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The giving of thanks is a matter of understanding who our God is, recognizing His character, and being grateful that
He is who He is.
Being Thankful
   
Now for the next challenge: growing through thankfulness.
 
Thankfulness is an interesting thing. Did you know we are to be thankful in everything? "…in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thessalonians 5:18) Please notice, it does not say to be thankful for everything! Such small words...such a big difference. We should find it difficult to be thankful for a broken leg or a head cold or breast cancer. But remember, God doesn’t change: He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is He Himself for whom we must be thankful! The giving of thanks is a matter of understanding who our God is, recognizing His character, and being grateful that He is who He is.
 
We can be thankful for a God who is big enough, and loving enough, to walk with us through difficult times.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” Isaiah 43:2
 
We can be thankful God never becomes tired or gets caught off guard.

 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth 
does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.” Isaiah 40:28
 
We can be thankful He never changes. 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 

His character is just this:

“The Lord, the Lord! Gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”
Exodus 34:6, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 103:8, Joel 2:13, and Jonah 4:2
“And it will be said in that day, behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. 
This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
My choice is to trust God and to thank Him in every circumstance, for every person who crosses my path, whether I understand it or not. Luke 6:27-38 helps us understand the radical expectations Jesus has: 
 
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever
takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours,
do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;
and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High;
for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned;
pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap
a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

This is a high calling indeed! This one passage means that I must still love anyone who ‘does me wrong’. And not only by being superficially nice, but by helping them out, maybe even helping them get ahead of me. But you say, “that doesn’t make sense!” Not by the world’s standards, that’s for sure. But God has a different standard. God wants to build into our lives the image of Jesus: God cares about my character. This is what Jesus would do, and I must do it too.

Well, this doesn’t just happen because I read a verse. I have to make more choices, and I choose to thank God in every situation. It goes something like this:



































 
Wow! Is God good or what?! Hallelujah!

Talk about a radical attitude change! God does this; it is marvelous in our eyes! This will change your life. You will have a new attitude; you will be a new person. You will be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
    
Lord, thank you so much that you love me and have a wonderful plan for my life. Thank you that you know all about what seems to me to be an unjust situation. Thank you that you are in control and you know exactly what is going on. Thank you that you put me here so that your name would be glorified! Thank you that I have the privilege of choosing to obey you and show your love expecting nothing in return. Thank you that you are perfectly capable of showing others what the true situation is and whether you do that or not, you still love me. Thank you that no matter how any particular circumstance turns out I can be perfectly confident that you are working in my life to bring glory and honor to your name. Thank you that you saved me! You saved me from succumbing to the world’s system. You have saved me from all my sin and set my feet upon a rock; I cannot be moved. I will trust in you because your lovingkindness never fails. Thank you that you are taking care of me, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and you will use every situation to help me see you more clearly. Thank you that you are sovereign and nothing escapes your notice. Thank you for your promise to hold me up and sustain me. Thank you for the strength to do what you have commanded by being kind, patient and loving. Thank you for the grace to shine your light in this dark place. Thank you for making me a city on a hill! Thank you that you are working in the lives of everyone around me to draw them to yourself, and as I obey you it releases your Holy Spirit to work. Thank you that I am part of what you are accomplishing in the world! Thank you that I don’t have to be hurt or angry, I don’t have to carry grudges around with me, I don’t have to dump on someone else because you are big enough to carry all my burdens. Thank you that I will love this difficult person because you will empower me to do so, and thank you that you will take care of all the consequences. Thank you that you have promised a reward for me in heaven when I obey you and when I trust in you. Thank you that You are worthy to be praised! You have lifted me out of the pit and crowned me with strength and honor, whether the world sees it or not.
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