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

Giving Thanks – Day 11

The ungrateful see little of His great love; but the grateful feel their heart is a shore and His love is a sea that never stops coming in. – Ann Voscamp

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This is the last day of learning how to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude Within Your Home this Thanksgiving Season—7 simple ways

Part 5 of 5.

  • Journal.
  • Tell Stories.
  • Serve.
  • Create.
  • Sing. 
  • Connect.
  • Remember. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Take some time to remember the history of this holiday. Watch Peanuts The Mayflower Voyage with your kids (you can rent it from the library or pick it up from the store and make it a yearly family tradition). This surprisingly informative movie tells the story of the dangerous and difficult voyage made by the Pilgrims and the challenges they faced when they arrived in America. Talk with your kids about God’s provision for the pilgrims.

 

Remember also how God has and is caring for us. How true are the words of, William Jennings Bryan, “On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” We all have stories. God has brought us through valleys. He’s been with us in joy and sadness. And he will be with us in the days ahead.

Not only will intentional gratitude enrich Thanksgiving, it will help us as we look forward to the season of Christmas, where the desire for stuff can run high. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to battle this cultural trend by cultivating thankful hearts in our families now, hearts of profound and simply joy?

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~ W.J. Cameron

Let us be actively thankful this Thanksgiving, remembering how we’ve been loved. Pick one or two of the above suggestions you think would bless your family and lean into the loveliness of this season.

Giving Thanks – Day 6

“A grateful heart is one that finds the countless blessings of God in the seemingly mundane everyday life.”

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For the next few days, learn how to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude Within Your Home this Thanksgiving Season—7 simple ways

Part 2 of 5.

  1. Journal.
  2. Tell Stories. Share the story of Pastor Martin Rinkart with your family.

In 1636 the Thirty Years’ War was raging. Death, disease, and economic collapse enveloped Europe in a fog of terror. One German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, an average of fifteen people daily! Yet under the shadow of death and amidst a crucible of chaos, Rinkart penned this beautiful table grace for his children:

 Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices
Who wondrous things had done
In whom His world rejoices.

Who, from our mother’s arms
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And
still is ours today.

Talk about this with your family. Was this man in denial? Out of touch? Hardly. Rinkart was a person of audacious faith. He knew thanksgiving flows from love of God, not outward circumstance. Share this story and sing the table grace he wrote for his children.

Tomorrow, part 3.

 

Giving Thanks – Day 5

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart. – Henry Clay

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For the next few days, learn how to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude Within Your Home this Thanksgiving Season—7 simple ways

Part 1 of 5.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Thanksgiving is too wonderful a holiday to let slip by without some intentional, active gratitude. But unless we’re deliberate, that’s exactly what will happen. Already busy lives seem to be compounded this time of year, right? By the time Thanksgiving Day arrives, we can be so emotionally and physically tired from all the prep or travel that the actual “giving thanks” gets lost.

But the Christian heart is a heart of gratitude. And to the extent that we express gratitude, we reflect the heart of our Savior and brother, Jesus Christ. God’s word implores us,

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100).

We were made to worship and enjoy the triune God who has set his love upon us and lavished us with good gifts. Yet where or how do we begin this journey into the very heart of Christ? Here are some thoughts to assist you in cultivating a thankful spirit within your family this season!

  1. Journal. In the beginning of November or a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving Day, place a journal on your kitchen counter (or a highly trafficked area) or attach a paper to your refrigerator. At the top of the page you can write or print, I’m thankful for… Then encourage your family to fill out the journal as things come to mind during this season. Include anything and everything that comes to mind from the simple pleasures of life, I’m thankful for hot coffee! To the profound, I’m thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. Have the thankful person be sure to include his or her name next to the line of gratitude. Tell little ones who cannot write to simply share with someone in your home who can record it for him/her. On Thanksgiving Day, select a person to read the list or pass it around the table giving each person a chance to read.

Tomorrow, part 2.

Serving

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – Colossians 3:23-24

Serving

At the heart of the Civil War was a large portion of free people who concluded that slavery shouldn’t be. Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain was one of those men. In the movie Gettysburg he says, ‘This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history, you’ll see men fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power, because a king leads them, or just because they like killing. But we are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free.’

Throughout history, God has been calling men and women to give of themselves so others can be free. Are you willing to make sacrifices for others?

