Thankfulness Day 25: God values you and me!

Isaiah 49:15-16 are precious verses that give us hope, belief in the permanence of God and show how much God loves us. All of these things cause me to increase my gratitude for God and His tender loving care for me. Isaiah wrote these words to the people of Israel to encourage them. God had promised to punish them as a nation with captivity is Babylon if they did not return to worshipping Him and forsake their idols. Israel did not repent and spent 70 years in captivity, and yet God was faithful and remembered them. He brought them back to Israel and they did not pursue the worship of idols again.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me.

Why are these verses precious to me today? Here are some truths contained in these verses. Let them penetrate into your heart and mind and let them create greater thankfulness within you.

God does not forget anything about me. verse 15

God has made me, my existence, a part of His being. (16)

Engraving is a permanent marking, therefore God’s love and care for me is eternal. (16)

God knows where I am at all times and is continually seeing to my protection and well-being. (16)

When I read these verses, I feel loved, cherished, valued and protected by the love and character of God. He is a promise keeper, and I can depend upon His faithfulness. May these truths cause you to be even more thankful today.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 16: 7 Amazing Reasons for Faith

Have you ever thought about faith and considered, what’s in it for me? Why should I believe and try to follow God’s pathway for my life? Today’s verses put this into perspective and really lead straight towards greater thankfulness.

Psalm 91:14-16 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

These verses are filled with 7 amazing promises from God. When He say, “I will” He means it, as He is sovereign and all things are within and under His control. He promises those who love and believe in Him that He will be: 1- ready to rescue, 2- protect, 3- answer when called, 4- always with you especially in times of trouble, 5- will honor you, and 6- reward you with eternal life and 7- save you from the punishment for your sins. What an overwhelming list of provisions from God are yours, all because you love and believe in Him. The reasons for belief and love for God show us His merciful, compassionate, loving character towards each and every believer. We are truly blessed by our Heavenly Father.

As you consider the psalmists words today, remember a time when God heard your prayers, rescued you from danger, allowed you to receive honor for something done for Him, how He was with you in a time of great trouble, and your response to His call upon your life as you began your eternal life with Him. These things will surely cause you to praise God with a heart and spirit filled with thankfulness.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 9: We have a recipe for freedom from worry! Yeah!

Matthew 6:31-34 contains our thanksgiving challenge for today!

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I labeled this as a thanksgiving challenge because Jesus’ principles for living go against our natural tendencies and desires. Jesus is asking us to live fully committed to God to receive provision and freedom from worry. God promises relief from daily worry if we will put knowing Him and His righteousness first in our life. How wonderful a life free from the stress of worry about our circumstances and needs would be. Jesus is proclaiming the following truths about life with Him: God does not want our life consumed with worry about everyday things or the future. God is sovereign and is greater than anything I could possibly face in life. Seeking to know God and His righteousness ways leads to a life free from worry. God know each day can be a challenge and requires full focus on Him to meet these challenges with trust in Him.

Can you do this? Yes, all things are yes in Christ! Focus on Jesus, knowing Him and seeking Him. God will keep His promises and free you from worry. Let the knowledge of Him and the freedom He provides create in you a sense of true thanksgiving and praise today.

Linda

Is your Shield of Faith flame proof?

epheisan 6 16 shieldEphesians 6:16  describes the Shield of Faith that we must possess as believers so that we may combat the enemy,  “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”    Paul in these passages is comparing our Christian walk and witness to going into or being in battle each day.  In verse 12 he had reminded us that the forces of evil in this world can be both physical and spiritual so we must always be ready.  Satan cannot take our salvation away but he can destroy our witness and effectiveness for God.   As Paul said here, we must be ready in all circumstances.

Active faith functions a shield because it shows you truly believe in God.  It is actively putting your trust in God’s truths and desiring to please Him with your actions. We won’t see our shield in action until we step out boldly using our faith.  A believer’s faith is less about the believer and more about God and what we believe and are absolutely convinced that He is capable of doing in our lives.  It involves trust and hope at the highest levels.  Jeremiah 29:11 has helped to activate my faith and move it from head knowledge to heart trust,  as I absorb the truth of God’s Words.  “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.”   God is good and intends good for me.  I can trust Him in all I do, wherever I go He is there with me.

Satan wants to lessen, destroy, or render ineffective any and all faith that we possess.  He cannot take our salvation away as it is sealed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 is a promiseNow it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  Using your faith in a way  that will thwart or repel Satan’s attacks, requires trust in God’s faithfulness and wisdom on our part so we are aware and ready.

Consider this todaysometimes you might not need more faith or a bigger shield,  but you just need a better understanding of the comprehensive nature of God’s faithfulness. Think about His faithfulness in these verses:

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”     God is always faithful and does not change.

Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  Our shield of faith is backed by His faithfulness to us.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”   God’s faithfulness gives us strength and protection.

Hebrews 10:23 “ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”   God’s faithfulness gives us hope as we actively use it- holding on tightly!

faith tells meBecause Christ died on the cross and rose for the dead, I have a faith that is supported and connected to the faithfulness of Almighty God.   His faithfulness is eternal, unending, complete and 100% sure!

Take up your shield today!  Step out with an active faith unafraid and backed by God’s faithfulness.

Linda

Holy Week- Tuesday.  Jesus’ authority was questioned at the temple by the Pharisees and He continued to teach with parables.  Later in the day, He was anointed with oil which, unknowingly to the disciples,  was in preparation for His burial.  See Matthew  21:23-27, 21:28-23:39 and Matthew 26:6-13.  These are also recorded in Mark and Luke and the anointing in John.

Are you doubting God? Careful…He knows.

Our story continues today in Luke 1:18-22 with Zechariah, the priest, talking with the angel Gabriel.  His first words to the angel were words of doubt.  He doubted God’s ability to make a child happen for he and Elizabeth.  His doubting heart and words of disbelief brought condemnation from Gabriel in the form of muteness that would last until the child was born.

zechariah hold on“Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.  19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

After leaving the temple, the people Zechariah met could tell he had seen a vision and realized he could not speak.  Consider Elizabeth’s reaction to the impossible news, “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25  By contrast Elizabeth accepted as possible the impossible since it came from God.

What is your reaction to God’s power, His plans, His blessings?   Do you doubt that God can do what He promises?  Do you question His plans?  Do you accept His blessings with grace?  God knows our hearts.  There is no hiding from Him or disguising our motives, tone or real feelings.  Being honest with God, brings immediate blessing and a lightness to our souls.

Where do we see God in today’s story?  We definitely see God’s power to make Zechariah temporarily mute,  but we also see God’s Omniscience;  He is all-knowing.  God knew what was in Zechariah’s heart, what his doubts were about His power and ability to make things happen as He ordained.  God is Omniscient meaning He is never surprised by things that happen, He know all there is to know and nothing can or is hidden from Him. David described God’s Omniscience in Psalm 139:1-4 “You have searched me, Lord, Omniscient and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;  you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue  you, Lord, know it completely.”  David knew what Zechariah forgot that God knows all and can do all things.  Zechariah let his human doubts cloud his judgement as he spoke with Gabriel.

As you ponder this story today, look at your heart.  Is your response one of faith and trust in our Omniscient God?   Be honest with God and open yourself to trust in His loving care and blessings of peace and assurance will flood your soul.

Linda