“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)
This weekend Canadians celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend. For many Canadians it simply means a day off work and a turkey dinner with family on the holiday. The notion of being thankful does not enter their heads for an instant.
For Christians the Thanksgiving weekend is a time of praise to God for the blessings all around them. Yes, they too will have a turkey or ham dinner with special vegetables like squash. And dessert will possibly be pumpkin pie.
But some Christians will take time as a family to sit down and ask each member of the group gathered for a suggestion of what they are thankful for. Prayers of thanksgiving will form a part of the celebration as well. The harvest of food for winter has been gathered and stored so thanks is especially appropriate.
Our verses today tell us to be thankful in all situations. Such a command can sound wrong to people who suffer. Can you imagine someone who daily makes a meal everyday for one (themselves), giving thanks as they sit alone at the dinner table? How can that person be thankful in all situations?
Well, for one thing our verses tell us that the Lord is near. So the person who eats alone everyday can be comforted in the knowledge that the Lord is present with them. No matter how humble the home, no matter how simple the meal, Jesus is there with His sheep to bless them.
Then there is the matter of the privilege of prayer. How blessed are we to have access to our great God! No matter where we are, regardless of what we are doing, the child of God can draw near to the Good Shepherd and ask for grace to help in times of need. We may pray in every situation and know we are heard. What a blessed truth this is.
If you are a Christian you can make all your petitions (requests) known to your Father in heaven. He loves to hear your prayers and give you what is needed for the daily issues of life.
Regardless of your circumstances, you have reason to be thankful at this time of year. You have a good mind with which to think, you have your daily food, you have a computer to get out into the world in spite of possible physical limitations, best of all the Lord is indeed near you. Offer thanks for these things and you will soon find other things for which you are thankful as well.
May this season of the year find you with a thankful heart that is happy and peaceful. You have much to be thankful for, and so give thanks for what you do have that is good and pray over the problems asking the Lord to remove them or give you grace to endure them.