Be Thankful

November 20, 2001 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Ephesians chapter five. Ephesians chapter five. And when you get to Ephesians chapter five, just signify by saying amen. Glory to His Name. In verse fifteen it says... Where are my intercessors at tonight?

15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (And in verse twenty)

20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Let us pray.

Father, we thank You for Your Word tonight. Let it go forth unhindered by the works of the flesh, Lord God, unhindered by the intellect of man, God. Hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. And Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. And let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Ephesians chapter five, and the main verse that we're looking at is verse twenty, it said,

20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

When we look at being thankful, we have to come out of our natural realm of thinking. When we look at being thankful, we cannot look at our natural circumstances. We cannot look at our trials and our tribulations that we have in our lives. But the Bible says be thankful in all things. Glory to God tonight.

When we look at a Christian and a Christian being thankful (praise the Lord), be begin to say, "How can I be thankful," (glory to God), "When I have adversity all around me." We say, "How can I be thankful," (glory to God), "When nobody understands me. We begin to say, "How can I be thankful when I feel like I'm about to lose my very mind?"

But Ephesians five and twenty tells me to be thankful anyhow. Glory to God.

When we look at the word "thankful," it means to be in gratitude. It means to have a response of gratitude towards God and what He has done for us. God is looking for some folks that have gratitude tonight. He's looking for somebody that's not looking at their natural situation. He's looking for somebody that knows the promises of God are true, that they are yea and amen. Hallelujah to Jesus.

It tells us to be thankful in all things. Even though my life is full of adversity, He's telling me to respond with thankfulness.

When we look at some of the people (glory to God) in the Bible, when we look at the children of Israel, instead of being thankful unto God for bringing them out of bondage, from bringing them out of a situation (glory to God) that was a living hell, they responded with rebellion.

When we look at Exodus chapter thirty-two, instead of being grateful and serving the only wise God, the only living God, they began to make idols.

You see, what happens when we're not faithful to God, we begin to create our own idols. We begin to make up something to be faithful for.

But I got news for you tonight. God is God all by Himself. And when it looks like He's not coming through, be thankful anyway. Lift up your hands and be thankful anyhow.

This is a season of thanksgiving. Hallelujah. It's harvest time. And we're thankful for the harvest.

They responded with rebellion. They didn't look at all the things that God had done. They were looking at they were out there all by themselves. You don't hear me tonight.

Many saints of God in the house of God have a feeling on the inside that they're all by themselves. They think that nobody else can understand the things that they're going through. They think that (glory to God) they're isolated.

But I got news for you tonight. Jesus said, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you." He said, "I'll be with you always, even until the end of the world." Hallelujah to Jesus.

The Bible says that He's a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I heard somebody else say that He's a doctor. Glory to God. And He's a lawyer. He's whatever you need Him to be. Hallelujah to Jesus.

Saints of God, He's looking for somebody that's not looking for, at their natural situation to be thankful unto Him.

When we look at Ruth, in Ruth chapter one and verse twenty and twenty-one... We look at Naomi. She was in a hard place. She had lost her husband. And not only had she lost her husband. She had lost her two sons.

And what she said (glory to God) to her daughter Ruth, her daughter-in-law, she said, "The Almighty has afflicted me." So she wanted to change her name. She said, "Don't call me Naomi, but call me Marrah." She said, "Because the Lord has done bitterly with me." Her name meant bitter.

Many saints of God in the house of God right now are bitter. They're not thankful. They're looking at their situation. But I'm trying to tell you something tonight. Get your eyes off of your situation and circumstance, and get your eyes on God. Don't allow bitterness to set in. Don't let your name be changed unless the Lord change it for you. In the Name of Jesus.

She responded with complaining. She felt like she had nothing to be thankful for. You're looking at what you're going through right now. You're saying, "What have I to be thankful for?"

You've got everything to be thankful for. Because it's in Him we live and move and have even our very being here tonight.

We need to start changing our attitudes. We need to start showing gratitude to Him. It's only by His mercy and by His grace that we're still here.

When we look at Proverbs twenty-four and verse twenty, it tells us, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small."

You see, in your day of adversity, if you fall and you fall away from God and the things of God, that means that your strength is small. That means that you don't have a thankful heart. That means that your heart is not full of thanksgiving.

Because when I am in a place of adversity and my heart is full of thanksgiving, I can't help but to be happy in spite of. I can't help but to have joy in spite of. I can't help but to praise His Name in spite of. In spite of what's going on with me, I'm thankful anyhow.

In Psalm one hundred (glory to His Name tonight) and verse four, this is what it says to us by the psalmist. He said, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name."

Did he say because you have a cattle on a thousand hills? Did he say because (glory to God) you are in perfect health? No. Glory to God. It's not just because of that. It's because of who He is. I need to be thankful. I need to be thankful.

Look at Psalm seventy-five and verse one. Here is what it says. It says,

1. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

We need to give thanks just for the Presence of God. Just because He's omnipresent, just because I don't have to feel Him to know that He's there. Oh, you don't hear me tonight. Just for His Presence. I need to give thanks. Glory to God.

Then over in First Timothy... Go with me there if you will. In First Timothy chapter four, and verse three and four. Here is what it has to say. It says,

4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

5. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

I don't know about you, but I'm thankful for the provision of God. I'm thankful that God has provided everything that I need. Glory to God. And not only will He provide my needs. If I (glory to God) commit my way unto Him, He'll supply my wants also. In the Name of Jesus.

God has given me provision. And I'm thankful for it.

Look at the book of Titus with me tonight. Titus chapter one and verse two. Here is what it says.

