Today’s verse speaks of who truly honors God – “whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (NASB). The Message translation calls this living the “praising life.” The Bible says that we were created to glorify God (see Isaiah 43:7). Psalm 50:23 makes it clear that we are living out our purpose to glorify God when we live “in the gratitude of grace.” The real question is how well are we bringing God glory with our gratitude of grace?
If we are honest about this question, if we are honest about the thanksgiving we have lived out today, it is likely the thankfulness is not very evident. We spend so much of our time thinking we have earned what we have, that we are entitled to certain things. We overlook our daily blessings because we do not spend time considering life without them. When something good comes our way, our initial response usually isn’t to thank God for provision, for blessings, for protection, etc. Though God is alive and active, and very much moving in the world today, we oftentimes allow God to be boxed up, whereas we only need interact or thank Him when we have a grand request. Everything is separate. Everything else we can handle in our own strength.
Without our life lived in the gratitude of grace, our testimony of the Gospel is silenced. If we do not spend time praising Him, pointing to Him, honoring Him, etc., what does everyone see? When we aren’t pointing to God, our fingers are always pointing elsewhere—to ourselves, to others, etc.
How can we truly live in the gratitude of grace? We can devote more time listing reasons we are thankful, spending each day trying to find more reasons God deserves all praise and glory. We can receive the Gospel daily to remind us of the free gift of God’s grace. We can pour out that freshly received grace to others as we go about our day. We can pause to breathe in God’s grace and meditate on His goodness. What are you thankful for today?
“The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace, always choosing to walk with me in what is right. This is the sacrifice I desire from you. If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you.” – Psalm 50:23 [TPT]
March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.
When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.
This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.
Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.
But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.
As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.
Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!
As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.
This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.
Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!
God is true. In a world where there are lies all around, God is true. No matter what we think or believe, God is true. No matter what someone says otherwise, God is true. It is not something to be debated. It is not something that can change. The word used here means true, reality, undeniable, something that will ultimately be shown to be fact or authentic. God is true.
What does this mean for us? First, we can rest in Him. We can trust that He is faithful and that His Word is true. Knowing that He is true and His Word is truth should cause us to boldly walk forward with Him, no matter any struggles or circumstances. Despite the lies that surround us, we can trust that He is true and unchanging. He is a sure foundation.
It also means that we do not need to try to prove that God is true. Apologetics are great, but be careful not to force the truth on someone. He is true. God is true. God never asked us to get others to accept He is true. He commanded us to share the Good News. When you speak about God, share the Good News. Revelation 12:11 speaks of a victory, a victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. When you share your faith, share what God is doing in your life—not why you are right and the non-believer is wrong because the person disagrees about God. You do not need to make God true for someone. He is true. The Spirit will open eyes and hearts. Share your testimony through words and action.
“Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, ‘You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.’” – Romans 3:4 [NLT]
When Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came for a visit, he had “heard about everything God has done.” This verse isn’t a verse people usually post as the big motivational verse. This isn’t the life-changing verse for most people. But look at it closely. This man had heard what God did for Moses and the Israelites. He heard. To hear, someone must have shared. Not only was someone sharing, but they were sure to mention that “the LORD had rescued them from Egypt.”
This verse speaks volumes about what we should be speaking about with others—how our gift of gab or our social media savvy can help point people to Jesus. Someone who wasn’t able to see how God moved in mighty ways to rescue His people, still heard about what had happened. People gave God the glory. People spoke of the great things God had done. People heard about everything from those willing to share their testimony.
Today, understand that you have a great testimony to share. You might think it’s not as grand as the parting of the Red Sea. Don’t overthink things my friends. Every person has a testimony; each testimony is important. John ended his book to tell us that the world could not contain all that could be written about the works of Jesus (John 21:25). We each have a part to share. Our testimony is a blessing. Our testimony is a gift. Our testimony needs to be shared. Share today. Remember your testimony is not only meant to be kept in your head to remind you of how God acted, but to share with others who desperately need to meet Jesus.
“Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the LORD had rescued them from Egypt. – Exodus 18:1 [NLT]
Look Back – Remember what God has done
Joshua 3-4 – REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE
Remember personal experience
Remember to share faith – John 21:25
NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR TESTIMONY- IT IS YOURS ALONE
Look Back – Remember past events and old life
Dwell on past sins – missing old life – longing for what was
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Leave your old self behind – put on new self (Ephesians 4:17-24)
Old self – “the flesh” is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so (Romans 8:6-7) – old self is all about us
Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19, Luke 17:32-33 – Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it
Harboring unforgiveness towards others / holding grudges
FORGIVE means to NOT TALK ABOUT IT and to NOT THINK ABOUT IT
Forgive just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
FORGIVE LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12)
Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23
Pray for them – But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
Look Back – Remember Past Mistakes
Romans 3:23 – All fall short of the glory of God
Everyone makes mistakes:
- Abraham fled to Egypt because of drought (Genesis 12-13)
- Moses killed Egyptian (Exodus 2) & struck rock in anger (Numbers 20)
- Peter denied Jesus THREE times (Mark 14:66-72)
Today’s Passage: Conception and Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25
“Verse 21 – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Nathan Rebukes David – 2 Samuel 12:1-14
- David – man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
- David commits adultery & plans murder to cover up sin (2 Samuel 11).
