No God, No Thanks = useless thinking

What are the effects of not acknowledging God and being thankful?  As I pondered that thought I was led to Romans 1:19-22For what can be known about God is plain Romans-1-20to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”  Paul is explaining that all people know about God because they see His power in nature, and the creation that is all around them.  He says they have no excuse for not knowing there is a God.  Creation is too magnificent to have happened by chance and the power of the wind, rain, sun and seasons are so orderly and precise they could not have been by happen-chance.  Paul continues, 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”    Paul is saying that when people continue to not acknowledge God they become futile, ineffective, useless in their thinking and their hearts turn away from God with dark and foolish thoughts of pride, contempt, greed, and gain. The center of their life’s focus is on them and what they can get or achieve.  

Francis schafferPaul was talking about people who did not believe in God, who refused to believe He exists and how it effects their thinking and future.  However, part of this lesson could be applied to the one who takes credit for all the good things in their life, their success at work, having a great family or home, having money in the bank and being able to take great vacations.  All of those things come to us from God.  He is the source of all wealth and honor and the glory, praise belongs to Him.  I need to call myself up short if I begin to go down that road with that kind of futile thinking as it leads to dishonoring God.

Today as you consider all you have- thank God for those things, for the ability to do the things you do, for your health and family, your job, your home and most especially your faith in Jesus…. Philippians 4:19 is one philip 4 19of my favorite promises and reminds me who the provider of all is. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Linda

Who are you telling about God?

Psalm 107 1Psalm 107:1-2  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble

Is this a scripture that describes you?  Do you give thanks for His goodness and love for you?   Do you tell others how good God is?   This psalm reminds us that because God is good and loves us unconditionally, we should be shouting His praise and thanksgiving.  Because of God’s goodness and love, that we do not deserve and did nothing to earn, we should be overcome with gratefulness and proclaiming the goodness and love of God to all who will hear.

say soMake today one of proclamation and tell others about your good and loving God.  He will hear you and be pleased by your faith and glorified in your testimony.

Linda 

What Stops You from Giving Thanks?

Daniel was an upright believer in God who was in a position of power in Babylon.  His adversaries hated him and sought to discredit him.   They tried but could find nothing to hold against him.  So, they got the idea to ask King Darius, over the Medo-Persian Empire, to make a law that no one could pray to any other god but him for a whole month.  The king was pleased, puffed up and overtaken with pride,  so he signed a law making it unlawful, on penalty of death, to worship any god but him.  The men who hated Daniel knew Daniel prayed to the God of Israel three times a day without fail.  They were hoping that he could continue this and then they could catch him and have him put to death.

Daniel 6:10 “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”   Daniel knew of their hatred and deceit but he trusted God more.  The story continues and Daniel is called before the king for praying to his God.  The king realized his mistake but could not change the law, since once a law was signed even the king was helpless to change it.  The penalty was being cast into a den with hungry lions.  The king liked Daniel and did not want to see him killed but was powerless.  The unbelieving king did something amazing, “Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” “Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.  Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to daniel 6 21the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel 6:16,18,19-22 

The lesson for us in this favorite Old Testament story that is that Daniel was committed to God.  He knew his God was more powerful than any earthly king,  and he would not relinquish God’s place of preeminence in his life to anyone, no matter the cost.  Daniel 6:10 said he prayed as was his custom and gave thanks.  Nothing could deter Daniel from prayer and thanksgiving.   Romans 12:12 describes Daniel’s attitude towards prayer. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

romans 12 12What about you?  What stops you from praying daily?  Our obstacles could not be any bigger than death by lions,  but we let them rob us of our prayer time and take away our opportunities to give thanks and praise Almighty God.  Will you mediate on this today and ask God to reveal to you what is taking preeminence in your life that keeps you from regular prayer?  Confess it to Him and start praying regularly with praise and thanksgiving.

Linda 

11/11 Veteran’s Day- a day to remember our patriots with Thanks!

This year I have read several novels set during WWII.  They all describe the horrors of war and the tragedies inflicted on human beings surrounding war.   On one occasion one of my high school students and I went to see the movie, They Shall Not Grow Old, which was about WWI.    It was a moving account told through the eyes of the British soldiers.  I did not realize until the ‘after talk’ by the producer that the narratives read during the scenes were actual accounts from soldiers who served in the pictured battles or areas.  That made the scenes all the more moving and real.  Although the film footage was very old and not at all what we usually experience in high definition, it was authentic and gave you a real vision of what the conditions were really like.  I did not have a true concept of what the trenches actually were.  When I saw for real the conditions, the extent and size of the trenches I was amazed.  The film was a tribute, by the producer, to honor his relatives who served during that war.

