1 Thessalonians 5:18 - How To Be Thankful Always.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - How To Be Thankful Always.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) Give thanks in all circumstances, for 
this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (CWR) Be thankful to God for what He has 
done for you, no matter what happens.  This is the kind of life God 
expects from those who know Jesus Christ. 


   Be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful - these three 
commands often go against our natural inclinations. But when we make a 
conscious decision to do what God says, we will begin to see people in a 
new perspective, and we will find it easier to be joyful, prayerful, 
and thankful.  
   Never stop praying means not giving up. It does not mean 
consciously praying at every moment. We cannot spend all our time on our 
knees, but it is possible to have a prayerful attitude at all times, 
being constantly in conversation with God and attentive to his 
Spirit's ongoing presence in our everyday lives. A prayerful attitude is 
not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be an 
outgrowth of those focused times.  
   If you find yourself filled with worry, turn those thoughts 
into prayers. If you are excited or happy about something, turn that 
into a prayer of thanks to God. He desires to be close to your life - 
in sorrow and joy. Open yourself to his presence. [One Year NLT SB 
re vss. 16-18] 


Thankfulness should characterize the Christian life in every 
circumstance, not thanks for everything but thanks in everything. Paul 
emphatically states this is the will of God. An Old Testament example of this 
was when Job lost his money, his children, and his health. He 
blessed the name of God in spite of his personal tragedies, not because 
of them. Nothing speaks more powerfully of a walk with God than 
continuous thankfulness. [Nelson SB] 

   Saying thanks was not a once-a-year occasion for Paul. Rather 
it was a lifestyle. In the last chapter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul 
explains why believers should always maintain an attitude of 
thankfulness. When did you last thank God for his innumerable blessings?  
   Paul wrote that believers should "be thankful in all 
circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). His statement can be easily 
misunderstood. Paul was not teaching that Christians should thank God for 
everything that happens in their lives. For instance, they should not thank 
God for personal sin and for the evil in the world. Evil comes from 
sin and from Satan, not from God. But they should thank God in every 
   No matter what goes wrong or right, we can still be thankful 
to God for his presence and help. We have his promise that "God 
causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God 
and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28), so 
we have a reason to be thankful.  
   At all times, keep in mind all that God has done. Then you 
will have plenty of reasons to be thankful - for God, for the joys he 
brings, and for the spiritual growth he can bring about through trials. 
[The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman re vss. 

   When spiritual directives such as Paul gives us here confront 
us--always be joyful, always be thankful no matter what happens - our 
natural response is, "That's impossible!" We tend to feel inadequate and 
unable to please God. How can we rejoice in tragedy, pray when we are 
otherwise occupied, or be thankful in times of adversity? The key is in 
Paul's next words: "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit." 
   The purpose of our existence is not simply to be "good" 
people. God has laid hold of and redeemed us for the purpose of forming 
us into his likeness as we walk through the experiences of this 
life with him. We are to become a dwelling place for his Spirit. Our 
challenge is learning to let him do the impossible through us! He is using 
everything in our lives to teach us that apart from him we can do nothing 
but through his Spirit we can do all things, even rejoice always, 
pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. 
   LORD, help me to understand that you are truly causing all 
things to work together for my good this very day. I want to be 
obedient to what your Word asks of me. I cannot do this on my own. But in 
your Spirit's power, I can do what you tell me to do. May you be my 
joy, and enable me to be aware of your presence with me continually 
in Jesus. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re 1Th. 5:16-19] 

