He is the one to whom I am eternally thankful.

• God is Love

Can a God that is described as “LOVE”, be responsible for all the sorrow, hate and sin in this world? What is Love anyway? Now the fruit (or character) of the Spirit is LOVE, PEACE, JOY, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE, against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22).

Love and hate do not exist in the same place. Joy and sorrow do not either. The same can be said of long-suffering and short-tempered and gentleness opposed to anger, peace opposed to confusion, and so on.

Get the point. God has a definite character that distinguishes him from all others and what makes him who he is. Knowing him fuels our appreciation and desire to be like him. It also keeps us from false doctrines, misunderstandings, and the snares of the devil.

If God is for us, who or what can defeat us? He is greater than man, evil spirits, sickness, disease, unemployment, or anything else. That does not mean we will not experience trials, suffering, and hard times.

These things are common to humanity. However, we are still more than conquerors through Christ, Jesus, our lord.

Thank you, Jesus, for who you are. Knowing you helps me to face tomorrow, with all its trials and difficulties. Knowing you gives me the courage to stand up against the enemies of my soul who so desperately seek my demise.

Let us be thankful unto him, Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, and let us praise his name for being who he is.

Until Next Time
Rev. John Marinelli
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