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|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 10:40 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:40-48 (KJV)
Faithful To the Faithless
Psalm 106:40 Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Over and over, Israel would subject to another culture. In Judges, we read that they would be oppressed and would cry out to the Lord. He would send a judge such as Gideon, Sampson, or Deborah to deliver them. But shortly after that they would return to the state described as “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 and 21:25 for example) In other words, instead of obeying God, they had an attitude of “If it feels good, do it.” Hmmmm. Sounds a bit like America today.
Psalm 106:43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
Finally, history and the Bible both tell us that God was fed up and allowed the Assyrians and Babylonians to conquer Israel and lead her inhabitants into captivity. However, even then He had the prophets foretell that captivity was for a limited, pre-determined amount of time, after which they would return to Israel.
Psalm 106:44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: 45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. 46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
As their Father, God could not turn a deaf ear to the cries of His children. God caused the captors to have pity and compassion on their captives. When we read in the books of Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah, we see that Israelites were even elevated to positions of authority while captive in foreign lands. The covenant God made with Abraham was solely dependent on God’s ability to keep it, not the ability of Abraham or his descendants. The disobedience of the people of Israel did not cancel that covenant in any way. In like manner, our covenant relationship with Jesus as our Savior and Lord is completely dependent on Jesus’ atonement on the cross and His ability to keep us in His care now that He is back at the right-hand of God the Father. We did nothing to earn it, and we can do nothing to lose it.
Psalm 106:47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
As we stated at the beginning of Psalm 106, this was probably written at the time that Israel was beginning to return and rebuild Jerusalem. The prayer is that the rest of the nation would be re-united with them and that they would be in right relationship with God.
Psalm 106:48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.
After recounting all of their sins, the psalmist gives praise to the Lord who delivered them despite their unworthiness. There were consequences for their disobedience, but God remained merciful.
Challenge: Spend some time remembering your lowest points in your walk with the Lord. Thank Him again for His forgiveness and grace toward you personally. Praise Him for His faithfulness in the times you were faithless.
|Posted on October 11, 2016 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
God’s People Protected
Psalm 105:8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
This passage is talking about the Abrahamic covenant in which God promised to give Sarah and Abraham an heir in their old age, to multiply his descendants to be as the stars in the sky, and to give them the land of Canaan as their inheritance (Gen. 12:1–3; 15; 17). The next few verses show how God remembered and acted upon His covenant through divine intervention.
Psalm 105:9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; 10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: 11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: 12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
God reaffirmed the Abrahamic covenant with Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5).
Genesis 26:3-4 (KJV) Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
What is the point in the Psalmist recounting these historical events? He is reminding the nation of Israel of God’s faithfulness and protection throughout their journey as a nation.
Abraham and his family were nomads in the land of Canaan up until the famine that took them to Egypt which will be discussed later. They lived in tents and had no permanent dwelling even though the Lord already knew the land would ultimately be theirs. It would be generations before they truly possessed the promised land.
How does their story relate to us as Christians? Abraham continued to trust that God would fulfill His covenant even when he could not see the completion of the promise. This belief, this trust, was what was counted as righteousness, not Abraham’s good works. Abraham demonstrated faith in God.
Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Hebrews 11:1 gives the best definition of the kind of faith Abraham had and we need:
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Using the wonderful website www.biblegateway.com, we were able to look at this verse in several translations, each of which enhances our understand and insight to faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (CJB) Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (VOICE) Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
Like the children of Israel, we do not yet possess everything the Lord has promised us; but we can be assured He is guiding and protecting us throughout our journey. Susie and I get lessons in this almost every day.
Psalm 105:13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; 14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; 15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Even when Abraham and later his descendants acted foolishly, God still kept His covenant and protected them (Genesis 12:10-20, 26). We must remember, that in this covenant, God was the one responsible for making it all happen; and He kept His word.
In our covenant relationship with Jesus, who did all the work to make it possible? Jesus did it all on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sin, then defeated death by His victorious resurrection from the grave. We did not earn or deserve this gift of being able to know God and spend eternity with Him. Since He gave this life to us, He is also the one responsible for keeping us in His care. But oh, how thankful I am, that He redeemed me with the wonderful sacrifice of His life as the perfect, sinless Lamb of God! We have committed our lives to Jesus, and can say with Paul that we know Jesus is capable of taking care of the rest.
