Today, we're just sharing a slice of the fruit of the love of God in our lives. How about a meal for your heart, your human spirit? There's a recipe for having a song in our hearts, and we thought we'd connect and share a bit of our day, yesterday, with you. It includes a tablespoon of the spice of life and a cup or two of what we did on Thanksgiving, and a pinch of artistry and a few ounces of just plain sharing, with a bit of scripture for your soul to feast upon, but the main ingredient is God and His Love. Every day can be a "thanksgiving" day. It's your choice. Why not?
Praise and thanksgiving are not a one day event or a religious activity or an obligation, but a way of life, a way of joy. Also today is not "black" as the commercials say, as if you are supposed to go out and shop till you drop on cue, but it IS a day where God's mercy is new this morning for you. You get to enjoy His blessing no matter what else is going on in the world or around you. It's a matter of choosing Him, and choosing who or what to look at, and what you are going to pay attention to...
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Why only one day of the year?
Grateful, truly grateful. We have health, life, breath, and this wonderful adventure of getting to know God, Our Father, and our LORD Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and to learn to understand how God is One God. It is certainly more exciting than "Black Friday" Who named it black anyway? Yes it is good that businesses are succeeding, but there is so much MORE to today, don't you think?
Did you ever notice that bad words are now good, and good words are now bad in society's definition. There's a phone named "envy" and chocolate (which is good) advertised as "sinful." Even the word "temptation" has a spin on it. We roam Netflix and there is all this dark, gray, sinister, negative and depressing "war game" kind of media which tries to divert your attention from the goodness of God, the blessings of God, the life to be found in Him. I don't want to call evil good or good evil. Let's just see things as God sees them. He is good. He is worthy. He is wonderful. He is Almighty God! He is our Ever-Lasting Father. We are his children, the sheep of His pasture.
Grateful. Grateful. Grateful. Those words were not just the commercialism of turkey feasts and tradition, but the echoes of our heart as we moved throughout the day from activity to activity. Everything good comes from Him. He loves us with an everlasting love. Awake, alive and wonderful.
Nature reminds us of God. We don't worship the creation, but just as a great work of art would reflect the heart, skill and talent of the artist, so can what beauty we observe cause us to give praise and honor to our Creator. It is like the hearts of people we meet - their kindness, hard work, gentleness, insight, gifts, encouragement: these all reflect the glory of God. They glorify Him.
The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
The spirit of you and I is the candle of the LORD. Shouldn't we let our light shine and recognize that light God has placed in each human being?
I know a lot of you are dealing with problems, maybe fruit of trauma or struggles or difficult situations. Perhaps people you care about deeply have misunderstood you or betrayed you or they have their own issues going on and you suffer the negative consequences of them not yet having overcome those difficulties. Maybe what you are thinking someone else is thinking isn't really what they are thinking at all? Maybe what God thinks matters more? Every day can be one in which you are a thanks giver. Every day can be thanksgiving for you.
This season called "Holiday" is not easy for everyone, and sometimes the very families you visit are part of the challenge. In it all, remember Who is HOLY. Yes, God, who loves you, who created you, and who cares for you is Holy. He knows what you are walking through. He "gets" you. You can call on Him, and He will answer you. Give Him praise and glory and honor. Put your trust and hope in Him.
There are many news reports, private challenges, issues with your children or parents or relatives, but how about just taking a moment over the next few days to back up from the focus on the challenges which face you, to see all of God's beauty and goodness and provision and to put your mind and heart on that?
It is the best gift you could give this season... that of the perspective of the All Mighty-ness of God. All powerful (Omnipotent). Omniscient. Omnipresent. Not only that... He loves YOU!
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
Easier said than done, but don't stress. Cast your cares on HIM. You do not need to carry everything alone. You have God. You have the body of Christ to encourage you. You are not alone. You are not orphaned or abandoned. God understands you, and you can talk and listen to Him anytime. Tell Him about your concerns, then turn from carrying everything yourself and .... praise Him. Give thanks! Get grateful.
One thing we do when people come to us for ministry, and we do it ourselves when we are being challenged or tempted, is to get out a notebook, and for a season of time like a month or a few months, write down five things for which we are grateful each morning (and each evening before bed). It's not a formula, but it is a structure that you can follow for a season when you have gotten into the habit of focusing on all that is wrong, all that is not working or all that is yet unsolved. Praise and thanksgiving not only honor God, but it changes your insides so that the thief is not robbing your todays with regrets about the past or worry about tomorrow.
It's okay to give up self pity and a habitually negative, fearful viewpoint. There is hope to be found in God, and it is evidenced in all He provides and is doing for us. We just need to sometimes take our eyes OFF the problems, and out of the pit, and look up to see what God is doing already. Then we can continue in the confidence that what He has begun in us, He is faithfully in the process of completing.
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1 Peter 5:5-7
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
We're glad to connect with you as part of our extended family, and we pray that each one of you has healing, deliverance, blessing and provision in every area of who you are: as a person, as a child of God, as a family member, as a friend, as a parent, as a son or daughter, in your finances, in your homes, in your work, in your ministry and in every way.
Blessings to you in your spirit, soul and body in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and in accordance with His Love!