Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Still abounding and overflowing with thanksgiving

November 24, 2018

The Verse of the Day for November 24, 2018 reminds believers that as we have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, we are to walk in him.

Colossians 2:6-7 AMP

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.

We find a similar expression of God’s desire for His people in Ephesians 3:16-18

16 So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love];

As we grow in our walk with the Lord, our lives are to abound and overflow with thanksgiving. Even though today is two days after Thanksgiving Day, every day we are to give thanks to God. No matter the circumstances we face, we should always be thankful:

At All Times

In happy moments, praise God.
In difficult moments, seek God.
In quiet moments, worship God.
In painful moments, trust God.
In every moment, thank God.

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 will 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 will seek God.

When we long to abide within a tranquil mood
And linger in moments of sweetest quietude,
From the depths of my soul, we will worship God.

Despite raging seas, stormy winds and blinding rain,
When protracted pain strikes like a knife and numbs our brain
So that we can scarcely scream Your name, we will 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 will 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.”

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

 

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”:

As we pray

November 7, 2017

Revised and re-posted is the Verse of the Day for November 7, 2017 which includes a heading that encourages believers to pray and introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God. This previous blog entry certainly has application today, as we acknowledge the truth: “There is always something to pray about”:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (New King James Version)

 [Pray for All Men] Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

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)

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)

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)

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.”

In closing, we offer the following poem that reminds of the importance prayer:

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.

Gateway Worship offers a musical selection with the same title: “As We Pray”:

Don’t worry; instead, pray about everything

May 5, 2017

Philippians-4 6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2017 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, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

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.

The Message Bible puts it this way:

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Ephesians 5:20 also offers this reminder:

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

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, here are lyrics to 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. 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. Every day we should 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.

Mere 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.

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

 

Lord, you are good

November 29, 2016

psalm136-1

Five days after Thanksgiving Day, we continue to encounter reminders to be thankful, as the Verse of the Day for November 29, 2016 encourages us:

Psalm 136:1, 26 (NKJV):

[Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy] Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

In the opening verse of Psalm 136 we note the refrain: “For His mercy endures forever.” The same refrain is repeated to conclude verse 26, the last verse. In fact, the expression punctuates every verse of the Psalm in the same way.

In reflecting on this passage, a previous entry that discussed the expression “Call and response” comes to mind. In music, particularly in jazz which incorporates improvisation, we find a technique labeled “call and response,” whereby a musician issues a phrase or line, and another player answers with a phrase or comment in response. The same technique is also seen in other areas of African American culture involving speakers, such as preachers or ministers of the gospel or worship leaders who issue a series of calls, and the audience, the congregation, or group being addressed answers with responses. In the case of the Verse of the Day, there is an opening exhortation or call to give thanks to the Lord, followed by the response: “For His mercy endures forever.”

One of the awesome attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy, and His mercy never fails. In Psalm 126 the term mercy is also translated “lovingkindness or grace.” Although our Father is a God of justice, he tempers justice with grace and mercy. Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, while mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves. God ever displays His mercy toward

His children, as Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Throughout the Psalms, we see God abounds in mercy:

Psalm 119: 64:

The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy: teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 57:10

For Your mercy is great unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds.

Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Your mercy hear me, in the truth of Your salvation.

Psalm 103:17

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

Israel Houghton and New Breed conclude this entry with this reminder: “Lord, You are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever.”

More reminders to be thankful

November 23, 2016

Psalm 100-4

On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, the day before the national celebration of Thanksgiving Day, the Verse of the Day is another reminder to express our gratitude to God:

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments we find similar exhortations to offer thanksgiving to God for His goodness and lovingkindness:

The Psalms overflow with prayers of thanksgiving, as expressed in Psalm 136:1, 26:

[Thanks for the Lord’s Goodness to Israel.] Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.

Here is the more familiar rendering of this passage:

          Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!

For His mercy endures forever.

