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Giving Thanks Is God’s Will

November 29th, 2017

Giving thanks honors God and values others.

 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“giving thanks is God’s will.” 

This year, our family decided to have our traditional Thanksgiving dinner outside, rather than in our dining room as has been customary. With four generations, along with friends, that is quite a full house. Our son and daughter along with their spouses, and our ever-growing family circle of grandkids with their spouses, and great grandkids from five years old and younger, gathered with friends from in town and out, as well as new friends from Romania. It was a beautiful, pleasant day with much conversation and lots of memories – some with tears – but most with joy and gratefulness.

Around large wooden cable spools for serving and dining, we visited and ate under the shade of Mesquite and Huisache trees – with curious visits from our dogs, miniature donkeys, and Hercules (our son’s horse). After a few moments of grateful Communion (a tradition begun by request of a grandson a few years earlier), plates were filled with turkey and ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, vegetables, salads followed by pumpkin pies, pumpkin crunch cake, banana pudding, and assorted Bundt cakes. Needless to say, no one went away hungry.

As the evening came, the great grandkids became the focus, enjoying rides across the pasture in the jeep with their dad, or down the road in a wagon pulled by a doting grandpa. As the sun faded and shadows lengthened, family and friends sat around a warming fire and laughed and remembered moments of life together, until farewells and bed time. We remain thankful to God for His faithfulness, and to one another for friendship.

My thought today is this. Thankfulness honors God and values others. Giving thanks is a lifestyle. Thanksgiving is just one special day on our American calendar. The apostle Paul encouraged true believers, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV. When do you give thanks? Always! For what do you give thanks? Everything! To Whom do you give thanks? To God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul seemed astonished when he described unthankful people. “They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks.” Read Romans 1:20-23 NLT. Giving thanks is the doorway to worship. Read Psalm 100 NIV.

Paul was consistent, even insistent, in his instructions to New Testament Christians, “Be Thankful . . Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through [Christ Jesus].” Colossians 3:16-17 NIV. The seeds of gratitude in your heart are the source from which giving thanks flows in your words and through your life. The Apostle Paul was clear. Whatever your circumstances of the moment, you always have cause to give thanks. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV.

That indescribable Gift is Jesus, God’s Son who died on the cross for your sins and mine, and rose again from the grave, ascending to Heaven so that you and I may have eternal life with Him. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV.

The writer of Hebrews summarized my thoughts better than I could, “Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to never remain silent when you have every reason to give thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2017

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Gratitude and Thankfulness

November 22nd, 2017

Thanksgiving is the language of gratitude.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.” Psalm 95:2 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Gratitude and Thankfulness”

Thanksgiving is the language of gratitude. God loves a grateful, thankful heart. I think those two words of similar meaning can be distinguished in this way. Gratitude is a noble attitude just as thankfulness is a worthy practice. Gratitude is the emotion experienced. Thankfulness is that emotion expressed. The covert emotion of gratitude is tangibly expressed in the simplicity of overt thankfulness. Stated more simply, gratitude displays its joyful heart with a thankful lifestyle. Gratitude is so much more than an emotion of a moment. Thanksgiving is the lifestyle of expressing sincere and heartfelt gratitude to God and others.

Why would we not be thankful? Paul’s question to the Christians at Corinth is relevant, “Who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV. Boasting in what you have denies the charity of the gift from God and your responsibility to reflect the same to others. Humility, thankfulness, and generosity are always very much in order.

As each new day dawns, your God offers the abounding blessings of a new beginning, an amazing grace, a true forgiveness, an uplifting encouragement, a fresh hope, a strong faith, a real joy, and more than adequate strength to successfully meet whatever challenge the day requires. “As your day, so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. I have long found strength and encouragement by the promise within that remarkable verse. His strength to you is in proportion to what the day requires of you.

This week in our nation, we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. For many that day will be little more than a festive holiday, a day for family and friends to gather for a holiday meal, with side dishes and desserts of every description. But such a day should also be a thankful remembrance of the faithfulness of God, the fellowship of family and friends, and your gratitude for God’s providence throughout the year behind and ahead. We have so much for which to be thankful and His invitation to experience more. Read Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

Solomon wisely observed, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV. There is no end to God’s mercies, no limit to His grace, and no measure of His goodness. Therefore, “Continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV. Overflowing with thankfulness!

This season of Thanksgiving, look past your present struggles or previous challenges, whatever they have been or may be at the moment. Decide with the Psalmist David, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1 NKJV. Praise always wins. In praise and blessing, you see the full brilliance of His grace, the abounding nature of His love, the generous supply of His daily provision, and your privilege to respond with thanksgiving to God. Read Psalm 95:2-3 NKJV. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NIV.

You will discover that you have more for which to be thankful than things about which to complain or regret. And life is best when you look past things distressing to all that is blessing. There is ample evidence of blessings that abound. Read 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 NKJV. The sincere giving of thanks is your fitting benediction for God’s goodness to you. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to make your life a resounding Amen to what God has spoken.

