“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:15-20 (ESV)
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, –Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)
With Thanksgiving coming this week in America I believe this is a good time to remember just how important giving thanks to God really is in the life of believers and the church. There are literally hundreds of verses in the Bible teaching us to live our lives in thankfulness to God no matter what and no matter what we are doing.
These are still hard times for many in the USA regardless of all the propaganda to the contrary. Many Christians are out of work or working for far less than ever before. I believe that one of the ways to help believers in America is to cultivate an environment of the thankfulness in our churches. Also it is important that there is an opportunity given in our churches to pray for one another. Especially for those with particular needs- for healing, jobs, or business. And finally a time to hear testimonies of those who have been blessed and received answers to their prayers.
We had our official Thanksgiving service Sunday at VCC Laguna Niguel and there were very few unused seats available since we had a combined service rather than the usual two. This has been an exceptional year at VCC that saw more healings and more people come to Christ than all of the previous 15 years combined. Particularly in the Mercy food warehouse ministry where there were 788 folks that have come to Christ since last March and nearly 600 healings some of which were rather incredible. We don’t have revival yet at the church but it is approaching it in the food ministry. For sure it is a time to be thankful.
Pastor Mike asked for raised hands of those who had gotten new jobs or received promotions after prayer this year and hands were up all over the auditorium. Then he asked for testimonies from those who had received healing and over thirty lined up in the front and testified to the edification of everyone there.
While I was sitting in the service drinking in all of the testimonies of blessings and thankfulness coming from the congregation a word came to me unexpected since I really wasn’t thinking about revival at the time:
Some revivals were cut short for the lack of thankfulness.
After that I started thinking about all of the revivals and renewals that I knew about or had experienced. They always seem to dissipate when the personalities or the gifts themselves become the objects of attention rather than the Lord and along with it forgetfulness to be truly thankful to God through it all.
Point is, I believe that our churches need to become places of hope, faith, and thankfulness in order to provide an environment where God can continually bless us as never before. Especially thankfulness.