Lamentations 3:39 NKJV — Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?
No one has to teach a child to complain.
Mankind’s flesh seems bent on verbalizing those things that do not please.
Yet, how many circumstances which one feels the need to vent are not simply a consequence of sin?
At times, the occasion is caused by one’s own sin and at times, others.
Do we have the right to verbally air our grievances in the form of complaining?
Are we not equally guilty of sin?
After all, complaining does little to resolve anything, and is often a tool to divide.
Has anyone desired to spend more time with a person whose complaints are frequent?
Complaining tears down.
Lamentations 3:40 NKJV — Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD;
Instead of complaining, focus on God.
When our eyes are on Jesus, our reasons for complaining should disappear.
What is required more than salvation?
Jesus is our example in all things.
He spoke the truth in love.
He walked in the path given Him with joy.
Let’s follow His example.
Lamentations 3:41 NKJV — Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this beautiful reminder to watch our attitudes and our words. Lord, as long as sin is part of this world, I know that I will struggle with complaining, but it’s not honorable before You and it doesn’t bring a blessing to anyone. Please, help me to speak the truth in love. Please help me to guard my heart and my lips, that I might not sin against You nor others. Please teach me how to replace complaining with thankfulness. Lord, I want to focus on You and not those things which are a result of sin. I lift my heart and hands to You. You are awesome, God! Thank You! I love You. Amen.
My husband went to work on Thursday so we had already made plans to celebrate on Sunday.
We sang some Christmas carols.
(I know we were blending two seasons, but we love Christmas music and sing it as early as possible.)
We read the Pilgrim’s story.
My heart breaking all over again for the sacrifices those dear people made.
Then we took turns writing what we are thankful for in the back of the book.
My husband carved the turkey and we discussed a few memories while filling out plates.
“Well, two years in a row. We over cooked the broccoli and cheese.”
“It must be that old crockpot. It wasn’t in there more than an hour.”
“Remember how people were eating your honey-butter straight out of the dish while we were in the UK, Mom?”
“They did?! I don’t remember that.”
“Yeah, it was for the cornbread, but Daddy caught them passing it around like a side dish.”
“What’s in these mashed potatoes? They’re really good.”
“Butter, sour cream, milk,…”
“Do you remember the play we put on at the school?”
“Yes, and how the one line he did turned the play into a comedy!”
“I think of him every time I read that!”
It didn’t take long for talking to subside into eating.
After cleaning up most of the family played a board game twice and then a card game..
Later, we watched three episodes of the Chosen.
(If you’ve not seen Season One of the Chosen, you can download their app for free. Dallas Jenkins is the creator and it’s wonderful.)
It was a lovely day of thankfulness and family.
Something my husband and I cherish and realize won’t always be.
Our children are growing up so fast and we know they belong to God.
We want them to go, to do whatever God calls them.
We want them to be people completely surrendered to His perfect will.
Which means we have to surrender our own desires and plans.
Because they only live under the same roof with us for a season.
A season we are so thankful for.
No matter what the future holds, may we never spend so much energy preparing for tomorrow that we miss the blessings of today.
As my husband began his prayer yesterday: “Lord, we really have so much to be thankful for…”
He’s so right!
We have today.
Dear Lord Jesus,
It’s true, we have so much to thank You for. You have given us so much each and every day. Although things can be scary and the future still seems so unpredictable, I thank You that You promise to never leave us. Thank You for providing for us. Thank You for carrying us through. Lord, please continue to help us see the blessings in today. Please help us to live wholly unto You in each day. Lord, we want to serve You, to be close to You, to love You. Please help us to do so. Thank You for yesterday. Thank You for today. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
Psalm 100 is beautiful and we’ll worth reading as we celebrate.
I plan on having our family read it before we eat our Thanksgiving meal.
Hopefully, I will also have time to make place cards with the verse on it, but if not that’s okay too.
The point is Jesus and being thankful to Him for all things.
These last two months the Lord has been speaking with me about giving thanks for all while holding it lightly.
It began somewhere in September I believe.
I was walking around the house and thanking God for different things, especially the ability to have a tidy, functional, and clean house.
When the Lord asked me a question.
Would you give it all up if I asked you to?
I was surprised.
September was our “one year” in this house and the idea of giving it all up to move again wasn’t that appealing.
But I know better than to with hold anything from my Lord.
“Lord, I want to say yes without hindrance or regret. I’m not there, but I want to be. Please help me to be willing to give it all up.”
And so began weeks of different circumstances which gave me many opportunities to say, “Lord, it all belongs to You. Do with it as You see fit.”
Then it rippled out of things and into other areas.
Like my family, my personal “to do” list, and other such precious things.
