Rejoice always Pray constantly Give thanks in all circumstances For that is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thes 5:16-18
Give thanks in all circumstances Apart from some notable movie examples, I can't think of anyone who doesn't enjoy and look forward to Thanksgiving. It is a wonderful time for family and friends to get together. Not too cold, yet cold enough. Often it's the end of Fall colors. For some it brings the promise of winter fun.
I find it hard to think about Thanksgiving without thinking about delicious food and fellowship. I find it hard not to remember Thanksgivings past when we had the opportunity to get together with family and retell old favorite family stories. Occasionally it has been a time to remember loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord.
Thanksgiving is also a time for us to turn our eyes toward God and give thanks to the One who has given us all we have. Ps. 92 reminds us "It is good to give thanks to the Lord". How easy it is sometimes to find ourselves getting caught up in the busyness of our lives and forget (even as we pray for our loved ones) to give Him thanks for all that He has done and continually does for us. As Ps 136 reminds us:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good For his steadfast love endures forever
The psalmist goes on to specifically enumerate the world of spiritual, natural, and man made things for which to be thankful – constantly reminding us that each of these are the result of His enduring love for us!
Pray constantly Prior to Thanksgiving this year, we were especially blessed with national and statewide elections as well as a life-changing embryonic stem cell ballot proposal. We were faced with voting choices which will affect us for many years regarding abortion, life of the unborn, gay marriage and family values.
For the past several years, as a community, we have joined with Christians around the country in 40 Days of Prayer for our city. HOW fitting it was then THIS year prior to such a significant election to receive a call for 40 Days For Life. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the election we were called to offer prayer, fasting and vigils outside abortion clinics and intercede for the unborn.
Only the Lord knows . . . How many prayers have been offered and how much fasting have brothers and sisters done? How many hearts have changed and how many of the unborn have been saved? Without this prayer and fasting how many more babies would have died?
I believe that the impact of 40 Days for Life has extended far beyond just praying for the unborn. I know in my life that this effort has spilled over into greater and more fervent prayer for the election and even for society. I've found myself fervently praying for all the candidates running for office – both Democratic and Republican. I've prayed for their personal protection against harm and also that the Lord reveal himself to them more and more clearly. I've found myself putting the candidates into the Lord's hands and praying that they be blessed.
I may be wrong, but I've got a feeling that prayers like mine have also been offered by many others! How many minds of women and men have been swayed by people humbly turning to God and seeking His forgiveness and His love – Only the Lord knows. And yet the call to pray constantly is still there -- all around us it is easy to see that abortion continues. Women and men fall into sin. Society continues its move away from the eternal riches the Lord provides . . . .
Rejoice always I'm writing this before the national election is over. And yet without even knowing the outcome I want to rejoice and give thanks to God for what he has done during this period before the election. I may or may not be happy with who wins in November and whether this, that or another ballot initiative fails or passes.
BUT I can't think of any other election which has caught up so many good men and women and directed them to the Lord. How much rejoicing in Heaven there must be because of that.
There won't be rejoicing because one party or another won but rather rejoicing because women and men sought and seek Him who is the be all and end all of everything. There is rejoicing in Heaven because men and women, sisters and brothers have repented for their sins as well as the sins of our nation and world.
Praise the Lord for his call to prayer! Praise God that so many, many brothers and sisters have taken this on as the word of God for today. By doing this we as Christians have acknowledged that Jesus and God the Father are in control!
Ps 136 clearly reminds us that God is in command over Kings, Pharaohs . . . and yes even over our government. His steadfast loves endures forever -- THAT is why we can rejoice and why I particularly want to GIVE THANKS this Thanksgiving. Not because of one party winning or one party losing. Irrespective of the election outcome, the love of the Lord does in fact endure forever.