A Week of Thanksgiving

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Over the years, I’ve learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can worship or I can whine! When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there’s a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.

Are you a grateful person? It ought to be a way of life. But in the reality of our daily comings and goings, it’s much easier to be discontent, to complain, criticize, or even to be bitter.

 


Cultivating a thankful heart will result in speaking thankful words. But it may require a little practice! Why not start the habit by devoting an entire week to practicing thankfulness?

 

Maybe there are some people in your life you’re not thankful for – or circumstances where it’s not easy to be thankful. Make a list of those people or situations. Then, as an expression of faith and obedience say, “Lord, I choose to give You thanks for_______and _______, which you may never give me the privilege of understanding.” By doing this, you’re acknowledging that God is the “Blessed Controller” of everything that touches your life.

A grateful man or woman is a breath of fresh air in a world contaminated by bitterness and discontentment. As you make a lifetime habit of giving thanks, you’ll discover the whole world looks different when you learn to see it through eyes of thankfulness! Want to develop an attitude of gratitude in your own life? Start right now by sharing seven things that you’re thankful for.

Pray this week:
Father in Heaven, help me to focus on You and and be thankful for Your many blessings instead of the problems I face each day.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

 

Doubt Is The Enemy of Imagination

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

James 1:5-7 (NIV)

 

 

Doubt is the enemy of imagination.

 

When you were a kid, you had a great imagination. But the older you get, the more your imagination grows rusty. You stop imagining what things could be, and you just start living the way they are. You get stuck in the status quo, which is Latin for “the mess we’re in.”

Doubt and fear neutralize what God wants to do in your life. It takes courage to imagine. Do you know why most people don’t imagine? Because they’re afraid of failure..

 

Courage is when you do the right thing while you are afraid. Sometimes it’s doing the thing you fear the most! You may wonder, “Should I wait until all my doubts are gone?” But you have to move against your fears. You have to ignore all the insecurity you’re feeling and just go for it.

 

Your imagination is either going to be governed by fear or it’s going to be governed by faith. That’s your choice. If you let your imagination be governed by fear, then you’re going to go around being freaked out, stressed out, and worried all the time. When you allow fear to control your imagination, you live a miserable life.

 

Instead decide that you’re not going to allow fear to dominate. Let your faith dominate. Trust in God. Then you can move forward in faith and allow your imagination to be filled with all kinds of possibilities—because all things are possible with God.

 

Pastor Rick Warren

Source of Joy

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

How often do your circumstances determine the level of your joy? What does that tell you about the source of your joy?

“How can we rejoice at a time like this?”

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you may be tempted to think, “How can we rejoice at a time like this?” It’s true that there is much for us to be grieved about. Nations are at war, people are dying violent deaths, crime is on the rise, natural disasters are causing devastating damage around the world…it goes on and on. But the truth is, the world has always had trouble in it. Jesus warned us that it would (John 16:33). So, how are we supposed to rejoice in the midst of the troubles?

It’s only when our joy is found in the Lord that we can rejoice even in our suffering. In Romans 5:1-5, Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Pray this week:

Lord, my hope is founded on You alone. You are the source of my joy and the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26). I rejoice because my name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But I confess that there are times this world discourages me. In those moments, remind me of the everlasting joy I have in You. Amen.

 

Godlife.com

The Work We Are Called To Do

We start in the Gospel of Luke 23:50: “Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.” 

That was Joseph of Arimathea, a businessman. 

Then we go to Matthew 1:24: 

“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,…” Then verse 25: “And he called His name Jesus.” 

We need to do the work which God has called us to do. We can’t all be great ambassadors for Jesus, but we can do the work God has called us to do.  Joseph of Arimathea was a businessman. He wasn’t a great preacher, he wasn’t a great leader, he was a good, solid, just man. He was the one who went to Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Christ. 

He could have done that at his peril, he could have died for doing that. He took the body of the Master down, he washed His body, embalmed Him in fresh linen which he bought, and spices which he paid for, and put the body of Christ in his own personal tomb, that he had cut out of sheer rock for his own burial, a very expensive operation. He did it gladly because he loved the Lord. He was just an ordinary man doing his part of what God had called him to.

What about Joseph, the carpenter? You don’t hear much about Joseph, do you? Well, I want to tell you that Joseph, the carpenter, was the man who had the privilege of naming that baby that Mary bore. He named the baby, Jesus. He was the one who put bread on the table and he was responsible for clothing and paying for accommodation for Jesus, from the time He was born until the time He was 30 and He went out into public ministry, but you don’t hear much about him, do you? But I want to tell you, he was mightily used by God. He had the privilege of housing Immanuel in his home.

I read this beautiful little saying the other day in a devotional: “He does the most for God’s great world, who does the best in his own little world.” You and I today, lets just get on with the job that God has called us to and He will do the rest. – Angus Buckan 

Walk With Goodness and Mercy

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me. (Psalm 23:6a)

When I was a child, I observed my shadow closely. It changed depending on the position of the sun. It was always fun to see how my shadow made me look tall and disproportionate when the sun was lower in the sky. Whenever there was adequate light, I loved watching how my shadow followed me. It was always with me. Like my shadow, God’s goodness and mercy follow me and is always with me too.

David knew this truth. God’s goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life. Goodness and mercy are two of God’s many attributes. The Hebrew word for mercy in this passage is hesed. Hesed is hard to translate, but it’s used to describe God’s steadfast, loyal love for his people. This is the word God used to proclaim his name before Moses: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exod. 34:6). In Psalm 136, we are told to “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (v. 1). Like David, we can experience God’s constant hesed in our lives. What a beautiful picture of his love!

Do you believe this? God’s goodness and mercy will never leave you. God loves you with his steadfast, loyal love. May you be able to say confidently, as David did, that God’s goodness and mercy are always with you.

As you pray, thank God for his goodness and mercy.

Nancy Boote

Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

For You are great and work wonders! You alone are God. — Psalm 86:10 (AMPC)

To a small child, everything is amazing. But as we grow older, we lose sight of the wonder all around us. I would like to suggest that we recapture the wonder of everyday life. Life is never merely ordinary when we live it with God. He is always doing amazing things, and we simply need to take the time to look for them.

The sun comes up every day, and it is amazingly beautiful, but few of us pay any attention to it. I have four grown children who are all healthy and serving God, and that is amazing. I have been married to Dave for 54 years, and—wow—is that ever amazing! We tend to look for things that are extraordinary, but the truth is that amazing wonder is all around us in the things we see and experience each day. Let’s learn to see the extraordinary in ordinary, everyday life. I can promise you it is there if you will simply look for it.

Prayer of the Day: Father, You are truly amazing, and there is nothing mundane or ordinary about living life with You. Help me see all the extraordinary things that fill my life each day and to appreciate them. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Joyce Meyer

 

3 Things You Can Give God This Year

As we enter into a new year, here is something to remember: When it’s all said and done, we have three things we can offer God—our treasure, our talent, and our time. Each of these is given to us by God, and each of them should be given back in generous portions.

First, there is our treasure. I urge you to commit yourself to give faithfully and generously to the Lord in this coming year. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21 NKJV). 

Whenever we put our money into something, we develop a vested interest in it. It makes sense to us that we would place our treasures where our hearts are. 

But it works the other way too: Where we put our treasures, our heart will follow.  

Do you want your heart to be in the things of God? Then put your treasures in the things of God! Develop a vested interest in God’s kingdom.

The second thing we can give to God is our talent. God has gifted each believer in different ways. Everyone has something to offer for the work of the kingdom. 

Finally, there is our time. Let’s say that one day your bank manager phones and tells you that an anonymous donor who loved you very much had decided to deposit 86,400 cents into your bank account each and every morning. At first, maybe that didn’t seem like a lot. But then you figured out that it was $864 a day. At seven days a week and 52 weeks a year, those cents add up to almost $315,000 each year! But the bank manager added one thing: “The anonymous giver said you must spend all of the money on the day you receive it! No balance will be carried over to the next day. Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use!”

That may sound like fantasy, but here’s the reality: Every morning, Someone who loves you very much deposits into your “bank of time” 86,400 seconds, which represent 1,440 minutes, which of course equals 24 hours each and every day. 

God gives you that much to use each day. Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day. There is no such thing as a 27-hour day. It’s called time, and you can’t escape it. Time is ticking away right now. The Bible tells us to “redeem the time”—to make sacred and wise use of every opportunity.

Offer God your treasure, your talent, and your time. Live this next year as if it were your last, because it could be. Make those minutes count!

Crosswalkdaily.com

Love One Another

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT


Thoughts for Today

The words in today’s scripture give us one of Christ’s final instructions to his disciples. He emphasises the command’s importance by calling it a “new commandment.” He’s saying, “Listen to this. I’m telling you something new.” Jesus is telling us to love one another just as he loves us. How does he love us? Unconditionally. Willing to suffer and die for us even though we don’t deserve it. He loves us no matter what we do. Do we love like that? Do we love unconditionally–or do we expect people to earn our love? Do we love people even when they don’t deserve it? Are we always willing to forgive?

Consider this …
Jesus said if we love one another as he loves us, the world will know we are his disciples. Do they? Does the world look at us and know we belong to Christ? Or do we blend in with everyone else.

How can we show Christian love and brotherly kindness in ways that grab the attention of those outside the faith? We can care for the poor, the elderly, the misfits, and others with no thought of material reward. We can do acts of kindness that are difficult, tedious, unglamorous, and inconvenient. We can care for the sick, make meals, shovel sidewalks, visit the homebound. We can honour one another, encourage one another, and freely forgive one another

If we will love one another the way Jesus loves us, unbelievers will know we belong to him. And when they see his love in us, they will be drawn to him.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for your unconditional love. Help me love others with that same kind of love. Help me love in such a way that others will see you in me . . . and want to know you. In Jesus’ name…

God’s Wisdom

I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2:3-5

This ought to be one of the most encouraging passages to any of us who have tried to be a witness as a Christian. Speaking of the things of Christ and the things of God is easy in a church like this where you are gathered with Christian friends because nobody objects. However, when you try to talk about these things with unbelievers, people who are committed to the philosophy of taking care of number one first and who are out to seek for fame or fortune or whatever it may be, you find it very difficult. You feel much personal weakness and fear and trembling. That is the way Paul felt, and that ought to be an encouragement to us.

The reason he felt like this is because what he was saying to them was not in line with what the world wants to hear about itself. It did not massage the ego of man; it did not make him sound like he was incredibly important. Paul deliberately rejected that approach which is wrong because it does not help man. Instead, he began to talk about this judgment of God upon the thinking, the attitudes, and the wisdom of man, and it left him feeling rejected. In a sense that is what Paul was suffering in Corinth. He came, but there was no great ego-pleasing reception for him, there were no dinners, there was no Academy Award given to him.

He tells us how he felt. He felt fearful, weak, and ineffective. He felt his words were not outstanding; he felt he did not impress anybody by the way he came at this. Have you ever felt that way? I have, many times. I have sat down with somebody to witness to him and I felt as if I had two tongues and they were stumbling over one another. I did not seem to have the right answers to things. I could only talk about how it affected me; I felt like I was doing nothing effective. Yet Paul was not discouraged. In the book of Acts we are told that after he had been in Corinth for a few months the Lord Jesus appeared to him in a vision and strengthened him and said to him, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, … and no man shall attack you to harm you,”(Acts 18:9-10). Paul was afraid he was going to be beaten up as he had been in other cities. He was afraid of being branded as a religious fanatic. He did not like those feelings, nevertheless he faithfully began to talk about Jesus Christ.

Soon there was a second visible result. Paul calls it the demonstration of the Spirit’s power. As Paul in this great sense of weakness told the facts and the story out of the simple earnestness of his heart, God’s spirit began to work and people started coming to Christ. You read the account in Acts. First, the rulers of the synagogue turned to Christ, and then hundreds of the common, ordinary, plain people of Corinth began to become Christians. Soon there was a great spiritual awakening, and before the city of Corinth knew what had happened, a church had been planted in its midst and a ferment was running throughout the city. I believe that this working through our human inadequacy is God’s continuous and perennial way of evangelism.

Does that encourage you? It does me. You may sit down with somebody over a cup or coffee and hardly know how to say it, but you stammer out some word about what Jesus Christ has meant to you, and the earnestness in your face and the love and compassion in your heart comes through in that simple way and somebody is touched who would never have been reached by eloquent oratory or rhetoric. That is what Paul is talking about, the simplicity of the approach. He knew what he was doing because he was simply being honest with them. He was telling them what was true about their life.

Prayer for this week:

Father, thank you that you have come to fill me with the glory of the truth and of life, of hope and of courage, of faith and fulfilment. I pray that, despite fear and trembling, I may be willing to speak for you.

Godlife, Ray Stedman.

Think Positive

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 MSG

Thoughts for Today
Negative thinking can distract us from remembering God’s goodness and from building an intimate relationship with him.

We live in a culture of complaining. We look for ways to get things off our chests. Talk shows are flooded with callers eager to share their displeasure about something. Complaining may seem harmless, sometimes even therapeutic. However, it causes impatience, which reinforces negative attitudes and can lead to a self-focused life.

We all go through difficult times, but God doesn’t want us to focus on the negative. He knows that chronic complaining will never help us and will ultimately harm us. Instead, God calls us to rejoice! To focus our minds on the good, the positive, the praiseworthy. To give thanks in all circumstances and to focus on his love.

Consider this …
Joseph never complained when he was betrayed by his brothers, put into slavery and unjustly imprisoned. The apostle Paul maintained a good attitude when he was beaten and imprisoned. Both men had an intimate relationship with God and wanted more than anything to please him.

The next time you start to complain … take a deep breath and refocus on Jesus.

Prayer
Father, sometimes I get side-tracked and focus on the worst-in me, in others and in my circumstances. Please forgive me and help me to refocus on the best-in me, in others, in my circumstances. And most of all, help me to focus on your love and grace and on Jesus, my Saviour. In His name…

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