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Pause to Thank and Praise! | 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Nehemiah 8:10, Matthew 14:14-21

We’re going to dive into the source today, the Word of God, and talk about gratitude. Also pausing to give thanks in our lives, because it really will make all the difference. You know why you and I, right now in this moment can pause and give thanks no matter what we’re going through? Because you and I serve a God who is working all things out for our good, and for His glory. There is nothing He can’t use. Absolutely nothing. There are no leftovers with him.

Join me as we take a deep dive into the Word!

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Giving thanks can make you happier. That is from a Harvard study, but we’re going to dive into the source today, the word of God, and talk about gratitude and pausing to give thanks in our lives because it really will make all the difference. Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica and I love your company. Thank you for pausing to spend time with me today in God’s Word. Here’s what Paul tells us in his first letter to the Thessalonians in chapter five, verse 18.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Now, one of the reasons I love that verse so much is because it says, be thankful in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. I have a dear friend who’s battling cancer right now. She doesn’t have to thank God for the cancer, but she can thank him in the cancer. Now, I want to read the message version of the verse you and I just read together.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Okay, that is so powerful to me. You know why you and I right now in this moment can pause and give thanks no matter what we’re going through? Because you and I serve a God who is working all things out for our good and His glory. There is nothing He can’t use. Absolutely nothing. There are no leftovers with him. Corrie Ten Boom. You’ve heard me speak about her before on this podcast. She is one of my heroes. Her and her family hid so many Jews during World War 2 and it costs them dearly. Corrie lost her elderly father, Casper and her beloved sister Betsy as a result of those courageous decisions they made in one of the most tumultuous times in history. But Corrie wrote a poem, and I want to share it with you right now.

 Life is, but a weaving.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

And so when you and I choose to give thanks, in the unfortunate situations we find ourselves in the middle of, we are saying, God, we trust you. Giving thanks, Oh my goodness, I didn’t expect to say this, is your way of telling God you trust him. All this week, you and I have been talking about the power of the pause, pausing to rest, pausing to pray and reflect before we respond, especially in an infuriating situation. And we’ve been talking about the Hebrew word Selah that you and I have spotted in the Psalms. Perhaps since we’ve been reading the Bible. And I think that it’s a good idea to practice salla in our lives, to pause often to give thanks because it does bring joy. When you and I lean in to trust God, we can choose joy. The Bible tells us in Nehemiah, I believe it’s Nehemiah 8:10,

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

So you see how it all works together.

It’s beautiful. Okay, join me in Matthew’s gospel. Now, we’re going to read a story that you’ve heard before, but I hope that this will give you a different perspective on giving thanks today because you know what you can give thanks before the answer to prayer comes. That’s what faith looks like. Okay? Matthew 14, beginning in verse 14,

Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.

Can you imagine the panic that they were feeling in those moments and maybe a sense of wonder began to stir in their spirits as well? Verse 18, now.

Bring them here. He said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish looked up toward heaven and bless them.

Now we’re reading from the NLT version of the Bible, but I want to share what the NIV says here,

Looking up to heaven. He gave thanks and broke the loaves.

Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

And this story continues to feed human beings, not our bellies, but definitely our spirits. I believe there are so many beautiful things you and I can glean from the story we just read in the Bible. You know what? When you give thanks, your joy multiplies. Jesus gave thanks before the fish and the loaves were multiplied. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks to his father, bless the bread before it fed the crowd. To me, it says, you and I can lean in today and give thanks for that answer to prayer that is on the way. There is not a prayer that God doesn’t answer. Sometimes He says, wait. Sometimes he says, soon. Sometimes he knows it’s not going to be good for you or beneficial for you, and he loves you enough to guide your life in a different direction. God is good. I invite you to hold on to that truth today. So, let’s take a moment here as we wrap up to take a Selah moment to just pause and give thanks.

Oh, Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus and we thank you for everything you have done for us throughout our lives. We thank you for the things you’ve done even in the last few days and hours. The daily bread we receive from your hands. God, we thank you in advance for the things that are on our hearts right now, and we trust you. We lift up our hands and we receive your joy and your strength. In Jesus name, amen.

Ain’t it good? You’re so loved.

Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life.

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