The Practice of Giving Thanks.

1 Thess. 1:2 says, “ We give thanks to God always for all of you. Bearing in mind your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfast hope in our Lord Jesus… knowing His choice of you.
     As we begin a Season of “Giving Thanks” It is such an opportunity to not get lost in the preparation for yet another holiday and press into actually practicing what this holiday is called, “Thanksgiving.” The Thessalonians were actually practicing three things that Paul was noticing and giving God glory for. They were showing their faith in Jesus by the work they were doing, they were practicing love in a practical way and they had their hope securely in Jesus their Savior. It says they had a steadfast hope. Steadfast means their hope was committed, reliable and steady. 
Their outpouring of faithfulness and hope wasn’t because life was so amazing and easy. In fact the opposite is probably true. 
We know that Paul left the believers in Thessalonica after a brief stay with them ( Acts17:5-10) . We know that city was a large seaport capital of about 200,000 people. There were new christians that had converted from paganism and did not have much support in the midst of persecution. So we know dear ones that life was not easy for these fellow believers. And yet….Paul wrote to them saying he gave God thanks for their work of faith, labor of love and steadfast hope in Jesus. 
     Paul spent time encouraging the believers to look beyond this present world with it’s trials and sufferings and keep their eyes firmly fixed on the return of Christ.( Chapters 4,5) 
Not only were they practicing this, having a steadfast hope but they were encouraging Paul by the way they were choosing to do this! 

     Fall is probably my most favorite time of year! I love everything about it. The sights, the smells, even the sounds. This morning as I sat on the deck and listened to the fall breeze dancing through the trees. I gave thanks once again for it’s beauty and how it makes me want to praise the Lord. But even though there is beauty everywhere we can also see signs of  winter approaching. Flowers are dying , grasses will begin to turn brown and it won’t be long before the trees stand stark and naked.  This is where we have a choice beloved whether we are discussing the signs of nature changing the landscape or whether we are discussing the signs of the times changing the world we live in. Where will my hope be?  Where will my thoughts go? What attitude will I choose? Does the way I love and work declare my faith in Jesus? How steadfast is my hope in Him? Is it strong and firm in Him or is it shaken as I see the very world I live in shaken? We must hold fast dear ones  to the Hope we are called to in Christ Jesus. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him and our hearts full of His word so that when this world shakes the first words to leave our mouths are words of Thanksgiving of all that He is and of all that He does.
     It’s not too soon to start practicing the art of Giving Thanks! What would be the first words out of your mouth to give thanks for?

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