Giving Thanks Wholeheartedly

In Psalm 138 David repeatedly expresses his thanks to God. He gives good reasons for his attitude of gratitude.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name.

As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength.

In these first 3 verses, David proclaims his thanks to God with his whole heart and being. David is ‘all in’ for God. What things receive your total commitment and wholehearted love? Are you ‘all in’ for God or do you hold back? David saw that the Lord listened to his prayers and acted on his behalf. He gave him strength and encouragement. David knew in his heart that God stood behind all of His promises. God loved him with an unfailing love. David knew love in his life but saw the fleetingness and fickleness of the men and women around him. By comparison, David knew that God would always love him and be with him. He had learned at an early age while tending his father’s sheep, when confronting a gigantic enemy in Goliath and fleeing from Saul for 14 years as he awaited being made king of God’s faithfulness. He knew that God alone was the one who always stood with him and went before and behind to keep him safe.

How about you? Has God been with you 24/7 and gone before and behind you? Do you see His faithfulness day by day? If you do, then be ‘all in’ like David and love God wholeheartedly. Your wholehearted love for God and His wholehearted love for you is cause for great thanks and praise!

Linda

Jeremiah saw His Hope and so can You!

I stumbled upon these verses in Jeremiah today and pondered the significance of this prophecy to the discouraged, exiled Jews. Babylon had come and conquered Israel, destroyed the beautiful temple, God’s Spirit had departed and many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were transported to Babylon. Daniel left in the first wave of those exiled, Ezekiel left in the second and then total destruction came to the city. Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem during this whole time. You can only imagine his bereavement over the state of the city, the temple and his anguish over lost friends. God gave this prophecy to help Jeremiah and the people remember the good times and also to have hope for the future. God promised to restore it all. It would take a strong faith in Almighty God to look at ruins and see restoration, but Jeremiah did just that! It came to pass just as God said it would. That gives us hope for today and assurance that what God says He will do, He will do it!

 “Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:

“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
    for the Lord is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!’

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.

12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks. Jeremiah 33:10-12

Give thanks for God’s faithfulness, His truth, His Word and His omniscience. Even when we lose hope, He is faithful. Even when we stray from the truth. He is faithful to His Word. Even when we doubt, He is faithful. Let Him know today how thankful you are for His faithfulness to you and me.

Linda

Is God the Source of Your Thankfulness?

Today’s focus for giving thanks comes from Psalm 46:1-3. In my book, Promises for Dynamic Living, I used these verses on the printed bookmark that accompanied the book. These verses never cease to bring thankfulness, awe and extreme encouragement to my soul.

“God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Why am I always encouraged? Because, God is my refuge and strength. God is with me 24/7, ever-present. God is greater than any circumstance I will ever face, even if it looks like everything is falling apart. Knowing that God has my back allows me to move forward in life without fear. Trusting in God eliminates the threat of fear and fills me with hope, reassurance and peace.

Why am I in awe? Because, who am I that God would love, protect and care for me in all circumstances? Knowing I am loved and cared for by my heavenly Father brings joy to my soul.

Why am I thankful? Because, I have God as my protector and nothing can befall me that will leave me alone and forgotten by God. He is always with me and has this world in His control.

These verses are true cause for encouragement, awe, and thanksgiving. May they lead you towards greater thankfulness for the power and might of our loving God.

Linda

Lord, I want my Focus to be on You!

I love Ephesians 5:18-21 as it gives us concrete instructions on how to worship God and live constructively with others. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul is telling us that overindulgence leads to excessive indulgence. He is pointing us to God and saying we should be filled with God’s Holy Spirit instead of worldly pleasures. Keeping the right perspective on life will bring us joy-filled worship, a heart that is right with God and lead to words that are filled with thanks for all God has done for us.

When we get our focus off all the worldly things around us and allow God to refocus our hearts and minds, we can experience true gratitude for all He has done. Will you allow God to refocus you today? Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 how to retool our minds and keep them on godly things.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Let your mind dwell on these things today and your mind and heart will be refocused on what is godly and right before Him.

Linda

Gratitude vs. Ingratitude, Which Reveals the real You?

Many times we do not take the time to say ‘thanks’ for something that is done for us or towards us. We think later, ‘O, did I remember to tell them thank you or not?’ Giving or saying ‘thanks’ is something our parents taught us to say because it shows good manners. But, why do you say thank you? Is it a rote response or is it from your heart? The reason I am going down this road is we need to find the root of our gratitude or the root of our ingratitude and the consequences of each.

Repeatedly this month we have seen that scripture tells us to give thanks. Gratitude is an attitude response for all God has done. 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Our response to God and His goodness towards us for both physical and spiritual provisions is to be one of thanks. The giving of thanks creates within us a sense of peace, well being, hope and assurance of God’s love.

What about ingratitude? Romans 1:20-23 explains what happens when we refuse to give thanks and recognize that all good things come from God.  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. 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 we are without excuse when we fail to recognize and honor God. We have the world around us as proof of His existence and goodness. So what happens when we are ungrateful to God? Paul says our thinking becomes ineffective and useless, unproductive and our hearts are darkened or turned away from the goodness of God, His light. In our lives we can see that not being thankful leads to a hardness of heart towards others and perhaps a sense of entitlement. Somehow we feel the ‘world’ owes us good things. The reality of life is the truth of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” and 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Let your heart, mind and words be filled with gratitude today. You will be blessed as you experience His hope, love, peace and joy. Let your gratitude come from your love for God so that it may have an eternal effect on those around you.

Linda

Veteran’s Day.. A Tangible way to offer Thanks

Who do you know that you can honor today?

Today is Veteran’s Day in America. It is a day to remember those who have died fighting for freedom for our country and for those that are living and serve or have served in the military. It is a day of remembrance and thanksgiving for the end of a brutal war, WWI, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour when the armistice was signed in 1918. It was originally called Armistice Day but the name was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veteran’s Day.

Why remember? Throughout scripture we are told to remember the things God has done so we don’t forget His goodness, so we can be more diligent about our faith and the way we live, so we can gain appreciation and love for God and His faithfulness towards us. The same could apply to remembering our brave veterans. Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” We owe our Veterans, both the living and the dead, a debt of gratitude and thanks for their sacrifices on our behalf. They do not even know me and are willing to put their lives at risk for all of us. I am humbled by their service and dedication.

Who do you know that you can thank and honor today? Maybe a friend, a neighbor or loved one serves or has served. Take time to say a word of thanks, send them a card or email, text them…. Let your thanks be put into action as you seek to express your gratitude.

Gratitude from the heart is honoring to God,

Linda

How Long? Forever in Faith

Have you ever thought about How long you intend to praise God? Is it just a fleeting thing for you when times are hard? Or do you intend to worship Him forever? The psalmist wrote in

Psalm 79:13 “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;  from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”

Israel was going through a time of discipline from the Lord when this psalm was written. They had been taken captives in Babylon for their idolatry and rejection of God. The psalmist was questioning how long the Lord would have them suffer for their sins at the hands of the ungodly who did not know Him. The psalmist emphatically concludes with verse 13 and gives his proclamation that His people would give thanks to Him forever, each and every generation to follow.

We are finite and cannot see God’s plan for mankind in detail. We know He wins! He redeems and saves! He will reign in heaven for all eternity. But, we do no know the exact timing… So the life of a believer is one of trust, obedience and resolve. Just as the children of Israel proclaimed, we need to live trusting God knowing He is sovereign and has good plans for His people from generation to generation for all eternity! Will you give thanks to the God who knows the beginning from the end and has each detail within His control? How long will you thank Him? May it be in and by faith, forever! Praise God!

Linda

Need a Name to Praise All Day Long?

What is your favorite name of God? He reveals himself and His character to us in scripture and shows himself to be just what his people need, all that they need !

Psalm 44:8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name. 

Here are few names God gives Himself:

El Shaddai- The All-Sufficient One He is the Lord God Almighty and nothing is beyond His control. His power and might are sufficient for all our needs. Abraham first encounter God Almighty in Genesis 17:1-2 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” The Apostle Paul knew God Almighty to when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

El Elyon– The God Most High He is the sovereign ruler of the universe. Abraham was thanking God for his deliverance in Genesis 14:20 and used God’s name, “And blessed be God Most High,  who has defeated your enemies for you.” Psalm 78 is a psalm of remembrance and used God’s name in verse 35 “Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. Where do you need Him to be your God most High?

Yahweh- LORD, Jehovah He is the Self-Existent One. God is God and there is no other. He alone exited before time began and was not created. Moses encountered God in Exodus 3:14-15 “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

Which name of God do you need to minister to you today? Will you give thanks for Him constantly? God is worthy of all our praises as He is indeed the All-Sufficient One, The God Most High and Lord. Thank you Jesus for being all I need no matter the place or the circumstances. God is enough!

Linda

Songs of Thanks…but I can’t Sing! No Worries.

Psalm 33:1-3 tells us to give thanks with musical instruments.

“Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;

    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”

Does this sound out of your comfort zone? I know I haven’t touched a piano in years. However, I don’t think that is what the psalmist was aiming at. He says “Praise befits the upright” the NIV puts it this way, ” it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.” Believers are to give thanks joyfully and not do it quietly. We are to be exuberant in our joy-filled worship. The question is how do you worship the Lord? Do you have an attitude of joy? Do you raise your voice in praise to God? David liked to praise God with songs and even dancing. He let his JOY in the LORD be known. Everyone around him could see his joy in coming before God in worship. Our worship needs to be joyous, from the heart and filled with thanksgiving.

As you ponder this psalm, think about your style of worship. Is it honoring to God? Are you actively giving thanks? Let your shouts be heard before Him today as you actively give thanks for who God is and what He has done.

Linda

In this song, Chris Tomlin answers the question of God’s worthiness and why we worship Him. I pray his words bless you and lead you to deeper worship.

Why will you Praise Him today?

Psalm 100 is one of my favorites. Looking at this through the lens of thankfulness to God- what attributes of God do you see in David’s song?

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I see that David is coming to worship with gladness in his heart and the joy of singing on his lips. His reasons are various: God is God, God is creator of all heaven and earth, we belong to Him, He is our shepherd, we can come into His presence to worship Him, God is good, His love is unfailing and unending and God is forever faithful generation to generation. Join David in praise and worship today of Almighty God. There is much to be thankful for!

Linda