Posts Tagged ‘1 Thessalonians 5:18’

Thanksliving: Giving thanks for my new book and so much more

November 21, 2018

On the eve of the nation’s traditional Thanksgiving celebration, I pause to give thanks to God for countless blessings, including the publication of my long awaited book: Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs, where I share my holistic strategy to overcome a diagnosis of prostate cancer given in 2000. One of the vital aspects of my cancer journey focused on thanksgiving. Here is an excerpt from the book. I invite readers to read, rejoice, and celebrate the goodness of God with me.

When most people hear the term thanksgiving, there is an almost automatic association with turkey, dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (or sweet potato pie, depending upon your ethnic tastes). Many associate the word with pageants of Pilgrims and Native Americans, with parades and football games—the prelude to the final holiday season of the year. For many people around the world, however, thanksgiving is more than a holiday observed the fourth Thursday in November. Actually, thanksgiving is always appropriate. Thanksgiving should be the reason for every season.

Let me first of all explain exactly what I mean by thanksgiving. In its most basic sense, thanksgiving is the application of an essential principle of life: giving and receiving. When one gives, one receives, and always in higher proportion than one gives. Although many people think of giving and receiving in terms of tithes and offerings or of giving of material abundance within a church or religious context, the universal principle works in all aspects of life—particularly in thanksgiving, most literally to give thanks or to show oneself grateful.

As Christian believers, giving thanks to God for His grace and goodness reverses the negative thinking pattern generated by toxic emotions. I learned I cannot honestly be thankful and feel fearful or disappointed at the same time, nor can I be angry nor discouraged when I see all God has done for me and express gratitude to Him at the same time. Indeed, I cannot simultaneously sink to the depths of despair when I recognize how blessed I have been thus far, as I anticipate even greater blessings on the horizon, for the best is always yet to come with God, my beneficent Father.

God wants us to show ourselves grateful at all times. The Word of God reminds us of this truth in several places:

Colossians 3:17—

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Ephesians 5:20—

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God reveals that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6—

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Hebrews 13:15—

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in I Thessalonians 5:18.The King James Version renders the verse this way—

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

To facilitate memorizing this particular verse, I composed a scripture Memory Song,

In Everything Give Thanks:

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

Repeat

When things in life don’t seem to turn out

Just as we think they should,

We know that God still has a grand plan

And works all things together—

He works all things together for our good.

 

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

The sun shines bright or the darkest night,

No matter what the mood,

We still give thanks always for all things.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

We keep an attitude of gratitude.

 

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. If I think about it, I can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that I am alive or that my situation could be worse. I can begin with thanking God that I am alive and then adding to the long list of blessings I am enjoying at that moment. Each time I set my mind to be thankful, I am doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and in despair or having other negative feelings is sometimes described as stinkin’ thinkin’, which directly affects how I act. One of the critical factors in my physical and emotional well-being is my attitude. The discussion of attitude comes full circle with a reminder that attitude begins with gratitude. J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless goodwill.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful response-ability, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As a believer, I continually endeavor to demonstrate my gratitude to God from the fullness of my heart, overflowing with thanks.

More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful I am, I desire to maintain a continual attitude of gratitude, a lifestyle that some have called thanksliving. The essence of my attitude of endless gratitude is expressed through poetry:

Thanksliving

What shall I render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can I say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can I call
With all my being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of my heart?
I must do more than mouth a platitude—
To express the soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express my gratitude.
Mere words seem empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So I must worship God with my spirit
And must give thanks well for all of my days.
To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;
With each breath, each move, I must live thanks to Him.

More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. I found out that I must show how grateful I am with all of my being—“Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As I do so, I counteract the negative effects of disappointment, discouragement, despair, and any other toxic emotions that keep me from being all that God designed me to be.

We conclude with one of the most beautiful thanksgiving songs ever composed:

Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs is now available wherever books are sold and online. Check out https://lonnelledwardjohnson.com for more details.

Be thankful and continually give thanks to God

May 7, 2018

Taken from Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, an epistle written by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, the Verse of the Day for May 7, 2018 provides great encouragement to believers to be continually in prayer today and every day.

