Monday, December 20, 2010

December 15, 2010

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” As it is for any of us I have found it quite easy to give thanks for the “good” things but have asked my self time and time again, “how could God want me to give thanks for something seemingly “bad?’” Scripture is clear though, “give thanks in all circumstances” not just the pleasant circumstances. Even looking at the life of Paul who endured, “official scourging of thirty-nine stripes- five separate times; three times beaten with rods; stoned once; three shipwrecks; innumerable journeying in peril of robbers and other enemies; pain; hunger and thirst” admonishes us to “ Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”

I am reading a book on deepening faith called, Something More and here is an excerpt on praise:

“ The scriptural basis for this is not only solid but overwhelming, such as:

“rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God…”

“Continue in Prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”

But out of many such passages, it was the concept of praise as a sacrifice which began to show me the way:

“By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

The fact that the word “sacrifice” is used tells us that the writers of scripture understood well that when we praise God for trouble, we’re giving up something. For sacrifice means, “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” What we are sacrificing is the right to the blessings we think are due us!

We are also sacrificing our human desire to understand everything. Obviously, praising God for trouble makes no sense on the earthly side. Human reason asks, “Why should I thank God for dark and negative circumstances when He is the Author of light and goodness alone?” So when we bypass our “right” to understand and offer up suffering to God in praise, the Bible is right in calling this a “sacrifice of praise” Instead of focusing on the issue or the problem we need to focus on eyes and attention on our Lord and in our obedience he will supply the emotion to make the praise real.

In another part of the book she issues a good reminder, “Therefore, nothing can happen to us without His knowledge, His consent, and His participating Presence as Savior” “…The news is that there is no situation-no breakage, no loss, no grief, no sin, no mess-so dreadful that out of it God cannot bring good, total good, not just “spiritual” good, if we allow Him to. Our God is the Divine Alchemist. He can take junk from the rubbish heap of life, and melting this base refuse in the pure fire of His love, hand us back-gold.” And remember that as the great Shepherd he is the one that will leave the 99 sheep safely in the fold to go after the one lost lamb. He does this because he cares.

No comments:

Post a Comment