2 Timothy 1:12b (KJV) for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Chew on this: God has preserved the nation of Israel throughout persecution, wars, famine, the Holocaust and all kinds of trials. As Christians, we are also His people – a chosen generation (1 Peter 2:9). Meditate on the safety net of being held securely in the hand of the almighty God (John 10:27-29).
|Posted on October 11, 2016 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 105:1-7 (KJV) – Tell of All His Wonderful Acts
This is a song of praise. The fact that portions of Psalm 105 and 106 are quoted in 1 Chronicles 16, indicates that these may have been sung during times of worship.
105:1 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Thanksgiving Day in the USA is rapidly approaching. What are some of the many things for which we, as a nation, should thank the Lord this year? We still enjoy the freedom and privilege to worship our Lord publicly. We should be thankful for our leaders even if we disagree with them. We should be thankful that so far we are not a dictatorship. We should be thankful that God is on the side of those who believe wherever they live, and He is in control even though sometimes it may not feel like He is.
The Israelites were God’s chosen people, but they were chosen to convey His message to other nations. We, as Christians, God’s chosen children are to be a light in a dark world. What deeds of the Lord do we need to make known to the nations? We need to share the Gospel – the Good News that Jesus died for our sin, was raised on the third day, and offers the gift of salvation to all who will believe. We need to share that the Lord is our sustainer – we are not dependent on anyone, not even our governmental system, to provide for our needs. God provides for His children. We need to share the specifics of each of our journeys with the Lord in order to encourage other believers and draw non-believers to Jesus. We need to share God’s wonderful deeds so that others may taste and see that the Lord is good.
Psalm 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
We sing as a part of worship services. Are we singing to the congregation or to the Lord? We are singing with the congregation, but our focus should be solely the audience of One, the Lord. Do we have to be excellent vocalists in order to praise the Lord in song? No, we don’t, and I certainly am not. But God does have a requirement for those who are not vocalists – make a noise with joy in your heart.
Psalm 95:2 (KJV) Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
When should we talk about what God has done on our behalf? Just on Sundays? No, we should talk about the Lord whenever the opportunity presents itself. Our joy in the Lord should spill over at all times, and we should encourage one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Colossians 3:16 (VOICE) Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness.
Psalm 105:3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
As Gloria Gather wrote, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name.” How do we glory in the name of our God? We do not “take it in vain.” We have a reverent attitude toward the names of the Lord. We try to live in a way as to never bring shame to the name of the Lord, and we rejoice to be called by His name – Christians (little Christs). We are soldiers in the army of the Lord, under command of the Lord of Hosts, following the greatest Leader of all time who is awe-inspiring. We glory not in our own accomplishments but in the fact that we belong to His family of faith. Much better than being the quarterback on the best football team or the soloist for the best opera company.
We are fulfilled, content, enriched when we pursue the Lord. Therefore, we will rejoice as we seek and find the Lord.
Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Once we have committed our lives to Jesus, do we still need to seek the Lord? We need to be in intimate, contemplative, communion with the Lord to have the strength to face what comes to us in this world every day. As we have studied in 1 Peter and as we read publications by “Voice of the Martyrs,” we realize persecution may strike home with us someday. The only way to be prepared, to have strength to stand in that hour, is to constantly be seeking to know God more deeply and pursue His will.
We are the bride of Christ, which makes Jesus the Bridegroom. Does a bride know her husband as well on her wedding day as she will on her 50th wedding anniversary? No, it takes a lifetime of discovery and learning the layers of un-mined gold in a person to truly know them. So it is with our Bridegroom. We know Him as our Savior and Lord as soon as we surrender to His call, but we will not know Him fully until we are with Him forever in Heaven. Part of our joy on this earth is our deepening relationship with Jesus each day.
What actions do we take to continually seek His face, to become more intimate with the Lord? We spend time talking and listening to Him – prayer. Not just a laundry list of what we need and/or want. First we should praise Him for how wondrous and great He is and how blessed we are to be a part of His forever family. We need to be honest in our relationship with Him, confessing when we fall short of His commands, and receiving His forgiveness. When we present our petitions, there are boundaries, they should be in line with His will.
Another important component in pursuing God’s face is to be involved in Bible study. Not just a quick reading of the word, but seeking to understand and meditate upon the things we learn.
Can we truly find intimacy with God, if we pray and read the word, but fail to obey what we see there? The Pharisees are a clear example of how it doesn’t work to have head knowledge without a heart commitment. Just as marriage involves a commitment to your spouse, a relationship with the Lord is based on commitment to follow the truth He shows you.
