Tag Archives: thankfulness

Song of Solomon 1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5; Psalms 72

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

This has always been one of my favorite verses. One that I would recite when I didn’t feel like being joyful, thankful, grateful. But, after reading it in context, I see it in a new way. It is keeping me alert and on guard until Jesus returns. It reminds me that there is a hope when I might have lost it. If I give thanks out of obedience my attitude changes. I see things differently. A devotional that I read on this verse mentions, an attitude of prayer. What does that mean in my day to day life? Humility, hope, resting in God’s sovereignty, trust…not defaulting to worry.

“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 NLT

Joy is a weapon.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we were dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to cultivate a grateful heart. Help me to remember that you can use trials for your glory. That you work all things together for good. Amen.

“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.” Psalms 72:12 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Psalms, Song of Solomon

1 Chronicles 16; James 3; Obadiah 1; Luke 5

On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, chosen ones.” 1 Chronicles 16:7-14

We each took turns writing what we are thankful for on a pumpkin. On the days I’m not feeling thankful, it reminds me of God’s faithfulness to my family. How does thankfulness become a way of life?  As David says, I need to continually seek the Lord. I look back at the notes I took on Sunday… “Thankful hearts run to God and not away. Thankfulness begins in my thinking. Do I trust the heart of the Father? Thankfulness is a sacrifice when storms come, when disappointment comes. Thankfulness isn’t a response to my circumstances, my circumstances respond to my thankfulness.” I can learn a lot from David. He wasn’t just thankful when he felt like it. His spoken and penned words had the power to change his perspective.

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:24&25 NLT

I have so many things to be grateful for, but oh how quickly I can become discontent. When I focus on what I don’t have, instead of what I do. And start comparing myself to others. But, when I worship and write down the numerous ways he has provided, my heart overflows with gratitude. I pray this would spill over into every area of my life. His praise coming out of my mouth more than anything else.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.” James 3:7-10NLT

Lord, I need you!

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:31 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. I want to cultivate a grateful heart. You are good! Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, James, Luke

1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108, 109

Our credit card number was stolen and charged fraudulently (the second time this year). My husband texted me early yesterday morning to ask if I had been shopping for shoes. No? He cancelled the card, which instantly redirected the day I planned.

Instead, I set about local tasks–one including tracking down the cleared title to my dad’s truck so we can sell it for his estate. It meant going to the MVA, which I had been putting off for months because–it’s the MVA.

I explained my situation to the first clerk, who told me I’d have to purchase a replacement and they would mail it to his house (out of town and the mail service forwarded). A second clerk said the mail couldn’t be forwarded and I’d have to go to the main office (much further away) and get it there. Then they handed me a wait ticket to meet with someone else.

I explained to this third helper what my situation was, and reiterated for confirmation what I was told at the first desk. She typed some things into her computer. A Whitney Houston song (I Wanna Dance With Somebody) came on their music system and my daughter pulled at my arm.

“Mom!” she said, and smiled. I sing this song to my dog almost daily, and she dances and prances for a treat she knows is coming. I told the clerk as much as my daughter and I grinned large–and the clerk smiled and giggled with us too.

The next thing I know, the clerk steps away to talk to a manager and comes back with a freshly printed, cleared title and we’re on our way.  (Thank you, Lord!) There were other big tasks to complete locally, and we got them moving along. (Only You, Jesus!)

When I got home, for the first time in many weeks, I felt lighter. (So grateful, God.)

There have been several times lately that God has put an abrupt stop to my plans. And when he does, I feel he makes a different way available to me. With a day that started with a cancelled card, I actually got more accomplished than if I’d been able to proceed with my original plan.

I read it twice this morning, once here and once on an Instagram image:

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

This year has felt overwhelming to me with the tasks and emotions associated with grief and loss. At times I’ve felt a real pressure of a weight upon my shoulders and heart. However, all along, I have sensed God’s hand involved in the details, in ways I never imagined. Even to the way he grabbed my attention with a song yesterday, like he was saying, “Pay attention. I don’t want you to miss this.” Title in hand, same day. And it didn’t stop there.

