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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU

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THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU
BY PASTOR MARK TAYLOR
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ( I Thessalonians 5:18)
God expects us to live a life of thanksgiving rather than offering limited thanks. And we must never lose sight of God’s goodness, and God’s hand at work in everything we face. 

Why is it that so many people have chosen to be negative and have an unthankful attitude towards God and others?  

1.  Possibly it is because of the way people have been raised in their childhood and the many disappointments they have  faced during their life times.  One word seems to sum up those experiences and that is rejection.  Possibly, the unthankful attitude is a result of feeling that our friends, our family, our wives or husbands, our children, or even God has rejected us.  When we feel that way it is hard to give thanks.  

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ experienced all those feelings, yet He remained thankful.  “He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.  We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (Isaiah 53:3).  Yes, this was a prophecy that the Lord knew about 740 years before He chose to come to Earth and die for us.  He knew that not only the people of His life time would reject Him, but that you and I would reject Him, but He came anyway.  He overcame His feelings of rejection by fulfilling His purpose and demonstrating His love for you and me.  “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).  And even though the very people He came to save rejected Him, many others were saved and blessed by Him.  “He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t receive Him.  He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.  But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1: 10-12)  How did he remain thankful and positive?  He knew that this was the will of God for His life and He focused upon His Father’s love for Him.

2.  Perhaps the reason some are unthankful is that they do not think that life has been fair to them, or maybe even that God has not been fair.  God's idea of fairness is different than that of the world.
God's idea of fairness is based on love and righteousness, not on equality.  A real Christian's relationship with God is based on trusting that He is in charge of our lives (because we have given it to Him) and that He working on our behalf out of love for us.

3.  Perhaps another reason people are unthankful is that they view themselves as victims.  The victim mentality seeks sympathy.  Often people are not enthusiastic about giving up their victim role  because they fear it will cut off the attention they receive from their friends and loved ones.  Taking on the victim role leads to bitterness and unthankfulness.  This is not "God's will concerning you".

"Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ." (EPHESIANS 4:31-32).

In every situation, we are to have an attitude of thankfulness toward God.  Have an “attitude of gratitude”.  How in the world is that possible?  First, recognize that although not everything is good in itself, God can and will use everything in our lives for our ultimate blessing.

God is good, all the time, but life isn’t.  God allows, (not causes), circumstances that ultimately can result in something good if we let Him work.  I don’t personally believe that God causes any evil of any kind, but He can turn bad circumstances into a blessing for us.  As Christians who love God, we should take the attitude that since God is good, then this bad circumstance can bring about some further good in or through my life, or else God would not have allowed it.  Bad things are going to happen to everyone, regardless if they are a child of God or not.  But God is very concerned about His children when bad things do happen to them.

Giving thanks reminds us that God uses all our circumstances to make us more like Him   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28-29). 

God has a good and wise and loving purpose for everything He allows into our lives, even pain and suffering. We can give thanks in the knowledge that He loves us and will never permit us any pain unless the ultimate benefit is worth the cost. That doesn’t mean we can understand His ways. We may have no idea how anything could be worth this much pain. But God’s Word tells us that it will be worth it.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (determination). Perseverance (determination) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  (James 1:2-4).  If you allow God to help you, your difficulties will make you a stronger person.

There are times we cause our own problems.  This includes health issues, financial difficulties, and relationship failures.  Certainly this is not “the will of God” for you.  Sometimes the sins and failures of others cause us hurt and hardships.  Neither are the pains others inflict upon us “God’s will”.  All of us have free will to choose positive or negative behaviors that both affect us and others.  This is why the Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for you and I that we might be forgiven and start over when we make wrong choices or others cause bad things to happen to us.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and cleanse us from all sin.” ( I John 1:9).
There are times when there is no explanation of "why" bad things are happing to us.  Some people are born with disabilities or handicaps and we do not know "why".  Our response can be negative, when bad things happen to us.  But that is not “God’s will concerning you”.  Our response should be thankfulness.  You may ask: “How can I be thankful for the losses in my life, the illness in my body, the rejection I feel?”  It is not easy.  
But you can start by:
Thanking God for the people you have left in your life that love you; 
Looking around and see that your health could be worse and thank Him for the years of good health you have already received; 
You can look at the homeless, the prisoners in jail, those bound by the chains of drug and alcohol addiction; and those in war torn countries around the world and thank God for your freedom and comfort;
You can thank the Lord that you have heard the Gospel and God has chosen you to love Him and live with Him forever and that He loves you and wants a relationship with you.
Our Lord did not promise us a life without pain or difficulties.  He said this:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 
(John 16:33).
Do you want to do God’s will today?  His will is that you be thankful.

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