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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Message- a brief thought on Thanksgiving

So this week, I got stuck on 2 Corinthians 1.  I should have been in Chapter 13, but for a good reason it was hidden from me.  I'll show you why in a minute.  But let me start with this morning and work around to make it all make sense.

Because God rarely teaches us in the single moment, but in the perspective.  Say you were a pro football player.  You were not only a good player, but one of the ones who was always seen giving a quick glory to God at every touchdown scored.  But now you are in your 50s, 60s, maybe 70s.  The glory is gone, but the headaches, the memory loss, maybe the arthritis or the rheumatic joints, those are still with you.  And you are bitter with God, and say, "I was faithful to you, and you left me like this!"  Never mind the "golden ages" when you were on top of the world and giving thanks to God was easy.  Did you forget, in God's eyes, our lives on earth are but a moment, passing like vapor?  What was the BALANCE of that life?

Job had a hard time with that for a short while, wondering why God allowed him tragedy, when he had served God so well.  Had God changed?  Of course not.  Had Job changed?  Not really.  But his circumstance had changed.  And at first, Job kept the same attitude, but then, he got lost in thinking "I don't deserve this."  Before his friends got to him, he said, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord."  And had he stayed with that, he would have been fine.


What does all this have to do with 2 Corinthians 1?  Well, it all revolves around the verse I finally saw this morning:

2Co 1:8  For, brothers, we would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; so much so that we despaired even of life.
2Co 1:9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, so that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
2Co 1:10  who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us,
2Co 1:11  with you also helping together by prayer for us, so that the gracious gift by many persons be the cause of thanksgiving through many for us. 


Much of Paul's writing seems to go around in circles to our ears, and so the first part of this chapter for me, so I set it aside till this morning.  And so it was I had some struggles this week, asking God to show Himself to me just a little.  Hence it was in retrospect I finally tumbled onto the 13th chapter:

2Co 13:2  I told you before, and I say beforehand, as being present the second time and being absent now. I write to those who sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare. 
2Co 13:3  Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me (who is not weak toward you, but is powerful in you; 



So what proof of Christ would I be given?  None, because I hadn't learned the verse He brought me to.  So let's go back now to the verse I needed to learn.

Paul many times says that he didn't mind the various trials he had gone through, for what they brought to others.  Here, he describes being in intense fear for his life- but, it was all right.  Because of those trials, people prayed for him.  And when he was delivered, God was glorified by the MANY people who, through praying for Paul in his trials, had their prayers answered through his salvation.

Paul looked at his suffering, then, as the opportunity to set the table for a feast of Thanksgivings to the Lord;  God was glorified in Paul's trial by the many who thanked God afterwards for his deliverance.


How often do you thank God when you pray an asked-for prayer for someone else?   Do you wait to see the benefit?  Jesus said to pray WITH thanksgiving, that the prayer might be answered.  Or are you in need of prayer, do you ever thank God for the opportunity to have many give thanks to Him through your trial?  This is where Job got lost.  When his friends came to co-miserate, he allowed them to drive him into dark thoughts; where, had he kept his original attitude, his friends would have seen the glory of God through Job's suffering and praised God the more.

So today's question is, in that time of trial:  if you are the sufferer, what is your attitude, do you look for God's glory or try to defend your own hide?  And if the friend praying, do you thank God when you pray- or only when you get the FaceBook message saying, disaster averted?

8 comments:

  1. Yes another bloody great post from you, thank you again I always glad I pop in for a visit

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  2. I'm so thankful for HIS answers- good or bad that's what is to be.

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    1. I guess the thing that undercurrented this post was, remembering that country song, Thank God For Unanswered Prayers. That seems so easy, but thanking Him when they get answered sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

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  3. >>... "Jesus said to pray WITH thanksgiving, that the prayer might be answered."

    BROTHER MARTIN ~
    To me, that verse is speaking directly about the level of faith in the person who is doing the praying. The "thanksgiving" is the attitude that the prayer is said with, and it is a direct result of faith that God and/or Christ is hearing the prayer and has, in a sense, ALREADY responded to it.

    I would correlate that verse with several others found in the Gospels that speak of having such strong faith that an attitude of "thanksgiving" is ALREADY appropriate even AS the prayer is STILL being thought or spoken.

    Of course you know how often Jesus told people that their faith had made them well. Too many times for me to quote them all here. But a few verses I particularly like which address this same subject are these:

    Mark 11:22 - 24, concluding with this: "Therefore I [Jesus] say to you, Anything you pray for and ask, believe that you will receive it, and it will be done for you."

    Mark 5:36 - "Fear not, ONLY believe."

    And one of my favorite passages in The Bible and perhaps the greatest example of faith BEFORE receiving an answer, which justified an attitude of thanksgiving in advance of the Divine response is...

    Luke 17:11 - 14. This is the story of the ten lepers, one of which was a Samaritan, who sought healing from Jesus Christ. It concludes with this: ...He said to them, "Go show yourselves to the priests", and WHILE THEY WERE GOING, they were cleansed.

    As you know, in the Levitical law, it was a priest who had to examine a person supposedly cleansed of leprosy and make the formal declaration that the person was completely healed before he/she could be readmitted fully into society.

    So, in this passage, Jesus tells the lepers to go show themselves to the priest, however, there has not yet been ANY sign that they've been healed. But, having faith in Jesus, they start off to see the priest. If they'd lacked faith, they'd have been thinking something like this: Sheesh! I'm gonna look like an idiot when I get to the priest and tell him I want to be declared healed of leprosy when it's totally apparent by just one glance, even to me, that I am NOT healed.

    But they didn't entertain that doubt because of their faith that Jesus meant what He said and would not make them appear foolish. So, they begin the journey and as The Bible says, they were healed DURING their "walk of faith". (Subsequent verses speak to the fact that only the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus, but that's a separate issue.)

    So, to my way of thinking, when we pray, if we have faith that God ALREADY knows our prayer and has responded to it, then an attitude of "thanksgiving" is actually appropriate, even WHILE we are saying the prayer. Just as the lepers could be thankful while on the way to the priest even though the answer to the request was not yet evident to their eyes.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You know, that's one of those "great things about the Bible" moments. I had never considered the timeline of the lepers before... how they had to start the walk with the disease. Like you brought up, it's always the one who came back who gets the focus. But this is a perfect example of prayer-faith-response from God- response from man.

      Good catch! You ever wanna do a "guest sermon", let me know!

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  4. Ha!-
    Thanks, BROTHER MARTIN, I appreciate the offer but... I probably should learn to walk it before I talk it, to hack it before I yak it.
    -Ha!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. That would eliminate me, too... around here it's more, "If you are gonna stumble, at least stumble forward!"

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