give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1Thessalonians 5: 18 (NIV) America pauses tomorrow, as they do once per year to proclaim that they are thankful for all that they have. It is a shallow thanksgiving of course as one only needs to look at the very next day, Black Friday, where we trample one another to get the best deal on our next set of goodies. The reality within Christian circles however, is that thanksgiving is not supposed to be a day we set aside but a lifestyle that we need to lead. The key verse today reminds us that it is actually the will of God for all those who claim to be in Christ Jesus - to be thankful in every circumstance. Every day. Every mountaintop and every valley. All circumstances. This lifestyle of thanksgiving starts with what God did in saving us to begin with. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3: 16 (ESV) One of the consequences of materialistic Christianity and the bless me theologies seen on television daily is that we minimize what God has already done for those who are saved. This is partially related to the increase in false conversion in the church as well because the unsaved who merely think they are saved do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead then into all truth. When you take the worldly mindset of "what have you done for me lately" you lose sight of the awesomeness of what has already been done. If God never does another thing for me, He has already done everything for me. I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rockand gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God.Many will see and fear the Lordand put their trust in him. - Psalm 40: 1-3 (NIV) When I start to fall into the fleshly thinking of why God won't give me this or that I try to remember Psalm 40. What compares to the fact that 12 years ago I cried out to the living God and He actually inclined His ear to hear me! That the God who spoke the entire universe into existence, told the oceans they could only go so far, and set the foundations of the earth would stop to hear my cry! That the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who numbers the stars in the sky and knows then by name would not only bother to take notice of a wretch like me but actually stop to hear my cry? And I am going to get petulant about some mortal sense of a lack of blessing? Really? He turned to me and heard my cry! Hallelujah! If that is not enough to inspire a lifestyle of thanksgiving I need to never forget that He did not stop with merely hearing my cry - He answered it! He lifted me out of the slimy pit that was my life; out of the mud and mire. That pit was entirely of my doing. Where did God find you? What shape was your life in? I know where He found me. I remember my pit. I think sometimes Christians forget where God found them and it leads to a self-righteous spirit. I never understand how someone who professes faith in Christ can look down on someone else. Without Christ we are still in the middle of that muddy pit. Is that enough yet? Is that enough to be thankful in all situations? As the infomercials like to say - but wait! There's more! He not only inclined to hear me and lifted me out of the slimy pit He found me in but then He set my feet upon the rock that is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13: 8 (ESV) We live in a world that changes on a whim. The world is harsh and unforgiving by nature and what we were sure about yesterday is gone when we wake up. One day I was sure about my job and the next day I was unemployed. One day I was sure about my friends and the next day they abandoned me. One day I was sure about my church and the next day even they were gone. But every day I wake up Jesus is still Jesus. Let God be true and every man a liar. The shifting sands of the world will swallow up even the most faithful but God will never change. God not only saved me but He gave me a foundation I can trust upon which to rebuild my life: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” - Matthew 7: 24-27 (NIV) Our problem is that even after all of this we still refuse to build our house upon the Word of God! Then when it crashes we can actually turn around and blame God! The Word is the firm place He has given us to make our stand in this world beloved. It will withstand the storms we face in this life. He inclined to hear my cry. He saved me. Gave me a rock to stand on and His Word to build my life upon. Yet despite all of this He also gave me a new song - a hymn of praise to our God! This is the true thanksgiving we should live our lives by. The world gives us a song to sing to but it usually is not a happy tune. The song of the world is a reckless ballad filled with strife and unhappiness. It is an unsettled song about everything we don't have. Not so with God. He has given us a new song. A song about His goodness and His love. About all that He has already done for us. Many will see and learn to fear the Lord if we would just do our part. Many will put their trust in Him if we would just live our lives guided by a thankful heart, in all situations, because of all He has done for us. Tomorrow the country will pause to pay lip service to the notion of thanksgiving while Christians should be displaying it as our lifestyle. It does not matter the day. It does not matter the time. It does not matter the circumstance. We need to give thanks to God with our lives because He has redeemed our lives. Happy Thanksgiving. Rev. Anthony.