NGBC

New Grace Baptist Church

Thankful…Grateful…Blessed… IN YOUR PRISON!

At this time of year, it’s easy to be thankful for things like home, family, husbands, children……our Bible, grace, strength from God on a daily basis. But how ‘bout when we’re in prison? Can we be thankful, grateful, and even blessed in prison? You say well Marianne, I’ve never been in prison. Webster says that, ”prison is a state of confinement or captivity.” So I ask…Have you ever been in a state of confinement or captivity? Has your life ever been hit with heartache, failure, or depression? Have you ever felt like there was no way out of a situation?
Paul was in prison for somewhere between 4-6 years, and he served two separate sentences for the crime of preaching the gospel of Jesus. He was unjustly accused and sentenced. He was in prison for serving the Lord. He was being punished for doing right. He was abandoned. He was forsaken. He was likely cold or hot, dirty, and likely hungry.
Where are you? What are your circumstances? How did you get there? Do you ever feel like you have been forsaken or abandoned? Do you ever feel like God has left you in a prison situation?
It’s important to note that before Paul became a Christian, he was one of the top Pharisees. He was a well-educated man of clout. He was highly respected and revered. Because of his past, Paul had a connection with men that may never have been reached in these prisons. The prison that you’re going through may be so that you can reach the next soul for Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says, “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” To be thankful means ”Pleased or appreciated.” It’s a simplistic, superficial kind of thanks in our culture. It’s the feeling that a child has if you give them a cookie. It’s often times dependent on good circumstances. The word thanks in I Thessalonians, is actually more like our word Grateful which means, “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; indebted.” It is such thanksgiving that it blesses others. To bless others means “bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune.” We cannot be grateful without being thankful, and we cannot bless others with the light of Christ unless we are sincerely grateful. In the midst of Paul’s prison, here are some things that he was grateful for:
• Election – II Thessalonians 2:13
• Calling – I Corinthians 1:9
• Regeneration – Ephesians 2:5-7
• Faith of the people to continue praying for him
• Justification – Romans 5:1
• Redemption – Ephesians 1
• Adoption – Ephesians 1
• Perseverance – Ephesians 1:13-14, I Peter 1:5
• Deliverance from sin – Romans 7:24-25
• Victory over death – I Corinthians 15:54-5
When our heart reaches the place of thanksgiving in the midst of our personal prison, often our light shines the brightest. When others see the way you love Jesus in the midst of hard times and circumstances, it makes them want to love Him too. As Christian ladies, our job is to give those around us the gift of thanksgiving so bountiful that they desire to follow our example.
Interestingly enough, when we bless others, God blesses us. The other definition for blessed is “those who live with God in heaven.” It is walking with the Spirit of God in heavenly places.  Could there be anything sweeter?
Charles Dickens said, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."
Challenge:
 This week, ask the Lord to only allow words of thanks to proceed from your mouth.
 Look for someone to bless and bless them like God has blessed you.
Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

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