   Ingratitude drives a wedge into relationships. When one 
person has gone out of his or her way to benefit another and the 
gesture is taken for granted, the relationship cools. Gratitude, on the 
other hand, draws people close. Appreciation causes a person to feel 
valued, and when we feel valued, we increase our openness to those who 
value us. Everyone likes to be affirmed.  
   God doesn't really need our affirmation, but the dynamics of 
gratitude apply to our relationship with Him anyway, just as they do to 
our relationships with others. Ingratitude does nothing to draw Him 
deeper into a relationship with us, but gratitude certainly does. 
Giving thanks reflects an accurate perception of what He has done. It 
stirs up intimacy.  
   Gratitude for obvious blessings is good. Gratitude for less 
obvious blessings is better. But gratitude in spite of known adversity 
is the most mature form of all. The person who can thank God for 
His work even when His work seems to be painful or is completely 
hidden from view is a spiritually mature believer. When we thank God 
for an answer to prayer that isn't even slightly apparent yet, we 
are demonstrating true faith. God draws near to those who are 
thankful no matter what happens.  
   Hear His heart: "Your gratitude is My will in every 
circumstance. I don't expect you to enjoy adversity, but know that you don't 
see the whole picture, and trust the One who does: Me. No matter 
what happens, give thanks. Stubbornly insist on it, regardless of 
your reservations. It's always an appropriate attitude, and it makes 
Me want to come closer."  
   Father, thank You for everything You are doing on my behalf - 
the things I see and the things I don't see. Help me have radical 
gratitude, a stubborn insistence on acknowledging that You are good - no 
matter what I see. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional 
by Chris Tiegreen] 

   Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than 
does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to 
resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings--as much a duty as 
it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of 
mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father's 
   Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, 
and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not 
genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is 
melancholy in the natural world, who choose to look upon dead leaves rather 
than to gather the beautiful living flowers, who see no beauty in 
grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green, who 
close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, 
and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear--these are not 
in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, 
when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness 
arising in their hearts with healing in His beams. MH251 

   Gratitude is heartwarming. A thankful person is a beautiful 
person. The grateful soul is a wealthy soul, continually receiving gifts 
from life that go unrecognized by others. The grateful heart focuses 
on what it has rather than on what it doesn't have. It appreciates 
the roses rather than resenting the thorns.  
   While it's possible to feel genuine gratitude without 
expressing it, the value of gratitude isn't fully realized until it is 
expressed. Jesus affirmed the one man - a Samaritan, no less - who returned 
to thank him for his healing. When we live with a sense of 
gratitude, and say so, Jesus is likewise honored. [NIV Once A Day Bible re 
Luke 17:11-19] 

   Ten individuals afflicted with leprosy, a dreaded skin 
disease, witnessed Jesus' entrance into a nearby village and cried out 
for mercy. Christ looked at them with compassion and commanded them 
"Go show yourselves to the priests." As they obeyed, their healing 
became apparent. Yet only one man, a Samaritan, returned to express his 
   Jesus used this occasion of healing to teach an important 
lesson about thankfulness. "Didn't I heal ten men?" he asked. "Where 
are the other nine?" Jesus recognized our human propensity to ask 
for miracles from God and yet fail to give him the glory. 
   Why is expressing thanks so important? It's really a question 
of need: God doesn't need your thanks, but thankfulness 
acknowledges your dependence upon him. When you acknowledge what he has done 
for you, you are completing the cycle that God begins when he 
promises to meet all of your needs. God gives to you out of his great 
love and compassion, and you "return thanks" to him. Developing a 
heart of praise and thanksgiving gives you a proper perspective of 
your place in God's plan. Being thankful is not so much about what it 
does for God as what it does for you. [The One Year Bible for New 
Believers re Luke 17:11-19] 


Telling God 'Thanks' - No Matter What
   God doesn't really need our gratitude, but we need to be 
grateful. "Gratitude itself is a wholesome and healing force," says a 
meditation from the book One Day at a Time in Al-Anon. A thankful heart 
deepens our faith and enhances the quality of our lives. 
1.	Count your simple blessings. The list is endless.  As you 
tally, give thanks. Review your simple praise list each day. Thank God 
for all material gifts, for faithfulness, for His refusal to give up 
on you. 
2.	Talk about the bright side. By focusing on the brighter side 
you gain another perspective. Your immediate thoughts are 
transformed, and you begin a healthy habit of optimistic thinking. 
3.	Thank God even when you're not grateful. "I don't understand 
this, God," she said over and over, "but I'm grateful for the good 
that you will bring out of it.".... God has promised to be with us 
always. Times of suffering remind us of this promise and allow us to 
draw closer to God in loving surrender.  David Biebel said 
"thanksgiving reminds me that God is with me, conducting the symphony even 
when the current movement may not be much to my liking." by Joan 
Wester Anderson excerpted 

Once you've made counting your blessings a precious part of your 
daily routine, you need never again be at a loss for words of praise 
and thanksgiving to our gracious Lord. The one from whom all 
blessings flow!  Karen O'Connor 




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