These three inter-related, verses form a three-fold cord that will intertwine with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. The Amplified Bible’s renders the passage this way:

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

A recent blog entry talks about the importance of attitude and offers this reminder:

Thanksliving

“. . . Attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As a believer, I constantly endeavor to demonstrate my gratitude to God from the fullness of my heart, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful I am, I desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called “thanksliving.

Much than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.”

This all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involves everything we do and say, just as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 proclaims: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Jesus Christ also tells us “Men ought always to pray and not to faint,” another reminder “to pray without ceasing.” We combine these scriptural references to praying in the following scripture memory song:

We ought always to pray and not to faint.
We ought always to pray and not to faint.
We ought always to pray and not to faint.
To pray, pray, pray, pray, pray without ceasing.

As the circumstances of our lives unfold in the midst of the perilous times in which we live, unquestionably, “There is always something to pray about,” as the Word of God encourages us always to be thankful to God,

As We Pray

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
as we pray always for you,

Colossians 1:3

 

During these dark times, we focus on the Kingdom,

Established and grounded on a sure foundation.

As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,

New paths of this Apostolic Reformation

Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.

Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.

Aware of consequences of each decision,

We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.

As we renew our minds, we are transformed and change:

With a “kingdom mindset” we now see with new eyes.

Beyond past narrow limits our view is long-range.

We number our days with each sunset and sunrise,

As the Word commands: pray without ceasing, night and day,

Knowing that God always fulfills his will, as we pray.

We close with one more reminder to “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):

Attitude of gratitude: Thanksliving

May 5, 2018

Philippians-4_6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2018 reveals that, as believers, we are reminded that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Here is the rendering of this celebrated passage in the New Living Translation (NLT):

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

In the forthcoming book Not Just a Survivor: More than a Conqueror, I share my holistic strategy developed in response to being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. In discussing some of the components of the soul—the mind, will, and emotions that impacted my response to the diagnosis, I focused on the passage from Philippians 4:6-7 and other related scriptures in this excerpt:

In critical situations where a person may have accidentally ingested a highly toxic substance, the state Poison Control Center, if contacted, can suggest a specific antidote to counteract that poison. In some cases a “universal antidote” is recommended. In the case of some of the toxic emotions previously discussed, another “universal antidote” is recommended to counteract any and all of these negative issues of life. A heavy dose of “thanksgiving” will counter the potentially crippling negative effects of “resentment, guilt, anger, and green-eyed jealousy” along with “fear, envy and strife,” all of which are aggravated by “stubborn rebellion” which generates these toxic emotions.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. If we think about it, we can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. Each time we set our mind to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God, says 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and in despair or having other negative feelings is sometimes described as “stinkin’ thinkin’” which directly affects how we act. One of the critical factors in our physical and emotional well-being is attitude. Chuck Swindoll offers excellent insight regarding this subject:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church… a home.”

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

The discussion of attitude comes full circle with this reminder that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As a believer, I constantly endeavor to demonstrate my gratitude to God from the fullness of my heart, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful I am, I desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called “thanksliving.”The essence of my attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this way:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all

His grace?  What can we say to offer praise

Worthy of His glory?  How can we call

With all our being upon His name and raise

A new song from the depths of our heart?

We must do more than mouth a platitude—

To express the soul in words is an art;

Yet words cannot express our gratitude.

Mere words seem empty and without merit.

“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.

So we must worship God with our spirit

And must give thanks well for all of our days.

To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;

With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Far more than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As we do so, we counteract the negative effects of “stinkin’ thinkin’”: thoughts of disappointment, discouragement, despair and any other toxic emotions that seek to keep us from being all that God designed us to be.

