I was recently reminded that I am to give thanks in all circumstances and not necessarily for the circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:16) The Lord speaks to us through his word the Bible, and through the Holy Spirit, and he will use other people in our lives and in our circumstances if we stay close to him through prayer and Bible study and pay attention to what he is doing in our life and in the lives of others around us. So, when it's hard to be thankful for what I consider to be the bad things happening in my life, I can still continue to pray, and be joyful and thankful to God for what he is doing through our circumstances because this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus.
Yesterday the message from our new pastor was from Philippians 1:12-18, and to briefly sum it up, he said that God can use even the bad circumstances in my life to advance the gospel just like he did with Paul.
Paul said: Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Now when we look around us we see only the fear and sadness in our difficult circumstances, but God sees opportunities to use our circumstances to encourage others and to advance the gospel of Christ. When circumstances don't seem to be what we planned and hope for, that is the time when we should be thankful for what God is doing in our life and in the lives of others around us, because he is at work and can use us and our circumstances to advance the gospel of Christ.
From now on we will consider it a blessing when we are experiencing difficult circumstances because we can know that God is at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us for his glory!
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
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