Nothing adequately describes the horrors of war and its aftermath in the mind and soul of the individual.  November 11th is set aside for the specific remembrance -the 11th month, 11th day at the 11th hour the armistice was signed ending WWI, named the war to end all wars, and yet it did not.  Scripture tells us there will we wars and rumors of wars until the end of time.  Today we remember those who served and those who died in any war or conflict with grateful hearts.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are some pictures of the beaches and cemetery at Normandy.  This was a place of great sacrifice during World War II.  Thank you to each Veteran on this Veteran’s Day for your service and the sacrifice of all those who have died to preserve our freedoms.  I am most grateful.

veteran's dayIn John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.  These brave men and women paid the ultimate price, and they did not even know me.  I am humbled by their patriotism and sacrifice on my behalf.

Gratefully,

Linda

IMG_0824IMG_0826IMG_0816IMG_0831IMG_0830IMG_0810

 

 

Dipping into the Well of Salvation Brings Joy!

isaiah 12 4Isaiah 12 has 2 short songs of praise that lead us towards thanksgiving.  Let these songs of praise create joy and thanks over your salvation.

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known  in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your  midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Isaiah 12 3This psalm gives us a picture of our salvation.  God hates our sin but through the well of salvation in Jesus we are forgiven.  Being cleansed by the waters of salvation through faith in Jesus’ work on the cross,  God brings us into His comforting arms and His anger  over sin is turned away.  Having drunk deeply from the well of salvation we are compelled to shout and sing His praises with great joy!  Thank you Jesus.

May yours be a day of thanksgiving and praise to God as you meditate on His forgiveness, love and redemption in Christ.

Linda

Are you Thankful for your firm foundation in Jesus?

Ezra 3:11-13 records the reaction of the people when they succeeded in rebuilding the foundation of the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians.  God had allowed them to be deported to Babylon for 70 years to refine them and cause them to give up idolatry that had plagued them for generations.   Their reaction is genuine and heartfelt. Ezra 3 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.”    The weeping was joyous but  also many lamented the glory of Temple Solomon had built that was gone.  

These verses about their rejoicing over the temple’s foundation reminded me of the foundation we have in Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith.  1 Peter 2:4-6 describes Jesus:  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God 1 peter 2 6through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Our faith in Jesus places us in ‘God’s building’, His  spiritual house, that has a firm foundation in Jesus.  You cannot build a building without a firm foundation likewise, faith without Jesus at its base will crumble, fall and be meaningless.

Think about your foundation of faith today.  Soon you will be rejoicing over your foundation, Jesus, and praising and singing thanks to Him!

Linda

Are you thankful? For how long???

psalm 30 12You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

David described his state of thanksgiving as being eternal in Psalm 30:11-12 .  Why was he going to be thankful forever?  Earlier in the Psalm David said God had lifted him out of the pit, saved him from his enemies, healed him physically and spiritually, had shown him forgiveness and favor.  David had experienced God’s forgiveness as he mourned Romans 4 8over his sins.   In Romans 4:7-8 Paul quotes David’s words from Psalm 32  ““Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”  Experiencing God’s forgiveness, seeing that God had covered his sins and that his sins would never be used against him in judgement made David eternally thankful and filled him with joy.

What about you?  Have you experienced God’s hand lifting you out of despair or trouble, has He rescued you from your enemies or from a really bad situation?  Has God touched you physically or spiritually to heal you?  Have you been given favor by God in blessings you did not expect and in no way deserved?  God had shown himself faithful to David,  and David recognized this.  His responds was eternal thanks that was filled with joy.  What is your response to God’s grace and forgiveness in your life?

GraceandGratitudeBegin today to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving that is based on God’s grace and forgiveness.  You will experience joy from now to eternity.

Linda

Focus on Heart Health with Thankfulness

Many of our prayers are sent heavenward for good health.  John begins his third letter like this:  “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John :2   Scripture often refers to the health our souls and not necessarily our bodies.  Jesus spoke about this in His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:22 ““The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”   Perhaps we have our focus wrong when praying for others.  Not only should we pray for healing of the body but be concerned about the health of the soul.  James tells us that we should pray for health by getting involved with the sick person. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:14-16   Verse 16 encourages us to rid ourselves of sin through confession and pray for each other so that we may be healed.  Healing here is both in body and soul.  Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine,  but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Points us to the state of one’s heart and soul as the source of good health.

