What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Is it the delicious spread of food? The day off from work? Is it spending time with family and friends? Maybe it’s all of the above. This is the one day I do believe everyone gives thanks, but I also believe that thanks should be given daily. We have something in our life every day to be thankful for and I can give you one right now – breathing.
We don’t have to wait until the fourth Thursday of November each year to count our blessings and recite our thankfulness at the dinner table, we can let God know every day that we are thankful. Don’t take anything for granted, but be humble and appreciate what the Lord has done and is doing. Even as you ponder on the difficult times – look, you are still standing and it hasn’t taken you out. When things are not looking good still show thankfulness and gratitude. Celebrate thanksgiving continuously and in ALL things give thanks, because God is due this as it reads in Psalm 100:4, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Therefore, whatever you may be experiencing thank God for being in it with you. Thank God for giving you strength to endure. Thank God for every assignment with your name on it. Hallelujah!!
We can’t forget to be thankful for relationships either. Being thankful for our relationship with our Heavenly Father, thank you Lord. Thankful for the ability to love unconditionally and to forgive sincerely. Thankful for time spent with love ones. Thankful for having someone who listens, laughs, and cries with you. Thankful for those who have made a difference in your life, whether it was positive or a lesson learned the hard way from others actions, and even in that it goes back to God helping you through it, thank him.
Thankful for humanity, for those who have given their time and resources to not only me and you, but to others too. Paul talks about using our gifts and giving generously to help others and in turn they will praise God, they will be blessed and so will you. This is what it says in 2 Cor 9:7-11, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
Now think on the simple things like the weather, we love the warm and sunny days, but when it rains, snows and sleets, we get a little sad and bent out of shape because it is lasting too long. But having those days were the weather doesn’t quite meet our standards, helps us appreciate and give thanks for the warmer days that we do love so much. Also, let’s not forget the insects to the wildlife, we may not know what purpose every living creature holds, but God created them, read Genesis 1:20-25 and he said it was good, so give thanks for them too. Give thanks to God for he created us in his image, Genesis 1:27. Thank God for peace and joy! As you can see there are many things to be thankful for, if you would only take the time to relax and think about it for a few minutes.
So, for the day after Thanksgiving when you are eating leftovers remember this is also “another” day that the Lord has made let’s rejoice and be glad in it and give thanks. The Thanksgiving holiday is one day, but being thankful in everything, in actuality should be happening every day. 1 Thes. 5:8 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We have 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week and there never seems to be enough hours to get everything done. Of course, we have those mandatory things we need to do, like going to work, attending meetings, doctor appointments, preparing dinner, doing the laundry, taking care of the kids and our spouse just to name a few. And when we’re not doing all of that we are making plans for fun, but where does God fit in?
Does God get the 2 to 3 hours on Sunday morning and the one hour when you attend Bible Study? Let’s add it up, our heavenly Father gets approximately 4 hours of your 168 hours. Is this where you hold your head down in shame? Or is this when you justify the importance of your to do list? Hey, you don’t owe me any explanation, God knows ALL! And God is definitely worth more than 1 to 4 hours a week. He is our Father, he gave his son, who paid the price for our sins, taking our place on the cross. Thank you, Jesus. I know what you are going to say God understands and knows my heart. EXACTLY, he looks at the heart and if you have a heart for God where is your time for him? Let’s look at Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Where does God fit in? Where is your time for him, to be in the presence of the Lord? We will ask God for things, but we have no time to seek him. The word of God tells us in Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Make more of an effort to make time for God. Amen. Proverbs 3:6 reads, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. We’re running around doing this and that and if we would put God first and acknowledge him, he will guide us. Think of all the time wasted because you are doing it your way instead God’s way. Again, I ask where does God fit in?
Is God an afterthought or is God the center of your life and lifestyle? When people spend time with you can they tell that you spend time with the Father? What I want you to do is examine your life, how do you spend your time? Where do you spend your time? Who do you spend your time with? I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do and that is, I’m not going to just fit God in like a patient trying to get in to see the doctor at the last minute.
I can’t thank God enough for being who he is, for salvation, and for his grace and mercy that I don’t deserve, but he has given so freely. Dear Heavenly Father I love that you are in my life and you have my full attention always. I will honor you in all that I do and you are worthy to be praised. I desire to spend time with you God and nothing or no one will I put before you. God you are to be exalted above everything. And everything Lord was created for you and your glory. God I will not just fit you in my life, you will always be a priority in my life in Jesus name Amen.
You have all heard that saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, because that great plan may not work out. Lucky for me, I have never put all of my eggs in one basket and thought it was important to have a plan B, C, and D, because you gotta be ready for what may happen if Plan A doesn’t go as planned. Well I don’t know about you, but I have had a front row seat to my initial plan failing and the subsequent plans thereafter not being all that successful either. Sooo what I’ve decided to do was surrendered to God. I’m no longer in charge of my life or the plan(s). I realize that the one who created me and knows me better than I know myself will do a much better job leading me and guiding me than I will ever be able to do on my own.
