Robert Houk Hitchcock
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I Thessalonians 5:18  In everything give THANKS: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

That's a bold statement: IN EVERYTHING, give THANKS. 

THANKS, and being THANKFUL, is the WILL OF GOD!! 

Doesn't leave much room for discussion. Living a life of THANKSGIVING is God's Will for us! 

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God and the Father by him. 

Whatsoever you do in word or deed (EVERYTHING YOU DO + EVERYTHING YOU SAY)
(I guess that covers the entire realm of human existence) 

We do in the name of Jesus Christ, giving THANKS TO GOD by him. 
That's tremendous. All we do, all we speak, we are THANKFUL. Now that's a great goal! 

How many people do we HEAR day after day are so NEGATIVE. COMPLAINING. WORRIED. FEARFUL.

All of those things we hear day after day are the OPPOSITE of being THANKFUL. 

It is a decision and act of the human will to be thankful or to be unthankful. The old man nature of the Christian believer is to be unthankful: 

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the OLD MAN, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

The old man nature is UN-thankful. Full of UN-thankfulness. Always wanting MORE (lusts.) Never really satisfied. 
Madison Avenue is run off of this truth. " I want more." This attitude also means "I'm not thankful." 

God and His Word directs us to be THANKFUL in EVERYTHING. How do we do this? We have to PUT ON God's Word in our minds. We have to PUT ON the NEW MAN. We have to LEARN to be THANKFUL. 

If God says to do it, then we CAN DO IT. What a wonderful state of mind to be in at all times: THANKFUL!!! 

Let's go a little further.... What kinds of things does God say we are to be thankful for? His blessings. His victory for us. What He's provided us. What He's doing for us. Eternal life. The Power of God. Fellow believers. Lets' look at a few examples. 

Colossians 1:3  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 

I Thessalonians 1:2  We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 

I Corinthians 1:4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 

The Father instructs us to give thanks for the brethren. That's not so hard, is it? How thankful we are for our brothers and sisters in Christ! 
Who else is there to comfort you? Your boss??? Who else is there to encourage you? The 6 o'clock news? Who else loves you without condition? The Maytag repair guy? 

You know, giving thanks to God isn't a difficult task to do. We just have to REMEMBER. 
REMEMBER where we were before the new birth. 
REMEMBER who we were before we knew we were loved by God.
REMEMBER what life was like without Christ. 

The mind can just as easily be trained to be THANKFUL as it was to be Unthankful. I've heard it compared to training a puppy. You know how sweet and cute a puppy is!! Only problem is the puppy has no manners. Goes to the bathroom anywhere. Chews everything in sight. A puppy has to be trained, or when it grows up, nobody will like the dog because it is unruly. Jumps up on everyone. Knocks things over. Barks and even bites your friends. Nobody wants a dog like that. ? Well, we don't want a MIND like that either!! What does it take to train a puppy? Time. Effort. Discipline. Skill. Repetition. 

Couldn't we train our minds to behave, too? To be thankful? Sure we can. It's called practicing the renewed mind (Romans 12:2) Practicing is what we need to too. Practice being thankful. 

For instance... When the pizza guy comes...thank God for him that the pizza arrived and you can eat! When the mailman comes and delivers your letters (even your bills). Thankful that they arrived on time. When the phone rings...that you have a phone and don't have to walk over to Judy's house to talk! When the dentist says one're thankful it's not six! 

Even when things are NOT GOING the way you'd like them to go, we can still be thankful for a lot of others things, AND, that the Father can help you take care of the things that aren't going so well!

Hey....why not make a ‘THANKFUL' list. Or keep a diary of all of God's blessings. Even for a week! Remember the song "Count Your Blessings?"  I bet we could fill page after page after page after page of blessings from God. 

See, just like the puppy, we can so acclimatize our minds....that it is NORMAL to be THANKFUL!!!

SO much to be thankful for:

I Timothy 2:1-2  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and GIVING OF THANKS, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

I may not agree with the politics of my governors or our President....but I can give thanks and I can pray! I think we'd all be better off PRAYING for those who govern us than what we achieve by COMPLAINING. 

Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 

We are ONE BODY. The church of the Body. Our oneness is in Him and not in men. How thankful we are for our Family, God's Family! (Might as well start being thankful for each other NOW you have all eternity to spend with each other!!!) 

II Corinthians 4:15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

Our thanks gives Glory to God. Wow!! 

He deserve the Glory, too. Our thanks gives God the credit He deserves. He is the One who has made us whole. He is the One who has saved our souls. He is the One who has given us all spiritual blessings. He is the One who has enabled us to do all things. 

Being THANKFUL and being negative are mutually exclusive. (That's like oil & water...: they don't mix.)

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

A great way to stay positive, to stay thankful, to stay blessed, to stay put... (You know, like the puppy...stay!!!) A great way to stay all of those things is to PRAY!! Talk to the Father about your need. 

Philippians 4:6 says IN prayer and supplication..... Let your request be made known with THANKSGIVING. That's part of the art of being thankful: stay in constant communication with your Father about life! 

There is so much in God's Word about being thankful! The Psalms are loaded with the thanksgiving of the people for the Goodness of God. 

I think it is wonderful that our nation here has set aside a day of Thanksgiving. 

Did you know the original day set aside by George Washington called for a day of thanks and PRAYER? Can you imagine that? A government declaration to pray and to give thanks. 

I guess things have changed quite a bit. But God hasn't changed one little bit. 

We still give Thanks to Him for supplying our every need. For preserving and protecting us. For caring for our families. For providing us with work. For keeping us safe and healthy. For all the special things that we receive. For our children, our parents, our loved ones. For our homes and our property. For our sound minds and healthy bodies. The list goes on...and on. 

How thankful we are to Him that deserves all of the thanks we have to give. "Count your Blessings" this year. And every year. Being thankful is our normal state of being now as those that belong to God. 



Cortright Fellowship
© Copyright November 1997