Thankfulness in Prayer

November 12th and 13th

We are about midway through this month of gratitude and as we near Thanksgiving and all the preparations that go into that day let your mind and heart dwell on the why. Why are you personally thankful this year? Begin this weekend to speak words of thanks for your family, home, neighbors, cities and for our country. Instead of looking for what is wrong, focus on what is right and pray for those around you. Here is a prayer of thanks from Colossians 1. Paul begins by expressing his thanks for the faith of the Colossians. ” We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel .” (verses 3-4) Who do you know that you are thankful for their faith? Who’s faith has pointed you continually toward Jesus and the truth of God’s Word? Offer up your own thanks for those believers who strength and encourage your faith.

Paul continues in verses 9-14 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

What is Paul praying for the Colossian believers? In verse 9 Paul begins by asking that they will be filled with the wisdom and understanding provided by the Holy Spirit. He then continues and asks that the wisdom and understanding God will give them be applied to their lives so they will please God with their words and deeds. He wants them to produce fruit of the Spirit in the good works they are doing. He desires that they continue to grow in the knowledge of God. Paul wants them to be strengthened so that they may have patience, endurance and joy in their walk with Jesus. He wants them to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and how he saved them from eternal death and darkness and brought them into a life of light and forgiveness.

This is a mighty prayer. Who do you know that you can pray this prayer for? Who do you know that needs empowerment for living like the Colossian Christians? You can replace the ‘you’s’ in this prayer with their name or your own. I challenge you to pray this prayer over them for several days, a week or even a month. Look for God’s transforming power in them and in yourself as you pray for others.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have the ability to approach God. The idea of approaching God has been fraught with fear and trembling throughout the ages. However, if we look at Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 we see that in the beginning man existed in the garden and had a relationship with Almighty God. Adam and Eve did not fear God until they ate from the tree of knowledge, then they knew sin. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can now come near to God as we have a relationship with God again. Jesus has made us clean and presents us to the Father. I love Ephesians 3:12  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” and Hebrews 4:16  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We can approach God on behalf of others, as Paul did for the Colossians, or for ourselves.

Prayer is a mighty privilege and through it we come into the presence of God Almighty. Use it wisely and often.

Linda

Why We Remember on Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2022

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. The armistice was signed ending the war on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour in 1918. It was originally called Armistice Day but the name was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veteran’s Day.

This year I have been doing some reading of books written by a former Navy Seal, Jack Carr. He writes a great thriller as he uses his experiences in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Seal teams to enhance his writing. Even though the technology of war has changed dramatically since the war for Independence in 1776, the Civil War and even WWI and WWII, the hurt and brutality of war has not changed. The sacrifices made both physically and mentally by our service men and women is worthy of honor. We have begun to realize in more recent years the tremendous and lasting effects war has upon soldiers as conditions like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are studied more thoroughly. Our medical technology has allowed many with former life threatening wounds to survive. Learning to survive with amputated limbs is a constant and lasting struggle. Many are victorious over these conditions brought on by war but many are not. Suicide among veterans is very high. We can never thank our soldiers enough for putting themselves in harms way on our behalf.

Why remember? Throughout scripture we are told to remember the things God has done so we don’t forget His goodness. That way we can be more diligent about our faith and the way we live, and we can have a greater 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 me so my freedoms can be preserved. 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 relative has served in the military. Take time to send them an email, a note, a card of thanks or give them a call. Let them know how grateful you are for the time they sacrificed defending your freedom.

Linda

A Glimpse Ahead

November 10, 2022

Revelation 11:16-17 The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. 17 And they said,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty,
    the one who is and who always was,
for now you have assumed your great power
    and have begun to reign

Today’s verses from Revelation give us a glimpse into our heavenly future. All will one day bow and worship the Lord Almighty. A glimpse into our heavenly future is also given in Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

I am so thankful that God is eternal, has all power, is sovereign and will reign forever. The concept of the eternality of God is not an easy one. Our finite minds have to stretch to try and grasp the incomprehensible nature of God. We mostly live in the here and now and can remember some of our past. We have to study to grasp the past and what transpired before us but have only hope as we look to the future. God gives us a glimpse of the future with Him in the Bible. We are told in Matthew John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Jesus is preparing a place for us. He has saved us to be with Him as Paul shares in Ephesians 2:5-7 “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

