Pastor Ralph Byma
Thanksgiving – an Intentional Way of Living
Philippians 4: 4-13
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul was writing from the depths of prison. His future was uncertain and he was powerless to do anything about it. Yet he writes about not being anxious for anything. Paul wasn’t making light of the situation. He was very aware of the challenges that they were facing. Yet he writes “rejoice in the Lord”.
He shares that the secret to be content and in peace in any situation is to rejoice in the Lord – always. Because, when the Lord is near His presence changes everything. We are never alone in our circumstances. We are never without His love, power, peace, hope and strength. He is always with us.
There is no place or darkness so great in our lives where God can’t find you and set you free.
Living a life of thanksgiving to God, confronts our fears and tears down our anxieties and enables us to hope, to be at peace, to be content and free from being overcome by worry.