Over and over the Lord gave me opportunity to give all to Him.
To speak the words both in my heart and with my mouth, that I give all to Jesus, He’s will be done.
And although I’m unsure of all the reasons He has taken me down this path again (not the first time and I’m certain it won’t be the last either) I find gratitude has bloomed anew.
There’s such thankfulness of heart when one realizes that the cherished things, family, love, blessings, are all gifts from God.
Nothing I have done has earned these things.
But I can enjoy them all the more and praise God I each.
Especially when I’m holding them lightly.
There’s something so precious about understanding the gifts and blessings of the now may or may not be those of tomorrow.
When I cherish today, my heart finds such thankfulness waiting.
Yes, some days are easier to cherish than others, but each is a gift and I want to praise God for every one.
This Thanksgiving, I hope you are able to relinquish expectation and simply praise God for another day.
His gift to you.
His gift to me.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for helping me relinquish all things back into Your hands. Lord, there are still many things I do not understand and circumstances which are concerning, but I choose to place each one in Your hand. To reach up and wrap my heart around Your goodness and cling to You through it all. For nothing and no one can separate me from Your love. That in itself is something to be thankful for! I praise and worship You this day. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for a day to simply be grateful. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Make a joyful shout to the Lord , all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord , He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV
I know it’s a bit early, but I just wanted to reach out and say:
This has always been a time of year I look forward to.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to praise God.
It’s a moment to remember the heritage and sacrifice of the Pilgrims and their families.
It’s an opportunity to praise God for the way He brought together both the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in the first Thanksgiving.
A holiday where we simply stop and say “thank you” to God.
Yes, we enjoy a fancy meal and normally play at least one board game.
But we also read the Pilgrim’s story (Thanksgiving, A Time To Remember by Barbara Rainey) and sometimes I read from their published journal.
This year, I’m going to be encouraging our children to write at least one letter of gratitude to someone.
It’s an idea I read in a blog and I love it.
Because it’s never too soon to tell someone thank you for their touch upon your life.
And gratitude should never be an empty cup.
For God’s blessings are all around us each and every day.
Truly, there is no end to His goodness.
Thus, there should be no end to our gratitude.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for all Your blessings. Lord, I could spend a lifetime just writing down all Your wonderous works and never reach the end. Lord, during this week, please help us to look at Your goodness and find so many reasons to rejoice. Lord, let our hearts be filled with gratitude and please grant us opportunity to thank those You have used in our lives. Thank You for a holiday simply set aside to praise, thank, and honor You for all Your blessings! I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
Colossians 3:17 NKJV — And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
There’s two important truths in this verse.
The first is: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,” Col. 3:17a
As followers of Christ our entire lives are to be a reflection of our choice.
Which can seem difficult on the day-to-day scheme.
Yet, we are called to live unto Christ, no matter the task at hand.
Which is an encouraging thought.
No longer does the mundane task mean nothing.
If my attitude is to accomplish those things with a heart of serving Christ, mundane can become mighty, an opportunity to serve Christ no matter the task.
It’s always about the heart and what is residing there: servanthood or selfishness.
The second truth is another opportunity: “giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col. 3:17b
When our lives are a reflection of Christ, we have the privilege to praise at the same time.
Praising and thanking God for His marvelous works of salvation, restoration, and provision are a natural reaction.
Or it should be.
If one finds their heart is following through with the daily tasks, but the gratitude is lost, it’s a warning.
Can the “doing all” be missing? Could the motivation of the tasks been lost to living for something else other than Christ?
The human heart constantly requires self discipline to remain in line with the commandments of scripture.
It’s good to do a heart check.
Therefore we need both truths in this verse.
And as we step out into each day, may we keep these truths close to our hearts.
It will take effort and perseverance to train our lives into living each part unto Christ, but that’s why this is a journey.
Walking with Jesus is a growing stretching building beautiful journey.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this verse. Thank You for the truths You have given us so we can live aware of our actions and attitudes. Lord Jesus, You know that we often find it difficult to follow Your Word. Our hearts don’t easily surrender to Your will. Please, walk with us today, hone our hearts and minds and hold our hand, that we might follow You in all things. Please keep us from evil. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For Thine is the kingdom and the glory forever. Amen.
My husband was standing next to our dining room table and explaining to the family, “a thankfulness jar”.
Basically it was an ordinary Mason jar which we were to each write one thing we are thankful for and place the papers in the jar.
I remember him talking about our need to give thanks to God regularly for all our blessings.
Then I woke.
“Lord, I like this. I think it would be good for all of us.”
“The girls could even decorate a jar, so it would be pretty. It could be sitting on the piano.”
