Getting to “for”

Pax Present: Squatter, Johnny5, Milton, Speedwalker, Dipstick, Belding, Sega, Ginger (Q)

The Thang:

Ginger challenged the Pax to take a minute and write down the 2 hardest things they were dealing with right now. It could be something that has just happened this week or perhaps something that happened a while back but is still having a profound effect on their life today.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

-Paul is writing this passage at the beginning of his ministry. Scholars believe that 1 Thessalonians was one of the first letters he wrote of the 12 in the New Testament, if not the first (either that or Galatians). As a result, he would have been less experienced in ministry, and more underdeveloped in his theology. Perhaps this is why he challenged the Thessalonians to give thanks “in” all circumstances. In other words…in the midst of really difficult things in life, we can find a way to give thanks for the blessings God has brought to us even if we can’t give thanks for some of the difficult things that are happening right now.

Later on in his ministry Paul wrote this: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20

Notice that in this passage a more seasoned and mature Paul tells the Ephesian church to give thanks “for” everything. Could it be that Paul had grown to the place through all his trials that he had learned to give thanks for everything in his life and not just to give thank in everything? It seems that he had learned to see his circumstances how God sees them and was able to trust the Lord in such a way that he could be grateful for even the hard things in his life.

Ginger then challenged the Pax to write down the 3 biggest blessings in their life right now.

The challenge is this: maybe you aren’t at a place that you can give thanks “for” every circumstance in your life but you can learn to give thanks “in” every circumstance. This allows you to keep your focus on the Lord and develop a grateful heart. It also helps us keep perspective on the difficulties we are actually facing right now. And as we develop the habit of being grateful it may allow us to grow to the point where we can be thankful “for” every circumstance later on.

Ginger closed with prayer.

Prayer Needs: Milton has a new baby at home which comes with all kinds of challenges but is also having to travel more because of a new promotion he recently got at work. He asked for prayers for grace for he and Katie.

Announcements: Flanders is Qing Scrooge tomorrow….come one, come all.

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