Psalm 105:5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.
The Jewish nation was called upon to remember God’s works, wonders, and judgements. Let’s list a few of the things they would recount:
2. Sarah bearing Isaac in old age
3. Deliverance from Egypt
4. Parting the Red Sea
5. Cloud by day and Fire by Night
6. Judgment after the Golden Calf incident
7. Judgement against Achan
8. Victory at Jericho
9. Giving them the Promised Land
These are just a few. More will be brought out in the rest of this Psalm.
What works, wonders, and judgements might modern believers remember? We might remember the 7 wonders of the world – both ancient and modern which men may think they had a hand in, but God orchestrated them. I think of the wonder of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite as well as the beauty of Hawaii and Alaska in my travels. We might reflect on God’s hand in the formation of our own country. We might ponder whether some catastrophic events were a judgement from God as a wake-up call, such as 9/11/2001 or Katrina. Foremost, we recall the finished work of Jesus on the cross that purchased our salvation.
Psalm 105:7 He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
God was not just the God of Israel. His works were not just for the benefit of the Jews. He is not the God of a single nation today. God’s people are a kingdom not seen with eyes, a kingdom whose boundaries are not drawn on a map. Our God is not confined to a temple made with human hands. He is everywhere at all times!
Chew on This: Ponder God’s wonders, works, and judgements found in the Bible and evident today. Meditate on His omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience (everywhere, all powerful, all-knowing). Praise Him for including you in His family. If you have not yet surrendered your life to Him, please do so today!
|Posted on November 29, 2015 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
1 Corinthians 10:16 When we give thanks and share the cup of blessing, are we not sharing in the blood of the Anointed One? When we give thanks and break bread, are we not sharing in His body?
1 Corinthians 11:24 and after giving thanks to God, He broke it and said, “This is My body, broken for you. Keep doing this so that you and all who come after will have a vivid reminder of Me.”
When we reflect on the Lord’s death during communion, we need to soberly thank Him. We need to realize that this is an opportunity to fellowship with Him intimately until the time that we shall do so face to face at the “marriage feast of the Lamb.” It isn’t just crackers and juice, it is a reminder of a love so great that it should overwhelm us, His bride.
Until Jesus is with His bride, all of us who believe, there is no cause for ultimate celebration. No complete enjoyment can be had unless and until we are all present and accounted for, those for which for which He bled and died and poured out His life as a sacrifice to give us liberty in and through Him. Thank Him!
1 Corinthians 14:16-17 If you speak a word of blessing in the spirit only, then how will an uninformed person who can’t understand your prayer say “Amen” when you are done giving thanks? Even though you give thanks to God well, the unknowing person doesn’t benefit.
When we gather corporately, it is good for others to see and hear us giving thanks to God that we may all share in the joy and blessing. I won’t get into the entire “tongues” debate right now, but remember that we are to encourage each other. It is hard to be encouraged by God’s gifts to others if I can’t understand what they are proclaiming.
The point is, consider others around you when in corporate worship.
1 Corinthians 15:57 Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave.
Amen! So be it in my life!
2 Corinthians 1:11 Join us in this work. Lend us a hand through prayer so that many will give thanks for the gift that comes to us when God answers the prayers of so many.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth.
2 Corinthians 4:15 All of this is happening for your good. As grace is spread to the multitudes, there is a growing sound of thanks being uttered by those relishing in the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction. Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12 For this mission will do more than bring food and water to fellow believers in need—it will overflow in a cascade of praises and thanksgivings for our God.
When we serve the Lord by witnessing, by comforting, and even in providing for the everyday needs of others, thanksgiving is multiplied. May we go forth giving people reasons to praise and thank the Lord!
Your servant leadership leaves the mark of thanksgiving wherever you go.
Ephesians 5:4 Don’t swear or spurt nonsense. Don’t make harsh jokes or clown around. Make proper use of your words, and offer them thankfully in praise.
How many useless words do we spout each day? We are told in God’s word to make good use of our words to thank and praise the Lord. If we spent more time building others up and helping them to know and thank the Lord Jesus, rather than teasing them with put-down jokes, how exponentially would the Kingdom of God grow?
Words are intensely powerful tools. God enforces this truth by using the tool of words to call forth creation, and He also calls His crowning achievement, Jesus, the Word.
Ephesians 5:20 and to give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done.
A lifestyle of thanksgiving in and for everything! Now there’s a concept to grab hold of!
Philippians 1:3 Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you.
