Dwelling in His Presence

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Week 6, 2003
This week we continue our study with Ephesians 5:20:

always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

The first three words of this verse are crucial for a victorious Christian life– Why is this? Why should we thank God for problems or for the attacks of the devil? There are several good reasons for this, the first of which is in Psalm 100:4 that we, “always giving thanks.”“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.” The best way to dwell in the presence of the Lord is to be a thankful person. As we thank Him we enter His courts. As we go further and begin to praise Him we go deeper into His courts.

Likewise, one of the quickest ways to be disqualified from living in the promises of the Lord is to be a complainer, which is one of the reasons why the first generation that left Egypt was not able to enter the Promised Land (see I Corinthians 10:10). Complaining is the language of doubt and unbelief. Thanksgiving is the language of faith.

To be a successful leader in almost any field one of the first things that you have to do is either remove the complaining, or the complainers from among those you are leading. Business leaders are taught how to recognize and either isolate or remove problem-oriented people, and replace them with solution-oriented people. Successful coaches of sports teams will all agree that if the most talented person on their team is a complainer they will trade him anytime for a much less-talented person who has a good attitude. The team is not likely to win with a complainer. If he or she is not removed from the team, the same problem will occur that Israel faced at Kadesh-Barnea where the ten fearful, whining, complaining, spies cost an entire generation their inheritance in the Lord. The two good spies saw all of the same problems that the ten evil spies saw, but they had a very different attitude about them.

Christians are given one of the greatest promises in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Therefore, how could we ever complain about anything that He allows if we believe this? It is only when we have been deceived into believing the lie that everything is going bad for us so then we can complain.

Psalm 100:5 gives us a very good reason to always be thankful, “For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.” God is almighty and He can do anything or be anyway that He wants to be. Yet, just think of how wonderful He is to not have just destroyed the earth and mankind after the fall, rather He chose to give His own Son for our salvation! Jesus left the glory and presence of the Father in heaven to come to earth and live among us and to suffer the cross. He then allows us to start again by being born again, giving us His Holy Spirit, and putting up with all we do after we have been born again and received His Spirit! Even then, He causes everything to work together for our good. What an awesome, wonderful God we have! How can we not be thankful? Eternity will not be long enough to thank Him.

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