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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

Let us come before Him with thanksgiving,... Psalm 95:2
Date Posted: July 1, 2022

At a time when the whole world seems to be taking stock of the past while holding its breath and crossing its fingers, hoping for a better future; the ideal of thankfulness can be difficult to achieve. That being the case, I believe a revisiting of the theme of gratefulness, as well as thanksgiving would be appropriate.

A good place to start would be by defining what it means to be truly thankful. Expressing appreciation and gratitude implies an acknowledgement of something having been done for us, and yet it is more than merely saying “Thanks”. It should be an attitude we develop, not merely an emotion we exhibit; one that is quick to acknowledge a blessing, slow to realize a slight, along with a willingness to actively look for the good in all things. ( James 1:19) This can then become the basis for an intentional expression of worship through all things. That core principle of our belief system stemming from the realization that even if all else fails, we still, “…are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, (therefore) let us be thankful, and so worship God…” Hebrews 12:28

An early Jewish psalm of praise could likewise serve as a mission statement for the modern church. “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8 Nehemiah then directed one of Israel’s many rebuilding efforts by making worship a central part of its redemption and rejuvenation. ( Nehemiah 12:31) Psalm 100:4 expressing that goal and sentiment in its proclamation, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” To which some may ask: Why – what do I have to be thankful for? Some things happening to me aren’t pleasant. I can’t see their worth or understand their value in my life – some things don’t make sense and worse, some things hurt and are unjust. But even through the worst of circumstances, we can rely on the promise of God to work through all our problems and pain to bring about good ( Romans 8:28), in the end enabling us to say with Paul, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 Again the Psalmist assuring us that, “…the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

Paul found solace and encouragement – as can we – through many tough times and circumstances in the realization that God ultimately leads us in a triumphant procession of life and ministry ( 2 Corinthians 2:14); through the indescribable gift of salvation. ( 2 Corinthians 9:5) That’s why he admonishes us to, “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Pastor Greg Comp giving insight into this scripture when he writes, “A subtle but significant distinction must be made in order for this verse to make sense or become possible. It is the important little word ‘in’. The idea is that regardless of what the circumstances might be, we are to maintain a grateful heart. We are not asked or expected to give thanks ‘for’ all things because there are many circumstances that are unjust or immoral in which we may find ourselves.”1

As we face futures that are both exciting and unnerving by virtue of their uncertain possibilities, we can find peace, confidence and joy in the fact that God wants the very best for us and that ultimately, if not here then there – we will have it. Scripture assuring us that God, “...know(s) the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Let us therefore, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice!... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving , present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

1Greg Comp has been the Senior Minister at a number of churches throughout his career and is now living in semi-retirement in Nashville, TN.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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