Do we thank God for all the wonderful Christian friends He has placed in our paths?
Philippians 4:6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.
Make requests and thank God for the answers in the same breath. We can do this by faith that He knows our needs and will always do what is best in our lives, that which will make us more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29)
Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness.
Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.
Spill over with thankfulness…Does thankfulness overflow in my life?
Being rooted deeply requires uncomfortable pruning processes in order to continue to grow in Him and with Him. God recently took this literally with me when 23 inches of my stature was pruned from my body because I had a double amputation above the knees. But I trust God that for every inch I lost physically, I am gaining an equally vital inch in the spirit.
Also, we trust that Susan’s pruning will soon enable her to be out and about in a wheelchair spreading the word of God!
Colossians 4:2 Pray, and keep praying. Be alert and thankful when you pray.
Even when we are in deep need or agony of spirit, we can be thankful as we pray because we are certain the Lord is in control. For example, when I heard the words “Code Blue” a few hours after Susan’s amputation surgery, the Lord enabled me to prop myself up against the wall in the hallway and begin by praying the Lord’s prayer and slowly merge into thanking Him for being in control of the situation. One of the scariest moments of my life, but I thank God for His presence in that hallway!
I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful to be doing what I was born to do, to spread the word with encouragement and anointed power in and through Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 So we have good reason to give thanks to God without pausing. For you have taken into yourselves the word of God we brought to you and received it as a message from God—not just something whipped up by someone like you or us—and that word is at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 3:9 What thanks would ever be enough to offer God about you for all the jubilant celebration we’ll feel before our God because of you?
Thank God for the lives He is changing, not because of our goodness, but because of His message and faithfulness.
Nothing is because of goodness in and of ourselves but because of the goodness He brings and lives in and through us. All glory is His and His alone!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)
It is GOD’S WILL that we give thanks even when everything in life seems upside down, dark and gloomy, just plain difficult. Again, God is sovereign (He is the king who controls all of His creation). He has promised to hold us securely in His hand (John 10:13), so we can continue to thank Him trusting He is able to care for us.
The only fun part of ICU and being intubated was still being able to “tell” others about all the faithfulness of Jesus by asking Susie to tell them our story.
People were always curious about our relationship since I was not a family member and was staying 24/7 at the hospital. I would tell them that the Lord knit the soul of Jonathan to the soul of David according to the Old Testament. Then I would explain that I believe we are the female version of that story. The Lord totally changed my heart about being a caregiver and brought me to the point of loving Susan as a sister. All glory and thanks go to God for our relationship!
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank our Lord Jesus the Anointed who empowers me, because He saw me as faithful and appointed me to this ministry.
I thank God that He empowers me to do what He has called me to do: write, speak, teach, intercede for the body of Christ, minister to Susan’s needs while enjoying her familyship.
I am thankful that all those thousands of hours of college and seminary are finally coming to useful fruit for others. My ministry degree was definitely not on my radar. However, it was on God’s radar, and I followed His leading. So grateful I did because I get up every day going to work, feeling like it is not work at all, but simply who I was born to be and what I was born to do.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him,
If you are a part of God’s family, surrendered to His will, you are a part of an unshakable Kingdom. Thank God that you can stand firm because of His strength in you!
No matter what comes, if you are a Christian, you do not depend on your backbone but on God’s strength and His strength alone.
Revelation 4:9 And when the living creatures declared glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One seated on the throne, the One who lives throughout all the ages,
Revelation 7:12 Heavenly Messengers, Elders, and Living Creatures: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom And thanksgiving and honor And power and might Be to our God on and on throughout all the ages. Amen.
Revelation 11:1724 Elders: We give You thanks, Lord God, the All Powerful, who is and who was. For You have wielded Your great power and have begun Your reign.
When God revealed Heaven to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, He showed him angels, elders, and martyrs giving thanks to the Lord. We do not have to wait for Heaven to show gratitude to the Father. Pause for a moment right now and give thanks!
Stop! Relinquish the busyness of life for a moment and focus on the first Love of your life and priority, the Lord Jesus. Be thankful continually!
|Posted on November 28, 2015 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Luke 2:38 When she approached Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, she began speaking out thanks to God, and she continued spreading the word about Jesus to all those who shared her hope for the rescue of Jerusalem.
