Friday, November 9, 2018

Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Paul tells the believers at Thessalonica this guiding principle.
Rejoice: be joyful, express praise.
Always: do it at all times.
Wait a minute! No one can be joyful when they have a car wreck, when they lose a loved one through death, or when they are faced with a divorce.

In times like these, we can be thankful that Jesus is there to give us the strength to guide us through the difficulties, the grief, and emotions.

At certain times, we may have to search for reasons to rejoice about the issue we face but, if we ask His guidance, Jesus always shows us His purpose, according to His timing.

pray without ceasing

How can a believer do this? How can we be in prayer non-stop throughout our days?

We should maintain an attitude of prayer. We can pray whenever we come across a need, be it ours or another’s. When we hear another person express a need or a concern, we can offer to pray right then. When we face upsetting circumstances ourselves, we can cry out to Jesus in our hearts.

give thanks IN all circumstances

Paul then tells the Thessalonians and future believers to “give thanks.” When we thank another person, we convey our appreciation of them and their deeds. When we give thanks to the LORD, we humble ourselves before Him and express gratitude for what He has done.

He then tells us to do this in all circumstances. When we first read this, we might gloss over the preposition. He tells us to express our appreciation IN ALL circumstances-whether good or bad.

When we give thanks to the LORD we give homage (honor) to Him for His presence with us. For what He has done for us, or for what He will do to guide us through to the resolution of the issue we face.

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Paul further tells us why we should do these actions. God desires to have us acknowledge Him and what He does on our behalf.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Being Thankful

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving, and
 let us make a joyful noise to him with him with songs of praise.
Psalm 95:2 (NIV)

The psalmist gives us a formula with which to approach the LORD. He encourages us to come before Him with thanksgiving.

Have we received an answer to a long-standing prayer request?  When we do, we should give thanks and praise to the LORD.

Has God spoken to us about something that has been on our heart? When He does, the response we give should be one of gratitude.

Has someone reached out to us to bring us out of an emotional low? We should thank God for that person.

Has a total stranger gone out of his way to show you respect?  Our response should be a prayer of giving thanks for that person know only to Go
Has God brought us or a friend’s loved one been brought through major surgery or a major illness? We have only one response that we should have, that of thanksgiving.

Several years ago, I heard a woman say that we should have an attitude of gratitude about all the innumerable ways God helps us throughout our lives.

As children of God, we should learn to practice “Thanks-living” throughout each day of the year.

We should live thankfully each day the Lord gives us.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thank You, Lord, for Leading Me

Image result for Captain Kangaroo

This being the month of November and the time we think about the things for which we are thankful, I want to share a story with you. It’s a true story. A couple of months ago, the Children’s Directors stopped in at our prayer group and said she was having a time getting people to commit to having the “Children’s Moments” message.

I felt convicted. As we were leaving, I told her to put my name down for some Sunday in November. As I drove away, I received the message I would use. Yesterday was my day to talk to the children. Here is my script I used:

Good Morning, boys and girls.
We are in a new month. Do you know what it is?
What holiday do we celebrate near the end of this month?

Can you tell me why we take the time to observe this holiday?
On the first Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God for the bountiful harvest. This feast was especially dear to them because the winter before they had very little to eat. They were grateful to God for His provision for them.

A lot of your grandparents, when they were kids, watched a television program this man had. His name was Captain Kangaroo. He told those who watched about two “magic” words, “Please” and “Thank you.” When we use please, we ask nicely that something be done for us. When we say thank you, we show that we are grateful for what they did for us.

We should say “Thank you,” to God for everything we have. When I was in the third grade, my teacher told our class that Thanksgiving was about giving thanks for what we had to eat, even if it was peanut butter and jelly.

Before you go to Junior Church, let’s bow our heads and thank God for all He gives us.

Dear Father God: We thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who died for our sins. We thank You for our families, our friends, and our neighbors. We thank You for our Church and for all those who work to keep it up. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

The children were quite attentive. They gave the answers to my questions. Just before I explained the idea of saying please and thank you, I had the sound/tech man put a picture of Captain Kangaroo on the screen. The congregation responded with his name and the magic words.

I wasn’t expecting that kind of response from the children and, especially, not from the adults.

My praise is for God leading me by giving me the message and for the kindness of the congregation displayed by their reaction to seeing Captain Kangaroo.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...