Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanking God for Other Christians

This Thanksgiving take some time to follow the inspired example of the Apostle Paul and thank God for other Christians you know.

I found 14 Bible passages where Paul is giving thanks for other Christians.  Here they are.  You should be able to place your cursor over any of these and see it pop up:

Acts 28:15
Romans 1:8
Romans 6:17
1 Corinthians 1:4
Ephesians 1:15-16
Philippians 1:3
Colossians 1:3-4
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
1 Thessalonians 2:13
1 Thessalonians 3:9
2 Thessalonians 1:3
2 Thessalonians 2:13
2 Timothy 1:3
Philemon 1:4-5

Paul gives thanks to God for other Christians for many reasons, including:
encouragement he receives from them
their faith serving as a testimony to God’s good work
their freedom from sin and obedience to God
their love
their partnership in the gospel, which included supporting Paul
their hard work, labor, and endurance for the cause of Christ
. . . and more

Paul gave thanks for specific Christians, for Christians in churches he helped to start or helped to grow, and he even gave thanks for Christians whom he had not personally met but only heard about.

In general, we thank God for other Christians because every new Christian is evidence that God’s great plan is succeeding.  We thank God for every Christian who is growing in their faith because we see evidence of the Holy Spirit at work.  We thank God for every believer because they are a source of light and love in this world.

I want to follow Paul’s example and give thanks for other Christians.  I hope my example here will encourage you to thank God for other Christians you know and hear about.

* I thank God for my parents and the Christians at Montrose Baptist Church who helped lead me to the Lord when I was a child.

* I thank God for Pastor Jim Schneider and the huge way God used him in my life during the time God was preparing Hope and I to serve Him overseas.  I also thank God for the other dear brothers and sisters in Christ at Pleasant Valley who blessed Hope and I in so many ways and helped us to grow.

* I thank God for David Finell, Bill Jones, and other professors at CIU who helped train, equip, and prepare Hope and me for service among an unreached people group.

* I thank God for our dear Indonesian brothers and sisters in Christ whom we love so much.  I thank God for their courage, strength, and faith as they serve our Lord and spread His truth in a difficult setting.

* I thank God for those who served alongside us in Indonesia.  I thank God for a couple now living on the West Coast who were a source of constant encouragement to us and many others through all sorts of difficulties.  I thank God for another couple whose many years of service in Southeast Asia and perseverance through many trials has been an inspiration to myself and many others.

* I thank God for all those Christians who gave some of their own money to help support Hope and I and the work we are called to, both during our years overseas and at the two churches we have served in since returning.

* I thank God for some faithful believers who stood with me through a very painful and difficult time at my previous church, and especially for one brother in Christ who helps many people in many ways (he recently helped fix a small hole in the roof of our house after the last big storm, and I have seen him helping many people in similar ways).

* I thank God for the very supportive members of Severn Baptist Church.  I thank God for the way they use their many gifts to serve both in and outside the church.  I thank God for the “Women of Faith” who are such an outstanding example of Christian love for one another.

* I thank God that He has blessed me with a brother who is a brother and two sisters who are sisters.  Karen, Kim, and Craig are constant sources of encouragement and blessing in my life.

* And of course I thank God for Hope and Joy!  Being blessed with such a wonderful, godly, beautiful, wife and daughter is a gift so valuable that I know it can only be a result of God’s amazing grace!

The only downside to sharing my thanks to God for other Christians in a list like the one above is that I cannot possibly include everyone I am thankful for.

I have learned to follow Paul’s pattern.  There is nothing at all wrong with thanking other people directly when they help or bless us.  But there is something even better:  thanking God for other people and telling them that we thank God for them.  When we thank God for other people, and let them know we thank God for them, they are encouraged and God is glorified.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Today and throughout the year.)

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

1 comment:

  1. Unique perspective; a good practice for me to start today! I thank God for you, your faithfulness and sharing your gift of teaching and preaching!