Forever Thankfulness

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18

Can you imagine what would happen in your life if you created a habit of thankfulness? You would be more open to God’s direction. You would stop letting anger, worry and fear derail your life. You would be more optimistic and open to opportunities to move through your situations instead of getting stuck in them.

Thankfulness is a spiritual discipline that will change everything. But more than that, giving thanks in all our circumstances is God’s will for your life! Today begin to develop the habit of thankfulness.

Father how often I react to life with negativity and discouragement. I know that you want me to give thanks in all things but so often I fail. Today, help me Lord build the habit of praise and thankfulness so my life will glorify you. AMEN.

Reflection: I have gratitude for EVERYTHING that has ever occurred to bring me to this moment. I give thanks for the joys and the sufferings, the moments of peace and the flashes of anger. Today let us be thankful for the manifold blessings of this life.

Lord I am grateful for you today.

Thank you so much for reading. Your presence here is greatly appreciated.

Until next time…Love and blessings.♥♥♥

Does God Feel at Home in Your Heart?

They neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:21 NIV).

Gratitude is the most effective way to deepen your consciousness to the fact that you are the object of God’s affection and love. Giving thanks awakens your senses to see God, to hear God, to taste and see that He is good. When you feel far from God, praise will bring you back. When you have strayed from acknowledging God’s presence, when you have forgotten in him we live and move and have our being, praise and gratitude will be the ramp to get you back on the right road.

I shudder at the words of Romans chapter one. “They neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). They did not glorify Him. They did not give thanks to Him. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…” (Romans 1:24). The light of their eyes went dark.

Praise keeps you alert to the glimpses of glory all around. The more you glorify God with praise and thanksgiving, the more your eyes will be opened to the deep well of His love that is but a bowshot away (Genesis 21:19). God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 KJV). He feels right at home in a heart that praises Him. He enjoys being there!

I believe gratitude grows with practice. When you thank God, regardless of your feelings, it primes the pump of your heart until gratitude begins to flow freely.

If this is a language you have not spoken often, you can become fluent…with practice. Paul wrote, “I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything” (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT). “I have learned.”

As with any foreign language we attempt to learn, the more we use it, the more fluent we become. Is it too strong to say that the language of gratitude is a “foreign” tongue? I don’t think so. We come into the world screaming with our very first breath, “It’s all about me and my needs!” With tightly closed fists and squeezed shut eyes we demand attention. A newborn babe can think of nothing more than his wants and his needs: feed me, hold me, change me, nurse me…and do it right now! I would like to think we eventually grow out of that infantile attitude, but I’m sorry to say, many never do.

But we don’t have to live like self-centered, self-absorbed ingrates. We can learn God’s love language of gratitude that opens our eyes and unfurls the fingers. We can speak words of gratitude that remove the blinders to see glimpses of His glory every day. As we discover and practice the beautiful language of gratitude, our native tongue of self-focused dissatisfaction begins to fade.

And we practice. And we practice. And we practice.

Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You have done and continue to do in my life. Forgive me for not being more grateful. Forgive me for grumbling and complaining even about the smallest details of life. Help me to speak praise and gratitude fluently and proficiently.

Being thankful isn’t simply about being thankful to God. It is about a lifestyle of gratitude. Make it a point to tell someone “Thank you” today.

Choose Praise

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

Scripture tells us to give God praise.

Not only when we feel like it.

Not only when we don’t feel like it.

Not only when we want to give up.

Not only when we feel like we can conquer the world.

We are to praise God in all circumstances. Do you know what the word “all” literally means? It means all. Seriously. No matter what crisis we find ourselves facing, we are to choose to give God praise. No matter how dark or painful the storm may be, we are to choose to give God praise.

Praise is not an emotion. It is a choice.

Thanksgiving is not a feeling. It is a choice.

We are not necessarily praising God for the trial or the crisis or the storm. We are choosing to give God praise and thanks because of who He is … despite the painful circumstance we are facing.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts; whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him (Psalm 68:4).

Praise provides a highway upon which the Father conveys deliverance and blessing.

Praise invites God to take up residence in the midst of our messy lives.

Praise becomes a free-flowing conduit of God’s very presence and power at work in us.

Don’t miss the life changing truth that we can enthrone God in every situation of our lives by giving Him praise. Praise converts our everyday surroundings into His dwelling place. It is from that throne of praise that God dispenses victory and peace and joy. Praise tunes us into His sovereignty and allows us to experience the reality and power of His presence.

So no matter where you are today, take charge of your heart and soul and tell them to just keep going. No matter how tired you get, remember God is with you. Choose to give Him praise.

