ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter I

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell us to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua.Always being thankful no matter what the situation? Really? But that’s God’s command to Christian and messianic believers. So, just what does this mean?

My friend constantly complains about her work conditions:

~overworked because of not hiring enough people;

~overworked because other goldbrick workers don’t carry their weight;

~treated with prejudice by incompetent supervisors who are constantly spewing out negatives.

So, God, where are the thanks in these  circumstances?

Child,

I am Initiator of Work (Genesis 2:15 implied). I placed your friend in that particular job to be a testimony for Me. The goldbrickers and incompetent supervisors must see their need of a relationship with a personal God. How better to get their attention than to give them a real example of what that looks like.

Life isn’t about My people. It is about My working in them to accomplish My will. As God, I am capable of doing anything and everything I want. But I chose to allow My children to work alongside Me. That way they receive blessings both on earth and in eternity.

I know work conditions are not perfect. That’s why I instruct My children not to grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9). If My children remember that I placed them in their work situations – volunteer or paid – they will work for Me. Children that don’t understand this will work for their bosses or supervisors. It will be easy for them to be slack in their performance (Proverbs 18:9).

~Be thankful to have a job.

~Be thankful that I give skill and wisdom to accomplish the job.

~Be thankful for the opportunity to have treasures in heaven which are more important than a paycheck or bestowed honor.

Child, be thankful that you work for Me!

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter H

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Surely this doesn’t include hardships! Or does it?

Dear God,

Hardships come. They’re unwelcomed. Sometimes they are intolerable. They make life so difficult. Where is the thanks in that?

For example, my pastor’s wife is now legally blind because of taking prescribed medication for something else. Its side-effect for her was macular degeneration. Her ministry for the congregation has been drastically reduced. So, where is the thanks in that???

Your confused child

My dear confused child,

Your view of hardships is so limited.

Your pastor’s wife’s ministry has been expanded thanks to her eye problems. The specialists, technicians and other workers that she has come in contact with because of her macular degeneration need to see how My child, who relies on Me and loves Me completely, reacts and accepts this handicap.

A complaining spirit turns people away from Me, but her attitude of acceptance and her testimony of My goodness to her draws these new people closer to Me. It puts them in a position to hear My voice.

Hardships happen for many reasons. In this case it is to reach people that were once unreachable and also to strength my child’s faith in Me.

Good eyesight is a blessing, but, in My hands, so is macular degeneration. It accomplishes my purpose.

When the times of hardship come your way, your attitude should be, “Thank you, Father, for this tough situation that I am in. I look to see how You will use this for Your glory and my good.”

Remember this: Your hardship is My harvest (Hebrews 12:11).

Love,

God, Hearer of (your) Cries (Psalm 34:17)

 

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter G

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? Really? You’ve got to be kidding! But that’s God’s command to Christian and Messianic believers. So, just what does this mean???

I watched as the big black bird landed on the bird feeder. Sparrows went flying as the grackle took their place on the cup holding the sought-after seeds.

Not only did the little birds fly off but so did the seeds. I guess Mr. Greedy Grackle was particular in his diet. What he didn’t want flew to the ground.

Hmmm. That’s just like some people. I follow God’s instruction to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) – to be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18). And what does it get me?

My generousity is met with greed and grief. People take advantage of me. They take my willingness to share as something owed them. The sacrifices I have to make in order to do God’s will is unappreciated.

It’s not that I am resentful in wanting to please God (Colossians 1:10), but how can I be grateful in such shabby treatment?

Looking again at the bird feeder, I notice the sparrows on the ground. They are eating the seeds flung out of the cup by the grackle. To my chagrin, I am reminded of two things:

1) I do good works to reveal and glorify God (1 Peter 2:15), not me;

2)I follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) who laid down His life for me. The ultimate sacrifice! What are my sacrifices compared to that?

Even when I am taken advantage of and not appreciated, I can be thankful. I honor God by following His name, Giver of Good Gifts (Matthew 7:11).

My thankful spirit shows the work of God Who Breaks the Teeth of the Wicked (Psalm 3:7). Their response to my good deeds have no consequences – no bite – on me. I don’t do it for people. I do it for God. I live in His name, Good to All (Psalm 145:9).

