Give Thanks (Repost)


I thought a lot about what I wanted to write about this Thanksgiving week. After much consideration, I decided to repost this post from several years ago. I pray it inspires you to take a moment out of your busy lives to reflect on God’s Blessings and give Him thanks.

Thank you for your encouragement and support throughout the years.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Psalm 136:1
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

The aroma of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, the laughter of family and friends, and the warmth of a cheery fire, fill our homes.  This week is the beginning of the holiday season and Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States.

Too often, the festivities become our main focus, especially on Thanksgiving.  Some even go so far as to call it “Turkey Day.”  We tend to forget the real purpose of the day is to give thanks for all the things in our lives.  I know many of you pause to say a prayer—or go around the room and have everyone tell something they are grateful for—before the meal.  But then what?  The food, the fun, and the football game takes center stage.  I’m not saying that’s wrong, however, many times that few minutes of gratitude become the only time through out the year we consciously say thank you to God for what he has provided us.

The Bible tells us to “Give thanks to the Lord.” By doing so, we acknowledge that everything we have comes from Him. Not only does this make Him happy, but, according to some studies, it also improves our sense of well-being.

I challenge you to spend a few moments everyday giving thanks for something in your life.  It doesn’t matter whether you write in a journal or express your gratitude aloud.  One way is to start with this simple prayer:

“Thank you, God for the gifts you give me everyday. I am grateful for your generosity.”

Then add a couple of specific things you feel grateful about from your day.  The more you do this, the more you see how much you really have.  A deep sense of well-being and gratitude will invade your life.

Until next time, God Bless You.

God’s Faithfulness Saves

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

As God increases your faith, He sometimes increases the time between a “crisis” and His rescue. By allowing a longer time span between crisis and aid, God helps you believe in, rely on, and depend upon His faithfulness. Although doubt of God’s faithfulness may raise its ugly head from day-to-day, you can say that He has never been unfaithful.

We know that everything will be all right and that whatever happens to us will be for our own good. He says that “all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28) And if you are His child, you’ll know that everything that is happening in your life now is allowed by Him and is somehow for your good! You may not know how, but you can trust that His faithfulness will save you.

Remember the story of Rahab? She lived a long time ago, in a city called Jericho. Jericho was so wicked God decided to punish the people and totally destroy it. But within the city was a woman named Rahab who was kind and helpful to God’s children. And because she was good to God’s people, God was good to her!

The wall that protected the city of Jericho was very secure. It ran wide and high; so wide that many people actually had their houses on the wall, including Rahab. When the day of God’s judgments came, the city was shook from top to bottom causing the entire wall to collapse to the ground! Except for one little part of it that remained standing all alone. That was Rahab’s house. Because she had faith, had received and been good to God’s children the entire city was destroyed and everybody in it  except her house. She and her family were spared and protected! They were saved. (Joshua 2, 6)D

Rehab’s story reminds us to stand firm in your faith and in God’s promises. With God on your side, you have nothing to fear. His faithfulness will save you.

God’s Faithfulness Delivers

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Why do we worry? Why do we allow our spirits to be broken when we know we are His children? We know that as His children we live in a charmed circle of His protection; a special force-field through which nothing is allowed to touch us without His permission. We know He will take care of us!

When we are in the midst of a terrible storm, we are assured that His strong, loving, and capable arms will keep, protect and take care of us. When life has grown dim and dark we can still know the light of His Love – a rainbow of blessings and peace from within, a peace that will pass all understanding.

This doesn’t mean that the Lord will never allow us to be tested. However, He’ll never allow us to experience insufferable or unbearable harm. He promises to always be there to lift us up out of our troubles because His faithfulness delivers. Psalm 89:24 tells assures us that His faithful Love will be with you and through His name your strength exalted!

Trust and wait upon the Lord. His help will strengthen you throughout your whole day.

Trust! Trust that His faithfulness delivers. Then watch Him move in the presence of your praise.

Wait! And as you wait let your heart continue to rejoice in His presence.

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

If God brings you to it, He’ll give you a way through it.

 

God’s Faithfulness is His Promise

For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. Hebrews 10: 36

As Christians our goal is to become “mature” in faith. This is a lifelong process. We will come in contact with many doubts and obstacles throughout each day. Count it a blessing to go through the experiences of this ‘growth process’ while standing firm in faith. The testing and risk God takes is all part of the promise. When we respond with obedience it brings us in line to receive His faithfulness.

