Thursday, November 24, 2016

5 Things to Be Thankful For

During the Thanksgiving season, we traditionally gather together and count our blessings: home family, prosperity. Many posts will focus on gratitude. Some will encourage readers to find things about which to be thankful even amid the trying circumstances of their lives. But I would like to submit to you this year, while those are good and noble ideas, there are 5 things we have probably neglected.

Thankful for family, by Joanne Roberts

Be grateful for hardship.
"Count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations." James 1:2

When was the last time you said thank-you when you were struggling against a rash reaction? A hateful response? An addiction?
Difficult things in our lives give us chances to be an example to others and make us better people. I absolutely look forward to the day when I won't have to think twice about saying and doing the right thing. Until then, I'm counting my difficulties as blessings. (James 1:12)

Be grateful for suffering.
"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings..." I Peter 4:13

This particular admonishment is speaking of persecution, but I think it can be equally applied to suffering wrongfully, condescension, or physical suffering. (I Peter 2:18,19)
Those who hold an opinion differing from the mainstream are continually blasted for their beliefs. Religious and moral freedoms are challenged on every side. The current political climate engenders strife, and while there is a general appeal for tolerance, those who speak the loudest deepen the divides rather than healing them. Complaining certainly isn't the answer. How would a thankful spirit transform our communication?

Be grateful for everyone in government.
"I exhort therefore, that, of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority;" I Timothy 2:1,2

 No matter your country or political leanings, this is a very clear call to specific, purposeful thankfulness for specific, generally objectionable, people.
I've had cause to meditate on this thought for the last eight years, and see the need to discipline ourselves to it in the next four.

Be grateful for those in opposition to us.
"Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:28

This one's especially hard for me. I get so tired of people who feel entitled. Self-righteousness fosters the opposite of gratefulness.
What would happen if we followed the rest of the commands in Luke 6?
"And unto him that smiteth thee on the cheek offer the other also; and to him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;"

Be grateful for everything.
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

Everything. Fill in the blank.

This is only possible with supernatural intervention.
But if you want to do the impossible, then you need Someone who is capable of that. That's God.

I've lost some readers here. Sorry to hear that. I hope they'll be back.

For those of you still reading, here's where I'm coming from. I'm a born-again follower of Christ.*

I was recently reminded that God never asks us to do the impossible. He does that part. (Romans 8:28, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 43:2,7)

*Email me with any questions. I'll do my best to give you the truth. Or you can look at this clear explanation of my beliefs.


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