Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving!

Thought- We should thank God every day for all that He has done for us.

Scripture- “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11

Insight: I love Thanksgiving! It is a time for pause and reflection, for family and friends and football. It is a day of specially prepared foods that leave us craving for more. It is a chance to celebrate all that is unique and terrific about America and our History. It is a day that always goes way too fast, just like the Stuffing and Turkey and Sweet Potatoes go way too fast off of my dinner plate, leaving me in a tryptophan induced state of partial consciousness. But the thing I really love most about Thanksgiving is that it is a day set apart to honor God and to remember and praise Him for all He has done for us as a Nation and individually. I hope that we don’t do this but one time a year, but that we find time always to thank Him and praise his great name. For He is worthy of all of our praise! But on this day, we consciously go before Him in our private ways and gatherings to extol the virtues of His Deity and humbly submit our gratitude for all he has done for us. That is a position of humility that greatly honors Him and makes us refocus on how wide and long and deep the gap is between us and Him. Many times, we are nothing more than Turkeys ourselves, but He still loves us as His own Children! Thanksgiving is a day of reflection and perspective about what is truly important. May we sing shouts of praise for the many blessings in our life.

Prayer: Father God, hear our prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving as we gather today to celebrate all that makes our Country great because of your many blessings and all that you have done in our lives. We couldn’t imagine our life without you. We praise your Holy name. Amen!

Worthy of thanksgiving

Worthy of thanksgiving

Thought- We should thank God every day for all that He has done for us.

Scripture- “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2            Corinthians 9:11

Insight: I love Thanksgiving! It is a time for pause and reflection, for family and friends and football. It is a day of specially prepared foods that leave us craving for more. It is a chance to celebrate all that is unique and terrific about America and our History. It is a day that always goes way too fast, just like the Stuffing and Turkey and Sweet Potatoes go way too fast off of my dinner plate, leaving me in a tryptophan induced state of partial consciousness. But the thing I really love the most about Thanksgiving is that it is a day set apart to honor God and to remember and praise Him for all He has done for us as a Nation and individually. I hope that we don’t do this but one time a year, but that we find time all the time to thank Him and praise his great name. For He is worthy of all of our praise! But on this day, we consciously go before Him in our private ways and gatherings to extol the virtues of His Deity and humbly submit our gratitude for all he has done for us. That is a position of humility that greatly honors Him and makes us refocus on how wide and long and deep the gap is between us and Him. Many times, we are nothing more than Turkeys ourselves, but He still loves us as His own Children!

Prayer: Father God, hear our prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving as we gather today to celebrate all that makes our Country great and all that you have done in our lives. We couldn’t imagine our life without you. We praise your Holy name. Amen!

Thanksgiving that is not circumstantial.

Thanksgiving that is not circumstantial.

Thought- Thankfulness is a natural expression of being touched by God’s grace.

Scripture- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Insight: What are you truly thankful for? I would answer that question so differently now as a Christian than I would have before I knew Christ. Before, I would have equated thankfulness to my view of my current situation. It would have been an emotionally based answer dependent on my circumstances. It most likely would have reflected to one degree or another a materialistic bent. In other words, if I had accumulated enough “stuff” I wanted, or been happy with my relationships or job or whatever else, then I could muster the enthusiasm to be “thankful” although it was a superficial thankfulness at best. But now as a Christian, as a follower of Christ, the answer I give has much more validity to it. I can truly say I am thankful for I know that God truly loves me, and His love is not circumstantial! It is all encompassing. It is real and it is full of the grace needed to activate my gratitude for all he has done for me. When you realize that you were a dead man walking, and then given a “pardon” for what your sinful nature deserved, through the sacrificial death of Christ on the Cross, how can you not respond in any other way than uncontainable gratitude and thankfulness. It must flow out through you because it cannot be contained within. Like a wineskin will burst if it is filled with too much new wine, so we can’t contain all the joy within us when we are truly thankful for all that God has done for us. It must be passed on to others through generosity and kindness as a result of our genuine and deep rooted gratitude. So this Thanksgiving, don’t contain your joy about what God’s grace has done for you, but give it away to others as a blessing worthy of a feast!

Prayer: Father God, we are thankful for so much, but most importantly we are thankful for your grace, illustrated to us through the love of your Son, Jesus. Help us to worship Him this Thanksgiving as the provider of all that we are truly thankful for and with the gratitude that flows out of us like a river as a result of our proximity to you through him. We praise your name Lord. We are truly thankful for your atoning sacrifice on the Cross. Nothing could ever provide a bigger reason to be thankful than that. Amen!

November 24, 2016 l Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016 l Thanksgiving!

Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

We can never let our finite disappointments rob us of our infinite hope- Martin Luther King Jr.

Insight: I know that the Holiday Season and days like Thanksgiving can be hard for many people. They may be alone, they may be hurt from what loved ones have done to them, they may be angry and not feel like giving thanks at all. My prayer for those people is to read the quote above from Martin Luther King Jr. and to ask the Lord into their hearts to help them heal and forgive, to love afresh and begin to feel the joy of giving thanks in spite of current difficulties.

