Today, the United States has designated a day to recognize the American Servicemen, men and women who sacrificed their youth, and many of them so much more, to serve our country. As fractured as our nation is right now, it is my hope that we can at least agree in saying “thank you” to these men and women who have sacrificed what we could or did not. But I pray this also, that we continue to thank them when we see them, and not merely on one day a year. Veterans, to those who have served, who have sacrificed, who have fought, and who have worked to keep our country free, thank you. We truly take for granted the freedom and safety and prosperity we have because of the service you have rendered us.
One thing the Bible teaches is gratitude, always. To walk in an attitude and spirit of Thanksgiving, even if our circumstances are not the best. Nowadays, most people are so self-focused, we don’t even really see one another at the market, or as we drive, or anywhere. Our phones are continually in our hands, and whether we’re talking on them, or browsing something, we become even less aware. We’re so used to giving our opinions, that we get angry when things don’t go our way, and we become critics of everything, without stopping to consider if we should offer our opinions at all. We demand our way, even if we don’t always deserve it.
You’ve heard me say it often, so you know I don’t care that I say it again: we need to reflect and measure our circumstances, not by what is observed and around us, but by the Gospel and through the Scriptures. If we take the time to consider all that we’ve been rescued from by Christ, we would be grateful every moment of every day that we’re in God’s grace and not under the weight of our sins. Jesus gave His life, brutally suffered and died for our sake. He was ravaged by whips, humiliations and beatings, and nailed to a tree because of our rebellion, and He rose again that we might have true life in Him, now and in eternity. This should cause us to live a lifestyle of gratitude!
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.