When we get bogged down by the here and now, weary of the past and it’s complications, we can look forward to our future for all eternity with Christ. How glorious that will be! Let the hope of your future with Him give you reason for thanks today.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I am a citizen of heaven. The idea that we become citizens of heaven when we accept Jesus as our Savior is one filled with hope. In contrast to those who do not know Christ we have this assurance from Philippian 3:19-20 ‘Their destiny (those who do not know Christ) is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:19 also tells us  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,” Not only are we citizens of heaven already through faith in Christ, but we are considered members of God’s family! There are many benefits of being a citizen of heaven. Here are a few to consider: we receive grace and belong to Christ, Romans 1:5-6, Christ will abide in us, John 14:23, there will be rewards and treasure there, Matthew 5:12 and 6:19-20, a permanent, God made home awaits us, 2 Corinthians 5:1, our inheritance is kept there and is imperishable, 1 Peter 1:4 and we have every spiritual blessing from Christ, Ephesians 1:3. There is much to be thankful for as a citizen of Heaven!

Praise God today for the life you now live and the one Christ has awaiting you in eternity!

Linda

Prayer with Confidence and Purpose

November 9, 2022

Have you ever thought about answered prayer? We love to see our prayers answered in just the way we envision them but often God surprises us with His answers. Most times, I have found, God uses unusual ways to answer all or part of our requests. We see the truth of Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” We know that God is faithful, hears our requests and will answer His way which will be good for us and bring Him glory. Today’s verse of thanks comes from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. Paul is relating to the Corinthians believers the perilous situation they encountered while in Asia and thanked them for praying. “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul does not know how God will resolve this situation but He has confidence in Him. He asks the believers to pray so that many will give thanks on their behalf. Not only will they be blessed but so will the ones who pray. When you pray for someone, you are lifting them up before God seeking His help to provide for them in some special way. When that prayer is answered, you are blessed and your faith is affirmed. Even in the praying you are blessed as a peace or comfort comes upon you as you pray with faith. Paul knew the believers would be blessed and gave thanks ahead of time for their faithfulness.

Who do you know today that is in a situation of some kind and is in need of divine assistance? Will you lift them before God and seek His intervention on their behalf? Paul tells us that you will be blessed for your faithful prayer and so will the one who is prayed for. Claim Philippians 4:19 in your heart as you pray. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God knows what is needed and will supply the answer in His way in His time just as He promises.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I can be assured that all things are working together for good. Romans 8:28 states this promise to all believers. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Here are a few things to consider about this promise: God is sovereign and there is nothing beyond His control. 2 Chronicles 20:6 “and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” God is good and intends only good things for me. Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” God has a purpose to which He has call each of us. 2 Timothy 1:9 “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” God’s ways are not our ways and He achieves His desires. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

Being assured of these facts from God’s Word, claim this promise with confidence and let it give peace to your heart and mind. Pray with confidence knowing that God is sovereign, good, has a plan and will solve things His way that will be good for us and give Him glory.

Linda

Thanks for Grace!

November 8, 2022

1 Corinthians 1:4-5 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,  that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—

I love this verse as it gives us a glimpse into the heart of the Apostle Paul and his love for believers. He was sharing with them his thanks that they were recipients of God’s Grace. Why did this truth cause Paul to be so thankful? God is filled with grace and showers His grace on His created beings. Theologically, grace is defined as God showing His unmerited favor towards us. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor or grace. We are definitely inferior beings in relation to God, as He is the Creator and we are created beings. His grace is filled with mercy, kindness and compassion. God directs His grace to every believer. God has it to give and gives it freely to every believer. We cannot make or demand grace be given to us. God alone is the deliverer of His grace. We can however cultivate grace within our lives and show it towards others.

When we become a believer in Christ, the Holy Spirt comes to dwell within us. Graciousness comes from God and as we live and walk with Him. He gives us grace to give to others through our words and actions. Colossians 4:6 describes this: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Paul and Peter often started their letters, like here in Colossians, with references to grace. 1 Peter 1:2b “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” God wants us to live graciously speaking and acting with His spirit of love and acceptance and showing favor towards all with impartiality just as God has done for all of us.

