The Blackest Friday = Profit for you and me!

I was thinking this morning about the designation ‘Black Friday’.  It seems that since the 1950’s the day after Thanksgiving has been called ‘Black Friday’.  It began as a term to describe the crowds,  like the street was black with pedestrians.  It then became a day  to retailers signifying when they began to turn a profit and moved from the ‘red’ into the ‘black’ as the volume of their sales increased.   In the Bible the blackest Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. It was the day when the skies turned black and darkness covered the land.  “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  Luke 23:44-46   The blackness of that Friday is a picture of the sin that Jesus bore on the cross for you and me.  His death on that darkest day brought the greatest profit for us.  John 12:46 puts it in perspective for us as to why that blackest of Friday’s had to happen.  “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

risen

Even on that blackest of Fridays, the people were rushing around preparing for their Sabbath.  Since they could do no work on the Sabbath, they hurried to get Jesus down from the cross,  buried and settled in a borrowed tomb.  Mark 15:42-47 describes these events done in haste.  After the Sabbath was over, several women came back to the tomb to anoint Jesus with spices as his burial had been done in such a hurry they felt they had not been able to treat his body properly on that Friday.  “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”  Mark 16:1  Their walk to the grave site was done in sadness but their return was joyous as the learned of Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of sin and death.  An angel spoke to them when they got there, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  What joyous news they had to share!

colossians 1 ;21

That blackest Friday brought death to Jesus and  burial brought the greatest profit to you and me.  Colossians 1:21-22 explains where we were on the black Friday and where we are now because of it.  “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”    That was the the biggest gain or profit for mankind ever in history.  Christ reconciled us to God so that we can be in communion with Him and have our sin’s forgiven.   We are free to live a life in Christ that is pleasing to God and that is free from the penalty of death brought on by sin.  That Black Friday was the best one in history for you and me.

As you venture out today to do some shopping, think about that blackest of Friday’s and how much you gained through Christ.  Praise Him as you do.

Linda

P.S. I have posted this piece several times on Black Friday. It is a message I need to remind myself of especially before the Christmas Season. It helps to keep my focus on Christ and not on the world. Hope it helps you too.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Heart

As I conclude this year’s Thanksgiving month of thanks, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! May the day be filled with thanks to the God who provides all we have and need. I chose as today’s verses Colossians 3:15-17. Let the Word of God bring to mind the many things you have to be thankful for and to create in you a growing attitude of gratitude towards Almighty God.

15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Have a blessed day thanking your heavenly Father, thanking Jesus, and thanking His indwelling Holy Spirit. Let your praises of Thanks be a sweet aroma towards Him.

Linda

Faithful God is There for me!

This final day before Thanksgiving, let us consider Psalm 91:9-16. The reason God protects us spiritually is because He loves us and we recognize Him. We claim Him and He claims us. Since we are not perfect we can cling to 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” It is in God’s character to be faithful always. Let these words of promise sink in to your soul and give you more reasons to be thankful today.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

1For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I have underlined our part in this- faith in Almighty God, holding fast to His love and calling or asking Him for help. The rest thankfully is all God’s part: being a refuge, protecting me with His angels, allowing nothing or no one to take our salvation away (John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”), rescuing me from trouble, long life and salvation (John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.) These are things only Almighty God can provide for you and me. Let them be added to your thanksgiving list today!

