This little piece to encourage especially those who aren’t morning people.
Mornings call to life and new beginnings,
Awakens in the heart those tenderest feelings;
Words fly up to God in gratitude,
The early hour sets the day’s whole mood.
By: Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT — They had just placed membership, but were very infrequent at church. I wondered what the situation was with this family that had just moved into the community. After some investigation, I learned they moved into the Middle Tennessee area so they could be closer to Vanderbilt Hospital.
The father of the family, Greg, had a terribly bad and rare disease called, Syringomyelia, which was best treated at Vanderbilt Hospital and by their specialists. “Syringomyelia is a condition characterized by a fluid-filled cavity or cyst known as a syrinx that forms within the spinal cord.” Up until the time of his death, he was in the hospital for approximately eight months solid being treated for this condition. As the evangelist in the church they worshipped with, I would make regular visits to Vanderbilt Hospital to offer words of encouragement and support. Little did I know that I would be the one edified by this family who was about to endure the suffering of the family patriarch. Continue reading
Christmas decorations began to make their appearance in some large chain stores soon after Labor Day, and in some places sooner. Halloween decorations and “Trick or Treat” candy likewise made an early appearance. But what has become of Thanksgiving? Continue reading
“Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5.16-18
Paul specifically identified certain attitudes and actions as being the concrete and revealed will of God.
No need to look for signs or revelations of God’s will! What other actions in this letter can be identified as God’s will?
A blessed and joyful day of thanksgiving to all today, for you and your loved ones. Much to be grateful for. On my personal site, I shared just now “7 Things that Thanksgiving Day Means to Me.” On those seven things today’s prayer was based as well.
This is the kind of list to check twice, is it not, the list of blessings? Continue reading
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” Colossians 4:2-6.
I’ve spent a lot of time and expended a lot of energy to help people before with never an acknowledgment of what it had cost me to do so. And, it’s not that I need to be thanked; I didn’t help them for the gratitude I would receive. But rather, it is the attitude of the person I helped that bothered me. She felt entitled to the help, and so I was simply discharging my duty “owed” to her.
Entitlement is the opposite of thankfulness. In thankfulness, we acknowledge that the other person (or God) didn’t need to do what he did and that our needs were placed before his own.
That’s why over and over again we are told to be thankful in the Scriptures.
Besides the help that God gives you each and every day that He doesn’t need to, He gave us His Son to die in our place on the cross when He didn’t need to. We all had sinned and deserved death. God would have been within His rights to turn His back on us and let us face the consequence of our transgression. But He didn’t. He loved instead. He died to give us eternal life when He didn’t need to. No one’s entitled to heaven.
Are you thankful?
Saints sometimes find it difficult enough, among themselves, to keep from complaining. They must beware that the world may influence their spirits greatly, causing them to fall by being discontent with God’s provisions. Many in our midst who claim to be saints are actually “foreign rabble” who bring in other ideas and, in order to insert their preferences, show unhappiness with the truth of the gospel. Continue reading
Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from the severe burns he suffered when his Humvee exploded in a raging fireball in Iraq. Medics gave him a one in one hundred chance of survival. But in spite of the odds and after 29 surgeries, Gabe, as his family and friends call him, traveled the long road of recovery. For a long time he went through the process of rehabilitation in San Antonio at the Brook Army Medical Center. At the time he was just happy to be alive. Now he spends a lot of his time encouraging other soldiers recovering from their injuries. When I last read of him he was 20 and he was looking to the day when he could return to his Illinois home and resume a normal life. In my book Gab is a hero and is owed a great debt of gratitude from America. This is Just A Minute
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!” (Psalm 106:1). Thursday, perhaps all of last week, we were conscious of our blessings and expressed our thankfulness to God. We used our national day of “Thanksgiving” to remind ourselves of the fact that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). On “Turkey Day” most of us gathered with our family, ate a delicious meal, reminisced and, perhaps, watched a football game. Most importantly, we gave thanks to the Lord “for He is good.”
Keep it going! Keep your heart in tune to the manifold blessings of God! Express your thanksgiving! Live a life of thanksgiving! Every day is “Thanksgiving Day” for the Christian. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We may struggle with the idea of giving thanks “in everything.” Sometimes our circumstances do not lend themselves to being thankful – there are dark clouds. I am reminded of the story of Matthew Henry, the respected Bible commentator. When robbed of his purse, Mr. Henry expressed thanksgiving! He wrote, “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” Thanksgiving is always a matter of perspective. Even in the storms of life we can thank God for the cool breeze. We can always find something (many things) to be thankful for. Have a blessed day…and be thankful!
Dwight Fuqua – via Focus on Findlay (Findlay church of Christ – Sparta, TN)
After a great visit with the overseeing congregation (as usual), we made another trip today from central Arkansas to Nashville, back to our son’s house.
Somewhere along the way the rental agency goofed or the travel agency in Brazil failed, and we wound up with an extra-small car. None of our suitcases will fit in the trunk. It runs well enough, but it’s a bit cramped. So I’m still unfolding my body after the several hours in the sardine can.
Good thing we’re not making any of the longer trips out to Texas or up to Illinois.
We can still be grateful that we’re not in the horse-and-buggy days.