Steve Arterburn

‘For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice ‘ no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.’ – John Burroughs (1837-1921)

How Can I Ever Be Forgiven?

How Can I Ever Be Forgiven?

She had an abusive husband then divorced and had an abortion. Marie is anguished and does not know how to find God’s grace. Dr. Henry Cloud is with me to help Marie surrender and surmount the obstacles she has in her heart. Watch the episode!

Listen Carefully To God

Listen Carefully to God

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

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Sometimes God speaks loudly and clearly. More often, He speaks in a quiet voice’and if you are wise, you will be listening carefully when He does. To do so, you must carve out quiet moments each day to study His Word and sense His direction. And you can be sure that every time you listen to God, you receive a lesson in character-building.

Can you quiet yourself long enough to listen to your conscience? Are you attuned to the subtle guidance of your intuition? Are you willing to pray sincerely and then to wait quietly for God’s response? Hopefully so, because the more carefully you listen to your Creator, the more He will work in you and through you.

Usually God refrains from sending His messages on stone tablets or city billboards. More often, He communicates in subtler ways. If you sincerely desire to hear His voice (and strengthen your character), you must listen carefully, and you must do so in the silent corners of your quiet, willing heart.

In the soul-searching of our lives, we are to stay quiet so we can hear Him say all that He wants to say to us in our hearts. Charles Swindoll

We cannot experience the fullness of Christ if we do all the expressing. We must allow God to express His love, will, and truth to us. Gary Smalley

When we come to Jesus stripped of pretensions, with a needy spirit, ready to listen, He meets us at the point of need. Catherine Marshall

The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God. John 8:47 HCSB

 

The “Nubbies”

The “Nubbies”

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

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A psychologist friend recently told me about Cliff—a client he described as “a believer after God’s own heart.” After years of service to The Lord, Cliff’s wife developed aggressive cancer.  Many people joined Cliff in prayer for his wife, but she declined rapidly and died.  Through it all, Cliff didn’t break his determined gaze upon Christ.  Instead of allowing the tragedy to shake his faith, he allowed his experience of pain, suffering, confusion, and grief to push him deeper into the arms of the living God.

Cliff knew two things, and held to them tenaciously.  The first was that God was good.  He didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding his wife’s sickness, or why she had to suffer and die.  But he knew a reason resided with God, and that he would come to understand in the light of eternity.  The second thing Cliff held to was his certainty that God loved him-in spite of everything, no matter what, and through it all.

When you’re in severe pain or distress, life becomes pretty simple. You’re in survival mode, and you have neither the heart nor the strength to spread your emotional energy around.  As Chuck Swindoll might say, “Life gets boiled down to the nubbies.”

When pain or distress boils your life down to the “nubbies,” do what Cliff did.  Keep it simple.  Grab hold of what you know is true about the living God, and hold on like a pit bull.

The nearer the dawn the darker the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Bono Living out Romans 10:9

Is Bono Living out Romans 10:9?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

A much loved musician and celebrity and a well known philanthropist makes a public declaration about his faith. Watch this cool new video from New Life TV.

Find out more about New Life TV here

Real Transformation

Real Transformation

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB

realtransformation.newlifeHave you invited God’s Son to reign over your heart and your life? If so, think for a moment about the “old” you, the person you were before you invited Christ into your heart. Now, think about the “new” you, the person you have become since then. Is there a difference between the “old” you and the “new and improved” version? There should be! And that difference should be noticeable not only to you but also to others.

Warren Wiersbe observed, “The greatest miracle of all is the transformation of a lost sinner into a child of God.” And Oswald Chambers noted, “If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as a human life trying to be godly.”

When you invited Christ to reign over your heart, you became a new creation through Him. This day offers yet another opportunity to behave yourself like that new creation by serving your Creator and strengthening your character. When you do, God will guide your steps and bless your endeavors today and forever.

Today, remember this: a true conversion experience results in a life transformed by Christ and a commitment to following in His footsteps.
No man is ever the same after God has laid His hand upon him. - A. W. Tozer   

Being born again is God’s solution to our need for love and life and light. - Anne Graham Lotz

The transforming love of God has repositioned me for eternity. I am now a new man, forgiven, basking in the warm love of our living God, trusting His promises and provision, and enjoying life to the fullest. – Bill Bright

What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His. - Charles Swindoll

When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine. - E. Stanley Jones