December 16, 2017

When You Give Thanks For Everything

encouragementbloggraphicromans15And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He said,
‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
For I tell you that from now on I will not drink
of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.’
And He took bread, and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and gave it to them, saying,
‘This is my Body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.’
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
‘This cup that is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.’
Luke 22:17–20 [also Matthew 26:27 and Mark 14:23]

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And so following Jesus’s pattern, Paul in Acts 27:35 “…took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it…”  ‘Tis the season….What would your answer be?  Yes, this is the beginning of the holiday season.  A time of joy and excitement.  Families gather together at the same table, all over the country and feast on turkey and dressing and sweet potatoes and so much more.  We will eat until we can’t eat anymore…and then some.  The television will be set to football (and probably more than one game at a time will be watched). But I wonder, will we remember the ‘why’ of all of this?

Will we remember that if Jesus had not come to this earth, to walk as a man and perform miracle after miracle, healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind, that we wouldn’t have the kind of life that we have now?  I imagine that joy and peace wouldn’t be present either…but I don’t even want to imagine it, do you?

In the verse above, Jesus gave thanks, before He gave them the bread and wine, at the Last Supper.  Shouldn’t we do the same?  Even if your life is broken, like the bread, giving thanks can change it all.  It might not change the actual circumstance, but it will open up your heart to joy and gratitude.

  • If you don’t get that promotion or that dream job, you can still give thanks…God has something totally for you and better than you could ever imagine.
  • If you don’t marry that man (or woman) that you just know is for you, thank God!  He has someone for you that is so amazing and you may not even know him (or her) yet.
  • If you are at the end of your rope and nothing in your life looks like you imagined or hoped for. In fact, it is not even close to what all your friends around you have…I pray that you give thanks.

Your life is so important to God and He wants so much for you…giving thanks opens doors that you never knew would open.  You are trusting your Father to do what He does best’—and thanking Him is trusting Him.  I heard this saying this week:

Worry and worship cannot exist together
…I choose worship!  What about you?

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Do you know Jesus? If you haven’t asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, then I urge you to pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner.  I need forgiveness.  I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus, to die on the Cross, to save me from my sins.  I ask that You come into my life and live and be my Lord.  Thank You for forgiving me. Help me to keep walking with You and trusting You. Help me to live a life close to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Give Thanks

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Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Psalms 136:1-3

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Give thanks to the Lord (for He is good)
For He is good
Give thanks to the Lord (for He is good)
For He is good
Give thanks to the Lord (for He is good)
For He is good
His love endures forever

His love will reign forevermore
His power will reign forevermore
His grace will reign forevermore
His peace will reign forevermore

His love endures forever (praise the Lord)
His love endures forever (Hallelujah)
His love endures forever

This Week…Colossians 3:15-17

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 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are focusing our thoughts for the next few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have been so encouraging in their reminders to always give thanks to God through our Lord Jesus.  Please click on the indivdual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Good Deeds, Ann posted a few excellent questions to consider regarding our actions, our deeds.  And reminded us of the reasons…

“Sisters, it is good to do good deeds to everyone around us as it gives glory to God…”.

In God’s Peace, Tina shared Jesus’ example of peace…

“I like how Jesus always paced himself.  Taking the time to pray…being intentional about it.  Jesus always had a peace about Him…”.

In Thankful Representatives, Clella encouraged us to be thankful and draw others to Christ…

“When we live in peace, joy, thankfulness, and God’s wisdom, we will be representatives that show the world around us our God of love. With thankful hearts, we can sing, speak, and do that which draws others to Christ…”.

In Be Thankful, Ahmee reminded us of a few of the many things we do have to be thankful for…

“We can decide to focus on what we do have or what we don’t have.  When we choose to focus on what we do have we are generally going to find ourselves in a happier disposition than if we focused on the negative…”.

Be Thankful

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And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say, do it as representative of Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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When I first read this passage, verse 15 stuck out to me, “…and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”  The part that I got stuck on was “…and always be thankful.”  I know it’s cliché to say that you should always be thankful—but you should.  It’s so easy to say that you have nothing to be thankful for when you aren’t focused on the bigger picture.

When you focus on what you don’t have it’s easy to forget what you already do have.  For instance, perhaps you want a new car, but you just can’t afford it.  Yes, it would be helpful, but you can still be thankful for what you do already have.

  • Do you have a ride to work? Be thankful.
  • Do you have a vehicle that just needs some fixing up? Be thankful for that.
  • Do you have working legs that can get you to work? Be thankful for that.

Maybe your circumstances might not be exactly the way that you want them to be right now, but at least you do have.  And that is something to be thankful for.

