Series: With Grateful Hearts
Sermon: Give Thanks in Every Situation?
Scripture Readings: Philippians 4:4-9, Ephesians 5:15-20
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Monday November 19 — 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
When Paul instructs the Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances,” he adds “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). His point is that we always choose gratitude, no matter what we are going through or what our circumstances might be. Even if we don’t feel grateful, we can choose to be grateful, because that is God’s will for us – and because we believe that God knows what is best for us. What might help you choose to be grateful today?
• Prayer: Eternal God, help me to keep my focus on you, no matter what my circumstances turn out to be today. Give me the courage I need to choose gratitude at all times. Amen.
Tuesday November 20 — Psalm 42:1 – 43:5
Psalm 42 and 43 go together, even though they are divided into separate chapters in our Bibles. Together, these psalms form a prayer to God in a time of distress. They serve as a model for us: the good news is despite life’s trials and tribulations, we can still find hope in God. We can still offer praise and thanksgiving to God. In fact, we could say that offering praise and thanksgiving to God is one of the keys to experiencing the presence of God during the most difficult days of our life.
• Prayer: Gracious God, my soul longs for you, and in response to your great love, I give you praise and thanksgiving for the promise of your presence in my life. Amen.
Wednesday November 21 — Mark 14:22-26
The Christian Sacrament of Holy Communion is also known as the Eucharist. The English word “eucharist” is derived from a Greek word that means “thanksgiving” and “grateful.” The Gospels emphasize that when serving the bread and wine to his disciples, Jesus gave thanks. Even in his darkest hour, knowing that his death was imminent, Jesus was grateful. We can imagine that he didn’t feel particularly grateful – for his (painful) death, and the betrayal and denial of his disciples – but he still gave thanks to God. How might God be calling you to follow Jesus’ example today?
• Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the gift of salvation that is offered through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for the life-changing power of your grace. Amen.
Thursday November 22 — Ephesians 5:15-21
For many families, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated around a table overloaded with generous amounts of food and drink. While the Bible encourages feasts and festivals that celebrate the goodness of God – and even says that “it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil” (Ecclesiastes 3:13) – the Bible also warns us not to be foolish and over indulge. It is more important that we be filled with the Spirit of God. As you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. “Give thanks to God…” (Ephesians 5:20).
• Prayer: Giver of All Good Gifts, Fill me once again with the Holy Spirit. Help me give thanks for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday November 23 — Luke 4:16-21, Isaiah 61:1-3
According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus began his ministry in Nazareth by reading from the Book of Isaiah. The verses quoted in Luke 4:18-19 are from Isaiah 58:6 and Isaiah 61:1-2. The point is: Jesus fulfills the prophet’s promise that God would deliver God’s people. These short verses point to the promised “jubilee” (see Leviticus 25) and offer hope for salvation. They describe God’s plan. This is God’s will. As you think about the future, what inspires hope in you? Do you look forward to the salvation that Jesus promises in Luke 4:18-19?
• Prayer: Promise-Keeping God, it is all too easy to give up hope when life seems to be falling apart. I am thankful that future is in your capable hands. Fill me with hope. Amen.
Saturday November 24 — Philippians 4:6-13
What is striking about the encouraging conclusion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is that he is writing from prison (Philippians 1:12-14). Paul is able to express gratitude, experience the peace of God, and rejoice greatly (Philippians 4:6, 7, 10) despite his circumstances. He even instructs the Philippians to follow his example (Philippians 4:7). How might you follow his example in your life? What will help you rejoice and trust and offer thanks and praise to God?
• Prayer: God of Peace, I offer my whole life to you and entrust myself to your care. Guard my heart and mind with your peace, today and every day. I pray in Jess’ name. Amen.