Thanksgiving: How to Live a Thankful Life

In 2 Peter 1:12, we find the word, “remembrance.” You may wonder what this word has to do with Thanksgiving. Peter wrote:

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them…

Peter was saying, there are some truths that, although I’m certain you already know them, Ithanksgiving will not fail to remind you of them. In fact, several times in chapter one, Peter uses the word “remembrance.” He didn’t want the church to forget some important elements of their Christian faith or forget what God had done in their lives.

As humans, we are so prone to forgetting. God knows this. That’s the purpose of the rainbow, the Passover celebration, the stones in the Jordan River, the Old Testament feasts, and so on. We know the New Testament sacrament of communion is for the purpose of stirring up our remembrance of the Cross and Blood of Jesus.

I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget what God has done in my life. I don’t want to forget about His grace that lifted me out of my mess. I don’t want to forget from where He has brought me nor the promise of where He is taking me.

So what does forgetfulness have to do with Thanksgiving? Forgetfulness leads to un-thankfulness. People who are unthankful have usually just forgotten – forgotten their blessings and from where those blessings came. Unthankful people have usually just forgotten what their lives were like before Jesus made them a new creation.

A mind that continually reflects on what God has done produces a heart that is be thankfulcontinually thankful. Someone asked me, “Do we really know how to live thankfully?” The way for us to live a thankful life is to reflect often on what God has done in our lives. Think back. Reminisce. Recall your blessings. Ponder the grace and favor that He extended to you. Look at what you have today. Where did it all come from? Don’t forget from whom all blessings flow. As we remember all that He has done, thanksgiving will naturally flow from our heart and lips.

The way for us to live a thankful life is to reflect often on what God has done in our lives

Thank you. Those are two very powerful words. Freely speaking them to the people in our lives brings encouragement and fulfillment to those people. Let’s not forget to offer those words to God as well. The Lord has done so much for us that if we told the Lord “Thank You” each day, it would not be too much. During this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year, let us reflect daily on the blessings He’s poured out upon us and not fail to daily “…Give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Pastor Ball

Ps 75:1 – Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks , unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

Fridays in Philippians – Finding Meaning in Suffering

Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion.  Today we’re finishing up our excavation of Chapter 1 and verses 12-14:

Philippians 1:12–14: 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

As we saw in our devotion last Friday, Paul was in a very difficult situation, yet his Philippiansadverse circumstances did not rob him of his joy or affect his positive outlook. He was in prison while writing the Book of Philippians. He had been falsely accused and mistreated. Even some, who claimed to be Christians, were taking advantage of his imprisonment. They saw Paul’s incarceration as an opportunity to advance their own personal agenda. But even in the middle of his troubles, Paul maintained an incredible attitude.

Paul said, listen, brothers, don’t pity me. Don’t feel sorry for me. All that has happened to me has served to advance the Gospel!  He was being mistreated, abused and unjustly accused; yet he was still able to focus on the good that was resulting from his imprisonment. In this terribly difficult time, he found the silver lining. He said, I may be in prison, but as a result of my bonds, the Gospel is being preached – and that is good!

When you can look at your difficult situation and find the silver lining, you are on the path to possessing joy in the middle of your adversity. As you focus your attention upon the ultimate purpose of God and ministry to others, you will find a deep source of joy that will sustain you through your trial!

We’re looking at three positive things that happened as a result of Paul’s imprisonment. We’re seeing how Paul did not focus on his personal discomfort but rather upon the ultimate purpose of God that was being fulfilled through his suffering – and that brought him joy in tribulation. Last week we started with the first on the list:

The Gospel was Being Advanced 

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Paul said to the Philippians, as a result of my imprisonment, the Gospel is being advanced! People were hearing and obeying the Gospel as a result of Paul’s incarceration. For twophilippians years Paul was on house arrest under the close, watchful eyes of the Roman guards. What did those guards see? What did they hear? They heard and saw things that caused some of them to become Christians. They must have heard Paul praying! They surely overheard Paul preaching and teaching to those who came to visit him while on house arrest. I’m certain Paul even talked directly to those guards about his testimony and the power of Christ’s Gospel.