You depend upon God’s power working in your life, making it possible for you to stand on His strength alone.  This is what it means to stand on the promises of God; to trust only in Him and believe in His competence. The knowledge of God reveals His promises. It is through these promises you discover life as God meant it to be.

Pray and watch for His faithfulness. Go to Him, and remind Him of His promises, of what He said He would do.

Don’t try to twist His arm and persuade Him to do something He’s not inclined to do. Don’t say, “Well, You probably don’t want to do this for me, but I would like to ask You anyway.” It brings joy to His heart when His children come to Him humbly and say, “Please fulfill this promise for me today Lord”, and then simply wait, watch, and believe that since He said He will, He will.”

He has given you His great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world today. Hold steadfast to the knowledge that your God is faithful. He has given you many comforting promises to remind you that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

If He says He will…He WILL

All God’s Work is Done with Faithfulness

For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. ~Psalm 100:5

We are called not only to believe in God, but ‘to believe’ God; to believe and stand upon ‘His word’. When He says what He is going to do, trust that He will indeed do it.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says Therefore have I hope, it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are consumed, because His compassion fails not. They are new every morning and great is thy faithfulness.

Too often we fail to experience His faithfulness because we do not trust. We fail to capture the wonderful works within His word because we do not have faith. We must see the Lord in all we do, and all that we are. The whole earth is full with His unfailing love and His faithfulness; everything He has ever done is a revelation and testament to it. We must long to taste of His goodness and ask Him to teach us to depend and wait upon Him no matter what happens.

We have to trust and believe His faithfulness. We learn to trust in the Lord the more we become acquainted with Him; the more we seek after Him to demonstrate His faithfulness. “Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

It shouldn’t surprise us that Faith in the Lord is the pathway to experiencing His goodness and all the wonders of His work. Faith is one of the relational realities that allow a child of God to live by His grace. Faith accesses grace. (Romans 5:2)

Just keep remembering that no matter what happens He will never change. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. (Hebrews 10:3)

God does not change!

Understand God’s Love For You

The last, but not least important way to get closer to God is to understand His love for us. It’s amazing how God’s love has absolutely nothing to do with the world’s perception of love. God’s love is not tied to a condition or based off of something we’ve done. His love is unconditional. Unconditional love is:love without any limitations or conditions.

John 3:16 tells us that He gave His ONLY begotten Son for us! How many of us can actually say we would do the same?

The love Abraham had for God is the same love we should have for Christ. In Genesis 22:1-19 when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham, although very sad, was ready to do it. Because of his obedience, God spared Isaac and provided a ram for the sacrifice.

When we struggle to believe that God’s love for us is greater than we could ever imagine or that He is faithful in keeping His promises, that’s unbelief. The cause of that unbelief is a lack of love.

Minister Andrew Womack wrote: “Galatians 5:6 says faith works by love. That means love is the driving force behind our faith. Remove or diminish love, and faith ceases to be what it should be. Many of us try hard to believe when we should be seeking a greater revelation of God’s love for us. Then, faith would just naturally work.”

Paul even prayed about being rooted and grounded in love in Ephesians 3:14-19 

Sometimes we may think God doesn’t love us because of our past actions. Sometimes we may even think He doesn’t forgive us for our mistakes. Untrue!  In Isaiah 43:25 God tells us: I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-3: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

By actively taking steps to do the 5 ways to get closer to God we talked about

Activate Your Faith,

Listen For God to Knock,

Understand the Power You Have Been Given,

Be Humble and Draw Near To God

we will better understand God’s love for us. He will not withhold this from us. We will know. God said that He would withhold NO good thing from us! Love is His greatest commandment. Accept that love today!

 

 

Be Humble and Draw Near To God.

In earlier posts, we looked at different ways to draw closer to God. Today, we’ll look at another way to draw near to Him, that is to be humble. What does that mean? What it doesn’t mean is that we are weak. Biblically speaking we are free from pride and arrogance. We know that in our flesh we are inadequate, yet we also know who we are in Christ.

James 4:6-10 says- “...God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.


Ther are many scripture references that advise us to be humble in order to draw closer to God. Here are a few:


Hebrews 4:16 – Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.


Hebrews 7:25 – He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.


Hebrews 11:6 – Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.


Drawing nearer means to admit our weaknesses to Christ so that He can begin cleansing us. We must let go of the things we once knew and become new according to His way and perfect will. When we surrender and come confidently to Him, we know that, according to His promises, He will embrace us. Then we will discover true joy and fall in love with Him.


