Today’s focus for thankfulness 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. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 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.
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.
It could be said that attitude and actions are an essential part of our walk of faith. Our attitude and actions towards God and our fellow man show the true nature of our faith. In today’s verses, Jonah has had a readjustment of his attitude towards God and it has changed his future course in life.
Jonah realized placing his faith in worthless things, including his own pursuits and desires, was futile. The only hope he had was in the Lord who always brings salvation. He was now willing to shout and proclaim with a thankful voice that God is the Lord. What about you? Are you like Jonah experiencing an attitude adjustment caused by circumstances of your own making? Are you running from God or trying to put up barriers to protect yourself? Jonah turned back to God with thankful heart.
God told Jonah to go to pagan Nineveh and preach a message of repentance. Jonah did not want to go so he decided to run. He caught a ship leaving port and got onboard. They were stuck by a terrible storm and Jonah revealed to the crew he was running away from God and told them to toss him overboard. In the depths to the sea, he was swallowed by a big fish. After 3 days in the belly of the big fish, he prayed to God with a repentant heart. The circumstances reshaped his thinking and attitudes and lead him to pray as he realized it was wrong to run and to not do what the God he believed in asked him to do. His willful attitude was changed. Jonah 2:8-9 “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
God showed his grace and mercy to Jonah by saving him. He deserved to be lost at sea, BUT GOD saved him. Do you see God’s grace in your life today? Jonah responded with thanksgiving and praise. Will you praise Him with a thankful heart today for how God has rescued you? Take heart from Ephesians 2:5 “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” and Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”
Thank you Jesus for saving me and changing the course of my life. Will you join me in thanksgiving and praise for God changing the course of your life?
1 Peter 1:23-25 has a powerful message for us today. Peter was writing in this chapter about our Living Hope, which is Jesus, and he calls us in faith to live holy lives. He concludes his message with these powerful words. “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
God promises that my new imperishable life in Christ comes from a living, eternal savior. God also promises that His Word will never fade or fail but will stand forever, our eternal truth. We live in a world that is constantly changing in complexity and variability. Nothing is absolute in our world. But God is saying that His Word is eternal and the truths we find there are absolutely true, unchanging for all eternity. What a comfort that brings to our volatile lives. God and His Word are absolute truths we can count on now and forever. That is indeed good news!
Take heart from these words and their truths. Let the absolute truth of God’s Word and His eternal promises create in you a spirit of true thanksgiving today. Good news brings smiles, hope and thanksgiving that come from knowing God and trusting in His Word.
Do you know your friend’s favorite verse? It would be one they mention often. One of the verses in today’s passage is my friend’s favorite and I can’t hear it without thinking of her and the truth contained in the verse. Just as the verses say all believers were given to Jesus by God the Father, her love of this verse is a gift to me.
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” There are so many truths in this passage about Jesus that bring hope and assurance to all who follow Him. I have underlined my friend’s favorite verses. The truth contained in them is amazing. Once we belong to Jesus no one or nothing can take us away from Him. God the Father will not allow it. We are His eternally and can live with that assurance each day of our life. That creates in me a sense of thankfulness, peace, hope and reassurance that God in sovereign, all powerful and is greater than anything or anyone or any circumstance I can ever face.
Let the hope and peace of this truth fill you with thankfulness today. God is worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving.
Knowing that God hears me when I call out to Him gives me great assurance in this troubled world, but knowing I’m forgiven gives me peace and hope. Today’s verse is Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Scripture tells us that when God forgives He does it completely and puts it out of His sight (Micah 7:19 into the depths of the sea, Isaiah 38:17 behind His back) and will not remember or hold them against us ever again (Jeremiah 31:34, Hebrews 8:12, 10:17)
Why is this important? God is holy and cannot look upon, tolerate or live with sin. Man is born with a sin nature and the only remedy for cleaning us up is to be covered in Christ’s righteous blood through faith in His atoning work on the cross and resurrection. As this verse states, God provided Jesus to atone for our sin for His sake so He could look upon us, and we could have restored fellowship with Holy God. Knowing that God completely forgives me when I seek His forgiveness is so reassuring. Knowing that He forgives and will not hold my sins against me ever again gives me peace of mind. To experience that assurance and peace, I need to regularly confess my sins and seek communion with God through His Word and in prayer. He desires that I know and love Him just as He knows and loves me.
Let the truth of Isaiah 43:25 speak to you today. Let God’s promise of forgiveness give you hope and create in you a greater thankfulness towards your loving, merciful God.
Stand on His promise of forgiveness with thanksgiving in your heart.
This month I will be endeavoring to focus on verses that give us spiritual truths about God that lead us toward a greater sense of thankfulness. It is my prayer that through greater thankfulness we will see how God meets our every need, even or especially during this time of pandemic and social unrest. God has brought to my mind new verses I discovered last year in a study of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 33:2-3 in the Amplified translation 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’
This is a truth from God’s Word that I can cling to as I seek to live for Him. God promises to reveal things to me from His Word, through my experiences, through prayer and through other believers. He wants me to understand who He is so I can hold onto His promises and truths more tightly. He wants me to trust and rely upon Him to guide me each day. This truth about God and how He desires for me to know Him, creates in me a great sense of Thankfulness. Who am I that the God of the universe would desire to know me? What a privilege it is to know God, even the little bit I know and feel. Through His indwelling Spirit, I can see God more clearly and understand better what He has for me to do as I walk with Him.
May this truth from Jeremiah 33:3 cause you to call upon Him in prayer and open His Word so He can speak to you personally. Let this create in you a spirit of thanksgiving, assurance, hope and love for God as you open your heart to Him.
Paul begins his letter to the Corinthian believers with a word of thanks. What are your first words when someone asks you about a friend? Are they words of praise and thanksgiving for that person’s friendship or quality of character? Here are Paul’s words of praise for his friends in the Corinthian church: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ” I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
What stood out to me in this passage is Paul’s thankfulness to Jesus for giving these people to him as believing friends who emulated Jesus in speech and wisdom. They had spiritual gifts and used them to build up the body of believers. They lived with anticipation for the return of Christ and were sustained by their faith. Think about a friend you have in Christ. What qualities would you lift up to Jesus in praise about their faith, love and actions towards others? As you think about them, pray that God will use them to influence others as they have influenced you. Pray that they would continue to stand firm in faith and be the Light of Jesus to those around them. Pray for yourself too, that you too will be a friend that shows a zeal and passion for Christ that is evident to all those around you. Think about Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:15-16 “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
May our lives reflect Jesus and shine for all to see.
As this pandemic has endured longer than I ever imagined possible back in late February and March, I have been in need of words of encouragement. I focused on the book of Philippians as Paul focused on joy in that letter. Other areas where I am in need of encouragement are hope, assurance, fellowship, diligence in prayer, strength from the Word and peace. As I reflect upon each of these, I am stuck by how each will come to me more readily if I develop and mature my attitude towards thankfulness. In future blogs I will delve into these topics as they relate to thankfulness and see what encouragement God has for me and hopefully you from His Word.
Each day during November, I will seek to leave you with a verse or verses about thankfulness and how it brings us all the things we need. Today I will leave you with the verse from 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. This is my go to verse this year as I face the difficulties of isolation, fear, helplessness, and even regret. Knowing that whatever may come, God has my back and has enough grace to cover me. That gives me hope and I am thankful for His wonderful care and love. Knowing that God has this and that in my weakness, He can be made strong helps me to develop an attitude of thankfulness for His complete control and sovereignty!
May you be lifted up today and let’s look forward to a November filled with Thankfulness and power, through the name of Jesus.
Paul has hit the rewind button in Philippians 3:1-7. He wants us to keep in mind the joy we have in the Lord! He wants us to rejoice and revel in the thoughts we have because of Christ and the state of being we have in Christ. Does that describe you and you thoughts today? Are you rejoicing in spite of opposition or hard circumstances? Paul wanted the Philippian Christians rejoicing in their faith and not putting obligations on each other or placing value/trust in their worldly achievements. Paul recalls his own worldly accomplishments and knows that he could boast but he reminds them that even all those things pale in comparison to what he has in Christ, that he says is cause for rejoicing in the Lord.
Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Paul concludes in verse 7 with his own realization that all our worldly ‘things’ and accomplishments are worthless when compared to what we have in Christ. Nothing compares to life with Him now and in the future, our heavenly home, our salvation, our redemption from eternal punishment for our sins, our growing and changing character that reflects God’s indwelling Holy Spirit….. These are priceless treasures we possess in Christ and are reasons to rejoice in the Lord!
Have a blessed day- rejoicing and giving thanks for what Christ has done and will do within you.