We close with this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music

 

Thanksliving: Universal Antidote for Toxic Emotions

January 28, 2018

1 Thessalonians-5 18 New

Exactly one week ago, I was honored to share the Word of God at Operation More Compassion, a local suicide prevention ministry, founded by Pastor James Simmons, a student at Carolina College of Biblical Studies where I teach.  As I reflect back on the events that unfolded during a week of physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of immense magnitude, I recognize that the entire service was not just an opportunity to share the Word of God, but everything was custom-crafted to prepare me for the grueling week that began that very Sunday.  Invariably, I have learned that whatever God inspires you to teach others, He is first of all teaching and ministering to you. Today’s post summarizes the teaching shared a week ago: Thanksliving: Universal Antidote for Toxic Emotions (“Stinkin’ Thinkin’”)

In critical situations where a person may have accidentally ingested a poisonous substance, the Poison Control Center, if contacted, can suggest a specific antidote to counteract that poison. In some cases a “universal antidote” is recommended. Activated Charcoal has the well-earned reputation of being a key ingredient in a “universal antidote” that can facilitate the removal countless poisonous substances before they can cause harm. In terms of counteracting the potentially crippling negative effects of fear, anger, disappointment, discouragement, despair, all of which can culminate in unbelief that stifles our confidence and trust in God’s promises, I recommend another “universal antidote” to counteract any and all of these negative issues of life. A heavy dose of “thanksgiving” will counter the potentially crippling negative effects of any toxic emotions of life.

When most people hear the term “thanksgiving,” there is an almost automatic association with the fourth Thursday in November and all the food and festivities associated with that national holiday. For believers, “Thanksgiving” is always appropriate. “Thanksgiving” is the reason, not only for the current season as we embark upon a New Year, but “thanksgiving” should be the reason for every season.

In its most basic sense, “thanksgiving” applies an essential principle of life: giving and receiving. When one gives, one receives, and always in greater proportion than one gives. Although many people think of giving and receiving in terms of tithes and offerings or of giving of material abundance within a church or religious context, the universal principle works in all aspects of life—particularly in “thanksgiving.” In its most literal sense, the term means “to give thanks” or “to show oneself grateful.”  It is an expression of gratitude, a form of prayer specified in I Timothy 2:1 “. . . requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. . . .”

As Christian believers, giving thanks to God for His grace and goodness is a positive expression that reverses the negative thinking pattern generated by toxic emotions We cannot truly be thankful and feel fearful or disappointed or resentful at the same time, nor can we be angry or discouraged or jealous when we see all that God has done for us and express our gratitude to Him at the same time. Certainly we cannot simultaneously sink to the depths of despair when we recognize how blessed we have been thus far, as we anticipate even greater blessings on the horizon, for the best is always yet to come with God, our beneficent Father.

God desires that we show ourselves grateful at all times. The Word of God reminds us of this truth in a number of places:

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A similar reminder is found in Ephesians 5:20:

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God reveals that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT):

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.         

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in I Thessalonians 5:18:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and in despair or having other negative feelings is sometimes described as “stinkin’ thinkin’” which can directly affect how we act. One of the critical factors in our physical and emotional well-being is attitude. The discussion of attitude comes full circle with this reminder that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called thanksliving.

More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. For believers, every day should be a day of living in thanks. We show with all our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As we do so, we counteract the negative effects of fear, disappointment, discouragement, despair and any other toxic emotions or “stinkin thinkin” that keeps us from being all that God designed us to be.

We close with these encouraging words:

At All Times                      

I will bless the Lord at all times,

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  

Psalm 34:1

 

When we see God’s goodness and mercy flow freely,

As we savor the ecstasy of victory,

When joy overflows and floods our soul, we must praise God.

 

When gripped by the devices of this transient life

And caught in the straits of rising conflict and strife,

During these difficult moments, we must seek God.

 

When we long to abide within a tranquil mood

And linger in moments of sweetest quietude,

From the depths of our soul, we must worship God.

 

Despite raging seas, stormy winds and blinding rain,

When protracted pain strikes like a knife and numbs your brain

So that we can scarcely scream His name, we must trust God.

 

All along life’s journey, no matter the season,

Through every why and wherefore, for every reason

Every moment we draw breath, we must thank God.

 

We seek the Lord and ask ourselves, “What shall we do?”