Paul was thankful for the actions and words of grace that he was hearing about the Corinthian Christians. How would someone characterize you? Do you show grace towards others? Are your words gracious? As impossible as this sounds for us to live graciously, God impowers us through His Holy Spirit to live lives filled with grace. I’ve found that the more I learn about God’s grace and see it working in my life the more thankful I become and the more gracious in my living. May it be the same with you.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I can have godly character. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit within me, I can be the new creation of 1 Corinthians 5:7 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Knowing Christ as savior brings Him into my life and I am indwelt by His Spirit. The Spirit’s work with me brings about a transformation of spirit and the fruits of the Spirit become evident in my life. Galatians 5:23-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Praise God for His transforming power and grace in changing me into the man/woman He knows I can be in Him.

Linda

Peace, a blessing to claim in Christ!

November 7, 2022

As we approach the coming election day in the United States, let us give thanks and remember God’s peace.

Colossians 3:15  “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

God desires us to live with His peace in our hearts. His peace grounds us and helps to keep us focused on His purpose. As believers, we are to live in peace with one another, because we are unified by His spirit. God dwells within us and will guide us as we seek to live for Him.

Why don’t we have peace if that is what God has for us in Christ? James tell us in James 4:2b-3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Are you craving peace but not asking or are you asking with selfish motives? Jesus told us in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We are to not let fear or troubles get in our way as Jesus has peace for us. Are you letting the world’s pressures or troubles stand in your way of having God’s peace? Seek Jesus, talk to Him in prayer and ask Him for the peace He has for you. Claim God’s promise of peace from John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have peace with God. What we can be assured of is that peace is ours through Christ and is always attainable.  Jesus said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  The peace Jesus gives is not worldly calm and freedom from activity,  but a peace that will satisfy our souls.  It is the peace the pervades us even when the world is swirling around us.  Paul describes this peace in Romans 5:1-2  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”   Paul assures us that the peace we have though Christ brings us into relationship with God, is filled with His grace,  and it will purposefully sustain us no matter what else is happening in our lives.

Praise God for His peace and that we can experience it today!

Linda

Remembering Blessings today!

November 5 and 6, 2022

Psalm 107: 1-2 and 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
    Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
8 “Let them praise the Lord for his great love
    and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
For he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.

The psalmist is reflecting on the love, deliverance, redemption and provision of God towards him and also his people. He is remembering the things that God had done for them as a nation and for him individually. Deliverance from Egyptian slavery, guidance in the wilderness for 40 years, leaders to move them along and communicate with them, warrior kings like David who led them to victory both physically and spiritually, prophets who provided words from God…. He knew that they had been touched by the power of God. The God he serves not only redeems but He then fulfills and gives good things. Do you know these things about God? Can you remind yourself of things God has done in your life? It is good to remember who God is and what He has done. Why? Because we are so short minded- we forget. We get busy with our lives and block out God and fail to remember His goodness and provision. Take some time today and the Lord’s day tomorrow to reflect on your life. Count your blessings that God has provided. Look for both physical and spiritual provisions and blessings from God. You will be blessed in remembering!

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I am helped by God. Here are some verses to help you see how God can and does help you each day. Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Psalm 34:17 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;  he delivers them from all their troubles. John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Hebrews 13: 5b-6 ” “Never will I leave you;    never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.     What can mere mortals do to me?” Philippians 4:19 ” And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

May you see God’s provision and help as you meditate on these verses with thanksgiving.

Linda

Give Thanks for Prayer and Friend Jesus

November 4, 2022

Today’s verse features the action words ‘give thanks’. How thankful do you consider yourself to be? Do you live with a continual attitude of gratitude or is it fleeting depending upon your circumstances? If truth be told, the fleeting gratitude is probably more to what really happens in our lives. However, it is God’s desire that we be thankful at all times in all things.