On a personal note:

Gayle and I wish you a Blessed Thanksgiving as you gather with family and friends to give thanks to God for His goodness and provision. We are thankful for you  and for the months or years that you ave been a part of the circle of readers of EveryDay Life. Your recommendation of EDL to your friends has helped us to reach a broadening circle of readers. And your kind emails of how God has used a specific devotional to brighten your day remains encouraging. This has been our 10th year of writing and publishing EDL. We are grateful to God for your partnership and encouragement . . . Blessings!  

Christian Communications 2017

EDL website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Thankfulness

February 8th, 2013

“Oh, that men would give thanks to God for His goodness.” Psalm 107:8 NKJV.

Even the misfortune of circumstance or mistreatment of others is redeemed in God’s hands.

Much more good fills one’s life than bad, though it doesn’t always feel that way in a particular moment. Occasionally, the good can be overshadowed by the other, if not overlooked altogether. Much of life results from your focus and choice. You will see what you’re looking for, whether the best or worst. I suggest you should always look for what you hope to find. Choosing to look for the good, you will not focus on the other.

You may be surprised how often you will find good around you, as well as in yourself and others. Read Psalm 33:5 NKJV. You will be happier, while lesser things will seem increasingly extraneous or mere distractions. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! . . He fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9 NKJV. Goodness is both God’s character and His specialty. David’s admonition becomes a recurring refrain in this Psalm. (See Vs. 8/15/21/31). Such clear repetition is a spiritual emphasis not to overlook.

This Psalm is King David’s joyful rehearsal of God’s love, and David’s thankfulness for, “[God’s] goodness and wonderful works.” Read the Psalm deliberately; meditate on God’s faithfulness; rehearse your history in a better light; see and celebrate the goodness of God in every circumstance. David was also certain of this: “You crown the year with goodness; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV/NLT. It is still early enough in this New Year to choose faith for goodness to crown yourself, family, and finances.

Your pain, as well as your own plans, can blind you to the sovereign goodness of God over your life. You cannot give thanks for goodness you fail to recognize as such. Learn to see the benevolence of God in situations. Who could have struggled more with unfairness and subsequent suffering than Old Testament Joseph? Joseph suffered his brothers’ jealousy, imposed slavery, years of separation, false accusation, unjust imprisonment, then overlooked by those he helped – yet Joseph could still see the goodness of God upon his life.

In his later years, Joseph summed up his appraisal of life this way, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV. Man’s best or worst intentions neither pre-empt nor prevent the benevolent intentions of your God. Read Psalm 34:8 NLT/1 Peter 2:3 NIV.

Even the misfortune of circumstance and the mischief or mistreatment of others can be redeemed in God’s love and purpose. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them . . to become like his Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NLT. Love God with all your heart; trust Him in all times. You will experience difficult situations along the way; everyone does. Read Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV.

In such moments, God has not changed. His nature and character are steadfast. God is good all the time. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV. Thankfulness is appreciation for goodness today and anticipation for tomorrow. Be thankful! Thankfulness is the appropriate response of one’s heart to the goodness of God.

My prayer for you today is that you will live assured that God is good, all the time.

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Home and Harvest

November 21st, 2012

A Blessed and Joyful Thanksgiving Season to our friends and readers of EveryDay Life! As you gather with family and friends, may you thankfully remember the faithfulness of God and enjoy ample provision from His hand. Gayle and I are thankful for you and your fellowship with us in this written ministry expression of Christian Communications, Inc. We are appreciative and encouraged by your kind responses and privileged to share the  practical wisdom and wonder of God’s Word with you and the friends with whom you choose to share EveryDay Life.

For our friends in the San Antonio area

I have been invited to speak this Sunday, November 25,  at 9:00 am and 10:30 am at Trinity Church, 5415 N Loop 1604 E (at the Judson exit on NE Loop 1604). It would be our privilege to share the morning’s ministry with you.

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Home and Harvest

Home and harvest are a good place and a great time.

“Eye has not seen . . the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV

Circumstances distracted and misdirected Naomi. Read Ruth 1-4. The book of Ruth is just four brief chapters, but a most amazing story of God’s providence. Naomi, her husband and two sons, experienced a famine in Bethlehem, so they moved to Moab to put the tough times behind. It is usually wrong to assume another place will be better when things are not good where you are. Things weren’t better; they became worse. In tough times, look for lessons not exits.

You can grow more in adversity than in prosperity, but you must keep your problems in perspective and your confidence in God. When I was a young teen, I recall my Father observing, “More people can stand adversity than can handle prosperity.” I have witnessed that truth in many lives.

