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We continue with our series Moving the Chains toward Gratitude. Many things flow from our sense of gratitude: praise, generosity, compassion, kindness, and ultimately love. Gratitude is a response to grace. Grace means that we have gotten something we did not deserve and could not earn. Grace, especially God’s grace is unconditional and unmerited. It is a gift. This week we continue to move toward a first down for thankfulness by Tacking Fear, Part 2. In this world’s arena, we are surrounded by all the voices of entitlement. We are owed. We breathe the seemingly pure air of freedom for our rights, but we choke on the anger, division, and bitterness. This is the problem with our broken human nature. We respond to fear with either force or frantic avoidance. How can we live together in peace, joy, and harmony? 1 Thessalonians 5:11-24 helps us to tackle fear and realize it is a team effort. Paul is continuing the conversation about being God’s children in the daylight rather than stumbling around in the darkness of selfishness. The verse that is often quoted but not always fully understood is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT) Are these words a burden to be carried or are they a possibility for overcoming the weight of fear? Paul is trying to help us be released from the grind of fear to find the power of our faith! These words inspire our strength to bring down the strongholds of fear with God’s love and hope! Our most sincere prayer for you is that as you experience the darkness of dread and fear, you will sense the strength of our Lord who has overcome the darkness to bring us into his glorious light!

 1 Thessalonians 5:11-24 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (NIV)