A Life of Thanksgiving

Do you want to live a life filled with joy? Do you want to live in His presence? Do you want your “cup to be half empty” or “your cup half full”? All of us have good things and bad things happen to us.

Matthew 5:45 for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

That is the way life is and the older you get the more good will happen and the more bad will happen. Your attitude is determines the difference in your life. Have you ever noticed that there are certain people that others gravitate towards? They are the ones who are filled with thanksgiving and their cup is always “half full”. After you are around them for awhile you start to think that their “cup of life” is all the way full because of the joy that they have in their life. Their life is not any different from yours or anyone else’s life. They are not more blessed than you. They are thankful people rather than complainers.

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

When you give thanks to the Lord with all of your hear then you will see and tell of all of His wonders. His wonders are all around us if we will only give thanks to Him then we will see the multitude of blessings that He has given to us. You have to give thanks to Him with ALL of your heart to see ALL of His wonders.

Psalm 26:7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders.

Do you want to honor the Lord. He has given us clear instruction how to do so.

Psalm 50:23 He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;

He wants us to come into His presence through thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

If He has saved you then should a day go by when we do not thank Him for the precious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ? God’s wrath that you deserved was poured out on Jesus. His anger is turned away and you now have His comfort!

Isaiah 12:1 Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.

All of your prayers should be filled with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Finally, thanksgiving is what distinguishes the Christian from the nonChristian. How sweet it is to see a family bow their heads in a restaurant before they eat and give thanks to the Lord. All of us when we see it we know that they are doing the right thing. They are not ashamed of the Gospel.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

If we don’t give thanks to the Lord then our foolish heart will become darkened.

Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Giving thanks is one of the beautiful ways that we can humble ourselves before God and honor Him and bless Him. Let us give thanks to Him and not forget any of His benefits.

Psalm 103:1,2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

 

 

A Life Filled with Joy

We all want to have joy. Sometimes it may seem that joy is not possible all of the time but actually it can be. Is not it possible to have peace all of the time and also love? Yes, the Lord wants our lives to be filled with His fruit. Joy is not just an emotion even as love, peace, patience and kindness are not merely emotions either. Joy is a well being or satisfaction and pleasantness in the spirit. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit and comes with no guilt or regret. Emotions come and go and we are not to live by them but the fruit of the Spirit is an expression of Christ in us.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Joy is knowing His presence and having His favor on your life. Joy comes from the Lord. It is a security that comes from His presence and knowing that the Lord will be with you, will guide you and has a pleasing future for you. You can try to please yourself or you can have His pleasures which last for eternity.

Psalm 16:9 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

The Lord has also given us something special in this life which will give us great joy and that is the privilege of serving Him through the spiritual gift that He has given to you. There is no one like you and although others may have the same spiritual gift as you, it will not be expressed in the same unique way. The Lord has a job for you to do and only you can do it.

I Peter 4:10,11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

There are two types of gifts, a speaking gift and a serving gift. If your gift is speaking then you are to speak the utterances of God, which is His Word. His Word has the power and you are the mouthpiece to speak it. If your gift is serving then He has given you supernatural strength though His Spirit. If you are filled with His Word and His Spirit then He will be glorified in your life and the church will be built up.

II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

You must know His word if you want to be used by Him. He uses His Word. We are only His vessel through which He speaks. If we know His Word then we will be prepared for the goods works that he has planned for each of us.

II Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

You must keep a clear conscience so that the Holy Spirit is not quenched in your life. The Lord uses His Spirit and His Word. Sanctified means to be cleansed and set apart for a holy purpose.

II Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Finally, we must continually humble ourselves before the Lord, for He give grace to the humble. Jesus was full of grace and truth. The Word of God is truth and grace allows us to live out the truth and therefore be full of truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When you are prepared and set apart and obedient to His Word then the Word becomes flesh through you and Jesus Christ is glorified. You are a part of His body and the spiritual gift that He has given you is meant to be an expression of Him to others. The word joy has the same root as the word grace and gift. You will have great joy when you exercise your spiritual gift through the grace that He gives to you.

John 17:15-19 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus has sent us into the world. He has prayed that we would be cleansed and set apart through His Word. He wants to use you. When He uses you to fulfill His plan for the world then you will have great joy. When you are faithful to Him and obedient to Him and His will for your life then your life will overflow with joy. May you be blessed by entering into His joy and hearing His words to you, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.” What has He called you to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life that is Gracious

A gracious life will receive honor. A gracious woman is a beautiful lady and a woman that lacks graciousness is displeasing to the senses.

Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman attains honor,

A gracious lady knows how to speak in such a way that she gives grace to her hearers. The opposite is a woman who speaks or acts in such a way that people need grace to be around her and listen to her.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

A righteous person does not want to disgrace or shame someone but will seek to cover up their shame. Joseph was called a righteous man and he did not want to disgrace Mary when he thought that she had sinned.

Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

The opposite of a gracious lady is a woman who is a gossip. This is a lack of moral excellence and will destroy her friendships, her reputation and people will not trust her.

I Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

The Bible says to not associate with a gossip and certainly do not be a friend with one who talks about others and reveals their secrets.

Proverbs 20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

A gracious person is a joy to be around and it is a privilege and gift to have a gracious lady as a friend. Are you the kind of person that others seek as a friend? Do you seek wise ladies to be your friends?

Ecclesiastes 10:12 Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;

Jesus was full of grace and it was evident in His words as well as His actions.

Luke 4:22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

 

 

 

A Life of Joy

Generosity and joy go hand and hand. The Lord Himself said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving gets your eyes off of yourself and your interests and needs and causes you to become aware of the needs of others around you. The ore yo give, the more your cup of joy will overflow.

Acts20:35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Giving gives you a heart for the Lord, for where your treasure is there will your heat be also. Your heart will follow your treasure. Time and money are two of your treasures that you can give away.

Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The generous person will be prosperous or successful.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous,

Give to those who can not pay you back. The Lord says that even sinners give to those from whom they will receive something back. When you give to the needy of His people you are giving to the Lord.

Matthew 25:35-40  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

The person who gives to the rich will come to poverty. Give to a person in need and they will give you their heart.  When you meet the need of the needy then you are removing the obstacle in their life so that they can hear the Gospel. You are allowing them to see the love and truth of God so that they can hear the love and truth of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Give to the poor and the Lord says that He Himself will pay you back. It is the only time in Scripture where the Lord says that He will become man’s debtor. His payment is in full and more. He remains no man’s debtor.

Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,  And He will repay him for his good deed.

Give to those who have helped you spiritually.

Galatians 6:6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Your cup of joy will overflow as you give to the Lord by giving to His people, the needy and to reach others for Christ.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

A Life that is Helped and Helps

We all need to help and to be helped. We need to help each other stay on God’s path. We need each other and the Lord has provisions for us. There are three layers of relationships that ladies need to help them stay on God’s path and do what is right.

Hebrew 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the outcome of their way of life, imitate their faith.

The top layer are those whom you look up to and respect. If you can have a loving relationship with this person then that is great but sometimes it may be someone you admire from a distance whose life inspires you. However, you definitely need some people in the upper layer who love you and will pray for you and keep you accountable. This person sees your needs and wants to see you grow in the Lord. Find people who are growing in their relationship with the Lord whom you want to be like and you want to go where they are going in life. Be careful who you aspire to be like because you will become like the person you allow to teach you. Choose godly women who love the Lord. Look at the fruit in their lives.

Luke 6:40 A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

The second layer are the friends that you choose. This layer will love you and want to be with you. Both of you agree that you want to be faithful to the Lord, which means that you want to be faithful to honor your parents or husband, or you both want to be faithful in school or on the job.

Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, unless they be agreed?”

You both want to follow the Lord and you stimulate one another to do that very thing. You will stick with each other through thick and thin, no matter what the circumstances.

Proverbs 18: 24 …there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

You also want your closest friends to be wise people who seek the Lord, fear and respect Him and want to be a disciple of Jesus. A wise person lives each day as though it is his last so that he will be ready to meet the Lord.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

A fool lives as if there is no God.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

Who you choose as your friends is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. Choose right and you will treasure them and you will bless each other. Choose wrong and you will end up in situations you never intended to be and you will go places you never wanted to go. A true friend is more concerned about your relationship with the Lord than your relationship with them.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times,

The last layer is the bottom layer and this layer are the girls or young ladies who look up to you. This layer keeps you on the straight and narrow because you do not want to disappoint them. Often they think that you can do no wrong. Of course you know the truth about yourself but they truly believe the best in you. Also, this layer is important because the Lord tells us to reach out to others and especially to those who can not pay you back. The Lord Himself will make sure that your life is watered if you water others.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.

The Lord Himself was like this.

Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

If you are missing a layer then ask the Lord to provide and then seek out opportunities to meet people. This principle is seen in life with grandparents, parents and children. Also, Jesus looked to the Father and had the disciples, especially Peter, James and John as friends and reached out to the multitude.

