Give Thanks Part 3

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about Being Thankful based on Philippians 4:4-8.

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Give Thanks Part 3 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

So far in our Give Thanks series we have talked about maintaining our joy, we have talked about not being anxious, and today we are going to talk about contentment.

Contentment is found by thinking about, or focusing on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

The problem we have is that we are by nature, discontent. It is part of our selfish fallen nature. I think that it can also be said that for many people, Christmas is the hallmark of discontentment. The culture has misappropriated the real meaning of Christmas, which we will be talking about over the next couple of weeks, and they have replaced it with being all about getting stuff. For Christmas I want stuff. I want everything they are advertising on TV and more. And it is never enough. Here is the kicker.

How many of you are still excited about the Christmas gifts you got last year? How many of you even remember what you got last Christmas? Or the one before that?

Discontentment flourishes in our culture, one of the reasons is that we have a multi-billion dollar industry (advertising) whose main goal is to make you discontent with what you have, so that you always want more stuff and newer stuff. And yet stuff never satisfies for long, which leads to more discontentment and discouragement. Add to that, the list of reality shows about people living crazy lives of extravagance. The housewives of what seems like every city in the country. Bridezillas (spending tens and hundreds of thousands on weddings. 16th Birthday Parties. Parents spending tens of thousand of dollars on birthday parties and presents. These things have an impact on people. If there lives aren’t like that then they can’t be happy. They can’t be content. Since our ministry is to encourage, how can we make a difference in the world.

1.) We have to stop thinking the way the world does
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world (in order to be happy, I must have more) but be changed by the renewing of your mind. By right thinking. By keeping our thoughts focused on God, His will and His way.

Perhaps the biggest reason for not being content is from a way of thinking that causes discontentment. You might call it when and then thinking. When and then thinking goes like this, “When I get … blank… then I’ll be happy.” When I get that promotion then I’ll be happy. When I make that sale, then I’ll be happy. When I get married, then I’ll be happy. When we have kids, then we’ll be happy. When the kids go away, then we’ll be happy. You can fill in the blank. It just keeps changing. Which leads us to this question. What are you waiting on to be content? What is the when and then thinking trap in your life? You need to identify it and then you need to

2. We need to start thinking God’s way

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

What really matters in life? If I get everything I want will I be happy then? There’s two ways to have enough. Get more or want less. The person who is happiest is the person whose pleasures are the simplest. Walking in the moonlight, enjoying the sunrise. A cup of coffee on the back patio with your spouse. Learn to be grateful for what you have and what you can do. Learning that life is found in His ways, and not in the ways of the world.

3. Embrace the Ministry of Encouragement

Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV)
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Instead of going along with the cultural push that to really be happy you have to have more, practice being a thankful person. Embrace the Ministry of Encouragement. Be thankful for at least five things everyday and then get out there and encourage at least two people. During this hap, happiest time of the year there are a lot of people who desperately need to be encouraged.
Which brings us back to this:

Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

These verses are at the heart of being a thankful and content person.

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