Giving thanks in all circumstances
If ever there was a passage in Scripture that seemed impossible to do, this one is it! I am getting better at it, but still have a long way to go. How about you?
At first glance, you might think this verse tells us to do three things, but I have come to believe that the key to giving thanks in all circumstances is to rejoice always and to pray without ceasing. The key to rejoicing always is to pray and give thanks.
One tool that helps me to remember to give thanks to God is to keep my Thank Offering barrel handy, so that whenever I walk past it I think of something I am thankful for and drop a coin or two in the barrel. What is a Thank Offering barrel? I'm glad you asked!
Whenever we are thankful for something in our daily lives and we want to thank God in a tangible way, we place a few coins in our Thank Offering Barrel and pray a prayer of thanksgiving. This daily act of worship was established by Grace Pierson, the founder of Churches of God Women’s Ministries (formerly known as Women’s Christian Service Council) in 1954. The offering is then collected by local Women’s Ministry groups the first Sunday in the month of May. Oftentimes a special Women’s Ministries worship service is presented by the women of the congregation around the first week of May. The offering is then sent to the regional treasurer. The regional treasurer will send 60% of the Thank Offering to the General Conference Women’s Ministries and the 40% remaining will be dispersed as decided by each region. Originally used only for missions, it now encompasses many ministries of the church. To date, more than $2 million has been given through the Thank Offering. In 2020, our Thank Offerings will support the School for Girls in India (15%), Physical Therapy School in Haiti (20%), Winebrenner Female Students (25%), Venezuela Bible School (15%) and Women’s Leadership Development (25%).
In the past, a service outline was provided by the CGWM leadership and everyone had the same service. This year, you can find and print a template for this service. The template allows you to tailor the service to your congregation or women's group. Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you plan. In light of the current world situation, Women's Ministry Sunday may look different. Be creative. Be flexible. Choose Scripture and songs that reflect the theme you have chosen.
On the CGWM website (https://www.womenforgod.org/thank-offering), you will find more information about Thank Offering, a Thank Offering Brochure which can be printed and shared with your ladies/congregation, and a Thank Offering barrel label which can be printed, trimmed and used to cover your container. Containers can be ordered through The Corner Store (information on website) or create your own with a Pringles container or something similar.
I have found that the more I focus on what I have to be thankful for, the more rejoicing I do. When I struggle to find something to be thankful for, I pray (talk to Jesus) and after pouring out my heart I ask Him to help me see a blessing for which I can praise Him.
I have learned so much from the Psalms about praising God in the midst of trouble. David frequently poured out his troubles to God. He was honest with God about how he felt about his situation, but he always brought his thoughts back to the many blessings God has given and the many wonderful things He has done. This is a perfect time to practice an attitude of gratitude in the midst of a difficult situation. It is not always easy, but it is always uplifting in the end, even if my first thought is,"Thank you, God, that this situation is not worse!"
May you experience the peace, joy, and grace of our Lord Jesus as you praise Him today for your many blessings. He is with you. He is for you. He is in control, so live boldly for His glory!