I think about Andrew, Peter, James, and John who were fishermen. Their job was to go out and catch fish. Simple enough, that is what they did. That was their plan. But there was a different plan on the horizon, Jesus would show them how to cast their nets, to be fishers of men in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and all nations according to Matthew 28:18-20. Let’s look at Matthew 4:18-22 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
They would cast their nets, but God would do the catching, John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted it up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. God will enlighten the mind of his people, drawing all men with the truth of his word and the Holy Spirit, learning and hearing the word of God, causing an urge to yield to the will of God and therefore becoming willing servants- followers of Christ Jesus and God getting all the glory.
God has the plan for my life and he doesn’t need my help. God never fails, He knows ALL! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He never sleeps or slumbers. His word never comes back void. He is the great I AM. And the list goes on and on about the goodness and righteousness of God. He has been providing for me all these years and has delivered me out of the hand of my enemies and delivered me out of the stuff I have caused doing it my way. With that being said, I will take God’s plan over mine every time. Just like Andrew, Peter, James and John, I dropped what I set out to do and follow God. God doesn’t need a bunch of plans. He doesn’t need to start from scratch or hold a do over, it is done and done in his timing.
God is intentional all we have to do is listen and obey. Draw closer to him and acknowledge him. He said I will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory. There you have it, I don’t need a plan of my own, what I need is to understand what God has for me is enough and that all that other stuff is not important. His plan is not to give into my every want, but to meet my spiritual needs.
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. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. And this definitely is a plan I can and will accept.
There are people God has placed in your life for reasons that might not make sense to you at the time but then in due time, in that particular season of your life, you recognize that it is a blessing from God that they are there for you.
In Exodus 17:8-13 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Moses didn’t go alone. All three men had history with Moses and Moses knew he could trust them because they were people God had placed in his life. When we become weak, we must be thankful for those who will be by our side, intercede on our behalf and pray for us, and stand in the gap for us. Think about those special people who will hold us up when we think we can’t go on. You don’t worry about who it is or if they are going to be there because they have proven it time and time again. God will give you what you need when you need it and that includes people too.
When you are planning a big event or birthday party, you know exactly what tasks to assign to certain people because that is what they are good at, that is their gift or talent. When you need to go to the doctor you know who to call for that too. We all have something to offer the question is are you willing to use what God has given you to help others and God get the glory. Are you the person they always call to bake the cake or do the decorations? They always call you when going through a crisis? Don’t complain, but look at it like this, they know you will have their back no matter what. Their car breaks down, two things are going to happen they are going to call the person who will pick them up it doesn’t matter what time it is and they will call their mechanic. These two people they can count on in their time of trouble. Who can you count on?
Thank you God for the people you put in our lives. Their purpose may not always be revealed immediately but we trust you Lord. God bless their gifts and talents and may their purpose be fulfilled where ever you send them and you get all the glory. And as our knowledge of you God increases may our relationship with each other grows as well. God thank you for those who are so selfless in their giving in the name of Jesus, we know that our help comes from you and that you give us others to help us, so we can see you Lord, in them, and we thank you for it, we give you all the glory, honor, and praise in Jesus name Amen.
Family can do you wrong at times more than any friend or stranger. And this is found to be true in the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph was most loved by his father Jacob and rightly so, Joseph was the first son of his second wife Rachel, And you know how their story began, Jacob worked 7 years to make Rachel his wife and then her father Laban tricked Jacob by giving him her sister Leah, so he worked another 7 years to be with Rachel. Now see why Joseph was really loved, the woman Jacob loved gave him a son and at the time Jacob was far from being young. But his brothers didn’t see it that way, all they could see is Joseph being the favorite son. Gen. 37:3-4 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they could not speak peaceably unto him.
Not only was he daddy’s favorite, Joseph had dreams and going by his brother’s interpretations of those dreams it didn’t make the relationship between them any better. Gen. 37:5-11 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
Joseph’s siblings conspire to kill him, but Reuben their older brother was against killing him, however, it was decided to throw him in a pit. Gen. 37; 21-22 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. Judah, another brother thought of the plan to sell him to the Ishmeelites who then sold him to Egypt. Gen. 37: 28, 36.
His siblings didn’t see it coming, but there would be a famine in the land of Canaan which would lead them to Egypt, where Joseph would eventually reveal his identity as their brother – reminding them he is the one they had thrown in the pit and then sold. The beautiful thing about all of this is he welcomed them back into his life with no malice in his heart and no thoughts of revenge. Gen. 45: 3-5 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Yes, indeed God had a plan. Gen. 45: 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Israel prospered, Gen. 45:18 And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Gen. 47:5-6, 11 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
Gen. 50:19-21 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. Family may come up against you but God who has the master plan will deliver you, fight for you and turn it around for your good in the end for those who put their trust in him. Forgive your family. Forgive those who have wronged you. Remember we all need forgiveness and may the peace of God be with you.