When you can’t seem to find the right words to pray – go to the Word of God and pray Scripture. Join me in a prayer of praise found in Psalm 150.

Praise the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Amen

Trust And Obey

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live (Ecclesiastes 3:12, NIV).

The Bible is not only God’s personal love letter to His children, it is our instruction manual for life. It is the blueprint of God’s plan for our lives.

You were created in response to God’s plan for your life. You are not an accident. God never has to say “Oops!” Even if you were never wanted or planned by human heart and mind, you were wanted and planned in the heart and mind of God. And you were created for purpose.

How do you discover God’s plan and purpose for your life? Through the Word of God and through prayer.

God’s truths are both personal and practical, but it is the practical that puts truth into play.

It is truly an awesome thing when God speaks to us, directs us, or encourages us personally. It builds faith – big time.

But it is even more awesome when we do something about it – because then the truth takes on life-changing power.

Hearing the truth is only half the battle. Obeying the truth is where the real battle begins.

Time and time again in the gospels, Jesus gave personal words of truth to those who were following Him. Many heard the truth, but turned away without acting on it.

Jesus taught about this very thing in the parable of the soils. He compares those who hear the truth but do not act on it as follows:

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away (Matthew 13:19-21).

We have all done this. We get excited when we hear from God and “receive it with joy.” But because we do not apply it, that word from God only lasts a short time in our lives. When trouble comes, we fall right back into our normal pattern. We go right back to being the same way we were before we heard God speak.

It is not hearing from God that changes our lives. It is applying what we hear from God that changes our lives.

When God speaks to us and gives us new truth, we need to ask ourselves what our next step will be.

What am I going to do about the truth God has given me? How am I going to apply that truth? What changes do I need to make in light of that truth? How should I pray as I walk in that truth?

There is a valuable reason James gives us. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving yourselves James 1:22 NKJV.

When we hear from God and put it into practice – that is godly obedience.

The truth is that God is not impressed with good intentions. Obedience today is the greatest preparation for every tomorrow. When you hear the voice of God, when He gives you a new truth act on it. Apply that truth to your life and see what God does in your life. Do what you know to do today!

Father, please teach me how to pray. Help me learn to hear Your voice above every other voice in my life. I want to obey You Lord, but sometimes my faith seems so small. Forgive me when I let fear keep me from walking in Your steps. Give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word. My heart longs to be the kind of woman who hears Your voice and then steps out in radical obedience to You alone.

Live Like You Are Loved

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians, 5:17, NLT)

Because of Christ you have a new identity. You are righteous because of Him and not because of trying to do more right “stuff”. You are a saint and there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. It is a liberating and joyous message. But there is a problem. Satan hates that message of hope and change. And so he goes about trying to “steal’ our identity in Christ. I am afraid we make it all too easy because we find it difficult to really trust that we are changed.

You are righteous because of Christ. Period. When you trust that and believe that all of the guilt and shame and sin that used to define you is no longer true. That old life is gone. New life has begun. All of those accusations that Satan (and others who are quite happy to help) hurl your way are no longer true about you.

My life was changed many years ago when I decided to trust Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. It has just been in the past few years that I have begun to fully understand who I am in Christ and that I live my life daily desperately dependent on grace.

God is now interested in maturing you into what is already true about you.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  (Romans 3:22-23, NLT)

Remind yourself daily who you are. That you are a new person. Righteous because of Christ. A new life has begun. Live it joyfully and without condemnation. I am deeply loved by God today. I pray I will live like it.

Re-Routing Negative Thoughts

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

We all struggle with negative thinking at times; it’s a common battle. And that’s why it’s important to recognize negative thought patterns and learn how to re-route them. The good news is we can have control over what we think.

When we’re down, sad or hopeless, let’s take inventory of our thoughts. When we find ourselves jumping to conclusions, dishing out guilt trips on others or replaying arguments in our mind, let’s consciously change our thinking. The apostle Paul advises us in our key verse, Philippians 4:8, to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

The next time you’re fighting negative thoughts, “rattle your cage” by remembering you have the mind of Christ. Take each negative thought captive and replace it with what Paul describes in our key verse. Scripture promises that when we align our thoughts with God’s, His peace, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.

Lord, give me Your ability to bring every thought captive. Help me to refute negative thoughts with truth. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Whose Voice Do You Hear?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27, NIV).

Stress comes when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only voice that really matters, the voice of God. We can’t obey every voice we hear. If we try, we will end up in total failure, carrying a heavy load we were never created to carry.