These words below from the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:3-6 speak to the joy that should cause us to pause and truly give thanks to God for what is yet to come, no matter what are dealing with today. Listen and let God speak to you with new hope: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

Above in Psalm 106:1 we hear David proclaim God’s love endures forever. Peter promises us an inheritance that can “never perish, spoil or fade” and that is being kept for us right now in Heaven.

We may have been let down by people who have broken promises, abandon us, hurt us deeply to the core, but we can count on God’s love which is enduring and dependable. He will not less us down!

Let us praise Him on Thanksgiving for how great and wide and deep and penetrating His love is for us! Ask Him to reveal himself to you, and he promises He will. (Matthew 7:7) Tell him your sorrows, and He will comfort you. Tell Him your loneliness and He will come alongside you. Tell Him your sins and He will forgive you. Tell Him your gratitude and praise with a Thankful Heart and He will be glorified and uplift you.

We can all find things to be thankful for if we try hard enough. We can be thankful for the air we breathe, the life we have been given this very day, the chance to begin anew, the food we can eat, the people who love us, the beauty around us, the sights and smells of this blessed day, our ability to forgive, to love and be loved.

But most of all on Thanksgiving Day we should be thankful to God for what He has done for us in His Son Jesus Christ.

Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul also exhorts us in Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

It is because of the hope we have in what is to come that we should be most Thankful! That is something that should cause us to fall on our knees and say Thank you Father, for you love me more than I can fathom and I am grateful that you proved it to me beyond a shadow of a doubt through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen!

Thanksgiving – We give thanks

Thanksgiving – We give thanks

Thanksgiving

11/23/2011

Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.

Bible Verse of the Day: Psalm 75:1 “We give thanks to you, o God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.”

We as Americans take time every year to stop and give thanks for all of the gifts we have been given. It is a truly American tradition and it is awesome. We eat turkey, watch football and spend time with our families and the people we care about most. We feel pride in our country and in our generous hearts. It connects us to the Pilgrims who suffered greatly in both their voyage to America and in their first year of settling here, but still took time to thank God for making it here alive and for the blessings they had received upon arrival. Although challenged greatly during that time, they still recognized and appreciated that the God of the universe had provided for them in amazing ways, and humbly and in reverence, they wanted to praise Him.

We as a country are going through some very difficult trials as well right now. The financial crisis shows no sign of abating, unemployment is high, many people have lost their homes and their confidence and there is a real tenseness around our whole political process. But we must still remember that the God of our founders still is worthy of our praise and Thanksgiving as we are the most prosperous and blessed country that has ever been created. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 states “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I believe as Christians that we should naturally be joyful and give thanks on a daily basis. The recognition of the magnitude of what Jesus did for us on the cross at Calvary should always give us hearths full of thanks, and that should naturally extend to all facets of our lives, especially our prayer life. The grace with which God has set us free from our sins and transgressions should always lead to an overwhelming thankfulness.

2nd Corinthians 9:15 says “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” I hope that I reflect that joy and thankfulness to those who know me best on a regular basis. Sometimes the world overwhelms us, and can snatch our joy for a while and turn our thankfulness into despair or disillusionment. But we must remember even then that life isn’t about waiting for the storm clouds to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.

By focusing on Jesus, and what He did for us, our thanks should be as free flowing as a river after the spring snow melt cascades down into it. Our great nation was founded with a reverent respect and gratitude for what God had given us. As Christians we recognize also what God has given us in Christ. Hebrews 12:28 summarizes then what our natural response should be, “therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

I thank God for our country and for the things He is doing in my life and will continue to do in Christ Jesus, and I pray that we will have a revival in this country back to the One who is worthy of all praise and thanksgiving.

May God bless the United States of America.

Practice gratitude!

Practice gratitude!

Thought- Gratitude is the attitude that lifts your life’s altitude.

Scripture- “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”- Colossians 3:16

Insight: Being grateful for all God has done for you is a pleasant response and brings joy to God in heaven. King David understood how to continually express all his feelings to God, as if in a continuous, intimate, relational dialogue that never waned throughout his life which included expressing great joy and thanks for all God had done for him. In Psalm 100:4-5 David inspires us to: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Also, in Psalm 147:7 when he says, “Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.”

 So, what has God done for you? Instead of focusing on all that you feel you are lacking or blaming God for why your life isn’t the way you should be, choose to be grateful in your heart towards him and see how your mood elevates. Not just with God, but in relationship or dialogue with anyone, when we are grateful, we attract people to us and when we are filled with ingratitude, we repel people away from us. People like to be around grateful people because they are generally happy people. They are contented people. There’s a peace about them, even in the midst of difficulties. They realize that what they have is enough, they lack nothing. They are not focused on having what they want but are happy wanting what they have. Their gratitude is an attitude that leads to a higher latitude in their life because it makes them attractive to others. Being grateful is also contagious. Start spreading the gratitude around and see how others around you change and hop on board the gratitude train with you. It is like a gravitational pull coming down right from Heaven.

Prayer: Father God, thanks for all you have done for us, we are truly grateful. Because you Son died the death that our sin deserved, we are set free. That alone should be cause for a non-stop heart of gratitude. It is amazing to even consider that you could love us that much. Amen!

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