My husband is my best friend, but I’m also super excited that Jesus calls me friend. And if anyone is going to call me friend, I want it to be Jesus. John 15:15, Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
The way I see it everybody can’t have the title of friend. Friends look out for each other, they care about your well-being, they have been with you through thick and thin, sharing everything from A to Z, and they are honest with you, telling you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. Think about the person you have chosen to bestow the title of friend. Are you happy with your choice? Now, for everyone else they would be called acquaintances. For Jesus to call you a friend you have to be very special and important to him. However, there is a requirement to be called his friend. A condition, “an if” that Jesus said we must do. John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Therefore, to be considered Jesus’ friend we are to do what John 15:12 tells us, This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Jesus repeated it again in John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
I can think of four distinct friendships in the Bible. The first is told in John 11: 1-44 Lazarus had died and Jesus displayed his genuine grief over the death of his friend in verse 35, Jesus wept. And Jesus had a beautiful and close relationship with Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, it is written in John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. Jesus also called Lazarus friend in John 11:11, These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of his sleep. He had been in the grave four days. But you know you will do whatever you can to help your friend and Jesus did it, raised him from the dead, John 11: 39-44.
The second is the friendship between Abraham and God. Isaiah 41.8 But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. And James 2:23 confirms Abraham’s friendship with God. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. It wasn’t that Abraham was perfect he just never stopped believing God.
Our third friendship is about Abraham and his servant Eliezer. Abraham’s servant was trustworthy and would have inherited all of Abraham’s wealth had he not had a child. He could have been jealous or resentful of his son, but he was not and remained a loyal friend. Eliezer also was entrusted to find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac, Gen 24:2-4. Only a friend could be assigned such a task.
And lastly, Job and his friends, which may remind you of some of your own friends. Job had lost everything except for his wife and like any good friends should be, they were there for him, but when things didn’t seem to get better, they began to question whether he was guilty of some sin. Their reasoning was everything from Job must have sinned and that is why he is being punished to God is using suffering to make Job a better person. That’s friends for you, they think they have the answers when you are going through some fiery trials. They have good intentions, but sometimes their answers are way off base. In Job 42: 7-17, The Lord rebuked Job’s friend because of the things they said, but Job prayed for them. And when Job prayed for them God gave him back everything he lost and more.
The friendships mentioned above are great and I’m sure we all think our friends are wonderful too but, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, John 15:13. I can’t doubt that I am a friend of Jesus because he laid down his life for me, you, and us. I recall what Jesus said, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you, John 15:14. Jesus thank you for calling me friend, and I am forever humbled, I will obey and love others as you have loved me, my friend.
It may not be the longest or shortest book in the Bible, but the book of Jude carries some weight with reminders of the importance to stand firm in our faith, beware of false teachers, and ending with praise for the Almighty God. Jude didn’t hold back, he hit hard telling believers to learn and know correct doctrine (2Tim 2:15.) Defend and fight for truth, (Titus 2:1 and Titus 1:9) not compromising the truth of the word of God by twisting it to sooth our sinful nature. Ephesians 4:21, If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.
Jude makes very good points: the first being the rescues and punishments and false teachers. God delivered Israel out of Egypt, (Exodus 12:51) And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies, but destroyed those who did not remain faithful as told in (Numbers 14:26-35.) Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed for sexual immorality, but God rescued Lot. In (2Peter 2:6-9) And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.
Also, he shares of false teachers who have led people to believe that because of forgiveness you can live any way you want undermining the teachings of Jesus Christ. Examples of this are Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy (Genesis 4:1-16), Balaam prophesied out of greed (Numbers 22-24), and Korah rebelled against God’s appointed leaders (Numbers 16:1-35.) Enoch (mentioned in Genesis 5:21-24) prophesied about ungodly acts in Jude verse 14-16, which is also found in the Book of Enoch.
Then Jude goes on to explain that believers should build up their faith through prayer. Keep close to Christ who will keep you from stumbling. And as you help others, be careful not to compromise your belief and the foundation of your faith, hate the sin, but witness to others. And give all glory to God who keeps us from falling. Jude is great book that reflects on consequences and deliverance, our need for prayer, to be a servant and praise God always.
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Life can get complicated and stress can creep upon you or it can hit you all at once. So, allow me to encourage you today, there is no need to worry about the outcome because we have our heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally and cares about your life. Take it to him, leave it at the alter and trust that he will work it all out. Let God and you just breath – it will be okay. Start believing your situation is about to turn around and you are coming out victorious and into a season of greatness!! Amen. God has his hand on you and covering you. Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Praise God in the middle of your mess. You are not an afterthought to God he cares about everything concerning you. If you are stressed, broken and hurting get in his presence. Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Get that in your spirit and don’t let the fear of not having answers to your problems weigh you down. Walk with you head held high, giving thanks as if it is already done. You don’t see it, but you believe that it’s done and we all know what that is, it’s called FAITH!! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. God is a way maker and this too shall pass.