Return Thanks: Go Beyond the Expected

(Click the Scripture reference above if you don’t have a Bible near.)
Returning thanks was the heart of the message preached on Sunday.
Of the ten lepers, all obeyed in setting off to show themselves to the priests. Their steps of obedience resulted in the cure. But only one returned to thank Jesus. And he was a Samaritan. Rev. Stephenson noted that returning to give thanks set this one Believer apart from all the rest.
Giving thanks goes beyond the expected.
Recognizing the blessing and acknowledging its source is an important part of our faith. Most of us quickly return joyful prayers of thanks when we see the healing, the provision, the shelter from the storm as coming from the hand of God.
Giving thanks for what we see as good is easy.
But what about the storm? the difficulties? the challenges? whether physical, financial, emotional or spiritual? The circumstances that send us to our knees in the first place? times that test our faith?
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, 
consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know 
that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, 
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-4 NLT
God does not shy away from taking credit for trials in our lives. 
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Lamentations 3:37-38 ESV
In His sovereignty nothing happens apart from His OK. He is Most High. That does not mean He is the source of evil. He has power over the evil one and only allows what He allows for our good and for His glory.
Here is a step of faith that takes practice. Choosing to believe that He is Most High and trusting that He has only good in mind for each difficulty He allows. From a fender bender to metastatic cancer.
Do you have room in your faith to return thanks to God in the middle of the hard? the difficult? the scary? and the life threatening?

We all face difficulties of varying degrees each and everyday. Begin giving thanks for the hard and the assurance that He will work it for good. 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

Go beyond the expected.

[More thoughts on giving thanks in the midst of hard…
Ending the Stealing of Thanksgiving: A Parable at]

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