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter F

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell us to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? Really? How can I follow this command when I’m afraid?

I was looking for something in the garage when I saw a garbage bag of clothing that never made it to the thrift store. Curious as to why I put my slipper in there, I reached for it. Discovering that it had eyes and sharp teeth made me jump back in fear. The possum’s residency was unexpected, and eviction was swift.

The unwanted animal was a real threat, and fear was a natural reaction. I am thankful for this kind of healthy fear, because it protects in the face of danger. But what about those fears that engulf my mind, spirit and emotions? Fears that gobble up my identity and confidence? Fears that immobilize me? Where are the thanks in them?

Perhaps my appreciation comes from following God’s “You first” rule. Many times the scriptures record God’s conversation with people and prophets, “If you will…, then I will…”

Fears that come from sources I can identity – unfulfilled expectations, disappointing relationships, perplexing actions of others, unmet deadlines, physical discomfort – I bring to God. He offers me His wisdom and discernment to see these fear-producers in a new light.

But what about the fears with no easily identifiable basis? Unknown to me; known to God. He knows everything. I bring those fears to Him and wait while He reveals their origin.

My gratitude is found in God’s desire for me. So many times His word says, “Have no fear; be not afraid.” My thanks is also found in His name – Fear Chaser (Psalm 34:4 implied).

Like the possum, unhealthy fears don’t belong in my life. God is the best ejector of them.

 

 

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter E

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/ Messiah Yeshua. Really?

Enemies, enemies, enemies. They are everywhere. Their purpose is to harm me.

~They are nice to my face while stabbing me in the back.

~They act as friends while tearing me down in front of others.

~They take my love while betraying me with their abuse.

~They make promises of hope only to purposely break them.

God, You say love them?!? How? Better still, why?

My Child,

I have many reasons for My command. Let’s just look at one.

Love your enemy. It might even be you!

Sometimes people overlook what I say. For example, when I summed up the Ten Commandments into two. The first command to “Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” means to love Me completely. Love Me in every possible aspect (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:39). Love Me in your innermost being, emotions, thoughts, efforts and energy. Love Me with utmost sincerity. In other words, love Me in the same way and extent that I love you (1 John 4:19).

The phrase connecting the two commands is most important but often neglected. “The  second is like it.” The love to be expressed in the second command must carry the same intensity and honesty as the first command.

The second command is, “Love your neighbor (friend or enemy) as yourself.” The phrase ‘as yourself’ is usually ignored. This explains how you love your neighbor. The degree of love you show for yourself will be the same extent of love you can offer others. If there is a deficiency in loving yourself, that carries over in the love you are able to show others and sometimes even Me.

You are to love yourself in the very same way that I love you. Child, self-love is not ‘conceit’. It simply means that you desire to be the best individual possible in all areas of life. That is how I love you. When you speak or think negatively about yourself or your situation, you become your own enemy. Don’t do that. Put yourself in My hands. Follow My paths. Look for My point of view. Then you will find a good friend in yourself.

Love,

Your (best) Friend (John 15:15)

—excerpt from Forgiveness, God-Style by B. L. Wade, available on Amazon

 

 

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter D

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? No way! But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

It was during a tour of a cave that, with warning, the guide turned off the lights. We were engulfed in total blackness. Immediately my mind explored how we would get out if the lights didn’t come on again.

Maybe feel for the electrical cord and hand-over-hand follow it. But that wasn’t a guarantee that it would lead us outside and into daylight. Besides, what if we couldn’t find the cord? The only safe place was exactly where we were standing. A move in any direction could cause us bodily harm, or even our lives.

Same is true for some serious life situations I encounter. I might just as well be standing in the black cave, because I can see no way out. Maybe that’s why God said, “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When I didn’t know which way to turn to end an abusive relationship, I stood still and waited for God to shine His light, showing me the path to take.

I can’t see in the darkness, but God can. Day and night are the same to Him (Psalm 139:12). I am most thankful for that knowledge and reliance. God’s name is Absence of Darkness ((1 John 1:5 implied).

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter C

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what? Really? But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

~Cancer is a curse. How can I be thankful when I see my mother suffering?

~Change that is unexpected seems like a curse. How can I accept that with gratitude?

~Divorce is unwanted and so destructive. How can I find anything good in such a curse as this?

