Tag Archives: Thankful

Fuel Gauge

It didn’t take too long to realize that my van had a fuel gauge issue, as the van continued to show I had a full tank of gas after driving it for a week. I had a car like that before, and knew the quick remedy was to use the faithful trip monitor for mileage and get gas frequently. It was working well for me. I was told it would cost a lot of money to fix the gauge and I certainly didn’t want to make that kind of investment.

Recently, my van has been involved in numerous vehicular accidents. People cannot seem to get enough of hitting the van. At times, I’ll be in the van. At times, it’s park and people ram into it like playing bumper cars. Nonetheless, the accident that began the domino occurrences of accidents did something wild. It fixed my gas gauge. The accident that caused whiplash and days of pain fixed the fuel gauge. What a blessing in the middle of chaos!

Today, look at the blessings around you. Perhaps you are going through a great trial. Maybe you feel like you have been struggling for a long time. But through it all, there are blessings upon blessings. Acknowledge them. Thank the Lord! He is good. Always! And He uses everything—the good and the bad – for His good purpose.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NIV]

Be Sure to Praise

When we are blessed, it is sometimes hard to remember the Source of the blessing. The Bible tells us, “When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God.” We are reminded to be careful. It is so easy while we are in our time of “plenty” that we “forget the LORD… God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees.”

Today, aim to get into the habit of praising God. Continue to seek out opportunities to praise Him. As you give Him the honor and praise He deserves, you will continue to remind yourself of your dependence on Him. You will remember the Source of everything and develop an attitude of gratitude.

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 8:7-14 [NLT]

Your Faith

We are very self-centered. Take a photo with a group of people, and surely you will first seek out yourself in the picture when you first look at it. It’s in our nature. Even when we think of our faith walk, we think it is all about us.

Your faith is not simply your faith. Whether you realize it or accept it, your faith life is on display to anyone who sets their eyes on you. With each step you take, you have the opportunity to point to Jesus. As you live out your life, if you are walking with a firm faith, people will notice. People will question. People will desire to know why things are different for you. But this cannot happen when you are not walking in faithful obedience. This cannot happen if you do not demonstrate your faith. The question at that point is—are you truly a person of faith? Faith is trust in action. I can believe something, but trusting is beyond simple belief.

Paul speaks about a group of people who had faith that was spoken about “all over the world.” What?!? All over the world they were talking of their faith? YES! The people were faithfully obedient and thus, others came to hear of Jesus Christ because of their faith. Today, consider who is talking about your faith. Is anyone talking about your faith? If I spoke with your family and friends today, would they mention your faith? Are there people who have not yet heard about Jesus, because you are not ready to share your faith? Remember, your faith is not all about you. Someone needs to hear your testimony. May today be the day you share what Jesus is doing for you!

“Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world.” – Romans 1:8 [NLT]

Giving Thanks

We are taught at a young age to say “thank you.” When you are raising a child and the “thank you” is not said when the child receives something, there is a prompt given. “Say thank you,” we say. Young people know this too well. Mom and dad will give the eyes if you receive something and do not say the words. But thankfulness is not simple about words, but about the heart. And the One we owe the most thanks to is God Almighty!

The Psalmist speaks of thankfulness being your sacrifice to God. He says that giving thanks is what truly honors God. Consider this—we often get caught up on trying to do for God. We think we can do good things and that is our sacrifice. But we get entrapped in this idea that we are paying God back. We busy ourselves with doing and we forget to thank Him for all He continues to do. But what He wants is us—He wants our heart. Instead of doing good things, stop for a second. Take a moment. Pause. Thank Him for what He has done and is doing in your life. Give thanks. That honors Him more than empty tasks.

God has already done for us. He continues to do for us. We can never do enough to outdo God. When we thank Him, and recognize what He has done, we acknowledge that He is above all and in all. He is the great I AM. Honor Him today with your thanksgiving! Stop striving and stand in awe before your Maker!

