Welcome to our Partner Letters Archive . . .

Dear Partner,

It is November, the month in which our nation has set aside a day to give thanksgiving unto God. Of course, we should be thankful every day of the year, not just on a national holiday. Still, we are blessed to live in a nation that sets aside a national holiday in order to give thanks to our benevolent and generous heavenly Father. At this time of year I am always reminded of the verse which says:

Col 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Everyone finds it easy to be thankful during those times when all of the outward circumstances of life are pleasant. When the bills are paid and we are in health, when our children our obedient and doing well, when we have friends who love us ... it's easy to be thankful in times like that. But all of us know that there are times in our lives when our outward circumstances are not very pleasant. What about those times? Can we still look within ourselves and find that our heart is still full of thanksgiving unto our God? We can ... IF we remember the first part of the verse. The "key" to being thankful no matter what the circumstances are is to "let the peace of God rule in our hearts" all of the time.

I can almost hear someone saying, "But Gary, when my outward circumstances are bad, I have a really hard time staying in peace. How can I let the peace of God rule in my heart and remain thankful during the hard times of life?" The answer is found by leaving this verse in the context it was written in. Notice how this chapter begins:

Col 3:1-2  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

We set our "affection" on that which we treasure the most. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Of course we all treasure those times when our circumstances are pleasant. But where is our true treasure to be found? On this earth, on in heaven? When Christ is our treasure, first and foremost, it is really easy to remain in a state of "peace" all of the time.

As a child sitting in Sunday School, I learned the little ditty which said, "Count your many blessings, count them one by one." As a child, my mind would always begin counting the material blessings I had been given. In those days I would thank God for the toys I had been given, for the friends I had at school, and so forth. Children tend to think in the natural, material realm.

As an adult, when I begin to count my many blessings, the first blessing I count is always first and foremost for the love my heavenly Father demonstrated for me by sending Christ to die as my substitute ... while I was yet a sinner!

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Let me say it in plain English. I am thankful because my heavenly Father LOVES ME! I AM GOING TO HEAVEN! I AM REALLY THANKFUL TO BE GOING TO HEAVEN INSTEAD OF HELL! Someone might say, "But Gary, look at your circumstances today. They are really bad!" But I can answer, "What's that got to do with the fact that my heavenly Father loves me and I'm on my way to heaven?" When I get to thinking about how richly I deserved hell and would most certainly have wound up there had not my heavenly Father loved me so much that He sent His Son to the cross for me .... and I get to spend eternity with God instead of with the devil ... and throughout all the ages to come my heavenly Father is going to lavish His affection upon me ... well, when I let myself think about THOSE things it isn't very long until my feet just get to dancing! I have to do a little dance of joy!

You see, I have no idea what the future will bring as far as any of our circumstances are concerned. I don't know whether our nation will be at peace or at war. I don't know if the economy is going into a time of prosperity or a time of recession. There are a hundred things concerning natural circumstances that I simply do not know. But here is what I do know; No matter what circumstances are ahead of me, I will daily walk in my heavenly Father's love. By setting my affection on those things which are above, the peace of God rules in my heart and I remain truly thankful no matter what circumstances I am currently in.

The apostle Paul gave very clear instructions how to let the peace of God rule in our hearts when he wrote:

Phil 4:8-9  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


Back « to the Resource page or on to the Next letter » December 2002