We find similar encourage to be thankful in the Church Epistles. In fact, the Verse of the Day for yesterday reminded believers to always be thankful, as Colossians 3:17 states:

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise 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 4:6-7, another celebrated thanksgiving passage, is rendered this way in the New Living Translation (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.

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. 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 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.

Always be thankful

November 22, 2016

Colossians-3-Verse-15post

Colossians 3:15 in the New King James Version, the Verse of the Day for November 22, 2016, speaks of the peace of God and connects it to being thankful:

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

For a more detailed rendering of the context, take a look at Colossians 3:15-17 in the New Living Translation:

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Clearly the context of the passage relates to “giving thanks.” We find the mirror image of these verses in Ephesians 5:19-20 which also speaks of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” When we examine these two passages, we find a parallel connection in light of the context of “giving thanks to God.”

These two passages remind us that expressing our gratitude to God is to be connected to everything that we do: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things” with the exhortation reinforced that no matter what you do in word or deed, it is to be done with gratitude, giving thanks to God the Father through 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. There is to be a continual overflow of gratitude to God, as we encourage ourselves through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, as we allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly or to make itself at home in our hearts. Not only are we to edify and reassure ourselves, but we are to become a source of strength and encouragement for one another.

Each year around the Thanksgiving holiday, I like to post my list of “Top Ten Thanksgiving Songs”: five are traditional hymns, and five are contemporary songs of praise and worship, all of which focus on being thankful.  In actuality the list could be viewed as a collection of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Here is here a brief definition of these terms plus a sampling of music from these three categories:

Psalms

Psalms are consider songs of praise directed to God, as directed in the Book of Psalms. Today a number of the Psalms of David have been set to music, as illustrated in one of most popular songs of thanks from the Bible is “ I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving /He Has Made Me Glad offered by Maranatha Music.

Hymns

Hymns are described as formal and traditional songs often sung by a congregation in praise of God in a public worship setting. Out of the Protestant Reformation emerged songs written in the vernacular of the people. Here is a medley of three popular hymns of thanksgiving: “Come Ye Thankful People Come,” “We Gather Together,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Spiritual songs:

This category of songs is said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, often based on a spiritual theme or teaching of spiritual principles. Much of contemporary praise and worship can be placed in this category.

Here is a new song of gratitude “I’m Thankful” by Alexander Delgado:

Every day let us encourage ourselves and one another, “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

We conclude with Katherine Abbot offering a musical rendering of Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of heart”:

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving

November 20, 2016

Psalm 95 1 2 310904561

The Verse of the Day for November 20, 2016 is found in Psalm 95:1-2 in the New King James Version of the Bible:

[A Call to Worship and Obedience] Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

During the remaining days in November, moving toward Thanksgiving Day, we are encouraged to be thankful or to offer thanksgiving to God. Throughout the Bible, we find reminders to express our gratitude. The Book of Psalms with its array poetic expressions or compositions written by David and others contains several passages that relate to thanksgiving. Here are eight such verses to reflect upon with a grateful heart during this season:

1. Psalm 26:7

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

2. Psalm 50:14

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

3. Psalm 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

4. Psalm 95:2

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

5. Psalm 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

6. Psalm 107:22

And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

7. Psalm 116:17

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

8. Psalm 147:7

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

 

A previous blog entry discussed “Thanksgiving in the Psalms” and examined these passages and others related to the practice of giving thanks to God. In addition, we looked at background information and the lyrics to one of the popular songs of the season, “He Has Made Me Glad” by Maranatha! Music which is reprinted here:

Maranatha! Music began as a non-profit outreach of Calvary Chapel in 1971. Coming out of the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, song writers began to compose new hymns and worship songs with a folk-rock style. Maranatha! Music was founded at this time in order to publish and promote this new type of Christian music. The ongoing desire of Maranatha! Music involves “Connecting the song of faith with today’s church.”

One of its signature musical compositions has been He Has Made Me Glad with its opening refrain from Psalm 100:4: Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

 

 

We joyfully enter the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving, not only during the week of Thanksgiving Day, but every hour of every day of every week of every year our hearts should overflow with gratitude to God.