give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
History and Context:
Thessalonica was the Roman capital of the province of Macedonia, which is now northern Greece. It was a prosperous city which was both a port on the Aegean sea and also a major city on the land trade route from the city Dyrrachium on the Adriatic sea to what is now Istanbul. The church was founded around 50 AD on Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9). Paul didn't stay long in Thessalonica due to the persecution from the Jews. The Jews were upset because Paul was converting those who were interested in Judaism. Paul spent a little over three weeks there before the newly-formed church sent Paul and his companions (Silas and Timothy) away for safety's sake. Due to the state of unrest that he left the church of Thessalonica in, Paul didn't wait long before he sent Timothy back to get news of what happened. When Paul was in Corinth Timothy returned with good news and Paul wrote the first letter filled with relief and joy.
This is the end of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians and he is giving his final instructions. As a part of his final instructions Paul tells them to give thanks in all circumstances. Some people have taken this to mean that we should thank God for all circumstances but I believe it is a slight yet important difference. We are to thank Him no matter what is going on around us. We need to recognize the goodness of God and thank Him fr it, we need to remember how much He has done for us and thank Him for it. We need to also thank Him in faith for bringing us out of all difficult situations.
Today is Thanksgiving, on normal circumstances it is easy to be thankful today because it is a day in which the entire nation sets aside to be thankful, but I am sure that there aren many out there who are not in normal circumstances. There are some separated from their family, some unemployed, some without food in the house. But today the challenge is to thank Him no matter what your situation is. Yesterday we talked about how it is through thanksgiving that we enter His gates. Even if you are not able to get together with family, or you don't even have food, enter His gates today. It is in His presence that healing and deliverance and blessing comes. Enter His presence today and receive the blessing of God!
Lord, no matter my circumstance I thank you! I thank you for who you are and all that you have done in my life! I thank you for sending your son to this earth to die for me! I thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!