Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 4:6’

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.

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:

Thanksgiving Day is a week away: Is it really?

November 20, 2013

The Verse of the Day for November 20, 2013 is found in Psalm 95: 1-2:

Psalm 95 1 2 310904561

Verse 2 with its exhortation to “come before his presence with thanksgiving” is a reminder that we are in the “Thanksgiving season.” At this time of year there is an almost automatic association with turkey and dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (or sweet potato pie, depending upon your ethnic tastes). For Christians, however, thanksgiving is more than a holiday observed the fourth Thursday in November. Actually, “Thanksgiving” is always appropriate. “Thanksgiving” is the reason, not only for this season, but “thanksgiving” should be the reason for every season.

When I use the term “thanksgiving,” I look at the word in its most literal sense, meaning “to give thanks” or “to show one’s self grateful.”  It is an expression of gratitude, a form of prayer specified in I Timothy which speaks of “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. . . .

As Christian believers, expressing thanks to God for His grace and goodness should never be confined to a single period of time.  God desires that we show ourselves grateful at all times.  Scriptures remind 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

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

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

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

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 something, 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, the innermost desire of every believer.

More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” which some have called “thanksliving.”  The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God

in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I 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.

 

Marantha! Singers offer a rousing rendition of “He Has Made Me Glad,” reminding us to “enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.”

We joyfully come before God’s presence with thanksgiving, not just the week before Thanksgiving Day, but every hour of every day of every week of every year.