When you can’t find anything at all to be thankful for, the very basic thing to be thankful for is mere life.  Of course, you could say that you would be better off dead…but at this point it’s time to realize that you are having a pity party and it’s time to leave this event.

Being thankful is something that is so simple to do, but it also so simple to not do. It is a choice that we have to make.  We can decide to focus on what we do have or what we don’t have.  When we choose to focus on what we do have we are generally going to find ourselves in a happier disposition than if we focused on the negative.  So be thankful.

My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

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 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me with His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life my all
Stuart Townend
written along with Keith & Kristyn Getty

This Week…Psalms 118:1 and 2

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Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever
Psalm 118:1

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Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are focusing our thoughts for the next few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have greatly encouraged us as they pointed us to our good God to Whom much thanks is due.  Please click on each link to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Reasons to Give Thanks, Cynda …. goodness is Who He is.

“What I need to remember is that circumstances do not determine my reasons for giving thanks.  My reasons for giving thanks are summed up in John 3:16 (God so loved that He gave) and Psalm 118:1 (He is good).  Goodness is part of God’s character, it is what He is.  His love is faithful, enduring, and eternal. And those are the only reasons I need.”

In Without God’s Love, Ahmee brought our attention to what it would be like if we didn’t have God’s love…

“Without God’s love we would be some very sad people.  Without the love of God, Jesus would not have been sent for us.  Without Jesus we would all be bound by the law.  Bound by the law we’d be doomed to live far more strict lives or suffer the consequences.  Without Jesus we would be stuck trying to be”good enough.” Thank God that is not the case!…”

In God’s Goodness, Ann shared a number of Scriptures that speak of how good our God is…

“The whole of Psalm 118 praises the Lord for His everlasting love for His people…how good He is from the start to the end.  The Bible gives us Scriptures that show God’s goodness in many ways…we see the goodness of the Lord being shown in different ways.  Brethren, let us trust in the Lord always for, indeed, His love endures forever….

In Thanks and Praise, Tina reminded us to bring attention to our great God and His love—and why…

“During this holiday season, we tend to think of things we are thankful for, such as our homes, jobs, and children.  We should, but we should also pause and meditate on how God has watched His creation grow and evolve over the centuries.  We are created to tell others about His great love for you and me…”.

Thanks and Praise

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Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
His love endures forever.
Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”

Psalms 118:1-2

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Sunday night at church our pastor was speaking on the Book of Acts. During the sermon, Pastor Allen said “God spoke everything into existence, except man.  Man, He breathed life into.”

and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:6-8

Think about that…God cared enough about us that He actually created the first man—every limb, each eye, the nose, all of the insides—God’s hands created, molded, refined, designed.  And then He breathed His spirit into the man…His Holy Spirit…the life-giving breath.

If God cared enough about the details of forming and making man, then how much more will He care about you and me?  During this holiday season, we tend to think of things we are thankful for, such as our homes, jobs, and children. We should, but we should also pause and meditate on how God has watched His creation grow and evolve over the centuries.

We are created to tell others about His great love for you and me. How He created the world; created a man and a woman to start the human race; gave them a job to do; gave them boundaries and consequences of not following His direction.  Sound like us? (It sounds like me.)  Our carnal (sin) nature, tells us we don’t have to follow God’s rules anymore.  Because when Jesus came to earth He fulfilled the Law and we do not have to abide by it.  Except, the only thing is, if we don’t know what the Law says, then how are we going to know what we need to do to get the blessing and not receive the curse?

As we go through the holiday season, remember to thank God for all that we have.  We are nothing without Him and His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  God loves each of us without reservation. We are the ones who put ourselves on the fence and, at times, choose not to believe how much He loves us, so completely and totally.

The LORD is my Strength and my Shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 28:7

I will praise the name of God with song,
And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

Thank You (for the things I have never thanked You for)

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Thank You for the things
That I never thanked You for

You’ve given everything I need
And still I asked for more

It’s not that I’m ungrateful
I’m just forgetful, Lord

So I thank You for the things
That I’ve never thanked You for

There are so many blessings that You have given me
Things I take for granted everyday
The beauty of creation and the promise of my salvation
Lord, help me to remember when I pray

Now when my way grows weary
And rest is hard to find

And sometimes I can’t see
My way through

And when it seems that I am blinded
That’s when I need to be reminded

That the strength I thought was mine
…It came from You

~  The Isaacs  ~

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The simple words of this bluegrass ballad are, sadly, so true: we do forget to give God thanks and we do take for granted oh-so-very-many things that God has done for us.  I am ashamed that I can sing the line ‘You’ve given everything I need…and still I asked for more’ right along with the Isaacs Family.  Oh, it’s not that I am not thankful—I am SO thankful!  Or that I don’t voice my thanks and praise to my heavenly Father.  And I am SURE you do, too!  But truly our mouths should be filled with thanks and not petitions.

