Thank God!!

Milton Berle said, "Our last turkey was so tough, when we closed the oven door it blew out the pilot light." It may be tough for turkeys to be thankful at Thanksgiving, but thanksgiving ought not to be difficult for sensitive and sensible souls, on that day or ) any other day of the year! We are daily treated to a banquet table of God's rich blessings, both physical and spiritual. Though difficulties and stresses and strains in life are constant, and though there is pain and hurt and injustice we do not understand and cannot control, the words of Psalms 100:4-5 continue to call to every human heart that will listen — "Enter into His courts with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations." Bible writers were convinced that God is good, even when things seem bad. That's why the apostle Paul could write from a prison cell — "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20; see also 3:1; 4:1; 6:20). If you could ask Paul if being in prison was a good thing or a bad thing, I have no doubt he would tell you being in prison was a bad thing. But if you asked him is being in prison the worst thing, he would laugh at the question and firmly tell you, "Far from it." When you followed up and asked him what could possibly be worse than being in prison, especially when the only "crime" he had committed was preaching Christ, he would, with no hesitation, tell you, "The worst thing in life would be to be in prison but not be in Christ!" Being in Christ meant more to Paul than anything else in life. His heart had been saturated with love and baptized in gratitude in response to the gift of God's Son! The cross had proven to Him beyond all doubt that God was good, even when life seemed bad and that God loved him no matter what was happening around him or to him (Romans 5:8; 8:31-39). That is why he could write the words we read in Ephesians 5:20 and so many other places. Take a concordance and trace his writings in the New Testament. No circumstance in life he ever faced, whether prison or persecution or other pressures, ever found him unable or unwilling to feel and express gratitude to God!

Before space runs out, consider the words of Psalm 68:19 (New King James Version)- "Blessed be the Lord , Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!" Beautiful! This verse identifies the source of our blessings — "the Lord" (cf. James 1:17). The schedule of our blessings is "daily" (Matthew 6:11). The scope of them is "loads" (Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 2:10). And the sense of our blessings is expressed in the word "salvation." The greatest kind of salvation God bestows is spiritual in nature —salvation from the guilt and condemnation of sin (Romans 1:16; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:3). Old words from an anonymous writer remind us to thank God for His goodness — even when His goodness doesn't seem apparent — "Thank God for dirty dishes, They have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry, We're eating very well. With home, health, and happiness, I shouldn't want to fuss; By the stack of evidence, God's been good to us." Thank God — on Thanksgiving, and every other day of the year!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ

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