Category Archives: Thankfulness

Thanksgiving and What Ancient Letters Teach Us About Being Thankful

It is no secret that ancient letters had a particular format much like we think of the format of personal letters today. I am not going to get into all of it right now but you can read more about that here if you are interested – Ephesians: Purpose, Background and Structure. One of the things that ancient letter writers included was a thanksgiving and prayer section in which the writer would wish the recipients well and mention general or specific prayers that are being offered up on their behalf. Paul did this in all but four of his letters (2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Timothy & Titus). In 2 Corinthians he flips the typical thanksgiving and prayer section to have them pray for him and that thanksgiving will result (2 Cor 1:10-11).

The ancients connected relationships with thanksgiving and prayer. They also connected the dots between thanksgiving and prayer…that when we are thankful (especially for people) that we thank God for them and that we make intercession for them. In these sections, Paul doesn’t pray for himself. Instead he prays for them, constantly. Here are some of the things Paul prays for them about,

Romans
1:8 – their faith is being reported all over the world
1:10 – that God may open a way for Paul to visit them
1 Corinthians
1:4 – for the grace God has given the Corinthians
1:5-7 – that they have been enriched in every way, not lacking any spiritual gift
Ephesians
1:17 – that God grant them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better
1:18 – that the eyes of their heart might be opened to know the hope to which they have been called
1:19 – to know the power God is using on their behalf
Philippians
1:5 – for their partnership (koinonia) in the Gospel
1:9-10 – that they love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so they can discern what is best and that they may be pure, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ
Colossians
1:4- thankful for their faith and their love
1:9-12 – asking God to fill them with knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives…that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work…growing in knowledge of God…strengthened with all power…and giving joyful thanks to the Father.
1 Thessalonians
1:3 – their faith, love and hope
2 Thessalonians
1:3 – that their faith is growing more and more as is their love
2 Timothy 1
1:4 – asks God that he (Paul) might be filled with joy
1:5 – reminded of their faith
Philemon
vs. 3 – their love
vs. 4 – their parternship (koinonia) in faith

When we think about all that we are thankful for, at least for me, the focus is typically still on myself. I am thankful for my comfort. I am thankful for my salvation. I am thankful for all sorts of things that keep my at the center of my thankfulness. Not Paul…Paul is thankful for others. His prayers in these letters rarely include himself (2 Tim 1:4) and are all about other people. This Thanksgiving, let our thankfulness not be just one more way to As we approach thanksgiving, let us be especially thankful of the people God has put in our lives. Let us tell them thank you. Let us tell God thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time with people you love. I am thankful for many things including all of you who read and contribute to this blog.

Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul wrote, “16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Not only does that make three short and easy memory verses Paul tells us something very important about thankfulness. We aren’t told to give thanks for all circumstances but in all circumstances.Continue Reading

Thank You For Reading

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog. This is not fishing for compliments (why comments are turned off on this post :). This is genuine gratitude for those of you who read, comment, and pass on what you find helpful here to others. The blogContinue Reading

The Intersection of Worship and Real Life

I have been reflecting on the connection between worship and real life and I was thinking about two passages in particular. In both of these passages of scripture there is a real event that God works through that results in people singing God’s praises. The first is in Exodus 15, the Song of the Sea.Continue Reading

Blessed by Blogging Disagreements

There have been several posts in the last week that several people have had disagreements with. I am really happy about that. The reason is not because I like disagreement but because people have been so kind. Usually when people on blogs or websites disagree there is this kind of slow-motion shouting match that takesContinue Reading

One Very Moving Video From Gulfcoast Getaway

This is one of the most moving videos I have ever seen. Flashbacks to elementary school and “where the red fern grows” on this one. I kept wondering what that watery, salty substance was coming from my eyes was…get a hankey ready before you click this one. To sponsor a child through Compassion International clickContinue Reading

Ten Things I Am Thankful For

1. A wife who loves me and is spending 24/7 making a baby for the last 7 months. 2. Our baby boy who we have only seen pictures of but won’t meet for 2 more months when he is born! 3. A church that is genuine, friendly, and seeking God. 4. Friends who would giveContinue Reading

Two Year Anniversary in Florida

Yesterday was our second anniversary at the Northwest Church of Christ in Saint Petersburg. We have been very excited about this congregation and about how God has worked over the last two years. There has been a lot of growth and a lot of seeds planted that will continue to grow for decades to come.Continue Reading

If You Ever Thought You Had it Rough…

I met a really sweet lady today. She called the church and was needing some assistance. After talking with her I cannot imagine complaining about anything. Imagine having no friends, no family, and no transportation. Add on top of that having cancer and taking chemo treatments she cannot afford. Her credit is shattered due toContinue Reading

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