Uzziah reigned as a king until it was said of him, “He was marvelously helped until he was strong. When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction for he transgressed against the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 29:15-16 NKJV. Prosperous times have their hazards as can adverse times. Prosperous times might promote a faulty assumption that you need God less, when you may need Him even more. Adverse times can suggest that you can care for yourself better than God has.

Naomi and her family left Bethlehem thinking Moab was their solution, but their problems grew worse there. In Moab, Naomi’s sons married, but later died, as had her husband. When you lose what you love, a famine is a small thing in comparison. She was left in a foreign land with only her Moabite daughters-in-law, but determined to return home to Bethlehem. See the gracious, providential hand of God in her return, “[Naomi] heard in Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread . . now they came to Bethlehem [the House of Bread] at the beginning of the barley harvest.” Ruth 1:6/22 NKJV. What great news to hear and good time to return home. In God’s timing, home and harvest are a good place and a great time.

Naomi inaccurately described her plight, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” Ruth 1:21 NIV. Her excursion to Moab left her empty; the Lord brought her home in time for harvest, beyond anything she dared imagine. Her pain and loss made her fail to see, “’The Lord has brought me back’ . . at the beginning of the barley harvest!” Your Father will bring you home to blessing, if you let Him. Read Ruth 4:13-17 NKJV. Naomi’s grandson would become the grandfather of David, and the lineage of the Messiah promised to Israel! See Matthew 1.

Like Naomi, you may not yet know what God has prepared for you but this is true, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT. God’s timely harvest will wipe away your loss from the famine. She left in a famine; God brought her home at a time of harvest.

The Bible says you can, “[learn] to be content whatever the circumstances.” Read Philippians 4:11-13/19 NKJV. Contentment is a lesson life teaches learners. Happiness doesn’t come from having all you want; happiness is found in thankfulness for what you have. In tough times, you learn that faith, family, and relationships matter more at all times.

At this Thanksgiving season, be joyful and thankful for a bountiful harvest, whether at hand or still ahead. Now is a good time to enjoy home and harvest when you, “enter His gates with Thanksgiving.” Read Psalm 100:1-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find God’s place of fullness and stay there in His will.

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Joy and Thankfulness

November 21st, 2011

“Always [be] full of the joy of the Lord, and always thankful.Colossians 1:11-12 Living Bible

“Attitude is everything – changing anything and anyone – and it’s always your choice!”

My thoughts today are about “joy and thankfulness.”

Life is not perfect, and every moment is not filled only with wonderful things. But life changes dramatically, and for the better, when you realize that your circumstances do not determine your experience of life, your attitude does! I have known people who have faced more struggles and disappointments than most, but who have found grace for an attitude that reflects who they are, instead of what has happened to them. I have met others who have a comparably easy life with few challenges of consequence, and yet they find little for which to be joyful or thankful.

Every once in a while it is good to ask yourself, “Does my life reflect to others what is going on around me, or what is really true inside me?” That significant difference results from the choices you make. Since a child, I have loved dramatic Bible stories like: Samson finally triumphing over the Philistines and himself, or Daniel in the lions’ den, or the three Hebrews in Babylon’s fiery furnace (that was in what is smell of smkoe, modern day Iraq, by the way).

I find an intriguing comment easily unnoticed in this story of three believers tossed angrily into a blazing furnace for their punishment. Read Daniel 3:1-30 NKJV. When the fire does not destroy them – nor even harm them – the befuddled king calls them out of the fire. He observed, “. . these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected – not even the smell of smoke was on them.” Daniel 3:27. There was no residue of their frightening experience – no emotional trauma, no need for healing of memories, only a powerful testimony of God’s greatness.

If you have ever sat around a campfire, you know that just being close to a fire will leave your clothes and hair with a smoky smell. You don’t have to be in it, just near it! Too many times, your present or past circumstances subtly shape your attitudes and feelings, and fill your conversation. Your story becomes all about you and your problems, when it could instead be a testimony that is all about God. Read Daniel 3:28-30 NKJV. A king’s heart is changed and God is glorified.

Their secret? They were with Jesus! See Daniel 3:24-25. That same experience is available to you. The New Testament records of the disciples, “(The religious authorities) took note of them that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 NIV. By my conversation and attitude, I want my attitude to reflect that I have been in the company of Jesus.

Read today’s verse carefully. “Always (be) full of the joy of the Lord, and always thankful!” Colossians 1:11-12 Living Bible. What it does say is more than you may assume it to say. Whose joy fills you? Your limited joy is like a thermometer that merely adjusts to the surrounding circumstance. The joy of the Lord is more like a thermostat that regulates and controls its surrounding environment.

The more you rest in His company, the more constant your joy and more natural your thankfulness. Some years ago, I chose to pray, “Lord, let my life be more the fragrance of Your presence, than the odor of my experience.” Paul desired the same, “Christ . . through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him . . the fragrance of life . . like men sent from God.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NIV.

My prayer for you today is: may your life be a thankful and joyful testimony of His grace.

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