When I hear men pray in public, I like to hear the usual requests put into different terms. It is more thought-provoking to me if I am a bit surprised by the way something is said than if I can stay three seconds ahead of the “pray-er” as he treads down the ever-trodden path of “guardguide’n’direct,” “keepusuntilthenextappointedhour,” “happyrecollectionofthethingshehasprepared,” “keepusinthehollowofthyhand,” etc. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with those phrases. They can be just as genuine as a newer, more creative arrangement of words, but I confess that I find myself being judgmental when I hear the “standard” phrases because I tend to use them when I have not been especially attentive to my own prayer life. God forgive me for thinking that way.
What made me think of this was either hearing someone begin a prayer recently or beginning a prayer myself with “Dear Lord, thank You for this day.” I sometimes give myself an internal kick when I begin a public prayer this way, because it rolls off my tongue unconsciously if I am underprepared. But it struck me a few days ago that I am silly for thinking that way. Just because that phrase has been overused a bit doesn’t mean that it has to be meaningless. After all, what more are we promised than this moment? We can’t thank God for tomorrow–Christ might return at midnight, or 30 seconds from now. When people are assembled with their heads bowed in prayer, it means God has granted them an opportunity to be together fellowshipping, studying, edifying, exhorting, encouraging, and basking in God’s lovingkindness with each other one more time. It means there is yet one more opportunity for those who have not obeyed the gospel to soften their hearts and make that decision. It means the Lord yet has some work He’d like to accomplish in each one of us, and He’s not done with us yet. Yes, come to think of it, “Thank You for this day” is no shameful way to begin a prayer. Perhaps there is a reason it has become one of our “standard” phrases. God help us not to let the rich meaning of those syllables be lost on us the next time we hear them uttered.
You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)
Lord, thank You for this day. Help us use it to lift up the name of Jesus Christ.
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 17:13: “Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.”
There are only four ways to payback deeds: 1) Good for Good; 2) Evil for Evil; 3) Evil for Good; or 4) Good for Evil.
1) While a good gratitude level, it is doing what would be expected from anyone: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back” (Luke 6:32-34).
2) This human response may “feel good,” but is totally contrary to God’s example in Jesus Christ, “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Other proverbs repeat this principle: “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil;’ Wait for the LORD, and He will save you” (Proverbs 20:22); “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work’” (Proverbs 24:29).
3) This is the way to curse one’s own future, household, job, friendships, or eternal destiny.
Everything God Created “was very good” (Genesis 1:31), but Adam and Eve repaid Him by violating His rule in sin (“through one man sin entered the world,” Romans 5:12).
The southern kingdom, Judah, gave God evil for good: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.’ Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward” (Isaiah 1:2-4).
The history of the Jews’ dealings with God’s Prophets justified His destruction of their Nation in A.D. 70. “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; also Matthew 21:33-46).
4) The superior method is: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21).
This not humanly possible without having the inner “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:14), who will “be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
“He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” Luke 17:16.
While cleaning out her locker at the end of sixth grade, one of my daughters hung a thank-you note to the custodians, who were so impressed with this that we received a letter from the school commending her. Just the other night over dinner another daughter said that she saw the thank you note, now years later, displayed in a janitor’s closet. Perhaps common courtesy isn’t all that common.
That’s what Jesus encountered anyway when after he had healed ten lepers of their physically and socially debilitating disease, only one returned to thank Him—and one who was not of God’s people.
This is another issue for us today. How often it is when those outside of Christ act more Christ-like than those who’ve committed to become like Him with their baptism! Members of Christ’s body should be shining the light of thankfulness through the murky world of self-absorbed people who take the kindness and service of others for granted.
But do we? It begins with realizing what Jesus has done for us and throwing ourselves at His feet.
Does your thankfulness affect others?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
a Christian historical fantasy
by Brittany Davis www.virtuousmagazine.com
When my husband and I were dating we had many “disagreements” and one time in particular he told me I couldn’t see the forest for the trees; he was right. I was so caught up in the details and slight nuances I perceived as major obstacles that I was putting a strain on our relationship. Sometimes we have to take a step back and really look at what we have and be thankful. Instead of noticing all of the minute ways it could be improved.
In Esther 5 Haman had a severe case of this same issue. Esther 5:9-13 says,
“So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
Someone looking at Haman from the outside would have said that guy has it all. But all Haman could see was one man refusing to tremble before him. His refusal to look the other way cost him his place in the king’s court, his riches, his family and ultimately his life.
Is there something in your life that is vexing your spirit that could be overlooked or completely ignored? Maybe like me it was something in a relationship, perhaps like Haman it’s someone who just gets under your skin or maybe it’s a task you have to accomplish.
Consider whatever it is and decide if all of the good things in your life outweigh the burden of this thing. Don’t be like Haman and close your eyes to all that God has blessed you with and only open your eyes to the one thing or person that bothers you.
Proverbs 11:16-17 says, “A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches. The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”
Be gracious and merciful and don’t trouble your own flesh by focusing on things you’re better off ignoring. Instead focus on the good then let go and let God.
In Christ, Steve Preston
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Oswald Chambers once said: “If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken hearted for we often shall meet more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love for God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”
Service is the rent you pay for the space you occupy in the kingdom of God.
Romans 8:35-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock