A lesson and truth I received from the scriptures we studies this month on cultivating a habit of thankfulness in our lives is this: Thankfulness has a powerful affect on me and all those around me.
How have you seen this to be true this season of thanksgiving? Is your mindset towards thanks contagious? “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul felt that the thanks he had for his fellow believers, for their faith and love for God, caused him to rejoice. He saw God working in their lives and this brought joy and thankfulness to his own worship. I would call that contagious thanks. Have you ever been thankful for someone or something and it caused you to give thanks to God? As we live our lives, we need to look for those things that God gives us that create ‘contagious thanks’ within our hearts. As we give thanks to Him in these situations, God will faithfully create in us a thanks that will be contagious and will result in our being in a constant state of thankfulness and joy. Paul left the Thessalonians with these words in 5:16-18 “ Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Develop that attitude of gratitude and watch it grow in your own life and then watch it rub off into the lives of those around you.
Being a primary teacher for years, I love choral response readings. All the kids are chiming in together, listening to one another and speaking as one voice. Psalm 136 was used as a liturgy of praise. Let’s look at the first 3 verses.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
I love this repetition of reason for our complete trust in God, His steadfast love endures forever. What else in all creation endures forever? God alone is eternal. Therefore, we need to thank Him for His goodness and love, and that He is the Almighty God, above all other gods. He alone is to be our LORD.
I would encourage you today to repeat these lines with a sincere, prayer-filled heart and mind and see if it doesn’t bring His love right into your life. You can depend upon His steadfast love, no matter what. His enduring steadfast love is worthy of our thanks and praise.
Have a blessed day,
Today I needed to focus on God and remember to be thankful. I love Psalm 100. Its simple message is timeless and always uplifting.
A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Being in the Lord’s presence
Come into his presence with singing! always brings joy to the believer.
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; He is creator God and He
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. cares for me.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise! His name is above all names
Give thanks to him; bless his name! and worthy of our praises.
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever, God is good and He will love
and his faithfulness to all generations. us faithfully forever.
I pray the joy of the Lord will be yours as you worship our creator, caretaker, good, loving, faithful, eternal and Almighty God.
Psalm 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.
Make 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.
“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus made this bold statement in John 10:11 and 14. He knew the people understood the job of a shepherd and the sacrifice it entailed. They were to guard their sheep with their life both during the day and night against wolves, bears, and any disaster that might come their way. He was their first and only line of defense against the outside world. Jesus was identifying and claiming this same relationship and responsibility with those who were following Him then and those of us who would follow Him in the future. I love the passage in John 10 as it gives me comfort and assurance of who Jesus is to and for me.
“11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Jesus promises that He is the good type of shepherd that will stick with us always. He was not hired to watch over us but is committed to us because He loves us. He affirms that He has a relationship with us in verse 14 and He knows us and we know Him. Jesus says He willingly sacrificed His life to save us and bring us into a close relationship with Him and the Father. Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The attribute of being good belongs to God alone. It is His nature to be good where our nature is rooted in sin. So when Jesus says He is the good shepherd, He alone can claim this as He is God. Here are a few verses extolling God’s goodness: Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” Titus 3:4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,” God’s goodness was truly shone when He sent Jesus to redeem us. He desires to know us and love us. Through Jesus we can be brought into the arms of our loving Father.
Jesus rightly claims to be our good shepherd, do you know Him? He knows you and desires to embrace you with His love and care. Step into His arms today and receive His love and protection and find that safe harbor in Him for eternity.
As we ponder the significance of 9/11 today, what comes to your mind? This is the 19th year anniversary of that tragic attack on the twin towers in NY and the Pentagon. Many of those alive today have no memory of that horrific day and those terrifying events. The same could be said for December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both bring extreme sadness at the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, the aftermath of the events and their impact on families, the nation and our way of life. A great sense of invasion and insecurity looms in my mind.
As I looked back, four years ago on 9/11 my new book, Promises for Dynamic Living arrived. The arrival of a new book you’ve written is a momentous time for an author. At the heart of this book is hope and security. God’s Word provides us with an anchor for our souls in Christ and redemption though His work on the cross. Knowing promises our Heavenly Father has made to us, gives me hope as I know He is eternal and always faithful to keep His promises. He promised to send a savior and He did in the person of His own Son- Jesus. What hope we have in Christ! He fulfilled all the promises in the Bible about himself and all questions about redemption are Yes in Him. We do not need to fear for our future as it is guaranteed by Christ himself.
So what of 9/11 and those fears and insecurities? Turn them over to Jesus and depend upon Him in all things. We can cling to Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Nahum 1:7 “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” 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.” I pray one of these verses gives you added hope in Jesus today.
Living in a troubled world with HOPE,
A study in God’s Word that will bring you hope and assurance for living in a troubled world. Available on Amazon or at Certa Publishing.
Many translations use the word gate instead of door, but the sheep pen used by shepherds was a rock enclosure with only 1 gate or door into the pen. They would sleep at the door preventing anyone or thing from entering and harming their sheep. This is a wonderful picture of Jesus as our protector or guardian of our safety. One we are in his ‘pen’ no one or nothing can ever take us away from Him.
Jesus adds to this idea of guardian by saying He is the door. John 10:7 -9 “7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” When we accept Jesus into our life we have entered by the door- the only door to salvation. Act 4:12 confirms this truth, “12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Many might say there are many ways to be saved, many doors or gates but Jesus is emphatic that He is the only true door to salvation. He warns that others -thieves and robbers have or will come, but He admonishes us to not listen to their lies and depend upon Him for salvation.
Why choose Jesus? His door leads to love, compassion, freedom from sin, an inheritance sealed with by the Holy Spirit, life eternal, …. the benefits are many for those that choose to enter into a relationship with Jesus. He is the only one who can redeem us from our sin-filled state of being, Romans 5:8-9 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Meditate upon His goodness and love for you today and His mercy in loving you even when you still in sin- He sent Jesus to redeem you! Praise God!
David saw God as His shepherd and wrote about him in Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. The shepherd provides.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. The shepherd guides.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. The shepherd restores.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; The shepherd protects and comforts.
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me The shepherd knows the future and
in the presence of my enemies; prepares for me.
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me The shepherd is with me eternally.
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Do you regard the Lord God as your shepherd? The shepherd was the one who tended, cared, protected, defended and loved his sheep. God is described as the shepherd of the nation of Israel in Isaiah 40: 10-11 “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,….He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Jesus described himself as the good shepherd in John 10:11 “ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Then in John 10:14-16 “ “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. (Here Jesus was referring to those who were not Jews, the Gentiles.) I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus is the perfect image of the good shepherd. The sheep listen to Him, know Him and He sacrifices Himself for this beloved sheep. What a beautiful pictures of our loving God.
Today as you reflect upon God, consider the 23rd Psalm and Jesus’ words in John. Know that you are loved and cared for by your loving heavenly Father and that your good shepherd, Jesus, will guide, protect, defend, hear, and love you.
Mom and Dad on their 50th Wedding Anniversay
Dad in his 50’s.
Psalm 103:13 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”
Proverbs 23:24 “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.”
Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s approach has caused me to think reflectively about my earthly father, Henry Beecher Chrisp. He was a loving father, but demanded that we behave well, work hard, show respect and not give up easily. He loved to work with his hands building things and to fish. Dad loved the outdoors by cultivating flowers, growing a vegetable garden or simply taking a hike or ride through the forest. He had a deep faith in God. He showed me God, the Father, through his compassion and love for me. Dad was always one to love what we did and took pride in our accomplishments.
I hope your own father reminds you of God, the Father, in some personal way. I felt blessed and fortunate to have a father who loved me and wanted the best for me. I know all earthly fathers are not like that. Fortunately, we all have a perfect Heavenly Father we can look up to and depend upon. He will always be there for us and promises to never leave us or forsake us. Thank you Lord.
Have a blessed Father’s Day filled with good memories or activities with your father.