Anna had been waiting for the arrival of the Messiah for many years, serving faithfully in God’s temple. The Spirit allowed her to recognize Him immediately even though He was still a baby. She gave thanks to the Lord for allowing her to see the Eternal Hope, and spread the news to all who would listen. Anna had devoted her life to the temple after her husband died, so she gave herself to contemplative prayer of eager anticipation to be able to spot and bless the Messiah. Simon the Prophet was her contemporary and was also there. At the sight of the Messiah, he said he could go and rest in peace now. Anna was the opposite. She felt that she had to go and tell even though she was in her third act, but she got a third wind to go and share about this great miracle. It was an honor to her. Are we thankful that God came down as a baby, lived as we live, and gave himself for our salvation? Are we spreading this good news to everyone?
Matthew 14:19 and Jesus told the people to sit down on the grass. He took the bread and the fish, He looked up to heaven, He gave thanks, and then He broke the bread. Jesus gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples gave the bread to the people;
Matthew 15:36 He took the bread and the fish, He gave thanks, and then He broke the bread and divided the fish. He gave the bread and fish to the disciples, the disciples distributed them to the people,
Mark 6:41 Jesus took the five pieces of flatbread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, thanked God for the food, and broke it. He gave the pieces to the disciples to distribute,
Mark 8:6 So, as before, He commanded the people to sit down; and He took the rounds of flatbread, gave thanks for them, and broke them. His disciples took what He gave them and fed the people.
John 6:11 Jesus picked up the bread, gave thanks to God, and passed it to everyone. He repeated this ritual with the fish. Men, women, and children all ate until their hearts were content.
John 6:23 Other boats were arriving from Tiberias near the grassy area where the Lord offered thanks and passed out bread.
Both times that Jesus fed thousands of people with what should have been lunch for two, He gave thanks to the Father BEFORE the bread and fish multiplied. I am reminded of this story from the life of the great prayer warrior George Mueller:
"The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat," the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. "Mr. Mueller," he said, "last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in."
Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.
George took his cue from the Lord Jesus, thanking God for the meal before He provided the food! Read more of his story at http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html.
An attitude of gratitude is required. Do you see God as the sustainer and source of all living creatures, including you?
Luke 22:17 He took a cup of wine and gave thanks for it. Jesus: Take this; share it among yourselves.
Luke 22:19 Then He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and shared it with them. Jesus: This is My body, My body given for you. Do this to remember Me.
Mark 14:23 He took a cup of wine; and when He had given thanks for it, He passed it to them, and they all drank from it.
During their last Passover meal together, Jesus thanked God for the wine before He passed the cup to each of the disciples that they might drink. Was He, perhaps, thinking ahead to the blood He would shed to redeem them or maybe even to their blood shed as martyrs when they were indeed called to “drink of the same cup?”
Matthew 26:30The meal concluded. Together, all the men sang a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, and then they took a late evening walk to the Mount of Olives.
After what is now known as “The Last Supper,” Jesus and the disciples sang a thanksgiving hymn, a song praising God for His provision. How ironic that all but one of them had not a clue that the Lord’s greatest provision for them, His own death on the cross in their place, was only hours away!
Mark 2:12 The man rose to his feet, immediately rolled up his mat, and walked out into the streets. Everyone in the crowd was amazed. All they could do was shake their heads, thank God for this miracle, and say to each other, “We’ve never seen anything like that!”
We think, “Of course, we would thank God for a miracle”! If I were suddenly healed, I would be calling everybody everywhere and have a feast and a party. While I wait for the monumental freedom of access that the miracle will bring, there is a miracle of devoting my life wholeheartedly in the meantime. This is where I live every day, but I live with anticipation until the outward manifestation is mine. And God has assured me it is mine, but the timing of that gift is His; and I have to wait for it. Meanwhile I serve God to the best of my ability completely without bitterness or resentment. But I do pray sometimes that if He would remove this or that obstacle, I could do things faster or more proficiently. Have you ever thought that your differently abled child, sibling, or friend was made that way for a divine purpose? (John 9)
When I was in college, it was a place where healing was very much preached. But one day I got to the point where I could say, “Do I want my healing more or do I want relationship and intimacy with my Healer? Do I have faith in healing or do I have faith in my Healer?” By the way, the person who is writing to you now is an ordained minister who just happens to have the physical challenge of cerebral palsy and just had both legs amputated above the knee in August 2015.
Take a moment to thank the Lord who is the giver of every gift for all He has provided for you.
Luke 10:21 Then Jesus Himself became elated. The Holy Spirit was on Him, and He began to pray with joy. Jesus: Thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Thank You for hiding Your mysteries from the wise and intellectual, instead revealing them to little children. Your ways are truly gracious.
Jesus had just the admonished the disciples to rejoice more in their salvation than the power they had been given in His name. He prayed with JOY that the Father had chosen to reveal the mystery of faith to them that their names would be recorded in Heaven. Jesus was continually giving thanks to the Father. Should we not follow His example?
Jesus was thankful that God did not reveal the gospel to the religious elite who were wise in their own eyes, but instead to the common humanity: men, women, boys and girls, all who had the desire to listen from their hearts.
Luke 17:16 He prostrated himself facedown at Jesus’ feet. Leper: Thank You! Thank You! Now this fellow happened to be, not a Jew, but a Samaritan.
Many of us remember this story from childhood. Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one returned to thank Him. May we be a part of the 10% who take time to thank the Lord for all He has done. Last Sunday our interim pastor, Dr. Nolan Duck, reminded us that we should be known as “the company them that give thanks,” a phrase describing the events in Nehemiah 12:31-38. Are we as church congregations known as people who are continually giving thanks to God?
God’s army, the church, are supposed to be soldiers of thanksgiving.
Luke 18:11 Once inside the temple, the Pharisee stands up and prays this prayer in honor of himself: “God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people—crooks, cheaters, the sexually immoral—like this tax collector over here.
Perhaps our churches are known more as self-righteous people giving thanks that they are not like the “other” people of the world. Instead we should be thanking God for each of them He is going to deliver out of their sins in the SAME WAY He delivered us. Then we should go out and let the river of His Holy Spirit so flow through our lives that men and women are drawn to Him by the love we show.
We should be a reflection of unconditional love, not conditional judgement.
Luke 24:30 When they sit down at the table for dinner, He takes the bread in His hands, He gives thanks for it, and then He breaks it and hands it to them.
Do you recall the story of the resurrected Christ walking along the road to Emmaus with two believers, hiding His identity from them as they talked about His death? How did they finally realize Who they were entertaining for dinner? When He gave THANKS for the bread. May people recognize us as Christians when they see thanksgiving lived out in our lives daily, not just once a year.
We need to learn to give thanks for the small, the medium, and the large things. Thanksgiving needs to be a continual flow, not a sporadic, sometime event. Or when we find ourselves in trouble, being thankful for deliverance.
Acts 27:33-37 We wait. Just before dawn, Paul again gathers everyone on the ship—all 276 of us. He urges everyone to eat and encourages us not to lose hope. Paul: Listen, men, we’ve all been under incredible stress for 14 days. You haven’t eaten anything during this whole time. I urge you to take some food now because it will help you survive what we’re about to face. And I want to assure you—not one of you will lose a single hair from your head. We’re all going to make it—all 276 of us! Then Paul takes a loaf of bread and gives thanks to God in front of all of them. He breaks it, takes a piece, and begins to eat. A fresh surge of courage seems to fill their hearts as they also begin to eat.
Paul gave thanks for bread as he encouraged the men on the ship to strengthen themselves to survive shipwreck! He was confident the Lord would save every last one of them, and they took courage from His complete trust in God.
Whatever impossible life situation, especially those that we have no control to do anything about, we need to take a page from the book of the Apostle Paul. We need to be thankful that whatever form the trial may take, our Lord, Savior, and Source of life has already subdued the trial before it ever became apparent on our radar.
Acts 28:15 The believers from Rome heard we were coming, so they traveled out to meet us at the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. Paul thanked God and felt encouraged to see them.
Paul was on his way to Rome to await trial before the emperor because he had appealed to Caesar. He thanked God for encouraging him through the fellow believers who came out to greet him as he headed to “house arrest.” We need to thank God for the “familyship” of believers called the local church. I have lived and/or traveled to many places, and in each one the Lord provided brothers and sisters to encourage me.
Family is often made up of more than biology. Many times God gives us spiritual family. When you meet, it feels like that person or people have always had a place waiting for them, a divine appointment set up by God, before we were even born. Isn’t His attention to detail beautiful? When I was in college, away from family, my brothers and sisters in Christ surrounded me with love and care. God, through them, kept me from breaking into pieces. There were a few cracks along the way that needed mending, but I am thankful for holy familyship.
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus the Anointed for all of you because we are joined by faith as family, and your faith is spreading across the world.
Paul thanked the Father for the Roman believers and that their faith was being shared. No matter where we go, if we find a fellow Christian there, we are at home as family. Praise the Lord!
Romans 6:17 Thank God that your slavery to sin has ended and that in your new freedom you pledged your heartfelt obedience to that teaching which was passed on to you.
Are we as aware of our freedom from the slavery of sin as we should be? If we have truly been set free by Jesus, we are enabled to obey God willingly and wholeheartedly and to be grateful for each day He gives us to serve Him.
1 Corinthians 1:4 I am continuously thanking my God for you when I think about the grace God has offered you in Jesus the Anointed.
We need to thank God for the grace He offers us in calling us into His family. We are incapable of earning a place in God’s kingdom, so Jesus died to pay for our sin and make us fit for heaven. Do we pray regularly for the non-believers we know? Do we remember to express deep thanks to the Lord when one of them is drawn by the Spirit to surrender to God’s will?
One day I was forlorn and lamenting that my faith was high for physical healing, and it had not manifested yet. I was telling God I felt that people who walked physically had something on me. I felt I was “less than” because that was the way I had almost always been treated. The Lord came back to me and said, “The most elite athlete has nothing on you, and you have nothing on them. Neither one of you were fit for heaven. You are only, at this time, fit for earth.” Of course I was humbled and had nothing else to say except I will love God and thank God for being His, that I am a vessel under construction for heavenly invitation.
|Posted on November 21, 2015 at 10:20 PM||comments (0)|
Next Thursday, those of us in the USA will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. For many that means family, feast, and football. Sometimes we forget the purpose of the day - to give thanks. Just whom are we thanking? The Lord God, of course. However, there are those who say they do not believe in the God of the Bible or are not sure. Then why give thanks at all if there is no person receiving the thank you? God's word says in James 1:17, "Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows." The next few posts will be scriptures that remind us to show gratitude to the Father for all He has given and all He has done. You may note that the colors denoting Susan and Susie's voices change frequently, sometimes even in mid sentence. This is what we call "Bible Study Ping Pong."
Food for Thankful Thought - Psalms
(Scripture quoted from The Voice translation)
Psalm 26:7 From my soul, I will join the songs of thanksgiving; I will sing and proclaim Your wonder and mystery.
From our hearts we will praise the Lord along with the rest of the congregation as we worship Him on Sunday. We present ourselves together to offer our reverent gratitude to our Creator. Expressing thankfulness corporately allows us to build one another up. Hearing what others are grateful for encourages us to be have an “attitude of gratitude”.
Psalm 28:7 The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He send us His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song.
We are thankful that we are enveloped by God’s grace and that He is our holy Guard. He strengthens us to allow us to serve Him (Philippians 4:13), and we rely on Him, his help is readily available.
Psalm 30:4 Sing, all you who remain faithful! Pour out your hearts to the Eternal with praise and melodies; let grateful music fill the air and bless His name.
NOTE: Thankfulness is often expressed in song. It does not matter whether or not you can carry a tune. Just open your mouth in song and praise Him!!!
Psalm 42:4 With a broken heart, I remember times before when I was with Your people. Those were better days. I used to lead them happily into the True God’s house, Singing with joy, shouting thanksgivings with abandon, joining the congregation in the celebration.
The psalmists (the sons of Korah) were feeling lost and depressed because of their separation from God and His people. They long for a revival of declaring the Lord in exuberant celebration. Notice they did not give thanks quietly but shouted their praise to the Lord.
Psalm 45:15 They walk in a spirit of celebration and gratefulness. In delight, they enter the palace of the king.
When we go in the door of the sanctuary, do we enter with gratefulness; or is our focus on things like “I’ve got to get MY seat, I hope I see my best friend, I hope we get out of here before the game starts, will we beat the other churches to the restaurants, or I have to go home and cook.” We should be thinking, “I can’t wait to get lost in expressions of praise and gratitude to my first and only true Love.”
Psalm 50:14, 23 Set out a sacrifice I can accept: your thankfulness. Be true to your word to the Most High… Set out a sacrifice I can accept: your thankfulness. Do this, and you will honor Me. Those who straighten up their lives will know the saving grace of God.”
More than your monetary offerings, the Lord’s chief interest is that of your heart and your gratitude to Him. The Lord defines the acceptable sacrifice as our thankfulness.
Psalm 54:6 I will sacrifice to You willingly; I will lift Your name by shouts of thanksgiving, O Eternal One, for Your name is good.