“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”

“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”

Finally, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir offers this musical reminder: “In Everything Give Him Thanks”:

Thanksliving:  Every day is Thanksgiving Day

November 23, 2017

(more…)

Abounding with thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

 

colossians-2-6-7-new

The Verse of the Day for November 24, 2016, Thanksgiving Day, speaks of expressing thanks or showing gratitude to God for what He has given to believers through His son:

Colossians 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

These same sentiments are expressed in the prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT):

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

In reflecting on these verses, I thought of an incident that occurred a year ago. Sitting in a waiting room, I observed a young child who was given a coloring book and some crayons. The child smiled and said, “Thank you.” He showed items to his mother, and she asked her son, “Did you say thank you?” The person who gave the gifts responded, “Yes, ma’am. He sure did.”

From the earliest days of childhood we are taught that when someone gives you a gift, our response should be some expression of gratitude, namely to say “Thank you.” And so it is with the Children of God, we are taught not only to express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father with the words that we speak but with way we conduct our lives. Our lives should be abounding with giving thanks to God, not just on the Fourth Thursday in November every year, but our lives should overflow with gratitude to God every day and in every way.

In a previous entry on Thanksgiving Day, I posted some of the following comments:

In any situation, one of the critical factors contributing to our success or failure is “attitude.” Of course, the discussion of attitude comes full circle with this reminder that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” which some have called “thanksliving.”

More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. This time of the year, as we approach the final holiday season of the year, our lives should especially abound with thanksgiving to God for “His unspeakable gift.” Without question, “thanksgiving” is the reason for every season.

We show with all our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” We join with the psalmist in declaring, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1, 2) Each day is a celebration of the grace of God through Jesus Christ, in whom we live and move and have our being. The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God

in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

What shall we render to the Lord for all

His grace? What can we say to offer praise

Worthy of His glory? How can we call

With all our being upon His name and raise

A new song from the depths of our heart?

We must do more than mouth a platitude–

To express our soul in words is an art;

Yet words cannot express our gratitude.

Our words are empty and without merit.

“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.

So we must worship God with our spirit

And must give thanks well for all of our days.

To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;

With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

The closing phrase of the poem matches the ending of the Verse of the Day with reminders of “abounding in thanksgiving,” as the lyrics of a song appropriate of this season also come to mind: “Give Thanks with a grateful heart.” Don Moen offers this expression of gratitude to God in song:

 

 

 

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.

May 7, 2016

1 Thessalonians-5 18 New
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Taken from Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, an epistle written by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, the Verse of the Day for May 7, 2016 provides great encouragement to believers today.

These three verses are inter-related, forming a three-fold cord that intertwines with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. Here is the Amplified Bible’s rendering of these three verses:

16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);
17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];
18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

In a previous blog entry I made the following comments:

More than a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, “Thanksgiving” should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Jesus Christ also reminded us that “Men ought always to pray and not to faint,” another reminder “to pray without ceasing.” We can continue to be instant in prayer, as we follow these instructions: “In everything give thanks.” We combine these scriptural references to praying without ceasing in the following scripture memory songs:

We ought always to pray and not to faint.
We ought always to pray and not to faint.
We ought always to pray and not to faint.
To pray, pray, pray, pray, pray without ceasing.

In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give thanks,
In everything give thanks,
For this is the will of God
In Christ Jesus concerning you.

Repeat

When things in life don’t seem to turn out
Just as we think they should,
We know that God still has a grand plan
And works all things together—
He works all things together for our good.

In everything give thanks,
In everything give thanks,
For this is the will of God
In Christ Jesus concerning you.

The sun shines bright or the darkest night,
No matter what the mood,
We still give thanks always for all things.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
We keep an attitude of gratitude.

In everything give thanks,
In everything give thanks,
For this is the will of God
In Christ Jesus concerning you.

As the circumstances of our lives continue to unfold in the midst of the perilous times in which we live, unquestionably, “There is always something to pray about” and something always to give thanks for.

Listen to this lively music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing “In Everything Give Thanks,” featuring Charlotte Ritchie and Jeff & Sheri Easter.

