STUDY 8 othanksf 8  PASTOR BARRY,                            THE GATHERING CHURCH

Series Overview                                                                We have learned in the past seven weeks that God is “rock solid!”  His goodness, grace and truth is an absolutely firm foundation for us to build our lives upon.  In fact, there is no other foundation that is trustworthy…”all other ground is shifting sand”. If we are to stand firm in this life we must stand on the Rock of our Salvation.          Psalm 62:6-7  

We learned that to stand firm means that we:

  1. Build our life on Christ and allow Him to be the architect and contractor
  2. Stand on God’s promises written in His word (the Bible)
  3. Shine like a lighthouse in this dark world so that others might come to know Him
  4. Remember we are forgiven and to also forgive
  5. Stay Anchored in Him and be cautious of drifting
  6. Remember we are never alone…God is always with us
  7. Be a good citizen of heaven because we are not of this world

To conclude our series it is fitting that we end on this Sunday before Thanksgiving, because the last principal which keeps us standing on a firm foundation is thankfulness.

Giving Thanks In All Situations Job 1:21-22, Philippians 4:4-7, 4:11b-13                               Do you give God the thanks that He is worthy of…all the time?  It is easy to give thanks when everything is going great, but how about when you feel nothing?  How about when life is going dreadfully wrong?

Job was a man who had it all and then lost everything bit by bit without an explanation.  When Job lost his sons and daughters in a tornado his response was praise!  He gave God thanks for the blessings which had been his for so many years.  He realized that they were on loan to him and not his to keep forever.

There are two promises eternal, given only to those who have received Christ.  The right to become children of God ( John 1:12) and to live eternally with Him (John 3:16). These are God’s amazing acts of grace (unmerited favor) towards us.  We do not deserve them because we have sinned against Him time and time again.  This is why we should always give thanks to God for His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:14).  So many “Christians” get this wrong.  They say that “blessing and  prosperity are their divine right and they order them from God like they are at some free fast food restaurant.  These are like spoiled children who demand more from the parent who has given everything.  They appear to have great faith, but what     happens to these people when bad times come?  Where will be their faithfulness in tribulation or trial, when health fails or a loved one dies?

We need to learn to give thanks for the nothings as well as the “somethings”, realizing that the two things that can never be taken away from us (our adoption as sons and eternal life with Christ) are sufficient and given to us as a priceless treasure by an awesome God.

Neglecting Thanksgiving  Job 2:9-10                                                                                              The Pilgrims first year after landing at Plymouth Rock was miserable; however, their faithfulness to God remained. God sent them a blessing in Squanto, a Native American who taught the Pilgrims how to farm, hunt and live off the land.  That second year proved to be prosperous and so a “Thanksgiving” was recognized in which the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for their friends and their abundant harvest.

The Pilgrims neglected a “thanksgiving” that second year because they were to caught up in their work and prosperity.  Once again they suffered so greatly in their harvest that even the natives exclaimed that they had never seen the likes of such bad weather.  Like Job, they sought the Lord rather cursing Him and dying, as Job’s wife so foolishly suggested.  Instead they fasted and prayed and repented for their independence from God.  Soon the rain came and Thanksgiving became a yearly festival in both good and bad years of harvest.

Sometimes Nothing Is a Blessing James 1:2-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16                                    James says we should consider it a joy when we encounter trials because they build character and faith. Consider Paul and Silas in a Roman prison singing praises to God while in stocks.  This praise shook the very prison and released them from their chains.  Consider Joseph who praised God while in the Egyptian prison (Later released to become second to pharaoh).  Consider Job, who lost his family, fortune, health and friends, yet continued to give God praise.  He too was rewarded not only in this life but in the one to come.

As Thanksgiving approaches are you feeling nothing?  Then rejoice…for you have nothing to keep you from the hope of God’s eternal promises to you.  They are indescribable gifts which are too often ignored among the “somethings” in our lives.  Always give thanks!

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