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Regardless of where we are in the world, as believers, we have a lot to be thankful for! This week on “Reaching Your World”, Luis talks about praying with thanksgiving, acknowledging the blessing we have in Jesus, and giving thanks even in the trails. As you listen in, consider how a heart of gratitude may help bless those around as you as you spread the Good News Gospel.
Are we living lives of thankfulness?
The other day I was reading the Gospel of Luke… Jesus was on his way to Galilee and came across ten men with leprosy. They asked Jesus to have pity on them and Jesus healed them. Now, here’s the verse that stood out to me. Luke 17:15 says, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.”
Jesus healed ten men. Of the ten, only one returned to thank him. How convicting! Jesus has healed us too. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He has made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. We can be forgiven of our sins, spend eternity with Him in heaven and live life with Him right now. And yet, how many of us have earnestly thanked Him? Are our daily lives clearly showing people our love and gratitude for our Savior?
If we’re to reach our world, people have to see that we are different. Our lives should reflect thankful hearts. As follower-of-Jesus, we need to show and tell the world how grateful we are for the difference Jesus Christ has made in our lives.
Since 1941, the United States of America has observed Thanksgiving as an official holiday. A lot of people think of Thanksgiving as being all about football, food, and family—but the day was first recognized in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln as a “day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father”. In other words, Lincoln wanted a day set aside to give thanks to God for all that He had provided to the early pilgrim settlers, who sought and found a land where they could freely express their faith.
This year, whether you live in the United States or in another country around the world, I encourage you to practice thanksgiving to God for all that He has provided to you. God offers us Jesus, through whom we have eternal life, and this is the biggest blessing of all!
Psalm 9:1 says to “give thanks to the Lord with your whole heart; to recount all of His wonderful deeds!” Wherever you are around the world today, I urge you to share with others about the good that Jesus has done for you! By doing this, you will reach the people in your part of the world with something that is truly worth being thankful for!
Paul was an apostle of Jesus, who ultimately died as a martyr. In 2 Corinthians 11:25, we learn that in his life, Paul was beaten three times with rods. He was stoned once. He was shipwrecked, and spent a night and day drifting at sea. Paul had gone on frequent journeys many where he was in danger from robbers, from the wilderness, and from false brothers… Wow! When I hear that, it’s hard for me to imagine going through all that Paul went through. He lived a tough life, which makes reading 1 Thessalonians, a part of the Bible that Paul wrote, even more profound.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Can you believe it? Paul, a man who endured such suffering, tells us to give thanks in everything! So often when we experience grief it can be easy to get angry or bitter. And the world is usually accepting of these attitudes. But God calls us to something higher. God calls us to have a mindset of thankfulness, regardless of what we are going through.
As you practice thankfulness regardless of your situation, others are going to take notice. And when they do, you will have a great opportunity to tell them you are thankful because of what Jesus has done for you.
In the news recently, a customer at Starbucks asked the barista if she could purchase the coffee drink for the person behind her. The person behind her was blessed, and she did the same thing for the person behind her. This act of kindness continued with over thirty customers buying the drinks for the people behind them! I love this story because it shows people exhibiting selfless, unearned kindness to total strangers.
It reminds me, on a small scale, of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He exhibited the ultimate selflessness by dying on the cross for you and me—long before we even accepted Him into our hearts! He paid the price for our sins so that we could receive salvation for free. Have you ever thought of what a blessing this is? Because Jesus died for you and me, we can walk with Him throughout our entire lives. He promises never to leave or forsake us. He offers us eternal life! Regardless of what kind of home we live in, or where we work, or how much money we have in our bank account—we are all blessed because of the gift of Jesus Christ.
This week, think about who you can tell the Gospel to. Then, pray for the right words as you talk to them about Jesus and his gift of Salvation!
I wrote a book called Out of the Desert to help believers immerse themselves in the life God fully intended for them. In the book, I talk about how I like to start each day in prayer. But beginning the day with prayerful thanksgiving isn’t always easy. It takes practice and determination.
For years, my prayers were filled more with complaints than they were praise. I would say, “Lord, I feel overwhelmed. There are so many temptations. I hope I don’t fail.” Then one day a friend of mine encouraged me and others to pray with gratitude and a positive spirit. I made a conscious effort to pray with thanksgiving, as it says in Philippians 4:6, which states “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”.
My prayers changed. I started with “Thank you, Jesus, for this new day! I know I am weak, but you are strong. Thank you that you live in me!” As I began to pray with thanksgiving, I gained confidence that God is truly with me in every situation. I became more aware of God’s presence and power in my life. I encourage you to pray this week with thanksgiving. Watch as God reveals his power and might to you—so that together, you and He can reach your world with the Good News.
Why are so many Christians missing out on life?
They know the truth. They understand the scriptures. They trust Jesus as their Savior. Yet the struggles continue. It’s not what God intended.
Like so many followers of Jesus, Luis Palau spent years doing everything he knew he should to live the victorious Christian life he had heard so much about. Yet, in spite of his best efforts, his life felt completely dry – like an endless trek through the worst of deserts.
Through the years of struggle, God revealed himself to Luis in profound ways. And gradually, Luis came to discover four powerful truths that led to complete renewal of faith.
Just like Luis, these simple, profound truths from scripture are sure to revolutionize your own walk with God. They will help you find the answers to your struggles and discouragement. They will point you towards deep intimacy with God. And most of all, they will help you discover the life God fully intended for you.
Order your copy of ’Out of the Desert’ by clicking: http://luispalauassociation.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/out-of-the-desert.