Lord, I know you are moving in my life and in my sister’s life. Thank you for people who help us. Yesterday was a miracle and blessing from start to finish, even though it seemed a bummer beginning. Thanks for focusing my wandering, worried mind on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Psalm 136-138; 1 Corinthians 9

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept
    as we thought of Jerusalem.
We put away our harps,
    hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
For our captors demanded a song from us.
    Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:
    “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
But how can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a pagan land? Psalm 137:1-4, NLT

The psalmist asks how can they sing songs in a pagan land, in their tears, among tormentors–it comes just after psalm 136, a song of thanks, and the refrain is still fresh in my head.

Give thanks to the Lord.

While it’s not part of today’s reading, a verse in 1 Thessalonians 5 comes to mind about giving thanks in all circumstances. In rough patches in life, I didn’t know how to give thanks for awful things that happened. It was a huge disconnect for me: I was supposed to be thankful for (loss, betrayal, hardship)? I tried to work that out in my head and felt like I had this Christianity thing kinda wrong. How come I couldn’t be thankful for (it)? Were other Christians able to be thankful for their hardships? At some point it occurred to me: I didn’t have to be thankful for it, but I could be thankful in it.

While I wasn’t thankful for (heartache), I was thankful for my two children who’d eagerly climb onto my lap to hear a story. I was thankful for a good cup of coffee and warm socks on my feet. For chocolate in the freezer and friends who stood by me. On the hardest days, it was finding thanks anywhere I could that kept me afloat. God never failed me. He would dazzle me with sunrises (Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:5, NLT) and surprise me with beauty in the world.

It started as a little list of little things. Of the ones I’ve numbered, I’m nearly at 6,000.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

All these little things show me that even during the roughest patches of my life, God covered me. (23 He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever. 24 He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:23-24, NLT) He was there with me. My life wasn’t defined by the awful things, shaped certainly, but not defined. When I look back at the trials, it’s a trail of counting blessings. To think I could have kept a running written list of everything that had been wrong. My life would tell a very different story.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138:7-8, NLT

Thank you, Lord, that you work out the plans for my life, for your faithful love endures forever.

Courtney (66books365)

My gratitude list was inspired by Ann Voskamp at www.aholyexperience.com.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

Joshua 6:6-27; Psalm 135-136; Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

Peter stepped out of the boat when the Lord said, “Come.” And I wonder:

How far away did Jesus seem?

Three feet? Ten feet? Twenty feet or more? He was far enough away that Peter became distracted by the waves and wind. Far enough away that Peter became doubtful and called out to be saved. He called to Jesus, the one who had said, “Do not be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” (Don’t miss this: He was close enough to reach out and save, even when the wind and waves seemed closer.)

I have never been on a boat in a storm. I have never stepped foot out onto water and expected to walk on it. And the closest I can get to this example in my life is substituting deep problems for stormy waters, and faith walking for … faith walking. I have done that. (And I have been afraid and doubtful and worried, and wondered if I heard Him right, and realized I couldn’t go back but I could only go forward or risk sinking, and even if Jesus said DON’T BE AFRAID–I was scared. What if this wasn’t what God told me to do? What if I got this wrong? What if I traded one problem for another?) I have been afraid even when I know Jesus is here, but mainly because I felt he wasn’t. Or I felt my problems were bigger than Him. Even though I know they aren’t.

I have been in situations where I just kept on walking in circles, in daily routines, and hoped that my shout to the Lord would bring Jericho results. A wall to crumble down. An enemy to be stopped. Or a victory to be gained. And those times, it didn’t happen when I shouted. In fact, it would be long spans of time before I’d know that anything happened.

