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).

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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).

 

So, You Think You Have It Hard? – Another Take

Jesus took on the job of becoming a permanent, once-for-all sacrifice. He set His face forward. He didn’t look around heaven and say, “Mine! Mine!” In His divine nature He didn’t turn away from all the hardships to claim special or equal treatment with the words, ‘What about Me? Don’t My wants and desires count?”

Instead, He made the sacrifices before becoming the ultimate sacrifice. How hard would making these adjustments have been?

~Jesus, the Creator (Is. 42), lowered Himself to live with the creation.

~Jesus, pure Wisdom (Jude 25), lived with mortals that sometimes lacked common sense let alone wisdom.

~Jesus, who is Love (Ps. 119:76),  chose to live among parents and siblings who – at times – would show each other anything but love.

~Jesus, who exercises true and perfect Justice (Ps. 98:9), permitted Himself to be subject to the imperfect rules of Mary and Joseph.

~Jesus, Reader of Thoughts and Heart Motives (Je. 17), elected to abide by His earthly parent’s decisions when their knowledge was so severely limited.

~Jesus, inventor of Authority (1 Chr. 29:11) and Commander of even Winds and Waves (Mt. 8:27), placed Himself under the commands and expectations of mere earthlings.

~Jesus, who is the Word (Jn. 1:1), at the age of 12 put aside the pleasure of revealing the meaning of the Scripture to return to the mundane chores of mortal life.

~Jesus, who spoke trees into existence (Ge. 1), permitted Joseph to teach Him the art of carpentry.

~Jesus, who hung the world on His word and will, gave His consent to hang on a cross.

~Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God (He. 10:11,12), had no place to lay His head (Lu. 9:58).

~Jesus, who owns everything (Ps. 50), deprived Himself of food and comfort so He could pray for and minister to lost souls.

~Jesus, who is our Friend (Jn. 15:15), had no earthly friends of equal caliber.

In light of this, I guess we don’t really have it so hard! Thank you, Jesus, for being the epitome of unselfishness.

Celebrate Christmas

I celebrate as the angels did. God is Promise Keeper (named implied in 1 Kings 8:56). He sent His only Son to be the Messiah (name found in John 4:25) for the world.

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Praying God’s Name

Be my Encircling Shield. Put my soul and spirit in a safe place so Your beauty may be reflected today. (Name found in Psalm 91:4)

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Praying God’s Name

You are my Empowerment. Show me how to use the resources You have given me that You will be glorified and others helped. (Name found in Psalm 68:35)

Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Praying God’s Name

You are Emmanuel–God with us. May I be ever mindful of Your divine presence in my life that I may freely call on You for help, understanding and comfort in my time of need. (Name found in Matthew 1:23)

Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Praying God’s Name

Moses stood before the burning bush and heard Your voice. So, as I face burning issues, help me hear Your directions. You are Dweller in the Bush. (Name found in Deut. 33:16)

Published in: on February 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Praying God’s Name

Your Word is my greatest resource. Help me to live it out this day that spiritual ignorance might be turned into knowledge of You, for You are Dispeller of Darkness. (Name found in 1 Peter 2:9)

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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