Linda

Need Strength? Make God Personal

As I continue this Thanksgiving week looking at reasons for praising God and giving thanks, I came to Psalm 91. It has long been a favorite of mine and is known to be a favorite among soldiers. Why is that you might ask? Are you frightened today about the future or events in your life? Are you struggling and despairing over people or things? Soldiers facing battle struggle with all of these, and yet the words of this psalm sooth and comfort them. May you too find comfort and be able to give thanks to God who is sovereign and All-Sufficient. Psalm 91:1-4

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

My friend Bob who lived at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville, CA used to recite this psalm. He told me he used to put his name in verse 2 as he personalized and claimed God’s truth of love and protection over himself and his bombing crew as they flew missions in WWII. “I, Bob, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I, Bob, trust.” He would do the same with Psalm 23. “The Lord is Bob’s shepherd I will not want…”

Do you find scripture personal? Bob believed in God’s Word and the power of the truths God placed there for our benefit. Can you claim the truth of verses 1 and 2- that God is your refuge and fortress and you can trust in Him in all situations? What about verses 3 and 4? Do you believe that God is greater than any foe or force you will face? Does He faithfully cover you and enfold you in His love and care?

I pray this Thanksgiving, as you reflect on God’s goodness and care, that you can see God’s hand in your life protecting and leading. That you feel his loving arms surrounding you and giving you strength. May God’s faithfulness and love speak to you in a new way this holiday creating in you greater gratitude for God.

Linda

Amazing Reasons for Thanking God

As we continue in this Thanksgiving week, let us turn our thanks completely to God. He is the source of all good things as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 103: 8 10-13.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

The reasons for thanking God listed here by the psalmist are amazing:

**God is merciful, gracious, abounding in love that never changes. (8)

**God will not deal with us according to what our sinfulness deserves but will treat us with grace and mercy! Thank you Jesus. (10)

**God loves me as a believer in Him with an amazing love. (11)

**God removes my sin out of sight where it cannot be found. (12)

**As a believer in Him, He treats me with compassion as a child of His, as my Father. (13)

Which of these reasons resonate with you today? Are you grateful for your sins being forgiven and totally removed, for His grace and mercy that you do not deserve, for His amazing and boundless love, or that you are a child of your heavenly Father? All of these are amazing and given freely through faith in Jesus the Son. Claim them today and let your praises raise up to Him as a sweet aroma of love and thankfulness.

Linda

Our Richness Abounds Because of HIM!

As we begin this last week before Thanksgiving, let us turn our thanks completely to God. He is the source of all good things as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 103: 1-5.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The psalmist admonishes us to:

** praise the God for who He is, was and will always be!

**To not forget what God has done for me-REMEMBER His great works (my salvation being the first on the list!)

**To know with assurance that God forgives sin and heals. He is Jehovah-Rapha the one who heals both physically, spiritually and emotionally.

**To thank Him for his redemption from the pits of life in this world and the promise of eternity with Him crowned with His love and mercy.

**To Him who satisfies our needs with His goodness and renews us daily in spirit so that we always feel young in Him.

Let your thanks abound today as you meditate on all you have in and through Father God, Jesus the Son and His Holy Spirit. We are rich indeed!

Linda

Thanks to Be Given that our Debt is Paid

Our precious verses of thanks for today come from 1 Corinthians 15:56-58. The words of thanks come in verse 57, but the reason Paul gives for the thanks is our victory over death through the work of Christ on the cross. His death communed our sentence from death for sin (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.), to a life of forgiveness and eternal life. That is a huge reason to give THANKS to God! Here are Paul’s words to us: 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Do you thank God for sending Jesus to die for your sins? Do you thank Jesus for going to the cross in your place? Only God could die for all our sins as He was the perfect sacrifice wholly acceptable to God as payment in full for our sins. Romans 6:9-11 puts this truth together for us:  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ” Christ suffered and died so that I may live restored and in fellowship with God for eternity. This new life is to be abundant, full and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our lives are to have purpose as seek to bring glory to Him. What a wonderful gift from Jesus through faith.

This Thanksgiving spend some time thanking God for His grace, mercy and love towards you in sending Jesus. Thank God for calling you to live and work for Him and your gift of faith to believe in Him. Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Thank-filled Hearts Pray

Several years ago I was blogging through the book of Ephesians during Lent. Ephesians 1:15-16 are precious verses that refer to Paul’s thankful attitude about being able to pray for other believers. Let my words increase your thankfulness for the privilege of prayer.

ephesians 1 16

Do you have good friends of faith?  Do you share your joys and struggles in your daily walk with Christ and praises for answered prayers?  Paul had that kind of relationship with the Ephesians when he lived among them, and it shows in his heartfelt message as he sought to encourage them in their faith.  Ephesians 1:15-16.  “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,”  Paul had brought them to faith and was like a proud ‘papa’ over the continued growth of these believers.  He was thankful for their lives of faith and  prayed for them all the time.

A couple of months ago I was struggling with some health issues and a dear sister in Christ sent me a handmade card with the sentiment “I’m praying for you”.  Just receiving her note encouraged me in my walk that day and each day after as I glanced at the card.  Saying you’ll pray for someone is the most precious gift you can give them,  so don’t say it if you don’t intend to actually pray.  Paul was sincere and serious about prayer and he prayed constantly for those new believers in all the cities where he ministered.

Teaching, preaching, witnessing and prayer were all essential parts of Paul’s ministry.  Even if we do not feel like we can be teachers or preachers we can all witness to the joy and power of Christ in our lives.  We can all pray for those who we encounter who do not know Jesus, for our friends and family,  and for specific troubles or circumstances we know people are experiencing.   We can pray for our leaders at church, in our city and in our country.  Prayer changes things and gives us opportunity to communicate with Father God about the people in our lives.  Praying for others takes the focus off ourselves and acknowledges God’s sovereignty over all things.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can go directly to God in prayer.  He is accessible because of our faith in Jesus.

Today spend some time in prayer for those around you that are hurting, despairing, in poor health, need comfort, strength or are walking down a wrong pathway.  Thank God that they are in your life and that you can lift them up in the name of Jesus. Give thanks for the privilege and power of prayer.

Linda

Love Language for Thanking God

What type of language do you use to thank God? Are your words plain and simple, direct and forthright? If you want others to understand how you feel about God and why you feel the need to thank Him, then you should say what is in your heart with emotion and love. In Psalm 145 the psalmist lays out his feelings about God, who He is and why God should receive his (ours too) thanks and praise.

 I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
Eternal God and King
Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, Unsearchable in His greatness
    and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
Majestic, Wonderous
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
Awesome deeds, His Greatness
    and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
His Goodness and Righteousness

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. His Grace, Mercy, Patience and Love
The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
His Goodness and Mercy

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, All Creation will give thanks to Him!
    and all your saints shall bless you!

What an amazing list of attributes of our God! He is all those and so much more. Let your heart overflow with gratitude and thanks towards Almighty God!

Linda

Cultivate your Gratitude

One of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible is found in Daniel 2:20-23. Daniel was a young Jewish man who was taken into captivity in Babylon. He was trained to help in the king’s court as one of his wise counselors. The king had a dream and demanded that his ‘wise men’ tell him what the dream was and what it meant or they would face execution. Daniel asked for time to consult His God for answers. In this prayer Daniel is expressing his thanks for the answers God gave him so his life and the lives of others could be saved. As you read this prayer, consider your own thanks to God- why are you thankful and what do you know personally about God?

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matte
r.”

Daniel knew God was eternal, sovereign, wise, the giver of understanding and wisdom, the revealer of deep and hidden things, total light and purity, and the one who controls the future. Do you know God because you have seen some or all of these attributes of God as He interacts in your life? Do you trust Him fully to know what is best for you? My go to verse for trust and the goodness of God is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I claim this verse over my life, my mind and my will as I seek to trust God fully. Daniel trusted God and gave thanks for His love, devotion and care for him. God had answered his prayers and allowed him to grasp in the greatness of God in a new and tangible way.

I pray this thank giving time of year has brought a new realization of who God is and what He has done and is doing in your life. Give thanks to God in this season of your life. Recall what God has done and how He has blessed you. Your love and gratitude to God needs to be cultivated so it will grow and reflect outward towards others revealing the God you love.

Linda