1Thessalonians 5:17-18 “ pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is exhorting the Thessalonian believers and us too, to be prayerful at all times and have words of thanks on our lips as we pray. This combines two actions towards God- prayer, talking with God, and giving Him thanks with our words. What fills your prayers? Do you constantly seek His help with a give, or an I want attitude? This exhortation is focused on talking with God and having thanks be at the forefront of our praying. Being thankful – not just when things are going well but in all times. This is often very hard to do but seeking to see something to be thankful for in your situation gives you hope. It helps alleviate pain and refocuses you on God and the power of His might in Christ Jesus. God knows there is suffering and pain in this world but He wants to keep us focused on Jesus. Jesus will give us peace, hope and endurance as we look to Him in thanksgiving and praise. Seek to live each day with a prayerful thank-filled attitude just as Christ desires.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have a friend in Jesus. In John 15:14-15 Jesus calls us His friends. “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Being a friend of Jesus means He is always with you, supporting and caring for you. I pray the desire of your heart is to follow His commands and seek to know Him better. We are not considered servants but friends and we belong to His family. Being a member of God’s forever family is always something you can give praise and thanks for. Knowing Jesus as a friend gives hope and reassurance to us each day. Thank you Jesus.

Linda

Singing and Praising Led the Way to Victory

November 3, 2022

Today’s scripture of praise and thanks comes with a story. This event occurred during the reign of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. Their enemies decided to attack in large numbers and Jehoshaphat did not know what to do. He called the nation to fast and pray, then gathered the people before the temple to pray. He prayed an eloquent, heartfelt prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:6-12. He ended with these words, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” The Lord responded by sending a prophet to tell King Jehoshaphat the following: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ With this assurance, Jehoshaphat and his men went out to meet the enemy. However, before they left Jehoshaphat did the following, (21-22) “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

This is a wonderful example to us that when faced with problems or circumstances beyond our control, we need to look to God and ask for His help. Then proceed as if it is already done and give Him praise and thanks. The Israelites faced the opposing army with a song in their hearts and praises on their lips. They lived their faith fully that day with thanksgiving in their hearts. God did indeed give them victory as He promised and their rewards were above and beyond their expectations.

What are you facing today that has you worried? Follow the lead of the Israelites and pray. Submit your problems and cares to the Lord. Live like you truly believe in His answer with praises and thanks in your heart.

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I have access to God in prayer. The Bible is filled with examples of people praying to God. David, Daniel, Paul and Jesus all had the habit of going to God in prayer. They sought fellowship, reassurance and answers to the problems they faced in their lives. Know that you too can approach God and seek His help and guidance for your daily life. Here are a few scriptures to encourage you. Ephesians 3:12 “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” James 4:8a “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Be assured God will hear you just as He did Jehoshaphat. Live believing and keeping your eyes on Him. God hears and will answer!

Linda

A Double Blessing today!

November 2, 2022

Psalm 7:17 “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.’

What a wonderful verse of praise from Psalms. This verse tells us God is due our praise and worship because of His righteousness. Without His righteousness, we would be lost. Scripture is filled with references to the righteousness we receive through faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22 “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 4:23-24 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. ” Philippians 1:10-11 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Without the righteousness given to us through faith in Jesus, we would be hopelessly lost. We would be dead in our sins. What a wonderful position we are in as loved ones, as believers in Jesus! We are loved and cared for by Almighty God. Let your praises be heard today. Tell God how grateful you are and tell someone else about your wonderful Savior!

A truth to claim with thanksgiving: I am sanctified. Because of what Christ did on the cross, because of His imputed righteousness to me, I am sanctified. According to the dictionary to be sanctified is to be made holy, consecrated. Left to myself, I am buried in my sin as there is nothing I can do to make myself clean enough before God. However, Jesus has made me clean by faith and washed me by the forgiveness of sin through His blood. Because I still live in a sinful world, this sanctification or transformation takes a lifetime. Here are some verses to encourage you: Hebrews 2:11 “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Philippians 2:12b-13 “—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” and Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

What a double blessing today as we consider our righteousness imparted to us through faith in Jesus and His work within us to conform us to what He knows we can be in Him! Take Paul’s prayer from 1 Thessalonians to heart claiming it over your life today.

Linda