Happy Thanksgiving!! What a blessing to have a holiday that hasn’t been too corrupted by the world. Thanksgiving is about Giving Thanks. Thanksgiving’s beginning is our roots. This part of history has been taken out of school. How sad. I was teaching the Children’s Church class that if there wasn’t a first Thanksgiving, there wouldn’t be an America as we know it today. The Pilgrims came to a new land because they wanted freedom to worship God as they desired. England told them what church to go to. The first Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims thanking the Natives for all their help and friendship. They were thankful to God daily throughout that first winter and thankful for their harvest. That thankfulness to God is the foundation of this country. The country has strayed far from that. Thanksgiving is to celebrate our country’s birth. I can say so much about the beginnings, but thankful hearts to our heavenly Father was the foundation.
We all have so much to be thankful for. No matter the circumstances and challenges life has thrown at us, we walk through those valleys because of the love of our Father and Jesus. He loves us with an everlasting love and His mercies are new every morning. Each day as I watch the sun rise, the display of His glory for this new day is just breath taking. How can we not believe in Him and His love?
We’ve been pastoring for close to 30 years. The heart of a pastor cares so much for the people. We can’t even explain our love and thankfulness for each of you. The Lord called us to share His love with you. We don’t always know how to do that but we can sincerely say our hearts have always been to love people, no matter what, and show them that love through Him. The last couple weeks I have been reading through 1 and 2 Thessalonians in The Passion Translation. There’s so much wisdom and revelation in these Books but the main thread running through it is how Paul is so grateful for these Believers. It touched my heart as I read it and I decided I wanted to share this with you during this Thanksgiving season. These scriptures share our heart of how we feel for you. We pray for you and we care as a mother and father. We appreciate each one of you and rejoice in your love for Jesus and that you are going forward sharing His love everywhere. We thank the Lord for bringing you to this church family. We take our calling seriously, with deep commitment, thankfulness and honor. Thank you for loving us. We are so blessed.
We are grateful to God for your lives and we always pray for you. For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love motivates you to serve others, and how unrelenting is your hope-filled patience in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, you are dearly loved by God and we know that he has chosen you to be his very own.
The message of the Lord has sounded out from you not only in Greece, but its echo has been heard in every place where people are hearing about your strong faith. We don’t need to brag on you, for everyone tells the story of the kind of welcome you showed us when we first came to you. And everyone knows how wonderfully you turned to God from idols to serve the true and living God. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5, 8-9
We cared for you in the same way a nursing mother cares for her own children. With a mother’s love and affectionate attachment to you, we were very happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our lives—because you had become so dear to us.
And you know how affectionately we treated each one of you, like a loving father cares for his own children. We comforted and encouraged you and challenged you to adopt a lifestyle worthy of God, who invites you into his kingdom and glory.
This is why we continually thank God for your lives, because you received our message wholeheartedly. You embraced it not as the fabrication of men but as the word of God. And the word continues to be an energizing force in you who believe.
For what will be our confident hope, our exhilarating joy, or our wonderful trophy that we will boast in before our Lord Jesus at his appearing? It is you! Yes, you are our glorious pride and joy! 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8.11-13,19-20
How could we ever thank God enough for all the wonderful joy that we feel before our God because of you? 1 Thessalonians 3:9
There’s no need for anyone to say much to you about loving your fellow believers, for God is continually teaching you to unselfishly love one another. Indeed, your love is what you’re known for throughout Macedonia. We urge you, beloved ones, to let this unselfish love increase and flow through you more and more. Aspire to lead a calm and peaceful life as you mind your own business and earn your living, just as we’ve taught you. By doing this you will live an honorable life, influencing others and commanding respect of even the unbelievers. Then you’ll be in need of nothing and not dependent upon others. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Dear brothers and sisters, make sure that you show your deep appreciation for those who cherish you and diligently work as ministers among you. For they are your leaders who care for you, teach you, and stand before the Lord on your behalf. They value you with great love. Because of their service to you, let peace reign among yourselves. Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 16-18
We always have to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, for you are dearly loved by the Lord. He proved it by choosing you from the beginning for salvation through the Spirit, who set you apart for holiness, and through your belief in the truth. To this end he handpicked you for salvation through the gospel so that you would have the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, dear family, stand firm with a masterful grip of the teachings we gave you, either by word of mouth or by our letter. Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17