HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the followers of this blog! I thank you for following this blog. It has been about three years since I have contributed to this blog. Recently, I have restarted writing. I hope to write more consistently this time. I have also changed the name of my blog to: “Bible Treasures for Today”. I have done this to focus on the purpose of the blog. Using my name as the title did not really reflect the purpose of the blog. I do hope that you will join me as we continue once again to explore the treasures of the Word of God. Please encourage others to subscribe as well.
Here are some verses which help us to focus on all that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 31:3 “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Heb 13:5 “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
On this Thanksgiving Day, let us be thankful for God’s love, presence and grace!
“Have you heard the news? Jesus is coming!” The excitement was building in the lives of ten men who were filled with leprosy. Their lives were miserable. Not only were they suffering physically, but they also were suffering socially, emotionally, and spiritually. They were desperate. Soon, Jesus was on the outskirts of the village. This would be the lepers last chance.
“There He is!” They all shouted in unison. Jesus was a distance away. If only they could shout loud enough for him to hear. They began to shout: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Then Jesus turned and saw the ten lepers and said these beautiful words: “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” Their excitement could not be contained. As they left the scene to go see the priest, they realized that they were completely healed! However, in the midst of their excitement only one of them returned to thank Him.
As the one healed leper approached, Jesus questioned the people. “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” Only one man had the realization that Christ merited his heartfelt gratefulness.
Today, many people come to Jesus with their needs. Like the lepers, we have physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Many people don’t ever think about thanking Jesus. Yes, people will say: “I am thankful for this or for that.” However, they do not give their thanks to anyone, especially Jesus. In reality, giving thanks demands that there is someone who is the recipient of our thanksgiving.
Today, Jesus asks the same question: “Where are the nine?” Are we one of the nine or are we like the one leper who returned to Jesus to give thanks?
The food has been bought. The guests have been invited. The television is ready for NFL football. Preparations are being made for the Black Friday sales. However, something is missing in our Thanksgiving preparations. Have we prepared our hearts to give thanks unto our Lord God?
One person has defined gratefulness as: “Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life.” We prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving by taking the time to reflect upon God’s blessings and then give thanks unto Him for those blessings. It is also an opportunity to thank others for the ways they have benefited our lives.
Psalm 95 helps us to prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving. The focus of this Psalm is upon giving thanks to God. “Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving.” (Psalm 95:2) God desires thankfulness in His people. Thanksgiving is not a once year reflection upon God’s blessings, but it is a daily giving of thanks to God for his blessings and provision.
We prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving as we reflect upon the reasons we can give thanks to God. Take a few moments to meditate upon the following verses in Psalm 95. These verses will encourage us to give thanks to God for all that He is and all that He has done.
1. We give thanks to God for His Greatness. “For the Lord is a great God.” (Psalm 95:3a) God demonstrates His Greatness in all that He is and all that He does. We find it easy to lose the wonder of God as we grow older. Our faith becomes routine and ritualistic. It is time that we meditate upon God’s greatness again, and thank Him for His attributes and all that He has done.
2. We give thanks God for His Sovereignty. “A great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:3b) God is in control. Yes, he sometimes refines us as by fire, but we can thank Him that nothing passes into our lives apart from His loving will and plan. When we understand that He is in control: then we can commit the trial unto Him and see Him work. We can thank Him not only for the good times, but also for the difficult times because He is working in our lives.
3. We give thanks to God for His Power. “The strength of the hills is his also.” (Psalm 95:4) Our God brings spiritual, emotional and physical strength to our lives. We can give thanks in a difficult situation, because God is there to give us his strength. Paul understood this as he was in prison when he wrote: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
4. We give thanks to God because He is Personal. “For He is our God.” (Psalm 95:7a) God desires to have a personal relationship with us. He wants to walk with us, talk with us and listen to us. He loves His children with an everlasting love. He will never forsake us, in spite of the situation. We can give thanks that we have a vital relationship with our Living God.