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” – Psalm 50:14, 23 [NLT]

Strong Vines

As I was trying to prepare the flower beds for Fall, I made yet another attempt to tear out the vines that are planted in many areas of my yard. These vines drive me crazy every time I take the effort to remove them. If you are not familiar with vines, you do not understand the nuisance it is to remove them. You begin to pull some of the vine, but soon realize you are not close to the root. Instead, you are pulling different strands of new growth, connected to other growth. It’s hard to even pull anything out because everything grows connected and is bound together underground, connected with the strong root. The root system keeps me from ever getting rid of the vines.

Imagine now how Jesus speaks of our need to abide in Him. He promises if we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4). He is our strong root system, our foundation. Paul wrote that we should let our “roots grow down into Him.” If we are rooted with Him, we are like those vines with the strong root, that is difficult to move. When we are rooted in Christ, our “faith will grow strong.” When we are rooted in Christ, we “overflow with thankfulness.”

Ask the Spirit to reveal to you your root system. If you are unsure if you are abiding in Him, consider how much time you devote to prayer, Bible reading and Bible study, and walking in the will of God. If these things sound foreign, or if these things are not of most importance on your list of priorities, it is time to start reviewing your list. Look at what you are trying to grow. Look at where you are investing yourself. Do you want to live a life growing with the strong vine, or are you trying to grow yourself to build yourself up? You’ll find that the little sprouts are easy to pull from the ground, very different from the strong rooted vines. Don’t live like a little sprout.

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7 [NLT]

Everything from Him

Tonight I had some tomato soup for dinner. It was upsetting to find no saltine crackers after I already prepared the soup. It just wasn’t the same. It didn’t take me long to grumble because there were no crackers, and then remember that I am blessed to have the bowl of soup.

We often forget how blessed we are by God. He gives us so much. We take it for granted. In Romans 11, we read the question, “Who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?” This basically says we can never out give God. He gives in abundance. He blesses us greatly. Everything comes from God and if we grasp that, we will live with a heart of gratitude and not cling to the things of this earth.

The Sabbath is a special gift to us. We need to remember it’s not just about taking a rest. The Sabbath is so much more. It’s about remembering where everything comes from— GOD. The people were to collect for six days and rest the seventh. In doing so, they were trusting in the provision of God. The people were trusting that God will give them all they need. They recognize everything is from Him.

I love to celebrate the Sabbath. It helps to keep me focused. It helps to keep me thankful. Today, remember “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” Remember that God is the great provider. Trust Him to meet your needs. Rest knowing that He is faithful.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” – Psalm 24:1 [NLT]

“Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:35-36 [HCSB]

Colossians Study: The Gospel Truth

[Colossians 1:1-8]

The Gospel is…

  • Good News of God (v. 5)
  • The Word of Truth (v. 6)
  • The Message of God’s Grace (v. 6)
  • Centered in a person – Jesus (v. 4)
  • Universal – It is for the whole world (v. 6)
  • Humanly transmitted (v. 7)
  • Productive – Multiplies (v. 6)

People believed. People were discipled. People were faithful in Christ.

FAITH in Jesus and LOVE for God’s people that spring from HOPE stored up in heaven (v. 4-5)

HOPE…

God’s way = the best way

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1 NASB)

God’s way = the only real peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)

God’s way = the only real joy

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11 NLT)

God’s way = the only true and lasting reward

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35 NIV)

Bible Study Questions:

1) How does Paul introduce himself to the Colossians? How does he address the Colossians?

2) Paul wrote that he was thankful for the Colossians. What specifically made Paul thankful and excited for this church in Colossae? (see v. 3-8)

3) Paul never met the people in Colossae. Who shared the Gospel with these people? How is he described?

4) What is the Gospel? Read Acts 2:22-24, Acts 16:30-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

5) One of the unmistakable characteristics of the Gospel is God’s grace in all its truth. John 1:14, 17 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (ESV).

How do you define grace?

How do you define truth?

How can you share God’s grace?

How can you share God’s truth?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Practice These Things

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8; Paul tells us in this verse where we are to focus or to dwell. The Greek word for dwell is “logizomai” which means to count, to decide, to think, to reason, to take into account. In today’s passage, Paul tells us what to practice, and he also reveals the results if practiced – “the God of peace will be with you.” Yes, God will be with you. But this verse says the “God of peace,” reminding us all that our God is a God of peace. He is the only way we can truly have peace, and He offers a peace beyond comprehension.

So what do we practice? Let us read this passage again. The first part of the passage says to REJOICE IN THE LORD. That’s the first thing to practice. Rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord. Some translations say “always be full of joy in the Lord” (NLT). The Message says, “Celebrate God all day, every day.” One way I practice this daily is through worship. Our life is to be a continual worship of our Lord and Savior. In everything we do—worship God. Praise Him. Celebrate Him!

The next part of the passage says to be anxious for nothing. Instead we are to PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Prayer and Bible reading are the top ways our God communicates with us. We are to pray about everything, not just some things. Yes, that means we cannot pray about something too small. We should place everything in His hands. Just like our life should be continuous worship, our life should also be about continuous prayer. From when we wake up in the morning till our eyes close for the night, we can be in continuous communication with God. Brother Lawrence spoke to God while doing the dishes. I speak to Him as I sit at my desk at work. Prayer should not only be done once a day by your bed or in a church pew. Every day. Continuous. A life of prayer. Sometimes your mouth may not move, but your heart speaks—Oh the joy of recognizing you are in God’s presence every second of every day.

The verse continues, “with THANKSGIVING.” Did you know that it is impossible to thank God enough? As we thank God each day and live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, we humbly walk with Christ. We appreciate with what God has blessed us. We even love people more.

So what’s left? What we have learned and received and heard and seen—God’s Truth—what is true and honorable and right and lovely, we are to embrace. Yes, EMBRACE GOD’S TRUTH! As you practice these things, as you live a life of worship and thanks and prayer, as you embrace God’s Truth, you truly do have God with you—and He is the God of peace. It is a peace beyond understanding. And it’s yours when you do life with God. It is not an instantaneous thing, but it is something you live when you walk in Christ and practice these things!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:4-9 [NASB]

 

In Silence

I’m currently reading Exodus. In Chapter 14, I read this– And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be silent. [ESV]

Fear not
Stand firm
See the salvation of the LORD
Be silent

These are hard things for us. So often our lives are steered by fear and pride. We don’t always stand firm but instead turn tail and run. We aren’t always thankful for this great salvation from the Lord. Being silent– that’s hard. It’s hard for me (anyone who knows me knows I can talk) but it’s difficult for everyone. Jesus wants us to enjoy His company in silence, away from the noise of the world. It’s so we can hear Him.

Today, remember that the LORD is with you. He is fighting with you. It’s His battle. And He wants you to fear not and stand firm with the confidence only He can give you. In the silence, as you watch Him move and work out His great plan, you will see the salvation of the Lord and His glory will be seen by many. God is alive. Amen.

Be a Blessing

Be a Blessing

Abraham was promised three things. God said He would make him a great nation. God said He would make his name great. God said He would bless him. We remember these promises. Again and again there is mention of this covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant. What a beautiful promise! What an awesome covenant!

So. So. So. Oh yes, there’s a second half of the verse. The verse continues, “So that you will be a blessing.” God will make Abraham a great nation, and bless him and make his name great SO that he will be a blessing. There’s receiving, but there’s also giving. There’s an expectation. There’s a response.

We each are blessed. Blessed to be a blessing. You have a choice in life. You can reach out and grab it all for yourself. Or you can ask yourself, how can I be a blessing? Today, consider what you can do to bless someone. It might be by using a gift or talent, by using something in your possession, by reaching into your pocketbook, or maybe it simply means to listen or smile or spend your time with someone. It is wonderful to be thankful for your blessings. But an attitude of gratitude should result in a desire to be a blessing.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2 [ESV]