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Why Thanksgiving Changes Everything Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2021 1:00 am

Why Thanksgiving Changes Everything Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 24, 2021 1:00 am

Is it difficult to be content with what you have this Thanksgiving or any other day of the year? The Bible tells us to give thanks in everything. Does this mean you must be thankful for illness or loss? Or you must be grateful for not having a job? In this message, we learn why the Bible’s command to be thankful makes sense even when we don’t understand our circumstances.  

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
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Various Hosts
Rob West and Steve Moore
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Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

The Bible tells us everything give thanks, does this mean being thankful for illness, or loss or being grateful for having no job today. The Bible's command to be thankful does make sense, even when to us.

It doesn't stay with the Moody Church in Chicago. This is with Dr. Sir, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line to help us celebrate this uniquely American holiday. As you speak on Thanksgiving changes everything. Even when things are looking grim, Dave. The title of this message why Thanksgiving changes everything and being thankful is so critical is not just a slogan I discovered in my own life that when I am thankful even for the hard times even further setbacks even for the disappointments. What it does is it gives a very unique understanding of the total picture of what God is doing and when the Bible says in everything give thanks. It means that now as I emphasize in the message.

That doesn't mean that we give thanks for evil per se, but even there we can thank God for his ability to take evil and from it, bring some good. I think that this is a transforming message and you know for a gift of any amount. It can be yours today my dear friends, here's what you do go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Now let us listen very carefully so that we have a better understanding as to why being thankful does indeed change everything so glad that you have gathered together here today, my theme is why Thanksgiving changes every at the end of this message. I intend with God's help that you would leave here today with an entirely different perspective of your problem. Your need and wherever you are at, because Thanksgiving changes everything.

All of us know that for the most part we are complaining people complaining is a national pastime. We complain about the economy. We complain about circumstances, our health, and most of all, we complain about others who aren't nearly as good as we are and they are come waning about us complain complain complain. How do we change that one way might be for us to find someone who's worse off than we are and that's not difficult to remember the old line. I complained to because I didn't have any shoes, until I met someone who didn't have the and that ended my complaining you're in a situation where perhaps you are looking for work and you can find any and you're frustrated and you are tired and then you're watching television and you see that a tidal wave is come, and washed away a village and you're looking at some children who are newly orphaned her mother and father are dead and they are weeping and you say to yourself, you know, may be I still have lots to thank God for. That's one way to become thankful, but the biblical way is quite different. What the Bible teaches is that we needed the faith to believe that there is a plan and even in the midst of darkness.

There is some light and therefore we can be thankful because the Bible says in everything give thanks.

First of all, the word of introduction regarding the meaning of the word Thanksgiving Thanksgiving and praise are often used interchangeably in Scripture enter into his gates with thanksgiving into his courts with praise, but there is this difference usually when we think of praise we think of us doing it together and we think of praising the attributes of God's faithfulness and so forth.

Usually, Thanksgiving has more to do with the specificity of our circumstances, what it is that we are in during the situations that we find that it is oftentimes very individual.

We individually give thanks now my text today is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Philippians Philippians chapter 4, I want you to turn to it for these few moments I want us to see how our perspective can be changed if we understand what Paul is saying here. Remember, he's not in some very good circumstances. He's in prison in Rome and he's writing an epistle of joy but in Philippians chapter 4 verse four he says rejoice in the Lord always. And then in case you didn't get it. Sometimes we as preachers are criticized for repetition. But God wants us to repeat it because he knows we need it.

Paul says rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known onto everyone. The Lord is at hand.

Do not be anxious about anything. While, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Three words in verse six in everything by prayer, that is the general way in which we voice our request to the Lord and this supplication and that word speaks about you spilling out your soul to God. Hebrews chapter 5 verse seven says that when Jesus was in Gethsemane. It says that he poured out his soul with prayer and supplication. That's when you are desperate and all of us should be desperate because only desperate people pray and that's when you spill it all out to God with supplication, but you add. Thanks giving you at Thanksgiving and the reason for that is because Thanksgiving is a much broader theme in Scripture. And if you don't add the Thanksgiving very probably know peace will come to your heart now in order for us to understand Thanksgiving.

I think I need to spend a few moments giving what I would consider the theology of Thanksgiving and then we'll see how it changes our perspective, the theology of Thanksgiving you see Thanksgiving honors God to because through Thanksgiving. We are affirming the power of God. See most Christians look at it this way. I will thank God for the good things, but not the bad things that happened to me I will thank God. When I am promoted but I will not thank and when I'm demoted when I walked out of that office and I'm told that my job is over. I'm not going to thank God for that. I'm going to thank him if the boss says you are promoted.

