Today's Lectionary Text
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Paul's words to the church at Thessalonica were not meant to make light of anyone's circumstances; they were meant to encourage them that in their plight as God was with them and watching over them as He provided for their basic needs.
Sometimes it is hard to be thankful when you are in the middle of a situation; but God is faithful and as we ask in prayer, He will answer us faithfully for He never sleeps nor is He too distracted to respond to our need.
The air conditioner has stopped working at the parsonage here and we were able to keep the house at 81 degrees which is quite a bit warmer than what we would like it; but we slept, and the morning is come and I'm sure this too will be corrected and shall pass as a momentary trouble.
One of my favorite praise hymns is "Give Thanks" from the "Faith We Sing" hymnal on page 2036. It is inspired by the words of Mary found in Luke 1:49-53 and was written and put to music by Henry Smith and published in 1978. The Scripture passage says this: "for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty."
Mary's song of thanksgiving is read every year during the Advent Season before Christmas as we look into the events that God put into motion. Why did a young virgin girl have to face possible humiliation by becoming pregnant to fulfill God's purposes; you might wonder. It is because in God's plan there is no element left to chance to be explained away by worldly means.
Mary was single, betrothed to a Joseph and bound by the vows of betrothal, she should not have become pregnant but in God's wisdom, for all to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, she had to become with child--the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ, God's Son.
We may not have to go through what Mary went through as God works in our lives for our benefit and His glory, but if we are to operate from a thankful heart, we must take on the mind of Christ and walk in the way that Paul wrote of in our first reading from I Thessalonians 5:16 giving thanks in all circumstances.
Why do we give thanks always? Because God will provide for us, and He will lift us up with His strong right arm. You have heard of someone's good "right hand man" that they rely on; well in Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of God on the throne, we receive our help, and we are lifted up by faith in Him to trust always in God's provision and love for us. So "Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son" that we "might be lifted up on the last day".
Never consider your circumstances as beyond His control: "And now let the weak say, 'I am strong'; let the poor say, 'I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us'. Give thanks; Give thanks; Give thanks; Give thanks!"
-Pastor Rod Heilbrun
Franklin First and Marcon UMCs
Prayer for Reflection
Give thanks in all circumstances for that is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Amen and Amen!
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