Giving God Praise and Thanks

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I knelt before God this morning and said: “Holy Father, I give you praise and thanks this day. I praise you for who you are, and I thank you for all you have done.” Immediately God stopped me and said, “You say the same words every morning. Why?” And His question gave me pause. “I praise you for who you are, Lord because I need to remember who you are. I thank you for what you’ve done because I need to remember all that you have done for me.”

I need to remember that He is the Creator – that He spoke and the universe obeyed. I need to remember that He is Sovereign. I need to remember that He is righteous and mighty and perfect. I need to remember that He is the God of the impossible – that He parts raging seas and brings down strong walls and makes blind men see. I need to remember that He brings life out of death and that His word is powerful. And I need to never ever forget that He is holy love.

I need to remember that when my cabinets were bare, He sent food to my door. I need to remember that when my car broke down, He sent funds to pay for a new transmission. I need to remember that when I looked for months for a job with no success, He opened the door to the best job I’ve ever had. I need to remember that when I was very sick, He healed me. When I was lost, He found me. When I was lonely, He adopted me. When I was in the pit of despair, He brought me out. And I need to never ever forget that He sent His Son to die for my sins and give me life.

I sensed a smile from my Father. “Just checking to see if you were paying attention child. Please continue on.”

Guest Blogging Today

I am guest blogging today on the website “All Mom Does.”  Check out my Thanksgiving devotional, “Giving Thanks in the Desert.”

https://www.allmomdoes.com/2018/11/21/giving-thanks-in-the-desert/

 

Advent 2015 – Day 16 – The ABC’s of JOY

adventcandlesweek3“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).

What great thing has God done for you?  Have you thought about His “showers of blessings” lately?  When my heart becomes a little bit sour or I am sad and weary, I sit down with paper and pencil and go through my ABC’s.

A – God led us to a wonderful Apartment in our new hometown.

B – The Bible – God’s Holy Word and my passion and calling.

CCoffee (do I hear an Amen?).  And Christ my Savior. And our new church home.

DDonald, my sweet husband of 30 years.

EEndurance – especially when it’s finals week.

F – Many, many friends – one of the greatest treasures here on earth!

GGrace from God.

I won’t go through the whole alphabet, but I think you get my point.  One sure way to find joy when you are joyless is to “count your many blessings,”  because joy and gratitude are two sides of the same coin.

Perhaps you have endured an extremely difficult season of heartache, grief, disappointment, or bad news.  These certainly make it difficult to be thankful and joyful.  Still I have no doubt that somewhere between A and Z there are blessings you can grab onto to restore a measure of joy to your heart.

The Bible continually calls us to remember and rejoice in God our Savior.  If you woke up this morning, you already have at least one reason to be thankful and joyful.  I invite you today to go back to school and practice your ABC’s.  Reflect on the great things that God has done for you and be filled with JOY!

Giving Joyful Thanks

“Joyfully giving thanks to the Father…”  Colossians 1:12

We are looking at JOY this week in the Advent season, and the many sources of joy that God has given to us.  In our culture, depression and anxiety seem to be the most significant issue of the day.  We look around our world, even around our own community, and find so much pain, anger, sadness and despair.  Of course there are medical causes for depression, but how much is a reflection of the darkness of this world.

What is one of the best ways to experience joy?  Give thanks!  A grateful heart is a joyful heart, and the more we focus on the blessings of God, the greater our joy grows.  An “attitude of gratitude” lifts our hearts to see how good our gracious our God is.

What can we joyfully give thanks for?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.  I am joyfully grateful for the love of God that enabled Him to sacrifice His beloved Son that I can have eternal life.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” Luke 24:5.  I am joyfully grateful for the empty tomb, and a living Savior who has promised that I will live forever with Him.

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12.  I am joyfully grateful for the light of Jesus Christ in this dark world, and for His light that shines in my heart when darkness and fear and discouragement take hold of me.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…and I lay down my life the sheep.” John 10:14-15. I am joyfully grateful for my Shepherd who leads this not-so-bright sheep to good pasture and living water and places to rest, who protects me, finds me when I wander, and died that I might live.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” 2 Peter 1:3. I am joyfully grateful that God has given me His Word and His Spirit to live a godly and fruitful life in Him.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6. I am joyfully grateful that God will never, ever give up on me, but will continue to mold me and shape me until He sees the reflection of His Son in me.

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth” John 17:17.  I am joyfully grateful for the Word of God, which is completely and fully truth.  I am grateful for its power to convict me of my sins, to reveal the truth of the Gospel of Christ to me, and to sanctify and transform me into His child.

I am joyfully grateful for God’s Holy Spirit, for His redemption, grace, mercy, sovereignty, providence, provision, protection, kindness, promise…there is no end to the list of blessings that God pours out on those who love Him – and even those who reject Him.

Take some time today to express your joyful thanks to God who has been so good to you.

Holy Father, there is no end to the blessings You have given to me.  Even if I start today, I could never express in a thousand years my gratitude for all you have done for me.  I’m so glad that I will have all eternity to bow before You in joyful thanks and praise.  Amen.

Chosen for Thanksgiving

“With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the Lord, ‘for His love endures forever.’” 1 Chronicles 16:41

Today is Thanksgiving – and, prompted by the Spirit of God, I began to research the word “thank” in Scripture.  There are more than 130 verses in the Bible that speak of thanks, thanksgiving, thankfulness, etc.  Jesus often spoke to His Father saying “I give thanks…” Paul’s letters are filled with thanks, and I am convinced that his grateful heart was one of the biggest contributors to his joyfulness in spite of his circumstances.  And Paul had some mighty unpleasant, difficult, life-threatening circumstances.  But I believe Paul could be grateful because he knew who he was, and more importantly, he knew whose he was.

At least twice in his letters, Paul identified himself as “called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), and “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1).  The word “called,” in its root meaning is “chosen.”  Paul knew that he had been chosen, and the One who chose him was Christ Jesus.  Did you know that you are also “chosen”?  I discovered at least seven verses in the New Testament that express exactly that.  My favorite is 1 Peter 2:9 which says: “Buy you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light” (emphasis added).  You and I are also chosen and called by the same Savior who called Paul.  We have been chosen to be God’s unique and special people – not by anything was are or have or do – but only by the mercy and grace of Him who chose us.

I am especially drawn today to our key verse – 1 Chronicles 16:14.  Let me set the scene for you.  The Ark of the Covenant, the one element of the Tabernacle that was God’s special dwelling place, had been captured by Israel’s enemy, the Philistines.  David set out to bring the Ark home, and the people and their king were ecstatic with joy and gratitude. David, the Psalmist and musician, crafted a beautiful Psalm of Thanks, which I encourage you to read in 1 Chronicles 16.  They celebrated with sacrifices and offering and much joyful thanks.  Now look again at our key verse.  Do you see that there were specific priests who were “chosen…to give thanks to the Lord”?  Their sole responsibility was to express gratitude to the Lord who was again dwelling among His people.  They led the Israelites in songs and exclamations of thanks.

You and I are chosen by God to be His royal priests.  We are chosen by the Lord to give thanks.  We have been given the special calling of leading our families, churches, communities and nation in gratitude to the Lord, the God who created us, sustains us, provides for us, and, most importantly of all, the One who saved and redeemed us.  We are God’s priests in this age, chosen to be thankful people.   Oh, hear the words of John in Revelation 17:14: “But the Lamb will overcome them because He is LORD of lords and KING of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.” Now that’s something to be thankful for!

 Holy Father, You have called me out of darkness and chosen me to be your royal priest.  Thank you for your wonderful mercy and grace.  You are the giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17), and I am forever grateful.  Amen.