Thankfulness Day 27: What a deal we got through Jesus!

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 used to describe the crowds, like the street was black with pedestrians.  It then became a day term retailers used to signify 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 they learned of Jesus’ resurrection and his 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 and burial to Jesus but 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.

During these COVID times you may not be venturing out physically but think about that blackest of Friday’s and how much you gained through Christ.  Praise Him and Give thanks for His sacrifice that brings the greatest gains-salvation, eternal life, His indwelling Holy Spirit, heaven, godly character, a relationship with God, resistance to temptation, purpose in life…..- to you and me!

Linda

Let it be Good News around your Table

This week’s Stream of Water from the Word is from 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 and these verses have a timely message for us. In this passage, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that he did not come to them with flowery words and great speeches, but with God’s truth, love and the gospel of Christ. “When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,  I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul’s words are a reminder that God is the one who speaks through us when we talk about Jesus. God’s message of redemption for the world and the solution to our sin problem is Jesus. Just like Paul, we need to rely upon the Holy Spirit to give us the right words when He presents us with opportunities to witness about Jesus. Paul spoke plainly and boldly so as to tell others about His amazing Savior. What about you? Are you afraid to speak about Jesus for fear of rejection, misunderstanding, or apathy? The truth of Acts 1:8 is true today just as it was in Paul’s day. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He has appointed us as His witnesses and will give us words and opportunities to tell about Him. How can we tell others if we do not speak of Him? Paul also knew the truth of Romans 10:17 and was putting his faith into action. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

May you speak boldly of your Savior, Jesus Christ, as you gather around your table this Thanksgiving. Be it virtual or in person our words of witness need to be heard so others will know our Christ. Let your words be given with gentleness as you seek to witness for Him.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 20: I can have His peace!

How do you know things will turn out okay in the end? When the world seems to be falling apart around you and circumstances seem overly dark, where is your hope and peace? Jesus knew his disciples finally had faith in Him as the Son of God, but He also knew hard times were coming that would challenge their new faith and cause them to doubt and succumb to worry. He spoke these words in the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held and His arrest and death were imminent. John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peaceIn this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God knows about the pandemic, the economic troubles, our election conflicts, power struggles in our government, sickness, death and our own individual problems. As Jesus pointed out, In this world you will have trouble. That is guaranteed by the nature of our sin-filled world. However, He promises us HOPE and PEACE! Jesus says He is greater than anything we can or will face as He has overcome the world. He will be the victor and we will be with Him in victory by holding fast to our faith and trusting in Him. Jesus said that ‘in me’ you will find the peace you need to sustain you now and in hard times to come.

I find this verse encouraging as it tells me I do not need to worry about the temporal things of life as God is sovereign and He will overcome all. The peace I have in Jesus creates in me a great sense of thankfulness and hope as I face each day and look into the future.

May you know His peace today and give Him thanks and praise!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 17: Resurrection Promise

On Day 16, we looked at 7 amazing reasons for faith. Today’s verse looks more specifically at #7- salvation that leads to eternal life in Him. John 11:25-26 is a familiar precious promise from God “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”” Jesus spoke these words to Martha, the sister of Lazarus who had just died and was recently buried. She was upset that Jesus had not made it Bethany before Lazarus died, for she knew he could have saved him from dying. Jesus’ message to Martha, and you an me, is that belief in Him guarantees resurrection to new life. Belief in Jesus brings a life one can live in Him now and for eternity. His words were meant to encourage, bring hope and challenge Martha’s faith.

His question to Martha, do you believe me?, is the same question He asks each of us. If your answer is YES, then the thought of eternal life with Jesus, living forever with Him should bring you eternal joy. No one likes to think about leaving their life and dying, but Jesus is reassuring each of us that He has it covered. He will be with us, protect and guide us into our next stage of life with Him. If your answer was NO, then may His words bring you to Him today with a repentant and open heart.

May your heart rejoice over this promise. You can be thankful that God is eternal. God is greater than anything you will ever face- even death. God desires that you live without fear of death and know He has a plan for your life. Rejoice in the hope of resurrection and let that joy fill your heart with thanksgiving.