This joy of falling in love with God creates a deeper passion in us, desiring to know who He is. It’s amazing how so many people in the Bible had a hunger for God. Think about David, Abraham, Paul, Moses, etc. Moses’ hunger to draw nearer to God was so strong, that is all he thought about. He wanted to be in God’s presence all the time.

Can you imagine how much God is willing to answer our prayers when we have a sincere hunger to be in a relationship with Him?


James said Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! (James 4:8). A person who is double-minded is drawn in two completely different directions.

James also states, Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:8) I don’t want to be”unstable” in all I do! Do you?

Ask God to cleanse your heart of the things that no longer please and honor Him. All you have to do is confess your sins and let them go, because He lets them go, never to pick them up nor think about them ever again! By spending time in worship, prayer, meditation and just having a conversation with Him means to draw nearer to Him.

The Power of Discipleship

 

So far we’ve discussed getting closer to God by activating our faith and listening for His ‘”knock on our hearts.” In this post, we discover the power we have when we become disciples of Christ.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus told His eleven disciples (Judas was no longer a disciple as this was after His crucifixion and resurrection.) “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This scripture is often referred to as The Great Commision. As Christians, we too are called to this commision. But, what does it mean to be a disciple? How do you become one?

Discipleshiptools.com defines a disciple as one who:
Grows in Christ and in so doing models and teaches others the precepts of the Bible, prayer, doctrine, relationship, Christian living, service, and worship, to name the main ones.

That speaks a lot about who we are as well as Who we serve. If we don’t follow Christ nor obey His word, it would be difficult to call ourselves disciples of Christ. The rewards of becoming a disciple are endless! The Bible tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

When we answer the call, or better yet, “follow our purpose in life,” we are following God’s will, dying to our own desires and choosing to do what He created us for. Discipleship doesn’t always involve a “pulpit” or standing on street corners. Sometimes it’s in our own homes, places of work, with friends, family, or even strangers. Serving Him is the most important thing we can do.

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus promised the disciples that if they would do as He instructed, then: “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (What an awesome thought!)

Imagine the power given you based on your obedience? In 1 Corinthians 4:20 it clearly states, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”

Want to discover more about this power God has given those who follow Him and obey His commision? Here are two more scriptures referring to this power:

Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high”

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Are you a disciple of Christ? i

Activate Your Faith

The first of the 5 ways to stay close to God is by activating your faith.

Hebrews 11:6 reads: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

God is pleased when we seek Him first. It shows our trust in Him. Having faith means you believe in something you can’t see.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Although you may visually picture what it is you desire, it’s not yet obtainable. In order to have faith, you also must trust God in a way that some people aren’t able to comprehend. Not because they can’t, but because they don’t choose to.

When we put our faith in God and diligently seek Him, nothing is impossible. As a matter of fact, faith helps us to desire His will over ours. The word diligent means: a constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything. When we diligently seek God, it has to be a “constant” and “attentive thing we do.”

In order to activate faith, we must also develop faith. We all know that Jesus is the Founder and Perfecter of our Faith. Having a constant relationship with Him in prayer will give us a fresh understanding of who God is and what it means to be in a relationship with him.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you believe He exists?
  • If so, are you in constant relationship with Him?
  • How often do you pray?
  • Are you studying the Word of God?

To read more about communicating with God through prayer you can click here.

As Mark 9:23 reminds us: Everything is possible for him who believes. 

5 Ways To Stay Close To God

We are living in a time where people are craving to restore relationships. Healthy relationships provide reassurance that you are loved, cared for and valued. The most important relationships we need to cultivate is our relationship with Jesus Christ. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI shared the following message on Easter Sunday:

“A fruitful life comes from staying close to Jesus — Dear friends, every one of us is like a vine, which lives only if it is growing every day in prayer, participation in the sacraments, in charity, in its union with the Lord, and he who loves Jesus, the true vine, produces fruits of faith for an abundant spiritual harvest.”

So how can we remain close to God? In the next five posts, I will discuss 5 ways you can strengthen your connection to God. It is my prayer that you discover a renewed Spiritual and joyous relationship with God through these messages.

The 5 Ways To Stay Close To God are:

Activate Your Faith.
Listen For God to Knock.
Understand the Power You Have Been Given.
Be Humble and Draw Near To God.
Understand God’s Love For You.