I think on times when I don’t see results, or my mind is full of thoughts in all-caps and run-on sentences, the best thing I can do is remember God’s faithfulness. Like the remembering of what he has done in Psalm 136, and the repeating refrain: His faithful love endures forever.

When Jesus seems far, I remind myself that HE IS HERE.

When I don’t feel like I can get close enough to him to be in his undeniable grip, that even just grazing his robe is mustard-seed faith that moves mountains.

He says, I am here. The one who made the sun and moon and placed the stars in the sky.

Thank you, God, for all those faithful who assembled at your feet and you fed them. Thank you for the great faith of those who surged around you to brush the fringe of your robe. Thank you for all the examples and all the reminders–even in my very own life experience–of your faithfulness.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 18; Psalm 105; Isaiah 45; Revelation 15

When I read these verses, I don’t think of Cyrus the Great and a massive empire. I think of a farm field that shines golden from a sunburst through the clouds; I think of a flock of birds in flight–that look like a sheet shaken in the wind; I think of a woman who’d gotten bit by a dog in front of a (former) house whose knock at my door brought  a word of encouragement from God; I think of a good cup of coffee and socks on my feet.

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
    secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. Isaiah 45:3 NLT

I didn’t know how people could thank God for trials that came their way–not when it felt crushing and oppressive … not when the waiting was accompanied by doubt and a growing depression … or when it seemed the bottom dropped out in a numbing free fall. I didn’t know how to thank God for that. But I sought him daily, for any sign that he was there–and it was the closest I had ever walked with him. Each of these little things, gratitude in the every day, secret riches–treasures hidden in darkness.

I am the Lord, and there is no other.
    I create the light and make the darkness.
I send good times and bad times.
    I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. Isaiah 45:6b-7 NLT

I would understand what it meant to be hated. What it meant to be powerless. What it meant to be lonely. What it meant to be mocked. What it meant to surrender. What it meant to persevere. And how would I learn any of that in only good times? I would learn how to walk by faith, to trust in God, to hope. And in my weakness, he would reveal power.

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
    Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
    ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
    ‘How clumsy can you be?’
10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
    ‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
    ‘Why did you make me this way?’”

11 This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
“Do you question what I do for my children?
    Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 I am the one who made the earth
    and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
    All the stars are at my command.

I am years away from that time. Healing didn’t come overnight, but rather as a result of painful steps forward in a spiritual rehab. I am still (and often) thankful for a good cup of coffee and socks on my feet. And while it took time, I learned to be grateful for the trial.

Father God, those dark days were full of you. I am closer to you and know you in such a personal way, that I otherwise wouldn’t. Your word comes to life to me in ways that go deep. I am so thankful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament

2 Chronicles 2; 1 John 2; Nahum 1; Luke 17

11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[b] And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.[c]” (Luke 17:11-19)

Somehow I am drawn to this story. While I often tend to gloss over the familiar stories I come back to this over and over again. Maybe it is because we just celebrated Thanksgiving and had a sermon on being thankful. Maybe it’s because I wonder about some things…

The most famous Samaritan is the “Good Samaritan”.  We even have a hospital in Baltimore named after him. Now we find out that the one leper that came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan. The Jews may not have liked these people, but they sure get a good reputation in the New Testament. There is a general theme that the people that are closest to God are often not the ones with all the correct theological answers, but the ones with heart.

Did the other nine not believe that Jesus healed them? After all, they were doing what they were commanded to do. Maybe they thought that they deserved the credit since they did what was commanded. It made me wonder how often we all give ourselves way too much credit for consequences of simple obedience. While we do need to do our part, and obedience is important, we can’t forget the source of all good things.

Earlier in Luke we hear Jesus say that servants shouldn’t be thanked for simply doing their job. When we don’t give thanks, are we thinking that God is our servant just doing His job? Ugh. I hope not.

Lord, I am sorry for the times when I do not give thanks in all things. I want you to know that I truly am thankful.

Sue

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