Obedience to God is not a heavy load because we don’t have to carry it alone. God’s strength and power bear the burden of our obedience to Him. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in prayer, the easier it will be to recognize His voice.

Father, I come to You today, wanting and needing to hear Your voice. I am drowning in the expectations of others, and I am so confused about the next step I need to take. Please give me Your direction and the strength to follow Your plan for my life.

Endeavour Not To Offend

Proverbs 18:19 (NIV) An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

19:11 (NIV) A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Jesus warned us that it would be impossible for offenses not to come. We can offend others with even a compliment. But when those offenses come our way, or we accidentally offend another, we have a difficult task before us. Jesus told us to love one another. Offense is one of the chief snares in keeping us from obeying that command. If we have offended someone, we will find they are more unyielding than a fortified city. They think you intentionally harmed them. To keep from being harmed again, they set up walls of distance, walls of distrust. Winning a fortified city was a long drawn out effort. That is what it takes to win someone we’ve offended. It is much easier to carefully guard our words than to win over someone who has been offended. Be prepared for the long haul and don’t give up.

On the other hand, if you are the offended party, let wisdom give you patience. Often offense comes from misunderstanding. Clarify and understand the offender’s words and motives. Give them time to see things differently. If it is pure animosity, be gracious enough to overlook it. You are more likely to win that person by refusing to be offended. Wisdom teaches us that to accept offense is to only harm our self. To receive an offense will only make the offender have a sense of justification. To overlook it, protects your heart from bitterness and from more damage from the words. That is easier said than done, but it helps to consider that it is the wise thing to do. It is to your glory. It is the example Jesus set for us.

Consider: Refuse to be offended. Endeavour not to offend.

Press On

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

You remember how God fed the Israelites with manna. Every morning they would wake up, step out of their tents, and there would be the manna just waiting for them. But this “bread from heaven” had one limiting characteristic: it wouldn’t keep overnight. God didn’t want His people to live off yesterday’s manna. The Lord wanted them to be dependent on Him on a regular basis and gather it fresh each day.

In the same way, you can’t live off the experiences of last year or twenty years ago. God wants to do something fresh and new in your life today and tomorrow. No, you can’t live off experiences, but you can learn from them.

Saul of Tarsus went out of his way to hunt down Christians. But he came to realize that he was not serving God but the Devil. Then he was transformed and went on to become the apostle Paul. He could say, “Now I press on, now I reach forward.” I wish this would be true in the lives of more believers. What a difference it would make in this world around us if we had that kind of ambition, that kind of drive to serve God as we once served ourselves.

Let’s recommit ourselves to the study of the Word of God, to prayer, and to winning at least one person to Christ in the next twelve months.

As Christians, we have unprecedented opportunities for our lives to make a difference in our world. There is so much to do. There is so much growth that needs to take place in our lives, and so much more to accomplish. It’s time to step into the future, to step into what God is doing today.

God Is Always Near

LORD, even when I have trouble all around me, You will keep me alive. When my enemies are angry, You will reach down and save me by Your power (Psalm 1:7, NCV).

When the excruciating pain of life leaves us breathless, we panic. We are not sure which way to go. We are soon paralyzed and in desperate need of rescuing. And as a last resort, we cry out to God.

When will we learn that crying out to God should be our first response instead of our last resort? 

The psalmist promises that God will keep us by His power. When we fully surrender our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. He is our power link to God. And one of His most important jobs is to comfort us when we are in pain and sustain us in the storms of life.

I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative – and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit – He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you. John 14:25-26, NLT

Many times, when the storm waves of life hit, we forget every promise we know. That is when the Holy Spirit will remind us that …
· God is faithful.
· God will not forsake us.
· God will never leave us.
· God is with us.
· God will empower us to withstand the storm.

Just as storms in life are a certainty, so is the provision of God.

Life can be messy and bad things will happen, but every crisis and every storm is also an opportunity to trust God. He calls us to a heavenly perspective when facing challenging times. He calls us to see the storms of life as He sees them – opportunities for His power and purpose to be illustrated in human terms.

In the midst of the darkness, He will point us toward the light. When a huge wave of daily life knocks us to our knees, it is easy to lose our sense of direction. When a storm overwhelms us, we need to stop, look for the light, and swim toward it.

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness in my life. Sometimes my motives are not pure and are so often self-serving. Right now, please cleanse my heart of all sin. Give me eyes to see the treasure buried at the heart of every trial and help me to choose joy – even when I don’t understand what You are doing in my life. Teach me, Lord. Let my life be an illustration of Your strength perfected in my weakness.