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Be thankful for God's Strength

Built on a Rock
Pastor Nita Parker, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Hills

“10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress. 15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Greetings to all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
This month is set aside to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with.  To look back where we have been, and take stock of the blessings God has provided.
Sometimes when we look back, we tend to think that all that we have is what we have worked for, what we have saved, what we have accomplished, what we did on our own.
I want to question that. Just what have you done on your own? When did God provide the opportunity? When did God push you to do something that turned out much better than the initial plan you had? When have you been successful because the right person just happened to be there, liked what you were doing and supported your plan?
Verse 13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” is a reminder that even when you’re down, God strengthens you, but it is also a reminder that when you are on the top of your game, feeling well, feeling accomplished, God is there too. We cannot forget to give thanks in all things!
Paul talks about being both in need and being well fed, and each one of us has been in both places. When my children were young, our financial situation was very hard, the economy was tough, and our salaries were even worse, but the joy, the love of those children were all that mattered. We just worked more hours to get the basics, and I thank God that those opportunities were there to do so.
Now life is harder in a different way. Saying “until we meet again” to the ones you love is very difficult, and yet there is joy in the ones that surround you. There is joy in the memories, there is peace in knowing they are no longer in pain.  God is good, and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

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