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One of the most important themes in the Bible is THANKFULNESS.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Now I don't know about you, but thankfulness and joy are not my natural reaction to a lot of the difficulties we have faced in 2020. In fact, if we wait to "feel" joyful or thankful, we might miss what God has for us in the midst of these challenges and circumstances.

As we look a little deeper into Scripture, we can understand the *why* of choosing to be thankful.

Psalm 136:1 says, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." There are two reasons to be thankful in this verse:

  1. God is good

  2. His mercy endures forever

And then 26 times in 26 verses, we are assured that His mercies endure forever!

In other words, His attributes can and should trump our attitudes! When we CHOOSE thankfulness, we acknowledge God for who HE is.

2 Timothy 3 tells us specifically, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful…."

Did you catch that word, 'unthankful'? We can easily miss the focus and truth of God's goodness and provision, especially this year.

But when we choose to be thankful, our focus changes from our circumstances to God's mercy, power, provision, and compassion.

Saying 'Thank You' helps us remember that God is in control and good!

I like the ways J. Vernon McGee puts it at the end of his commentary on Psalm 136 – "I don't know about you, but I feel like saying hallelujah. How wonderful is our God! Learn to fall down before Him and worship Him. He is worth it. When you get down in the dust (and you have to get down to get up), He will lift you up with His mercy."

He loves you! He demonstrated that clearly and completely on Calvary's cross, with the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

I can think of no better "Game Plan" going forward than to "give thanks in all circumstances." He is worthy, faithful, and will complete what He has started…in the world, and in you.

As we celebrate His birth and enter a new year, the choice is clear. Give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, for you.

I would love to hear how you have seen God's goodness and mercy at work in your circumstances this year! If you'd like to share, feel free to reply to this email, or call/text me directly at 806-206-5071.


Doug S. Gehm

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