So what we do is we say I thank you for the promotions but not the demotions I thank him for health but I will not thank him for cancer. I thank him for good relationships but I will not thank him for difficult relationships and so what we do is we have this theory Thanksgiving that we thank God only for good thing but it's not biblical. We don't thank God for only good things, George Matheson.

It was a Scottish pastor who was blind. Imagine being blind, and is taught by his sister actually read all of his books and so we went to university and he became a pastor basically memorized his sermons memorized all of the songs in the hymnal and wrote some hymns self. He said that he was rebuked when he began to realize that he thanked God for his roses but he didn't bang God for his for he thanked God for the good things, but not the blindness, and then he began to realize he needed to thank God for that to because he says it was my tears that brought God and it was he who wrote a love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in the eye. Give me back the life I/O that in nine ocean depths its flow may richer older B. He thanked God also for the blindness. Now I'm not saying we should thank God for evil last week because I spoke on abuse. Several couples came at least two, and said our children are in an abusive relationship may be of an abusive marriage relationship.

We don't say boy.

We thank God for that. What we do though is we thank God that even in the midst of this, he's going to give wisdom he's going to give strength, his grace and his mercy is going to come, and the like. In a lasting and be strong enough to cover the need and we believe that even here we shall see. The redemptive use of God. That's the way you give thanks when you're confronted with an issue such as that. So Thanksgiving done. Is it extols first of all, the power of God but also the wisdom of God. It means that we believe God does what is best. Now here's a challenge. Have you ever wish that you had God's power ever said to yourself I wish I had God's power for 24 hours. What changes I would make in this world I would eradicate hunger. I take care of evil. Imagine being gone for 24 that's what we say to ourselves, but here's something for you to think about. If, in addition to having all of God's power.

If you also had God's wisdom, you would leave things as they are and that takes a lot of faith to believe, but oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out if you believe in the God of the Bible you believe that there is a plan. There is a plan. God does not do evil, but God is using evil for an eternal perspective. And that leads me to the third attribute, namely his providence wasn't it even Shakespeare who said that there is a destiny that shapes our ends. Rough Hewitt as we may, in other words, we have some wiggle room within the destiny but at the end of the day. There is an overriding destiny that shapes our and we don't have to take it from Shakespeare. We have to take it from God works all things after the counsel of his own will. Wow, you believe that there's a hidden plan that we don't know all the details for sure but we don't have to know the details in order to trust that God knows what he is doing just because we don't know what the hidden plan is in all of God's purposes doesn't mean that there can be any and one of the things that you cannot do is to say that God doesn't care. And we know that that's not an option because when Jesus died on the cross for sinners on behalf of sinners and for us. When Jesus did that.

We know that God cares but we go on believing even though we do not see clearly what his purposes are now do you understand why so often with praise glorifies me what we are saying when we praise God is rethinking him for his power were thanking him for his wisdom were thanking him for his providence and for his goodness and all of that now think with me 16th chapter of Exodus. Don't turn to it because you know the story, the Israelites are there in the desert and they are come leaning they don't like the desert heat. They don't like the food food you know and later on, they're going to complain again because they get the same thing Manna for breakfast Manna for lunch Manna for dinner and then you know let's have a bedtime snack will help out some Manna so they are complaining they are complaining and what does God say to Moses, God says that they are not complaining against you. There complaints are against me.

Why God's power led them into the wilderness. It was according to his wisdom, according to his goodness, according to his intentions were bear by the will of God in you today you sought God, he gave you the job that you have your vocation. He put you in the situation that you are in and you are complaining, and God is saying it's not just against your circumstances. I let you into these circumstances.

Your complaint God says is against me.

That's why the Bible says in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning me.

God says this is the will of God. We give thanks to God. And so what we understand is that our complaining, our rebellion is really against God.

Now you say will does this mean that we simply collapse into a kind of fatalism, the kind of pacifism. That's as well. Whatever will be will be no no you remember that prayer member that prayer says, oh Lord, help me to change the things I can, and to accept the things that I can't, and to know the difference.

That's a paraphrase of the very important prayer that we ought to pray we change what we can, but when you're in circumstances that you can change when there is nothing that you can do about those circumstances, you accept them, but don't accept them from your boss don't accept them from your mate. You accept them from God because God is powerful. God is wise and God is good and you believe him and that's why it says who's offered praise glorifies me now praise honors God.

But look at what it does for us now. Your Bibles are open to the text here. You'll notice it says and I can't help but begin at the beginning of the section that we read rejoice in the Lord always, let's pause there you rejoice, not because of what is happening to you necessarily, you don't rejoice in the pain and the hard thing. They're not the source of your joy.

In fact, as we mentioned there often times the source of our complaint, but rather what you do is you rejoice in the Lord now appear here today and you're investigating Christianity or maybe you're a visitor or maybe you're a regular attender but you do not know Jesus personally. You may be religious but you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ you can't understand that phrase because it is only when we know them personally when we can come into his presence. When we connect with him and we know that we are connecting with him because he's forgiven our sins and we belong to him forever.

It is in that set of circumstances, we rejoice in the Lord, we rejoice in who he is and we rejoice at times when rejoicing seems to be the last thing in the world. We as Christians should be like an oasis in the desert. I've been in a desert. I've been in the Sinai Peninsula many years ago you go day after day and then suddenly you see some trees and because you see trees you know that there is an oasis. There because there must be hidden streams feeding that clump of trees and there are streams feeding very same way your circumstances at work in the office are just like everybody else's, but you're not overcome by them. Don't complain like the others. Why because you have a hidden source of strength and faith and you rejoice in the Lord always.

That's what the text says now then also it says let your reasonableness be known unto all men reasonableness.

We could also use the word patience.

Let your patience be known to all men, because you see you don't always have to get your way you don't always have to win at the stresses off because you have resources inner resources you know God and so as a result of that you can be patient and then you'll notice it says do not be anxious about anything. Well, I have to read that again does it say that it does. Don't be anxious of loud anything you say anything. I don't know I'm just reading the text.

It includes your circumstances, your health, your relationship, your future.

That's what the text says. And then it says with prayer and supplication and appreciation Thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And that piece of God, which surpasses all understanding. It doesn't make sense.

You should be tied up in a knot just like everyone else should be you should be filled with anxiety like all of the people of the world should be filled with anxiety and you're not. So it surpasses all understanding and pulses, it may keep your heart and your mind in Jesus Christ. It guards actually that's the word guards will my friend, this is Pastor Luther if you want to be fearful today you have good reason we think. For example, of all that is happened regarding COBIT.

All of the political conflict racial conflict. It's very easy for us to look out of the window of our lives and say to ourselves everything is falling apart. What Thanksgiving does is it makes us look at these events from God's standpoint. I mean this very deeply because I've experienced it and I want you to experience this as well. For a gift of any amount we are making available to you. This message entitled white Thanksgiving changes everything I need to tell you that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and one of the great mistakes we make is we leave our Thanksgiving to a single day of the year when we should be giving thanks perpetually. Here's what you can do to receive this message, you go to RTW that's RTW or if you prefer you call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the CD white Thanksgiving changes everything and thanks in advance. Also for helping us with this ministry. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Luther a question about the Bible or the Christian life when to apply a well-known Bible verse. That's Laura's question today. She says I've referenced first Corinthians 1013 in dealing with many of the trials of life. It reads no temptation has seized upon you except what is common to man and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

I recently heard this passage quoted to a woman whose husband was dying of cancer. Then, at a conference I heard that if we give it to someone who is grieving. It is taking this verse out of context. Can you please elaborate and in referencing this passage doesn't need to be in the context of idolatry only excellent question Laura, first of all let me say that in context it is referring to idolatry and sexual temptation and what an encouraging verse, it is to know that there is no temptation that is taken us, but that others have experienced it, and they've gone through it and they've gone through it successfully because God has provided a way of escape, sometimes when people are in the midst of temptation. They're not looking for a way of escape, but God has provided one it were looking for it. We do not have to continue to stumble into that temptation over and over again. Now, having said that, I think, yes, in a general way it does apply to other issues in the Christian life. I suppose one could say to a woman who's lost her husband who is wondering how she is going to be able to cope and whether or not she is going to be tempted to fall into various sins that this verse indicates that that is not necessary because God is going to provide for her also a way of escape, and that other women have gone through this and they've made it.

And so you can to, but I would agree that it is a secondary application and not the one that is explicitly in the text but you know sometimes God uses his word in a broader sense.

And from that standpoint we can say regarding any trial that comes to us that there is no trial and that's the way in which the word temptation is used here in this verse that any trial that God brings us to no matter what it is he grants grace, that we might be able to bear it. So let's take that home with us today and be encouraged. No matter what we face.

Thank you Laura and thank you once again Dr. lutes or if you'd like to hear your question answered.

Go to our and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life in a bad economy. It's harder to feel grateful. Even so, let's not forget Philippians chapter 4, and rejoice in the Lord. Next time on running to win. You'll hear more insights on being thankful even when everything's gone wrong. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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