God, You commanded me to always give thanks in all circumstances. Why would you say that? You are All-Knowing/Omniscient (Isaiah 46:10 implied). Surely You know things that happen to me aren’t all blessings. If that were true, being thankful would be easy. But life isn’t all good. Bad things happen. How can I obey Your command in those situations? I don’t understand.

Child,

My commands are light to your eyes (Psalm 19:8; verse 9 Tanakh). They reveal how I work, and what I expect from you. They are a yardstick measuring your devotion and loyalty – even when you don’t understand.

I am God Who Turns Curses into Blessings (Nehemiah 13:2). I delight in showing you how easily I do that. Can gets people’s attention like nothing else. I want them to draw close to Me that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Disease is a curse. Seeking My help and will turns the curse into a blessing.

I am Chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6; Psalm 118:22). Change is a tool I use to move you from one path to another. A new path to travel that will provide blessings never found on the old one.

I Comfort with a Rod and Staff (Psalm 23:4). These are shepherd tools used to keep sheep from straying into enemy territory. I removed you from your abusive home in order to keep you safe.

Child, practice looking beyond the “curse” situations. That’s where you will see Me. Be thankful that I see the other side of the curse – its blessing!

Love,

God

Champion of the Poor and Needy (Psalm 140:12 implied; verse 13 Tanakh)

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter B

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell us to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? Really?  You’ve got to be kidding! But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

~Other people’s expectations of who they want me to be.

~Other’s demands on how I spend my time and energy.

What strangle-holds on me! What chains that keep me from moving forward! All meant to control my will.

I am most thankful that God is Breaker of Yoke and Shackle (Nahum 1:13).

I am most thankful that His word reveals who I am and can be under His care and direction.

I am most thankful that my Lord is a Blesser of Those Who Fear Him (Psalm 115:13 implied).

Another point of view turns my attention away from others and toward me.

Wanting my own way can make me a prisoner to false hopes and expectations. Freedom comes in surrendering myself to live according to Your will, for only You are Bondage Breaker (Exodus 20:2 implied).

 

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter A

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell us to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua.

Always being thankful no matter what my situation? Really? You’ve got to be kidding! But that’s God’s command to Christian and Messianic believers. So, just what does this mean?

Letter A

All-inclusive resorts have gained in popularity among vacationers. For one price, from start to finish their every need and many wants are  provided for on the resort premises. No need to search elsewhere. Ultimate convenience. From beginning to end, from first to last, tourists  are cared for.

Just like God. From the start of my life to the end of it, I receive His care in meeting my needs. He is there at my birth, and He is there at my death. Just as important, He is there throughout my existence.

The saying “from A to Z” includes all the other letters of the alphabet. So it is with God’s name “Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:8). Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet; omega is the last letter. Indicated is everything in between. That means:

  • times of good experiences as well as bad;
  • times of rejoicing as well as grief;
  • times of health as well as sickness;
  • times of comfort as well as distress.

That’s when I remember God is included in my every situation. For that I am most grateful.

Alpha and Omega shows me He is all-inclusive. Nothing that I need or want is found outside of Him. Another point of view concerning this name reveals my own identity which is another reason for thanksgiving:

Remind me today that I can’t be everything to everybody because such faulty thinking places me on the same plane as You. Only You are All in All (1 Corinthians 15:28).

 

 

 

Month of Prayers for Your Clergy – Day 31

October is Ministry/Clergy Appreciation Month. What better way to show your gratitude and support than to pray for those in charge. Pray back to God His name and word. That delights Him.

Pastor’s Prayer Life

Acts 6:2-4:…the (Apostles) gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry…in order to wait on tables. Choose seven (for) this responsibility…and (we) will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.

Acts 16: 9, 10 implied: Lord Who Provides Helpers

How to pray: Pray that strong, mature believers having the attitude of servanthood will come alongside Pastor to shoulder the congregation’s responsibilities thus freeing him to act according to his calling, as shepherd of the flock.

Prayer/Blessing for you, the pray-er

For Your glory, apply Your name of Multiplier (Ezekiel 36:10) to my life. Then my efforts will be expanded, the limited will become plentiful and the impossible will become possible. Godly influence will increase producing a greater harvest for Your kingdom.