Now let’s continue on with the next positive things that happened as a result of Paul’s imprisonment:

Paul’s Imprisonment gave Courage to other Believers.

Notice what he said to the Philippians in verse 14:

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.(KJV)

It was not only the guards that were watching Paul while on house arrest – the brethren were watching him as well! The believers in Rome and other places were taking note of how Paul was handling his difficult situation. Paul’s joy in adversity and attitude in his trial was giving boldness and confidence to the church! Paul’s positive attitude and boldness to share his faith even while imprisoned made a huge impact on the Christians who knew of his plight. Whether they were eyewitnesses of Paul while he was imprisoned or just hearing how he was fairing – the way Paul was handling his imprisonment caused other believers to wax bold and confident in sharing God’s Word.

Perhaps our greatest impact we make for the Gospel lies in how we handle adversity and tragedy.

Imagine if Paul had been downtrodden and negative. How might his impact have been different if he had played the victim? Would other believers have waxed bold if Paul had been fearful, discouraged or bitter? Of course not! The way he handled his adversity released a faith and boldness in others.

What lesson for us when we are in the fire! Does my life during adversity inspire or discourage others? Does it give boldness to others or make them want to quit? Remember, both unbelievers and believers are watching us in our adversity. Perhaps our greatest impact we make for the Gospel lies in how we handle adversity and tragedy. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our epistle….known and read of all men”

Paul Found Meaning in His Suffering

Life will lead us all through seasons of trials, difficulty, and perhaps even sufferingtragedy. But the sting of suffering is worst when we don’t understand why we are suffering. Paul found meaning in his suffering! He said, I’m imprisoned…I’m suffering…but there is a reason for it. Good things are resulting from my plight. My suffering is not in vain. When we find meaning in our adversity, our suffering is much easier to endure.

It was Paul’s positive attitude and willingness to continuing doing God’s Work while in the middle of his trial that gave meaning to his suffering. The reason for his suffering was revealed because of the right way he handled his adversity. If he had allowed himself to fall into discouragement and negativity, he likely would have missed the “Why?” If he had played the role of a victim and given up on doing God’s Work, he would have suffered for naught.

I realize that sometimes we will suffer and never understand why. And in those times we must trust in God and His sovereign will. But when I keep an attitude of faith and continue doing God’s work, even in my darkest trial, I will likely discover the silver lining in my suffering.

~Matthew Ball

Ministry Training Clips 2 – Rev. J.H. Osborne

The following is a clip from our Ministry Training at Faith Apostolic trainingChurch.  Pastor J.H. Osborne is teaching a session called “The Foolishness of Preaching.”  In this 12 minute clip, he discusses the spiritual significance of “the cubit and the 7th hand-breadth.”  This is an INCREDIBLE clip!

Faith Apostolic Church provides training on Saturday mornings geared to helping people develop their leadership and ministry skills.  In addition to instruction by Pastor Matthew Ball and Pastor Josh Wilson, these events include guest instructors from a variety of ministry backgrounds.  For information on upcoming events visit www.faithapostolic.us or check out the Faith Apostolic Church FaceBook page: Faith Aposotlic Church Carmel/Sheridan.

Ministry Training Clips – Rev. J.H. Osborne

trainingThe following is an excerpt from our Saturday Ministry Training at Faith Apostolic Church.  Pastor J.H. Osborne is teaching a session called “The Man from Beyond”  In this 4 minute clip, he discusses the spiritual significance of the Old Testament’s dietary code of eating only animals who “chew the cud” and have a split hoof.  This is an INCREDIBLE clip!

Each month Faith Apostolic Church offers a Saturday morning training event designed to help men and women develop their leadership and ministry skills.  In addition to instruction by Pastor Matthew Ball and Pastor Josh Wilson, these training events routinely include guest instructors from a variety of ministry  backgrounds.  For information on upcoming training events visit www.faithapostolic.us or check out the Faith Apostolic Church FaceBook page: Faith Aposotlic Church Carmel/Sheridan

Fridays in Philippians – Side Effects of Suffering

Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion.  Today we’re looking at Chapter 1 and verses 12-14:

Philippians 1:12–13: 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

Paul was in a very difficult situation, yet his adverse circumstances did not rob him of his joy or affect his positive outlook. He was in prison while writing the Book of Philippians. He had been falsely accused and mistreated. Even some, who claimed to be Christians, were mistreating Paul and taking advantage of his imprisonment. They saw Paul’s incarceration as an opportunity to advance their own personal agenda. But even in the middle of his troubles, Paul maintained an incredible attitude.

He said to the Philippians, “Listen, brothers, don’t pity me. Don’t feel sorry for me. All that has happened to me has served to advance the Gospel!” He was being mistreated, abused and unjustly accused; yet was still able to focus on the good that was resulting from his imprisonment. In this terribly difficult time, he found the silver lining. He said, I may be in prison, but as a result of my bonds, the Gospel is being preached – and that is good!

PhilippiansWhen you can find the good in the worst of circumstances, you have unlocked a key to joy. When you can look at your difficult situation and find the silver lining, you are on the path to possessing joy in the middle of your adversity. Don’t fall into the trap of self-centeredness when in your trial – that is a sure-fire way to lose your joy. As you focus your attention upon the ultimate purpose of God and ministry to others, you will find a deep source of joy that will sustain you through your trial!

Over the next few Fridays, we will look at three positive things that happened as a result of Paul’s imprisonment. We will see how he focused, not on his personal discomfort, but rather upon the ultimate purpose of God that was being fulfilled through his suffering – and that brought him joy in tribulation.

The Gospel Was Being Advanced

Philippians 1:12: But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Paul said, as a result of my imprisonment, the Gospel is being advanced! People philippianswere hearing and obeying the Gospel as a result of Paul’s incarceration. How was that possible? Paul makes mention of those “in the palace” being affected by his bonds. He’s referring to those Romans who guarded him during his imprisonment. For two years Paul was on house arrest under the close, watchful eyes of the Roman guards. What did those guards see? What did they hear? They heard and saw things that caused some of them to become Christians. They must have heard Paul praying! They surely overheard Paul preaching and teaching those who came to visit him while on house arrest. I’m certain Paul even talked directly to those guards about his testimony and the power of Christ’s Gospel.

Some of those guards were converted! The word, “Palace” in verse 13 in the King James Version is referring to the palace guards, also called the Praetorian Guard. These were a group of special forces who also guarded the emperor. These were highly trained men of great caliber. (Which testifies to us that the Gospel is powerful enough to reach anyone!) It was likely that some of the same men who guarded Paul also guarded the emperor, Caesar!

Look what Paul says in Philippians 4:22:

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. KJV

It’s incredible to think about: There were Christian converts in Caesar’s very own household! “Household” here could mean Caesar’s immediate family or, more likely, those who worked in the palace. (Including the Praetorian Guard) Could it be that Paul converted men of the Pretorian guard who then shared their faith with members of Caesar’s house? In any event, Paul made an impact upon those who guarded him during those two years while on house arrest.

Your difficulty doesn’t preclude you from doing God’s work nor does it hinder your effectiveness. You can be fruitful, even in your desert or trial.

The guards were undoubtedly affected by Paul’s teaching and testimony, but they also must have been affected by observing his life! They saw a consistency between what he said and what he did. They were silent witnesses to how Paul handled adversity and injustice. They knew he was being mistreated. They knew he was no common criminal! They witnessed an incredible attitude that was a testament to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That made an impact! Paul shows Christ through how he handled adversity. Oh, my! How many present day Christians would be on Facebook and Twitter complaining and looking for sympathy about their unfortunate circumstances and unjust treatment! But Paul says to the Philippians, the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel…”

These things all happened while Paul was a prisoner! Paul was fruitful, even in affliction. Your difficulty doesn’t preclude you from doing God’s work nor does it hinder your effectiveness. You can be fruitful, even in your desert or trial. In fact, Paul’s adversity may have even increased his effectiveness. Be encouraged! Even in your trial, you can have joy that stems from knowing that there are positive things happening as a result of your adversity.

Until next Friday,

~Matthew Ball