“Lord, what am I missing? It feels like I only have half the plan.”
“Of course. Love it! We will have two jars, one for our thankfulness notes and the other for scripture.”
I texted the information to both our girls.
Easter Sunday seems a beautiful time to begin.
I have been praying about which verse to begin with.
I think this is the one:
Matthew 28:6 KJV — He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (Emphasis mine.)
No matter your circumstances, I pray you are able to find creative ways to praise and thank our Lord Jesus this Easter.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You so much for Your sacrifice. Lord, as we look to Easter Sunday please help our hearts be completely focused upon praising You for all You have done. Let us never grow weary of the greatest story, Your story. Help us find renewed vigor from the trials You walked through. Lord Jesus, please bring our hearts and minds back to You on this, the best of holidays, for without Your Resurrection we have no hope of heaven. Thank You Jesus for dieing for me. Thank You for rising again! Praise be to God on high!!
Not all the time and not often enough to pay attention to.
Just little bits, little bites out of my day, slowly consuming my thankfulness.
It was yesterday, during the quiet.
I realized the yearning had a name: discontent.
“Uhg! Lord, what have I done to allow this to creep in? I want to be thankful for each day, not waste my blessings in longing for those of someone else.
Lord, please forgive me! I have so much! I am so blessed by You. Please help me to throw out this enemy to peace and joy. Help me to see where I’ve stopped being thankful.”
God is faithful.
He showed me several little things which had all crept up and robbed me of my contentment.
It’s embarrassing, but the two main areas where my guard had fallen were covetousness and self-pity.
It’s difficult to even write that.
To look upon the ugliness of either is repulsive to my soul.
But the truth was brought through by Jesus shining into my heart and I have repented.
I’m now rebuilding the guards which had fallen.
I’m being much more careful what I allow myself to look at online.
It’s easy to “get creative ideas” and fall into “want my house to look like that, it only takes…”.
Or, “I’m only looking for tips on house keeping” and find a list of items you need to keep your home up to par.
What I look at really does get into me in ways I don’t always realize at the time.
So, instead of searching the internet for an idea to an organization issue, or a creative boost, I’m praying.
The self-pity thing is all about what thoughts I allow to linger in my brain.
When I see the stain on the couch cushions what do I think?
Today, and as often as possible, I’m purposing to think:
“Praise God for this couch! It has been such a blessing and a perfect fit to our needs. Lord, thank You for blessing us with this!”
Or something very like it.
Because that couch was and is a blessing from God.
I got it used for $25 and after arranging to buy it realized I couldn’t go pick it up. It’s 7′ long. Even healthy I can’t move it.
My husband was away on a business trip and wouldn’t be home in time.
God placed a name in my heart. I called my dear friend.
Her husband borrowed his father’s trailer, drove the twenty plus minutes to get it. He and their son loaded it. Drove across the road to pick up the bed I’d purchased and then drove back to our place and set it all up.
That was a couple years ago, but I’ve not forgotten how much God blessed me through all of it.
But I had allowed the stains and blemishes of discontent to tarnish the gift.
All because I’d not been on my guard about my thoughts.
After the Lord revealed the reason for my yearning, threw His light upon my sin, and I repeat, I made sure to tell my family.
I asked for their forgiveness for allowing this into my heart.
I also asked them to hold me accountable.
This Monday morning I’m purposing to live a simple content life in Jesus.
There are so many more important things for me to pray for than stains on the couch or my inabilities to organize.
Yes, I want to be a good steward of the things God has given me, but they don’t have the right to draw my attention away from the things which really matter, nor to steal my joy.
I’m so grateful to God for not allowing me to slide further down the slope of self-pity and covetousness.
O Lord , You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. Psalms 139:1-3 NKJV
Praise the Lord!
He is so faithful and generous to use circumstances to teach me!
They remind me no matter how long it takes, no matter how difficult the work, things built by God are both beautiful and enduring.
It is in the middle of the work, when I can lose sight of this.
Before my sweet husband was called into the mill this morning, we were discussing our week previous and the one we are beginning.
His schedule for this week is rough.
My health from last week was rough.
We came to two conclusions.
First, there is always something to be thankful and praise God for. Always.
Second, our own suffering should be an opportunity to remember and pray for others.
My husband even brought the name of someone I could pray for every time I suffer from a specific ailment.
I completely agreed.
What better way to live through pain than in thankfulness and as an opportunity to up hold others?
Didn’t Jesus do even more?
Since Christ is our example in all things we look forward to our busy schedule with peace.
Life isn’t always comfortable.
Life isn’t always easy.
But it can always be a joy.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NKJV