Thankful Thursday

 

Kelly is such an outgoing person.

Liz is a very happy person.

Ginger is a compassionate person.

It seems like my minds is always connecting people with a characteristic or attribute or when I think of  a trait I often associate it with a person.

What about thankfulness?

Is thankfulness an attribute that is evident in my life?

When I think of “Thankfulness” the first two people to come to mind are the biblical individuals David and Paul the Apostle.

In the Psalms I can almost hear the voice of David as he sings songs full of praise and thanksgiving!

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

Paul is the one who writes to the Churches “In everything give thanks.” [emphasis mine]

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Think about Paul, he had it hard. A group of men vowed to not eat or drink until they killed him, he was let down the wall in a basket to escape being murdered, he was shipwrecked, imprisoned… we could go on and on. It seems like Paul was almost always in the middle of a hard time yet almost every letter that he wrote begins with thankfulness to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! When Paul was in the midst of hardship he looked at Jesus!

Consider David, he had it hard.  He spent years running, hiding from a powerful king who wanted to kill him. Becoming king sure didn’t make everything hunky-dory, still then he had contentions and people out to kill him, even his own son and his own sin got him into a lot of deep water.  David too struggled with unthankfulness, he was human after all, his psalms are riddled with WHY, GOD?!  Yet, in those moments, in the midst of sin, strife, fear, trouble, we see David running to God! David lays his heart wide open before the Almighty! David knows he cannot hide his sin stained heart from God and he is confident that his salvation comes from God. Intertwined with those heart-wrenching Psalms we find Psalms saturated with praise and thanksgiving based on the attributes and goodness of God! When David struggled, he looked at who God is!

So often I dwell on the hardships of life and discontentment and let unthankfulness creep into my heart. I have a little pity-party, battle to suppress the thought that God doesn’t know what He is doing, fail to look at Jesus or trust in His sovereignty. When the guilt of that sinful way of thinking hits my heart I often feel like I have to get my act together before I can approach God, have to conjure up thankfulness and praise for God before I can speak to Him. How often am I vulnerable with God, like David? God wants a relationship with me! He wants me to bring my sin to Him, He died for it after all, to confess and receive forgiveness!

Let us confess our unthankfuness to God, tell Him our struggles, and what makes life hard.  Ask for His forgiveness. Ask for His help. John writes in 1 John 1:9,” if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.” This includes our sin of unthankfulness.

Our Father wants to forgive!

Then let us pour out thanksgiving to our God! Even sing like the Psalmists!

Let us thank Him for WHO HE IS!

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. – Psalm 30:4

Let us thank Him for His SALVATION!

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: – 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Let us thank Him for His PROVISION!

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Let us thank Him for ALL THINGS! Even those hard things, because we know He is faithful, because we know He loves us, because we know He is in control, because we know it is His will.

When we are tempted to complain, when we see unthankfulness wrapping around our heart let us look at Jesus, who He is, what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do!

When I look at Jesus I cannot help but thank Him!!

Is thankfulness an attribute that is evident in our lifes?

If not, step back and

look at Jesus!

 

~ Rachel

 

 

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. Hebrews 13:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is Hard….But Christ

 

Have you ever thought about Christ’s life here on this earth? He suffered, He was crucified. He is God but His life here on earth was hard.

As I sat down with the written Word, after the baby was down for the night, I asked God to teach me and show me a broad picture of the book of Philippians.

There is so much in this short book, so many deep things to dig into and Theological implications to contemplate. However, what I saw jumping out time after time throughout is that life is Hard. Paul had it hard, Epaphroditus almost died!  But Paul had a heavenly perspective and he addresses the hardships of this life in light of Christ and the eternal!

Life is hard BUT Christ is working in us!

Life is hard BUT Christ’s gospel is going forward!

Life is hard BUT we suffer with Christ – not alone!

Life is hard BUT there is confidence in Christ!

Life is hard BUT Christ is returning and will fit us with a glorified body!

Life is hard BUT Christ promises peace when we pray with thanksgiving!

Life is hard BUT Christ gives strength to endure even the hardest circumstances!

Life is hard BUT Christ provides everything we need!

 

Life IS hard…but regardless of this fact, in our hearts and minds we can rejoice. We can have peace. We can be confident. We can shine in this hard, temporary world because we have a kind, eternal Savior!!!

 

Stand Tall and Rejoice!

~ Rachel

One Thing Is Needful

I had a 7-week old baby to care for and both of my toddlers were sick.
Fevers. Lack of appetite. Uncontrollable crying. It was not fun.

Thankfully, I had people praying for me and God was sustaining. For some reason all I could think of was the verse in Luke 10 that says “But one thing is needful.”

In context, we find that Martha is stressed out about all the things there are to do while her sister is found at Jesus’ feet, listening to His word.

Jesus is heard saying “ Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:   But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Does that resonate with how some of your days go? Careful and troubled about many things?

Yes. I can relate.

However, one of the biggest lessons God has been teaching me lately is that I need Him.

Only Him.

On those days when my kids are sick, the to-do list stretches higher than I can see, bills are waiting to be paid, meals need prepped, kids can’t seem to stop fighting, and people are constantly needing me, the single most important thing I can do for myself and for them is to spend time with Jesus.

Have you heard of the song “Give Me Jesus” ? Lately it’s been stuck in my head like a hamster on a running wheel. I can’t get it out and it just keeps repeating itself over and over.

“In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus. You can have all this world,
just give me Jesus.”

I want this to be my hearts cry.

Sadly, my life is not often characterized by this. More often than not I would rather have this world. I would rather spend time on Facebook or binge watch on Netflix. These things provide me immediate satisfaction and require no work on my part.

And yet, whenever I do choose to prioritize time with God before pleasure or other things on my to-do list, etc., I find my soul is finally at rest.

“But one thing is needful.”

I don’t believe this means I let my house go to ruin, leave the dishes forever undone, or neglect my life responsibilities. However, more often than not I allow these daily things to completely push out any time for God.

So, on some days when life seems crazy and I don’t even know where to start, my only goals may need to be 1. Keep kids alive and 2. Spend time with Jesus.

“But one thing is needful.”

God, help me to remember this.

~ Chrystal