- David’s repents – TRUE REPENTANCE – David’s prayer – Psalm 51
Knowing if it is a sin
- Sin is going against God and His Word. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. (1 John 3:4). Know God’s Word. Know His Commands. READ BIBLE & PRAY – REQUIRES AN ACTIVE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP
- Believers have His Spirit (the Spirit of God) to teach (Ephesians 1:17) and convict (John 16:8)
You must admit sins
- To be healed (James 5:16)
- To get another chance (Proverbs 28:13)
- To be changed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
- To share with others
Your sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ
- Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9)
- While you were dead in sin He forgave ALL our sins (Colossians 2:13)
- The debt was cancelled – Jesus nailed it to the Cross – paid in full (Colossians 2:14)
- He blots out our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
- He will not even remember our sins – acts as if they never happened – forgives as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12)
Confession isn’t necessary for forgiveness – Jesus finished that once for all – but it is important
There is NO ONE between you and God.
- Jesus encourages us to confess to the Lord (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
- We were given an Advocate with the Father – Mediator – Holy Spirit (1 John 2:1)
- We should reach out to Him daily for a spiritual washing (1 John 1:9)
- We should confess to each other because it’s beneficial to the body (James 5:16)
- Not only do others realize we all struggle, but there is ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need an accountability partner who will SPEAK TRUTH.
Philippians 1:6 – He will complete the work He began in you – TRUST
We had a great time at the Joyce Meyer Conference but good things much eventually end. We went into the parking lot and we were stuck. It took an hour to just leave the parking lot. With all that time to fill, my sister and were singing some worship songs. But we also decided to remove her worn steering wheel cover. I tried to pull it and it would not budge. My sister helped. With the two of us, it still would not pop off of the steering wheel. Finally I let out a war cry, which I’ll admit sounded like a sad dog growl. Just at that moment there was a group of people passing by and a fellow heard my sad sound. He said, “Don’t worry. I haven’t seen a thing. No one has seen it happen” and kept walking.
I’ll admit I got a bit flushed with embarrassment but then I was reminded of the need for transparency and realness in this world. We spend so much time trying to pretend we don’t make certain noises, we don’t do particular things, we don’t watch “those shows,” we don’t listen to “that music.” We spend a lot of time trying to pretend we are “good Christians” or “good people” or “happy” or that we have it all together.
Guess what?!? I make weird screaming sounds as I remove steering wheel covers. Sometimes I think bad things. Sometimes I don’t make the best choice because I don’t listen and I want what I want. Sometimes I get angry at other drivers. Sometimes I spill coffee on my shirt and don’t change my shirt because it blends in. Stop trying to appear perfect. Stop trying to appear that you have everything together. God sees you when no one else can see you and God can see your heart. Don’t worry about what others think about you or how you appear—ask God to give you eyes for Him. Ask God to help you focus on Him and not on the world. Through your transparency and your desire to please God and God alone, there will be a testimony to others. It will be a much better story than anything you could pretend to tell. It will be the truth and it will point to the Truth.
“Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NLT]
There is something that I hear and read too often – My life sucks. Sometimes it really can be frustrating to hear these words, especially from the mouths of Christians. Usually it is not something that is said once, but it is a way of life for some people. Perhaps the person believes he or she is the only one who has problems, trials, and hardships. Perhaps the person is not happy because he or she is not getting what’s desired. Either way, it is like nails on a chalkboard to hear those words.
Since sin entered the equation many, many years ago, everyone has hardships and struggles and pain. It is not how God intended the world, but we made a choice. Jesus has defeated death and through Him we overcome; however, trials and suffering still occur here on earth. I could list many of my personal struggles, and people who know me well can see them just by watching me walk, but it is not about that at all. When people see me and know of my struggles, they don’t hear that my life sucks—they hear that Jesus is taking care of me, helping me through each and every day. They see my testimony without me opening my mouth.
Does your life suck? Are things not going the way you intended? Do you have limited funds? Do you hate your job? Do you have relationship problems? Are you struggling through life? I am sure you have a lot on your plate. We all do. But remember, each day is a blessing—each day is a gift from God. You can walk through life complaining about each day, being ungrateful for the gift or you can ask God to use you, to strengthen you, to be a part of your life and things will be very different. I might have pain this morning as I write this, but I have a joy and peace that only Jesus can give. My life does not suck. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what challenges and hardships come my way, each day is another opportunity, another gift. Each morning I thank Him for giving me another chance. What will you do with your opportunity today?
“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11 [NIV]
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 [NLT]