My thoughts on praying for health and well being of others needs to be adjusted.  When I pray for good health, or return to health for someone I should also be praying for the state of their relationship to God, their soul.  If we want healthy souls, we have to have the light of Jesus in our hearts as that will bring permanent light and healing to our bodies.  As James admonished we should pray for each other when sick but also check in with their spiritual health too.  Having a healthy soul is more important than having a healthy body.   As Proverbs says, a cheer heart attitude is good medicine and enlightens our soul, but a discouraged, depressed heart is crushing. Pray for one another that we may be heart healthy in both body and soul. 

cheerful heartGive thanks for your good health today as you look at your heart.  If you see the light of Jesus in your heart, you are well and blessed!

Linda

 

Prayer, is it your habit at meals?

prayer-thank-you-lordOne area of giving thanks that has seemingly slipped away in America is the practice of giving thanks at meals.  It is a rare occurrence to see people praying in restaurants as they are served food.  Why has this habit begun to disappear from public view?  I really don’t have an answer just some conjectures:  **In today’s world, people seem overly concerned with how others view them and do not want to do something considered ‘politically incorrect’ and offend someone.  **They have gotten out of the habit of doing this regularly.  **Or perhaps thanking God for the food they are about to eat, never crosses their mind as they earned the money to pay for it, so why give thanks?  Whatever the reasons they have for not praying- giving thanks is very biblical.

Jesus’ giving thanks is recorded in the gospels on various occasions.  Matthew 14:18-19 Jesus is preparing to feed 5,000 people and He said, “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people”   Again when 4,000 had gathered and had been with him for days, He had compassion on them and gave them food.  Matthew 15:35-36 “He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.”   After Jesus’ resurrection, he met the men on the Road to Emmaus.  They did not know who he was but He spoke to them about himself from scripture.  They begged him to stay and eat with them on their journey.  Luke 24:30-31 records this encounter, breaking breadWhen he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”   Paul also followed Jesus’ example under the hardest of circumstances.  He was a prisoner being transported to Rome and they were in a great storm.  All on board the ship feared for their lives.  Paul brings calm into the situation, Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”  Acts 27:33-37

What should be our response to these biblical examples of giving thanks?  Jesus in his humanity gave thanks to God for the provision of food for the gathered crowds.  Paul gave thanks in a desperate situation that could have totally consumed his thoughts and prayers.  They did not ‘forget’ to pray when they were busy and consumed with other things- they stopped, gave thanks and then ate.  No matter where we are, we need to acknowledge God when we eat.  We need to thank the creator of all things for the provision of food for our bodies.  Physical food is essential for our bodies to run well just as spiritual food is essential for our growth and development in Christ.  Our spiritual food is the Word of God.

Thanks with grateful heartI must confess that I am convicted by this blog today.  I often do not pray when I am out in the company of unbelievers or get out of the habit of praying when by myself at meals.  Knowing Jesus was in the habit of thanking God for his physical provision of food, convicts me that I should do the same out of respect for God and His provisions in my life.  I pray that you are led to do likewise.

Linda

Thankfulness begins with family

all god's familyOne of the true delights in life is God’s family.  No matter what kind of earthly family we come from that might be filled with fights, disagreements, hard feelings, love, tenderness, nurturing…. all believers belong to God’s family, He is our heavenly Father and we can call Him, “Abba Father’.   This is a term that was used to express a very close relationship with our father, like Daddy.  Romans 8:15-17 explains our adoption into God’s family.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”  

I find this passage incredibly encouraging.  I am adopted through faith in Jesus to belong to His family making me a join heir with Christ in heavenly things.  I will have eternal life with Jesus, reign in heaven, have a home there, belong to God and I can call Him Father and Jesus brother.  Jesus reaffirmed this truth in Matthew 12:50 when He was questioned about his brothers and sisters, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  I will also have support in the here and now through His indwelling Holy Spirit that testifies to my spirit that I belong to God and empowers me to live for Jesus each day.  Being in God’s family also means I will suffer for His name as I stand up for Him and tell others about Him.  It is all part of being ‘in the family’ of God.

Usually at Thanksgiving we think of family and give thanks for having those in our lives that care about us.  Likewise, we should take time to be thankful for the family of God.  Think of those brothers and sisters in Christ that are risking their lives to tell others about Jesus, those that are suffering great hardships around the world, those who we work with every day that are in need of a helping hand, an encouraging word or prayer.  Philippians 4:6 is a promise from God that reminds us to pray with thanks. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let we are familyyour requests be made known to God.”   Pray for your brothers and sisters today with calmness knowing they are loved by God and are join heirs with Christ.  It is our privilege as members of God’s family.

I am thankful for each of you as you seek to know God more completely,  and I pray that my words will be an encouragement to you!

Linda