There we go shouting again! Do you get the idea that other people are supposed to know that we are thankful and that the object of our gratitude is the Lord God Almighty? It should not be like pulling teeth for the Lord to hear us express our thanks – we should be ready and willing to give praise to Him at all times. If we can make noise at a sporting event or a concert, how is that we are not eager to offer more than this in God’s house?!!
Psalm 56:12-13 I am bound by Your promise, O God. My life is my offering of thanksgiving to You, for You have saved my soul from the darkness of death, steadied my feet from stumbling so I might continue to walk before God, embraced in the light of the living.
God had preserved David’s life as he fled from Saul. In this Psalm, he is thanking the Lord for saving his life that he might continue walking in the purpose God had given him as the anointed future king of Israel. God determines how many days we have on this earth. Do we wake up each morning thanking Him for another day?
Psalm 69:30 The name of the True God will be my song, an uplifting tune of praise and thanksgiving!
Do you recall any songs that contain various names of God: Emanuel, Jesus, Light of the World, El Shaddai, Blessed Redeemer, Jehovah Jirah, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father? Maybe you could make up your own song containing the names of God that are most meaningful. Thank Him that He is Who He is!
Psalm 99:3 Let them express praise and gratitude to Your amazing and awesome name— because He is holy, perfect and exalted in His power
We know God is perfect, but we don’t often think about it, focus on it, contemplate it. Are we thankful that we can trust our Father to take perfect care of His world and His children?
Psalm 100:1 & 4 [A song of thanks.] Raise your voices; make a beautiful noise to the Eternal, all the earth…Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.
The King James Version says to “make a joyful noise” which helps out a lot of people who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. God does not necessarily hear the sound of your voice but focuses on the song and cadence of your heart. So go ahead and lift your voice in song without fear of man’s opinion. You are there to please only the audience of One!
Psalm 103:2 & 10 O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done… Thankfully, God does not punish us for our sins and depravity as we deserve. In His mercy, He tempers justice with peace.
Are truly aware of just how lost we once were (or perhaps you still are)? We were completely undeserving of God’s love, but He chose to love us anyway. We still battle with sinful thoughts, but He cleanses us as we confess them. We need to thank Him often for drawing us out of darkness into His light. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests, a holy nation, God’s own; so that you may proclaim the wondrous acts of the One who called you out of inky darkness into shimmering light.”
Psalm 107:1 Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good and His loyal love lasts forever.
Loyal, unconditional, and ALWAYS love. Now that’s something to shout about!
Psalm 107:22 Let them present to Him thanksgiving sacrifices and tell stories of His great deeds through songs of joy.
What are thanksgiving sacrifices? This referred to temple worship. However, sometimes it takes sacrificing our flaky emotions in order to praise the Lord. Remembering His mighty deeds both those in the Bible and in our own experiences, will help us to praise and thank Him even though tough times.
Psalm 116:17 And I come, eager to offer a sacrifice of gratitude and call on the name of the Eternal.
(Compare to Philippians 4:4-8) Look it up. Are we EAGER to thank the Lord? Do we thank Him even before He has answered a specific prayer?
Psalm 138 [ A song of David. ] To You, Lord, I give my whole heart, a heart filled with praise, for I am grateful; before the gods, my heart sings praises to You and You alone. I bow before You, looking to Your holy temple, and praise Your name, for Your unfailing love and Your truth; for You have placed Your name and Your word over all things and all times. On the day I needed You, I called, and You responded and infused my soul with strength. ...
If we could see our hearts as a gift and a treasure, we would not give them away so easily to something or someone other than God. He alone is worthy of our praise. His strength is like a blood transfusion giving us life and the ability to serve Him and others as His earthly ambassadors. We are the bride of Christ. Should we not be singing His praises to every one we meet?
Psalm 139:14 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
God created You, a unique design, like no one else (not even your twin). He has a specific assignment for you and you alone once you belong to His family.
Psalm 142:7 Lift my captive soul from this dark prison so I may render to You my gratitude; Then Your righteous people will gather around me because You will treat me with astounding goodness.”
If you are in a dark place, if you are having a difficult time “feeling” thankful, pray this verse. Ask your heavenly Father to heal your hurts, repair your emotions, lift your depression, and enable you to praise Him once again with your entire being. He understands that you are human because he made you. Psalm 103:14 “For He knows what we are made of; He knows our frame is frail, and He remembers we came from dust.” Be honest with Him, and ask Him to help you to see all that He has given you. Then you will be able to thank Him from a full heart.