Thankful During Unsettling Times

Rev. Brian K. Brown, Pastor, St. Mark M.B. Church

Philippians 4:4-7

As we are getting ready to celebrate another Thanksgiving holiday, let us be reminded that we don’t need a holiday to be thankful.  Every day is a day to be thankful.  Paul writes this epistle while imprisoned to a bellowed group of people.  He does not tell of his sad story but tells of his satisfaction with God.  Paul opens up for us an opportunity for our humanity to show forth.  We all have things that trouble us.  Anxiousness knows our name.

Paul does not dwell on the negative but says even though there is anxiety, let nothing be done because of it but be in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made unto God.  It’s easy to tell God thank you when all is going well.  We may not be well, have money or a job but we should still be thankful.  Unsettling times will always be with us until the Lord returns.  If we can’t change the unsettlement, can we use it to do good?  Can we be unchanged by unsettling moments?  It’s an opportunity for God to show us that something good can happen to us.

Paul was sure to give God his thanksgiving and magnify his name so the world could see Jesus in him.  Every day we should give God our greatest praise.  The question asked of the text by Pastor Brown was:  What will a thankful attitude provide us in unsettling times?    The first point from verse 6:  When we have a thankful attitude, access to God’s presence is granted.  We do not get access to God by our works, monies, friends, or family but it’s God who says he’s waiting on the password.  Access is grated when we come to him with a heart that says thank you.  Psalm 100:4 tells us to enter into his presence with thanksgiving and into his court with praise, be thankful and bless him and bless his name.  Thankfulness and a thankful attitude will grant to us access into God’s presence The place we want to be when we’re going through the worst is in the present of the Lord.

The second point from verse 7:  When we have a thankful attitude, God grants us assurance of his peace.  Peace can be defined as freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, and obsession.  Peace is tranquility and serenity.  When we tell God thank you, not only does thankfulness and a thankful attitude grant us access into his presence, it also grants us assurance of his peace.  As we affirm that God you’re still good, and you’re worthy of praise, we are thankful despite what we have, where we are, the conditions, etc. God says now that we understand that he is to be thanked he gives us peace.

This peace was already there, but was bogged down by our annoyances, distractions, anxieties, and obsessions.  Peace was trying to get through but needed thanksgiving to pave the way.  When our focus is on the object for which we are thankful for, then we lose sight of the annoyances, distraction, anxieties, and obsessions.  All we then see is what we are thankful for.  Through it all we should recognize that the good outweighs the bad we may be going through.

The final point from verse 8:  When we have a thankful attitude, God grants us activation into his plan for our lives.  The plan of God is for us to ‘think right’ but we can’t think right until we ‘thank right’. Our thinking is connected to our thankfulness.  If we give thanks to God he will help us with a plan on how to think about life no matter how life comes our way.  The plan is that everything starts with our thoughts.  God created everything from his thoughts.

Proverbs 23:7 tells us as he thinketh in his heart so is he.  If our thoughts are not right then we cannot become the object of our thoughts.  If our thoughts are wrong then action that lead from them will also be wrong.  God’s plan is that we will think about ourselves and circumstances the way he thinks about them.  The verse tells us the way we should think, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report think on those things.  Because we are in his presence, blessed by his peace, it will now cause us to think in the right way.  Everything in our lives is not positive, but our focus should be on the positive.  We should look for the positive and good in the negative and wait on God to make the negative positive again as we focus on the positive.

Let us be thankful all day every day.  Be at peace with God as we show him we’re glad for the life we live each day and focus on the positive.

Join us Sunday mornings in the sanctuary or via live-stream on YouTube @ St Mark MBC at 10:20 for Sunday School, worship service at 10:45 a.m., and bible study on Wednesdays @ 7:00 p.m.

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