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 14: Holy Spirit’s guidance

John 16:12-14 holds precious promises for us for which I am thankful. Jesus spoke to the disciples at the last supper prior to His crucifixion. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

These encouraging words show Jesus’ compassion for the disciples. He knew that they were not in the right place and time to hear about things that were to happen sooner and later too. He promised that the Spirit of Truth would come and guide them when the time was right. The Truth from Jesus would be given, revealed to us in time by His Holy Spirit. Acts 2 records the arrival of the Holy Spirit with power to indwell so that the words and truths of Jesus are available to all who believe. I love the promise of the Holy Spirit which will guide me, reveal things from God the Father and Son and declare to me the things of Jesus now and in the future.

Are these promises cause for rejoicing and thanksgiving? You Bet! The Holy Spirit brings Christ into me and makes me a part of Him. Though His Holy Spirit we can study His Word and know truths in our hearts about Jesus. We can be assured of the truth of His Words and promises. No doubt, No fear through the power of His Spirit that lives within. Romans 8:15-17 tells us how we can know for sure, “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,” His Spirit lives within each believer assuring them in heart, mind and soul that they belong to Him. Praise God!

Be thankful today that you belong to Him, His Spirit indwells you, His Spirit guides you and gives you insights into His truths. Rejoice in the richness of your inheritance as a child of God!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 11: Remember with gratitude

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 were 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

Thankfulness Day 10: A loving, compassionate God awaits all believers

Our thankfulness verse today comes from 2 Chronicles 30:9. Many of the Israelites had abandoned the worship of God and had fallen away from faith. King Hezekiah sent out a decree inviting worshipers to come celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. His impassioned plea resonates with us today as God makes this same promise and claim to us if we will return to Him. “For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

Our God is compassionate and loving and graciously promises to receive me if I come back to Him. A life without God is one lived in captivity to the world, a bondage He desires to free us from. He is always waiting to receive us in faith. These words echo the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30 ”  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

How do I know God will not reject me if I come back to Him in faith? Jesus repeatedly spoke of rejoicing over those that were lost being found or returned home. In Luke 11:7 Jesus gives the parable of the lost sheep, Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Also in the parable of the woman with the lost coin, Luke 15:9-10 “And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” God is gracious and forgiving and desires us to be in relationship with Him. Remember the truth of John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” God truly loves us so much that He sent Jesus to redeem us through His death on the cross.

What part of 2 Chronicles 30:9 resonates a spirit of thanksgiving with you today? Are you thankful for a loving and compassionate God who desires that none should perish? 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Are you thankful for the freedom from sin He offers in Jesus? John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

There is much to be thankful for because of the loving, compassionate attributes of our heavenly Father. May they seep into your heart and mind today creating true thankfulness towards Him.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 8: He’s rejoicing over me!

Today’s verse comes from Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness;  he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Zephaniah was a prophet to the nation of Israel in approximately 700 B.C. who had a message of repentance. He warned of coming judgement if they did not turn from their worship of idols. He also focused on the coming day of the Lord and the rejoicing that would bring. He proclaims that God is in our midst, He will save and that He loves and rejoices over each of us with singing. What a wonderful message of hope and reassurance for today. We know Jesus came showing that He saves, loves, cares, protects, holds us in His hands and rejoices over us with gladness. Let His gladness and love sink into your soul, filling you with thanksgiving and hope. Knowing that God rejoices and sings over me, a sinner, gives me great hope and creates in me a thankful heart. Knowing He alone will quiet my heart gives me peace.

Be filled with thanksgiving in knowing you are loved and that your Savior, Jesus, is rejoicing over you today!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 5: we are well cared for!

Gentle readers, I want to apologize for the typo in yesterday’s text- the reference was 1 John 1:5-7. I was able to correct or update the blog online but not to my followers. As much as one tries to avoid such errors, they happen and there does not seem to be a way to resend a correction. Thanks for following and know that I try to be as accurate as possible.

Today’s verse is one that is dear to my heart, Isaiah 58:11. “The Lord will guide you always;  he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,  like a spring whose waters never fail.”
I first encountered this verse during a bible study as it was our memory verse for the week. As I sought to imprint it upon my heart, I was captivated by Isaiah’s images of how God cares for me. I love to garden and the thought of always being well-watered with His living water always bolsters my spirit. The thought that He is watching out for me and will see that my needs are met when life gets hard, dry and seems to tax me to the limit. God will see that I do not flag in strength and He assures me that He is my guide. Lastly, the promise that His living water will always be there to quench my thirst for all eternity is amazing.

I pray that the thoughts and truths expressed by Isaiah in this verse will empower you to live more thankfully today.

Linda