5. We give thanks to God because He is our Provider. “We are the people of his pasture.” (Psalm 95:7b) We can be confident that the Lord is our loving Shepherd who will provide for our needs, whether they be spiritual, emotional, social or physical. The Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount reminds us that God will take care of the smallest matter in our lives. When we focus on how the Lord meets our every need, we are eager to give thanks unto Him.
6. We give thanks to God because He is our Guide. “and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95:7c) Our Good Shepherd not only provides for us, but also leads us. We can thank the Lord for the times that He gave us direction through His Word in some important decision. As we look back upon our lives, God’s hand can be seen in His guidance and through the circumstances that He allowed in our lives. Likewise, as we look forward to the future, we know that He will continue to guide us.
The first step to turning away from the Lord is to develop an ungrateful heart. As we prepare our hearts for this Thanksgiving, let us look upon our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and all of His blessings. Yes, there may food, family, and football for this Thanksgiving, but don’t forget the most important “f” for Thanksgiving, which is focusing upon the Lord and His Blessings.
“Dear Lord, I so often go through my days without thinking about all the blessings that I have as your child. Thank you for all that you are to me. Thank you for my great salvation and all the blessings that come with my salvation. Thank you for your desire to have a personal relationship with me. Help me not to forget you this Thanksgiving, but to focus upon you and all that you are. Amen.”
Have you ever felt pulled in several directions at once? You know you should have faith in God, and yet worry and anxiety have a chokehold upon your whole life. The future seems dim. Your life is at a standstill. Sleep escapes you. God seems very distant. Despair is ruling your life. What can you do?
The word “worry” comes from the West Germanic word, “wrygen” which means “to strangle” or “to choke”. Worry not only chokes our spiritual life, but also our emotional, social, and physical life. God knows the power that worry and anxiety have upon us. He tells us in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
How do we break this chokehold that worry and anxiety have upon us? God gives us several ways to break this chokehold.
1. Understand the consequences that worry and anxiety have upon our lives. The words “be careful for nothing” have the idea of “stop being pulled in different directions”. Worry is sin because it keeps us from giving glory to God. It also keeps us from serving God and others to our full capacity. Worry causes us to doubt the goodness of God. This creates confusion in our lives. For these reasons and many others, God commands us to stop worrying.
2. Focus upon God and not upon our circumstances. The above passage says, “Let your request be made known unto God.” God is the source of peace. When our eyes turn from our trials and are focused upon God, we will see the greatness of God’s power, wisdom, love and sovereignty. We know that we can trust Him regardless of what comes our way. God is greater than any circumstance in our lives.
3. Talk to God about the source of our worry and anxiety. The passage says: “but in everything by prayer and supplication”. God, our loving Father, wants us to take every hurt, misunderstanding, health issue, family issue, financial problem, doubt, and personal issue unto Him. He alone can carry that burden. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Worry and anxiety say I will carry my burden. Faith says I will take that burden to the Lord and leave it there.
4. Learn to give thanks to God in everything. Many problems and heartaches that choke us can be turned into blessings when we learn to give God thanks in everything that happens. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Th 5:18) This doesn’t mean we thank God for everything. When we thank Him in everything, we are saying to God: “I commit this circumstance, person or problem that is choking my life unto you. I thank you that you are fulfilling your great purpose in my life even in the midst of this great trial or burden.”
5. Enjoy God’s promise of His Peace. God tells us that His peace “passeth all understanding”. God’s presence and peace shine forth in those who face their deepest trials with faith in Him. I have been beside many people who are facing death and yet they had a peace that passes all human wisdom. God’s peace doesn’t make sense to people around us because His peace isn’t based upon circumstances. It is based upon the enjoyment of His presence.
God doesn’t want any of us to be continually pulled in two directions. He wants us to turn our faces directly towards Him. The songwriter wrote: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.” God will break the chokehold of anxiety and worry in our lives. Will we trust Him to do so? “The truth shall make you free.”