Giving Thanks – Day 24

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.  Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.’”   –   Isaiah 12:3-5

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The Bible has a lot to say to us about being thankful. Here are nine reasons you can give thanks today.

1. God is deserving of our thanks. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 (This verse can be found throughout the scriptures.)

2. Thankfulness is a great witness. Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8

3. In the midst of your struggles and pain, God is with you. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7

4. Give thanks because God is for you’He remains faithful even when you falter. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. (found four times in Psalm 107).

5. It’s a command. And he [Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

6. Thanksgiving shows that you know to whom you belong and builds character. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Th 5:18

7. Give thanks because God uses broken vessels like us to do his work.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14

8. Give thanks because you have a Savior.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

9. Give thanks because not only has your debt been paid, you can now live with hope, love, and faith. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Also See:
A Thankful Heart

Giving Thanks – Day 13

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! – Henry Ward Beecher

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Thanksgiving goes deep into our national heritage. In fact, the newly formed United States first recognized Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the administration of our country’s first president: George Washington. These are words in which President Washington introduced it:

Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;

[Therefore], both the houses of Congress have, requested me, to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, Now, therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

But men, the call to give thanks goes even deeper into our identity and responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ. Giving thanks is an essential aspect of worship; and worship is the very reason for our existence. Therefore, men, take the time to reflect on and respond to this question: what has God done in your life that calls for thanksgiving today?

Steve Arterburn

Persevere

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. – James 1:2-3

Joy

It doesn’t take a genius to know that life is difficult. And it’s difficult in different ways for different people. Sometimes we bring difficulty upon ourselves and sometimes it’s brought upon us from other sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, old or young, man or woman. Every which way you look at it, we know that life is difficult.

But how we handle those difficulties is what matters.

The Bible tells us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that we should rejoice when we face trials of all kinds. If Godly character is something to be desired, then we should welcome difficulty.

Sounds crazy, I know.

Try this: wake up each day asking God to carry you through that day’s rough moments. He promised to wipe our tears away, not prevent them.

So, weep when the tears come, but don’t give up.

Steve Arterburn

Lord, I shall be very busy this day. I may forget thee, but do not thou forget me.‘ – Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652)

Accepting Ownership of Our Past

Much is required from those to whom much is given. Luke 12:48b

Accepting Ownership of our Past

A new life in Christ doesn’t excuse past obligations or erase the ongoing consequences of past sins. When the apostle Paul was in prison he led a runaway slave named Onesimus to Christ. But then Paul sent him back to his master—even though Onesimus faced a possible death penalty for his offense! Paul sent a letter back with the fugitive saying that if Onesimus had caused any harm or stolen anything that Paul would pay for it. Paul recognized that even though Onesimus was now a Christian, and forgiven of his sins, he needed to address the wrongs he’s committed in the past.

Likewise, before you can move ahead, you must face the unfinished business of your past. This may include facing up to some cowardly behavior, crooked schemes, or quick-fix solutions to difficult problems that just didn’t work. While you can be certain that God will meet you where you are, He calls you to take responsibility for whatever sins may have brought you to whatever circumstances you’re presently in. Once you accept ownership of your past, God will help you move ahead. But He’ll do it His way, not yours.”

Nobody ever did, or ever will escape the consequences of his choices. - Alfred A. Montapert

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up. – John C.Maxwell

Controlling Your Emotions

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you
Proverbs 4:6

Who is in charge of your emotions? Is it you, or have you formed the unfortunate habit of letting other people—or stressful situations—determine the quality of your thoughts and the direction of your day? If you’re wise—and if you’d like to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones—you’ll learn to control your emotions before your emotions control you.

Wisdom

Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only far more fickle. So we must learn to live by faith, not by the ups and downs of our own emotional roller coasters.

Sometime during this day, you will probably be gripped by a strong negative feeling. Distrust it. Rein it in. Test it. And turn it over to God. Your emotions will inevitably change; God will not. So trust Him completely as you watch those negative feelings slowly evaporate into thin air—which, of course, they will.

I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not. 
Jim Elliot

Our feelings do not affect God’s facts. They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the eternal things that we do most truly believe. We may not see the shining of the promises—but they still shine! His strength is not for one moment less because of our human weakness. 
Amy Carmichael

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are my strength and my refuge. As I journey through this day, I will encounter events that cause me emotional distress. Lord, when I am troubled, let me turn to You. Keep me steady, Lord, and in those difficult moments, renew a right spirit inside my heart. Amen

Facing the Sadness

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 7:10

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Most of us falter at the prospect of making an honest personal inventory. The rationalizations and excuses abound for avoiding this step. The bottom line is this: we know that there is an enormous amount of sadness awaiting us. And we fear the pain that facing the sadness will bring.

The Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon had lost touch with God. During the exile, they hadn’t been taught His laws; so naturally, they hadn’t practiced them either. After rebuilding the city walls and the temple, the priests gathered the people together to read the Book of the Law. The people were overwhelmed with grief and began sobbing, because their lives in no way measured up. The priests said to them,”Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God. . . .Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared . . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:9-10).

sadness

That day marked the beginning of Sukkotor the Festival of Tabernacles, a required Jewish feast which celebrated their escape from bondage in Egypt and God’s care for them while they wandered in the wilderness.

When we set out to face the pain and sadness of making a moral inventory, we will need the “joy of the Lord” to give us strength. This joy comes from recognizing, even celebrating, God’s ability to bring us out of bondage and to care for us as we pass through the sadness toward a new way of life.

Our joy in the Lord helps us to face the sadness within ourselves.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, as I lay down my sadness and face the things that have hurt my heart, I do so in your strength, not my own. Thank you for the opportunity to take stock of my life. I repent of my sin, Lord and I pray that as I walk towards a new life in you, I will find my joy in you. Amen.

What kind of Treasure Hunter are You?

What kind of Treasure Hunter are You?  

If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. – John 15:19 MSG

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It’s difficult to race headlong after material possessions and focus on building character at the same time. But, society encourages us to chase a long string of material possessions while paying precious little attention to the accumulation of spiritual rewards.

All of mankind is engaged in a colossal, worldwide treasure hunt. Some people seek treasure from earthly sources, treasures such as material wealth or public acclaim; others seek God’s treasures by making Him the cornerstone of their lives.

What kind of treasure hunter are you? Are you so caught up in the demands of everyday living that you sometimes allow the search for worldly treasures to become your primary focus? If so, it’s time to reorganize your daily to-do list by placing God in His rightful place: first place.

The world’s treasures are difficult to find and difficult to keep; God’s treasures are ever-present and everlasting. Which treasures, then, will you claim as your own?

Because the world is deceptive, it is dangerous. The world can even deceive God’s own people and lead them into trouble. ~ Warren Wiersbe 

Every Christian is a contradiction to this old world. He crosses it at every point. He goes against the grain from beginning to end. From the day that he is born again until the day that he goes on to be with the Lord, he must stand against the current of a world always going the other way. ~ Vance Havner 

Give me Your grace, good Lord, to count the world as nothing; to set my mind firmly on You and not to hang on the blasting words of men’s mouths. ~ St. Thomas More 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you that you are enough for me. I thank you that there is no earthly treasure or fame that is more worthy of my affections and heart. Help me to make my relationship with you more important than being popular with my peers. Amen.

 

 

God Can Handle It

God Can Handle It

I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV

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It’s a promise that is made over and over again in the Bible: Whatever “it” is, God can handle it.

Life isn’t always easy. Far from it! Sometimes, life can be very, very difficult, indeed. But even when the storm clouds gather overhead, even during our most stressful moments, we’re protected by a loving Heavenly Father.

When we’re worried, God can reassure us; when we’re sad, God can comfort us. When our hearts are broken, God is not just near; He is here. So we must lift our thoughts and prayers to Him. When we do, He will answer our prayers. Why? Because He is our shepherd, and He has promised to protect us now and forever.

God is God whether we recognize it or not. Nothing about that can change, except us. ~Lisa Whelchel

Either we are adrift in chaos or we are individuals, created, loved, upheld and placed purposefully, exactly where we are. Can you believe that? Can you trust God for that? ~Elisabeth Elliot

God is in control, and therefore in everything I can give thanks, not because of the situation, but because of the One who directs and rules over it. ~Kay Arthur

The choice for me is to either look at all things I have lost or the things I have. To live in fear or to live in hope. Hope comes from knowing I have a sovereign, loving God who is in every event in my life.   ~Lisa Beamer

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You never leave or forsake me. You are always with me, protecting me and encouraging me. Whatever this day may bring, I thank You for Your love and Your strength. Let me lean upon You, Father, this day and forever. Amen

Cheerfulness 101

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15 NCV

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Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.   ~St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.    ~Marie T. Freeman

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen

Neighbors in Need

Neighbors in Need

Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That’s exactly what Jesus did. - Romans 15:2-3 MSG

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Sometimes, it’s not you, but instead your neighbors, who are experiencing stress. And, of course, we know that we’re instructed to love our neighbors, and yet there’s so little time . . . and we’re so busy. No matter. As Christians, we are commanded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves.

This very day, you will encounter someone who needs a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a helping hand, or a heartfelt prayer. And, if you don’t reach out to your friend, who will? If you don’t take the time to understand the needs of your neighbors, who will? If you don’t love your brothers and sisters, who will? So, today, look for a neighbor in need . . . and then do something to help. Father’s orders.

Make it a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say: “I have made one human being at least a little wiser, or a little happier, or at least a little better this day.” ~Charles Kingsley

Encouraging others means helping people, looking for the best in them, and trying to bring out their positive qualities.   ~John Maxwell

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. ~John Wesley

 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, help me be a Good Samaritan to the people You place along my path, today and every day. Amen