Here is just one short passage full of incredible blessings (I’ve counted more than ten things to praise and thank Him for):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1: 3-7

And another:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:3-12

Thank You for the things that I’ve never thanked You for!”  Have we intentionally thanked God for being ‘blessed…with every spiritual blessing…in Christ’? Or purposefully thanked Him for being ‘predestined according to His purpose…to the end that we…would be to the praise of His glory’?  Or thanked Him from the depth of our hearts for the truth that ‘He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him’?

Our giving of thanks to God should fill our days!  When we get up, we have much to be thankful for (breath, life, new day, new mercies…).  As we go throughout the day, we have much to be thankful for (protection, guidance, forgiveness, peace, comfort…).  As we lay our heads down at night, we have much to be thankful for (provision, joy, trials gotten through, loved ones…).  And even as the Psalmist wrote,

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances.
Psalm 119:62

So let’s not be forgetful but thankful.  Truly, we should

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Every day, throughout each day, speak and sing out your thankfulness to your heavenly Father!

To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:12

Expressions of Thanks

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Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.
He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
Psalms 111:1-4

Thank:  to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment

In the Southern culture, we are taught from the crib to say ‘thank you’.  If you did not say thank you growing up you were quickly reminded to say it.  How much more should we say it to our Heavenly Father.  Without Him, we would have nothing.

T-hrone
We are to bring our request to the throne of the One who can grant them.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

H-eaven
In Heaven, when we call upon the name of Jesus, He will take them to our Father as our Intercessor.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:27

A-nswered
God will, in His wisdom, answer our prayers. Not always the way we want, but as our Father, Who knows best, does.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also;
and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
John 14:12-14

N-oble
From Scripture our thoughts should always focus on what is good and noble. We are to train our thoughts on what is right and pure. Not dwell in the negatives of our lives. When we search and find the light, we will feel lighter and free!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

K-nowledge
As we begin to train our thoughts …away from the negative and begin to go to the positive… our Father will give us a much greater knowledge of His Word.  We will want to fill our minds and thoughts with His words, His goodness, His mercy, and His ways.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness,
Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

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Father, thank You for Your blessings.  Thank You for giving me the opportunity to share my heart with others.  Thank You for being You and for standing with me.  Jesus, thank You for being my Intercessor.  Holy Spirit, thank You for Your touches that bring me back to You.  Continue to give me strength when the way becomes weary.  Help me keep my focus on Your light!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Now Thank We All Our God

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Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever-joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us,
To keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
Of this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son and Spirit blest,
Who reign in highest heaven
The one eternal God,
Whom heaven and earth adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Written by Martin Rinckart and Johann Cruger
Sung by The Cambridge Singers and the City of London Sinfonia

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What a beautiful old hymn!  Verse 3 gives us a wonderful opportunity to praise our Lord,  All praise and thanks to God, the Father now be given. Can you just hear the angels gathering to sing in three-part harmony to give their utmost praise to Him?  I can feel the peace that would surround me. Come Lord Jesus, Come!  The Son and Spirit blest, who reign in highest heaven Such majesty, such glory, surrounds our Lord and King. We pray blessings upon us from Your holy throne as we lift our voices in song to praise Your holy name, the one eternal God, whom heaven and earth adore.  

When the seasons change, do you imagine that God wants to show off His Creation of nature? How much more so that He wants to show us off. For us, He wants us to grow, to pursue Him and let Him become the one to supply all of our needs. We are to tell Him ‘thank You!’ with grateful hearts, not just this month or the next, but forever are we to thank Him. Through the easy times and through the times where it would seem we are just climbing and climbing that mountain of issues and pain. For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Our God is Ruler of all the earth and the heavens. That we cannot dispute. For those that try, they will come up short and will not know happiness. That is until they embrace the Lord our God. Then He will receive with open arms the new person in Christ and will welcome back those that will repent and turn to God.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38

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Father, we thank You for loving us just the way we are. We ask Your Holy Spirit to walk with us and guide us through our lives. All we have to do is ask for the Helper and He will be there to guide us. You have been most gracious with us and we have acted like spoiled children, forgetting to be grateful for Your many gifts and blessings. Help us to cultivate a thankful heart toward You. In Jesus’ name, we ask and pray, Amen.