Joyful Thanksgiving

Joyful Thanksgiving

We each suffer terrible trials during our lifetime. We are ridiculed, rejected, abused, accused, deprived, discouraged, denied, and broken when we experience various levels of disaster and disease. Only by the power of God’s Spirit within us can we praise when we want to fight or run away.

God advises us to praise Him during these appalling times, because God is in them with us. He never leaves us, so our joy is always complete (Hebrews 13:5; John 15:11). We can give thanks for every trial, because it cannot come to us unless He allows it, and because He reduces its negative effect on us (Romans 8:28).

God calls His children to live with gratitude to Him in our heart through every situation we experience (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:3-13; 1 Peter 2:20-21). The Spirit teaches us that our joy does not depend on our circumstances, but simply on the fact that we are constantly in the presence of Christ.

Jesus allowed His own body to be broken (Isaiah 53:10-11). Yet prior to his torture and crucifixion, he gave thanks for God’s mercy in His life and for His hope of our everlasting existence (Luke 22:19;). He knew this was the only way to forgive our sins, so He suffered and died in our place (Philippians 2:11, John 15:11; Psalm 16:11).

Jesus is our only way, truth and life (John 14:6). Our most shattering experience and most dreadful day are God’s best tools to increase our intimate relationship with Him. In our gratitude, we sing songs of praise to the Lord and serve Him with His joy in our heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The Lord is God, and He made us; so we belong to Him. The Psalms are full of reasons to give thanks to God (Psalm 30, 50, 69, 92, 95, 105, 118, etc).

Prayer:
Father God, we always give thanks to You, in the name of Jesus, for everything; even the negative aspects of our life (Ephesians 5:20). Whatever occurs is from You for the purpose of bringing our body, soul or spirit is line with Your perfect will for us. Through Christ, even when we are out of human options and feeling abandoned, we continually offer the sacrifice of praise to You with words inspired by thanksgiving for all You already did, as well as what You will continue to do for us (Hebrews 13:15).

Thought for the Day:
We begin all of our prayers with words of thanksgiving and praise, because God is good and His mercy and truth are everlasting. – Psalm 100

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Yielding to God’s Holy Spirit

Christians today are far from the Biblical norm of what we should be. We have no concept of what life is like when it is controlled and guided by God’s Spirit. We take too active a role in our life and we make our own plans instead of checking with God about His plans for us (Ephesians 2:10). We get our self stuck up a tree or circling the same mountain in life and then we get discouraged and grow weary.

We end up grieving God’s Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) by our thoughts, words and deeds. We dishonor God’s name by walking with one foot in the world and one foot in the Spirit. We walk with diminished spiritual power because we focus more on the fleshly concerns in our life than on the spiritual and eternal.

We have so much self-confidence, self-centeredness, self-reliance and self-sufficiency that there is no room for God. We are like the foolish Galatians (Galatians 3:1-3) attempting to please God by our human efforts. This type of lifestyle comes from the flesh and the flesh stinks in the nostrils of God (Acts 8:22-24). God’s power is available to every Born Again Believer…it is yours.

His Spirit wants to sanctify us and enable us to walk in God’s will every moment of every day. God continually eliminates our human strength, confounds our human wisdom and limits our human abilities in every area of life until we get tired of trying to live life apart from Him. We end up in complete shame and emptiness, lost and undone.

If we call on God’s mercy and grace, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness and helps us to walk in newness of life (1 John 1:9). This is when the blessings of God start to fall If you find yourself failing or discouraged or overwhelmed in life, you can be sure you are out of God’s will. Stop and pray. Center yourself in the mind of Christ and ask God for His direction. Then, yield to God’s Holy Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, show us the futility of living life from our own wisdom and strength. Remind us to seek You first before we do anything, make any plans or set any goals. Allow us to see Your hand in every area of our life, to feel Your love overflowing in our heart, to have Your strength to accomplish everything that You calls us to do and to yield to Your Spirit each moment of the day.

Thought for the Day:
When God calls us to perform some function in His will, we find our self in the happiest place on earth.