An easy way to remember this is to call it the “oreo” principle. (If you like oreo cookies.) The top layer are those who love you in spite of your faults and the bottom layer are those who love you but do not see your faults. Then the sweet stuff in the middle are your friends who see the good, the bad and the ugly but who love you anyway and who will be there for you. Can it get any better? How is your “oreo” principle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life that Is Filled with Happiness

The Lord designed for man to be happy. A life filled with happiness is one that has much joy and gladness, peace and contentment, prosperity and success, thankfulness and praise, faith and hope, and above all love. This is what the Lord desired for man to experience but man messed up by sinning by wanting to go his own way and do his own thing. As a result happiness left him and sorrow took its place. God came down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to restore man to God’s design for him. If man will put himself back in God’s hands then not only will he be restored in a relationship with God but happiness will replace sorrow.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The thief is the devil and he came to destroy. If we will listen to the Lord and tune out the devil’s lies then we will experience that abundant life that God designed. Our life will be filled with happiness. Our home will be filled with happiness when we live according to His plan. He came to bring love, joy, peace and many other manifestations of who He is.

Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we receive Jesus Christ into our life the Spirit comes to live in us and He produces the happiness that becomes a part of of our lives. As we learn to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit then we will experience the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

The devil uses our flesh to rob us of the joy, peace and love that God intended and wanted us to know. The fruit of the flesh is what will destroy your happiness, your life, your home and everything else that is precious to you.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Are there any of these things in your life? Are you immoral and having a physical relationship with someone whom you are not married to? Do you look at impure things on the internet or are your thoughts continually impure from what you have seen or done in the past? Do you dress in such a way that brings attention to your body? What about idolatry? Do you desire anything more than the Lord Jesus Christ? He alone is God and He alone is worthy of our heart, devotion and worship. What about sorcery? Do you read the horoscope or seek guidance where the Lord said not to? What about enemies? Is there strife in your life? Jealousy also is like a poison and will destroy relationships. Do you ever have an outburst of anger? Love and anger can not reside in the same person. Disputes, dissensions and factions are the opposite of unity. Do you envy or can you sincerely rejoice in another person’s success? Drunkenness and carousing is another way of saying that a person is living for the weekend when they can have fun through partying etc. or even drinking and partying at sports events? If these describe you then your life will be filled with much sorrow for it is only a matter of time before you will reap what you sow.

Galatians 6:7,8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows then that is what he will reap. If you walk in the flesh and carry out the desire of the flesh then your life will experience corruption and destruction. If you sow to the Spirit then you will from the Spirit experience life. The Lord came to show us the way to life. If you will follow His instructions then your life will overflow with much love, joy, peace, gladness, contentment, prosperity, success, thankfulness, praise, faith and hope.

A Life that is Free of Bitterness

This can be a real struggle for some as life goes on because bitterness comes from being hurt and the longer we live the more we are hurt. Sometimes hurt is intentional and sometimes it isn’t but just happens because you happen to have been born in a certain family or you just happened to have been somewhere when something took place. We live in a sinful, fallen world where there is a lot of pain. However, what determines your life more is not the pain you go through but your response to it. The cup is partly empty for all of us but to a bitter person it is half empty and to a thankful person the cup is half full. Bitterness and thankfulness are opposites. You must choose if you want to be bitter person or a grateful person.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Hurt comes from sin and when there is sin, whether you did or someone else, then there is pain. When sin abounds then grace also abounds. God’s grace is what allows you to come to Him and He will heal you. Bitterness is hurt that has not been resolved. Most of us will say that we are not bitter but we are only hurt. Bitterness is when the hurt feels like it just happened yesterday when in actuality it happened in the past and sometimes years ago. Bitterness is holding onto the hurt. Bitterness is refusing to forgive. Bitterness is not wanting the offensive person to be free when what happens is the bitter person is no longer free. Bitterness is living in the past. Bitterness is also like a poison and affects other people so that is why no one wants to be around a bitter person.

Acts 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity

The first step to be free of bitterness is to go to the Lord and confess to Him that you are bitter. He wants an honest heart. Then ask Him to help you do what is right. Then forgive that person. Forgiveness is a matter of the will and only takes a second. If you are planning on forgiving or getting around to it then you are still holding on. Forgive and then you may still need to forgive again. Then, thank the Lord for the situation. This is hard but the Lord says to give thanks in everything. He does not say to feel thankful or that you should be thankful that something happened but to give thanks. This keeps Satan from getting a foothold and ensnaring you again. Satan hates when yo thank the Lord and he will stop bringing up these painful memories if you thank the Lord when they come up. Thank Him for Jesus, who bore our griefs, took our sorrows and who loves us.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried

Bitterness causes you to focus on and see what you do not have and you don’t see or you forget what you do have that the Lord has blessed you with through his kindness.

Ephesians 4:13 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Thankfulness allows you to focus on and see all that the Lord has blessed you with so that in time you don’t focus on what is missing in your life. A thankful person is like Christ and is a fragrant aroma of Him. Giving thanks is an act of faith and it pleases Him. Is there anything or anyone in your life that you are struggling with at this time? Thank the Lord for the situation or person.

I Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thanksgiving is living by faith trusting the Lord for the future.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.