2. In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

I don't know about you, but I'm thankful for the promises of God. The promises of God. Just because He said it, just because it came out of His mouth, just because of what's divinely inspired, just because it was spoken (glory to God) from the Almighty, I am thankful (hallelujah) for His promises that He promised unto me.

Go with me to the book of Acts chapter one. Hallelujah, Jesus. In acts chapter one, here is what it has to say. In chapter one and verse eight. Go there with me. And when you get there, say amen.

8. But he shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

I'm thankful because I have power. I have power to tread upon serpents and scorpions. I have power because I can drink any deadly thing, and it shall not harm me. I've got power tonight. And I'm thankful for it. I'm thankful that I have power over the enemy.

There's so many things that the Bible tells us that we need to be thankful for. If we would only take time to see, if we would only take time to count our blessings, every single day, I could say, "Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Lord, that I'm not consumed. Thank You, Lord, that You give Your angels charge over me to keep me in all of my ways." Oh, hallelujah.

Thank You for the cross. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for health and strength in all things. Ephesians five and twenty tells me to be thankful.

Turn with me to Second Thessalonians chapter one. Glory to His Name. Come on. Turn in your Bibles tonight. Second Thessalonians chapter one. Not only am I thankful to God. But in Second Thessalonians chapter one and verse three, it says,

3. We are bound to thank God always for you, (Who is you? The) brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.

We are supposed to be thankful for each other. I'm thankful that you're my brother. I'm thankful that you're my sister. I'm thankful that I don't have to do this thing all by myself. I'm thankful for the saints.

Many people think that they can do it by themselves. But the Bible says He sent them out two by two. Oh, you don't hear me tonight. I'm thankful for you. I'm thankful for you. And you need to be thankful for me.

So many things to be thankful for. Even where you are in your life right now, even in all of your trying to make decisions, even when you don't know which way to go, even when you don't know (glory to God) where to turn, be thankful.

The Bible tells us in Philippians, be careful for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep our hearts and our minds through Christ Jesus.

No matter what I'm going through, I can pray. And I can give thanks in the midst of it, that no good thing will He withhold from them who walk upright, that He that began a good work in me is faithful to perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ, that He shall perfect everything that concerns me.

All of these things we are to be thankful for. All of these things. I'm thankful for the grace, the unmerited favor that I have, that I did nothing to deserve. I'm thankful for it. I'm giving a response to God in gratitude for all the things that He has done.

In two days we'll be celebrating a national holiday called Thanksgiving. But every single day we are to be thankful. Every single day we are to give thanks.

We think that God owes us something. But God owes us nothing. He owes us nothing. He does the thing that He does because He wants to do it. It's nothing that we have done. So just be thankful.

Be thankful for that boss that's getting on your last nerves. Be thankful for that child that you can't do nothing with. Be thankful for that spouse that won't come to Jesus. Be thankful for them anyhow. Because while you're trying to figure it out, He done already worked it out.

Be thankful. Be thankful. Be thankful.

Psalm thirty-one and verse seven says, "Thou has known my soul in adversity." In other words, my soul is my intellect. You know what I'm thinking when I'm going through. You know the very words in my mouth even before I speak them. You know all about me.

Sometimes we'll be in the fire, and all He's looking for us to do is be thankful anyway, because He's already made a way out. Saints of God, I know there are problems in your life right now. And every day you fight. But Paul told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. And faith requires thanksgiving. It requires that a thankful. Faith is not going to work if I'm not thankful. If I don't give the right response to God of gratitude, then it won't work.

Because we think that we can only be thankful when we get something tangible in our hands. But while it's still in spirit form, while I can't see it with my natural eye, while I can't, you know, reach out and grab it, I need to be thankful for it anyhow.

I got a little testimony I want to tell you tonight. I was going through because... Took a test. Looked on the Internet. And there was a big fat zero for my test on Friday when the results came in. All weekend I went through about it. I said, "Now Lord, I know this can't be true." It put a heaviness on me. But I said, "God, I'm going to trust You anyhow. I'm going to be thankful because you never failed me yet."

Went to the professor today. And he looked at his computer. And there was big fat B sitting there. To God be the glory. While I was trying to figure it out, He had already worked it out.

Be thankful. No matter what it looks like, be thankful. When you natural sense want you to crumble, be thankful. He'll work it out. He'll work it out.

You thought it was over, but it ain't over yet. You thought it was finished, but it's not finished yet. He hasn't finished doing. He hasn't yet... He's only begun. Just let Him have it. You thought it was going to work out one way, but you thought it was going to be sooner. Didn't work out like that. Be thankful anyway. Because it's working together for your good.

We don't know why things happen. We don't know why. Just like we don't know which way when we wake up in the morning the wind is going to blow. We don't know. But Job said, "Yea, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

Saints of God, this is the season... If you've never been thankful before, you need to be thankful now. You need to be thankful right now. Don't wait until you get what you been looking for. Because once you get it, it's easy to be thankful for it. But be thankful before it manifests. It's your response that He's looking at.

You're looking at your job situation. But be grateful for them pennies you're getting now. Thank Him for it now. Don't wait for the big time promotion. Don't wait for the six figure salary. Be thankful now. See, your response now is what He's looking at.

If you been depressed every day, you're giving the wrong response. Give Him the response that He's looking for, no matter what you're feeling, because you don't go by your feelings. Praise Him anyway. Give Him just what He wants. And when you give God what He wants, He's going to give you what you want.

Lift up your hands to him tonight. (Tongues.) And just wave them to Him tonight.

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