If you worry, don’t pray; if you pray, don’t worry.

May 5, 2016

Philippians-4_6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2016 reveals that, as believers, we are reminded that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Here is another rendering of this celebrated passage:

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

In exploring more fully this section of scripture, I recognize that some believers tend to worry about everything and pray about little or nothing. I recall the lyrics to a song which responds in this way:

If you’re going to worry, don’t pray.
If you’re going to pray, don’t worry.

I also came across a statement from author and philanthropist, Steve Maraboli:

“Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”

In fact, gratitude can counteract such negative forces. As John Henry Jowett notes, “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”

I recall a discussion entitled “The Science of Gratitude” by Carisa Holmes, holistic health advisor, where she cites Robert Emmons, leading scientific expert on gratitude and professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. The widely recognized author maintains that being grateful actually improves one’s health.

Holmes examines Emmons’ research which “. . . associated the regular practice of attuning to gratitude with physical benefits, such as a stronger immune system, higher levels of positive emotions and with social benefits, such as being more forgiving, outgoing and feeling less lonely and isolated.”

Throughout the Bible, especially in the Church Epistles, believers are continually encouraged to be grateful. A previous blog entry looking at the Verse of the Day and other scriptures is revised and re-posted here:

One of the most dramatic reminders to live in continuous thanksgiving can found in I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV):

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

The King James Version renders the verse this way:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers, thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called “thanksliving.” The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can we say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can we call
With all our being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of our heart?
We must do more than mouth a platitude–
To express our soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express our gratitude.
Our words seem empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So we must worship God with our spirit
And must give thanks well for all of our days.
To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;
With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Listen to this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music:

There is always something to pray about

May 7, 2015

1 Thessalonians-5 18Taken from Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, an epistle written by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, the Verse of the Day for May 7, 2014 provides great encouragement to believers today, on the first Thursday in May, the National Day of Prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New Living Translation):

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

In examining this passage, we find that these three verses are inter-related, forming a three-fold cord that will intertwine with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. Here is the Amplified Bible’s rendering of these verses:

16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);

17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];

18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

In a recent blog entry I made the following comments:

Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Jesus Christ also reminded us that “Men ought always to pray and not to faint,” another reminder “to pray without ceasing.” We combine these two scriptural references to praying in the following scripture memory song:

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

To pray, pray, pray, pray, pray without ceasing.

As the circumstances of our lives unfold in the midst of the perilous times in which we live, unquestionably, “There is always something to pray about.”

Listen to the McKameys who follow the exhortation of the Verse of the Day, as they sing: “I Keep Praying.”


We pray: God answers

May 6, 2015

James_5-16

The Verse of the Day for May 6, 2015 brings to mind the power of prayer. A published Examiner.com article on prayer is adapted as the following blog is re-posted on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe on the day before the National Day of Prayer:

In its simplest form prayer is communication with God. For the Christian believer, however, this conversation should not always lapse into a monologue of personal petitions. Brother Lawrence reminds us, prayer is a unique privilege: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Indeed, prayer should be ongoing in every Christian believer. Jesus Christ declared that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The subject of prayer has been examined over the centuries, and believers today seek to more fully comprehend its amazing power.

The Bible has also revealed a number of kinds of prayer which form the bedrock of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in whose name we pray:

1 Timothy 2:1 introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

  1. Supplications
    With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it.       White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
  2. Intercessions
    To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provide protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)
  3. Prayers
    As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” (Ephesians 6:18)
  4. Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(I Thessalonians 5:18)

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

Sometime ago I heard the story of someone who had prayed, and God answered her prayer in a most unexpectant way. A statement was made at the end of the story which inspired this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,

 believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 Mark 11:24

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.

If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,

For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,

For God is not a man that He should lie.

He has already spoken—What shall we say then

But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

 We need more patience so that after we have done

All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled

With confident assurance given to each one,

Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

 Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,

Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,

But if we stop and think a moment, we will find

God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

The accompanying video features the song “Pray for Me” by Michael W. Smith who reminds us to pray for one another: