I Am Thankful . . .

Yesterday, my cousin in West Virginia forwarded the following to me. Here’s a portion of that email, written by Larry Pratt, for your encouragement on this Thanksgiving Day.

__________________________

Several years ago a good friend of ours, Mary, shared this following
email. It was found on a relative who had passed on. He had it printed
on a card that he carried in his wallet.

His name was Jim. He is dead now, but his message lives on. I hope
you enjoy it.

I am thankful . . . . . .

. . . . for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been
surrounded by friends.

. . . for the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have
enough to eat.

. . . for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and
gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

. . . for all the complaining I hear about government because it means
we have freedom of speech.

. . . for the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means
I am capable of walking.

. . .for my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

. . . for the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it
means I can hear.

. . . for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes
to wear.

. . . for weariness and aching at the end of the day because it means I
have been productive.

. . . for the alarm that goes off early in the morning because it means
that I am alive.

. . . for all the right and wrong in the world because it means I can tell
the difference.

_______________________________

May we, too, find our lives lived with an attitude of gratitude, a heart full of grace and words of continual praise to our God!

I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30).

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100).

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever (Psalm 107:1).

HAPPY, BLESSED, PRAISE-FILLED THANKSGIVING DAY!!!

Dale

21 Days of Prayer (Day #8)

THE GRATITUDE PROTOCOL (Harold Vaughan)

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving.”  Psalm 100:4

Psalm 100 contains three protocols for prayer. The first is the gratitude protocol. Our initial approach toward heaven must always be with thankfulness: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving” (Ps. 100:4). The “gates” represent the doorway into God’s presence—the threshold to the throne of God. Man’s initial approach to God should be with gratitude. Psalm 100:4 goes further by saying, “Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

We can take things for granted, or we can take things with gratitude, but we can’t take them both ways. Daily God heaps blessings upon us and bears our burdens (see Ps. 68:19). Gratitude is the pathway into God’s blessings as we acknowledge His favor. Psalm 103 directs us to “bless the Lord” and not forget His many benefits (Ps. 103:2). Gratitude is simply rehearsing all the advantages, favors, kindnesses, and mercies God has bestowed upon us. We must not get so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Thanking God will move us from a mentality of defeat into a stance of faith. The psalmist said, “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:17).

But what about those times when we are overwhelmed, exhausted, depleted, perplexed, and baffled? In our heart we do not feel grateful. In times like this, we should pray out loud, “Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.” As we keep repeating this faith-based prayer, it will bless God’s heart and help us. Thanking God should be a deliberate, willful act in times when our emotions are lacking.

We should not fall for the notion that we should not say thank you unless we feel thankful. Our emotions are ever changing and unreliable. We should pay no attention to our feelings. Spiritual maturity does what is right because it is right. Eventually, our emotions will catch up with our verbalized thanksgiving. Gratitude is habit forming. We must daily enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving.

We should thank God not only when things are good but choose to thank Him because He is good, especially when our circumstances are bad. Most anybody can thank God when He gives us things, but Job praised the Lord when He took things from him. Job blessed the Lord in the worst of times and refused to think the worst about God (see Job 1:21). Job chose to bless the Lord in his misery, and so can we! Thanking God with no emotional backup is not hypocrisy. It demonstrates trust in God.

We should never begin our prayer time with a “grocery list” of requests. We should always consider our present position (we are forgiven, justified, adopted, and accepted) in light of our former condition (we were lost, estranged from God, and doomed). Then we should enter His gates with gratitude.

God gives and forgives, so we should give thanks! When God gives, we should thank Him. When God forgives, we should thank Him. Both God’s giving and forgiving call for thanksgiving. “Gratitude to God makes even a temporal blessing a taste of heaven,” said William Romaine.1

We should not only thank God for forgiving the sins we’ve committed and confessed, but we should also thank Him for the sins we did not commit. We may have done badly, but we could have done much worse! What we have done is insignificant compared to what we might have done. We can express our appreciation for God’s restraining grace in our lives.

“He who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness,” said Neil Strait.2 Our happiness in life is in direct proportion to our gratitude.

When I was in high school, a special speaker came to our church. I visited with him, and he recommended that I go on a “quarantine of thanksgiving”—go three days without asking God for anything. I thought this was a strange idea, so I asked him, “Are you telling me not to pray for three days?”

“No,” he said. “I am recommending that you spend the next three days thanking God and not asking for anything.”

I decided to give it a try. It seemed awkward at first, because most of my praying had consisted of asking God for things. Now I was forced to think about what I was praying. It required effort to isolate my blessings and benefits and thank God for them individually. But the longer I thanked God, the more I realized how fortunate I was.

Not only did I thank God for all His benefits to me, but I also started thanking God for my problems. The Bible says that we should be “giving thanks always for all things unto God” (Eph. 5:20). This verse does not make any distinction between good things and bad things. It says to be constantly giving thanks “for all things.” First Thessalonians 5:18 states, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Not everything is good, but God is good all the time. So I thanked God for problems, difficulties, convictions over sin, and even temptations. I began to view these adversities as opportunities to trust the Lord.

After three days of intentional gratitude, I realized how blessed I was. I also began to grasp that when I spent time thanking God for my blessings and problems, I would never run out of material to thank Him for!

Reflection

  1. We can take things for granted, or we can take things with gratitude, but we can’t take them both ways.
  2. We should not get so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings.
  3. We should always consider our present position in light of our former condition.
  4. Our happiness in life is in direct proportion to our gratitude.

Application

  1. Count your blessings. Thank God for the mercies and benefits you have received from Him.
  2. Tell the Lord thank you for forgiving the sins you have confessed. Then thank God for the sins you have not committed.
  3. Dedicate yourself to a three-day quarantine of thanksgiving, or at least a season of gratitude—thanking God only.
  4. Practice the gratitude protocol as you rise every morning. Better yet, thank God for a new day before you rise.

Taken from “Approaching God‘s Throne: Biblical Protocols for Prayer”. CLICK HERE to order your copy TODAY!

Notes:

1. William Romaine, “William Romaine Quotes,” AZquotes, www.azquotes.com/author/30002-William_Romaine (accessed October 28, 2019).

2. C. Neil Strait, ed., The Speaker’s Book of Inspiration: A Treasury of Contemporary Religious and Inspirational Thought (Atlanta: Droke, 1972).

21 Days of Prayer (Day #2)

Yesterday, you spent time in awe of God’s greatness as you meditated on Psalm 145. Oh, how I trust your time in His loving, holy presence was rich and full of grace and glory!!

Psalm 100:4 exhorts us to enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! As you launch into prayer each day on this journey, be sure to spend time praising God for His holiness, goodness, patience, and other attributes. Then, thank God for His blessings and be specific . This morning, use Psalms 100 and 103 to begin your week with praise and thanksgiving.

Here’s an example using Psalm 100

  • Sing a hymn of praise to the Lord (100:1-2).
  • Praise the LORD for His attributes, naming them and sharing why from your heart they are meaningful to you right now (100:3).
  • Praise the LORD for how He will shepherd you this week (100:3).
  • Thank Him for at least ten specific things He has done in the past 24 hours (100:4)
  • Talk to the LORD out of your love relationship with Him as you rejoice in His goodness, His steadfast love, and His faithfulness (100:5).

Now share your requests with the Lord, and before you do, let me ask, “How will your fresh encounter of praise and thanksgiving effect your time of supplication?”

May your prayer life be one of INCREASE today because you have chosen the best part (Luke 10:42).

A Song of Praise & Thanksgiving!

I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. 5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. 6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness. 7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. 10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. 14 The Lord upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. 18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. 20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever. (Psalm 145)

May today and all your tomorrows be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God through our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!! He alone is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!!

As Bob Landis says so often, “Give Him praise!!!”

Grateful or Grumbling

Yesterday while driving through a nearby city I saw the following on a church sign:

Humbly Grateful or Hateful Grumbling

This is a choice.

Everyday of our lives and every moment of each day, we choose to be consumed with God or self. There is no other choice; no “in-between” choice.

To be humbly grateful in its truest sense and action begins and ends with God; His attributes and His works! If its hateful grumbling, then the focus is solely on self.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:8-10)

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17)

Paul David Tripp says it this way. “Every awesome thing in creation is designed to point you to the One who alone is worthy of capturing and controlling the awe of your searching and hungry heart” (Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do).

As you approach Thursday, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Am I humbly grateful to God alone?” “Is my thanksgiving submissively and joyously Godward or is it based upon life going my way?” “Is my hungry heart satisfied because of Who and What God is?”

The answers to the these questions is always revealed by my humble gratitude enabled only by God’s grace or my hateful grumbling enabled by my sinful, selfish heart.

“If praise is celebrating God’s awesome glory, then complaint is antipraise.” (Paul David Tripp)

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)

So Much!

Wow! What a year!

Something I frequently hear is, “I’ll be glad when 2021 rolls around, and we can get beyond COVID!” or “I am ready for this thing to be over!”

So, let’s say that COVID with its mandates and masks were gone tomorrow, what would you do? What would be different about your life?

Truth is, once that trial and the inconveniences of COVID were removed, another trial would be on its heels.

So, no matter what today holds, we have SO MUCH to be thankful for in comparison to all “the bad,” especially if you are a true born again believer!

This past Sunday in our morning gathering, we sang the old song, “Count Your Many Blessings.” Consider the lyrics:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

2
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
3
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.
4
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

How about counting your blessings today? Share them with others. Don’t get caught up in the negative, critical discussions. Be a light that points others to the Theme of themes, the Giver of the Greatest Gift, the Way, the Truth and the Life! God will even give you the grace to rejoice and be thankful (2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 4:13).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)

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. (Psalm 100:4-5)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Start counting! You will be surprised at so much!!

Abounding With Thanksgiving

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).

The most grateful people on the planet should be everyone who has received Christ Jesus the Lord for salvation! Through His work on the cross (Isaiah 53:3-11), His bodily resurrection from the tomb (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-20), and the gift of saving grace and faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we have been made eternally secure in Christ (Romans 5:1-11; Ephesians 1:13-14), rooted in Him and established in the faith (Colossians 2:6) and delivered from the wrath of God and hell (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). The abundant gift of salvation in Christ alone is the ground for abounding thankfulness.

As you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), your eyes are opened more and more to all of who Christ is and to all we have in Christ! At each discovery, your heart overflows with abundant thanksgiving and your lips speak forth His praise!!

As we try to move our thoughts away from a very different and difficult year to this week of thanksgiving, may your heart be turned to the One Who is totally worthy of our praise and gratitude! May your heart abound with thanksgiving!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 3-5)

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Psalm 103:1)

The Most Important Word in Running

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That was the title to an article found within the pages of Runner’s World written by Mark Remy.  The subtitle was, “Here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with nutrition, form, or VO2 max.”

So now, you are asking, what did the article say was the most important word in running?  Are you ready?—-“Thank you.”

Often my wife, who power walks, and I remark about how grateful we are to be out exercising.  We both realize that all we are enjoying comes from the good hand of our God.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

So what are we grateful for?

  • The beauty of running in the country!
  • Ol’ Bossie watching us from the cow pasture.
  • Seeing a newborn calf.
  • Quiet.
  • Time to pray, memorize Scripture, and/or listen to sermon podcasts.
  • Fellowship with other runners and the encouragement they bring to keep going.
  • The ability to exercise. I promise you this is not taken for granted!
  • Meeting some our neighbors who are out as well.
  • The benefits of exercise.
  • Safety.  (This can be a challenge when faced with a driver who does not want to lose five seconds of his drive-time.)
  • Goal setting.
  • Being with my wife.
  • Camaraderie with other runners through the MapMyRun app.
  • Finishing the race.
  • Good shoes.
  • Water & Gatorade!
  • Strength & endurance
  • Memories of good and bad races.
  • The opportunity to run again in races that were special.
  • The fall colors.
  • Our Enduracool towels.
  • The Tweetsie Trail.
  • Eyes to see, ears to hears, and lips to rejoice in all that God has created around us.
  • Life in Christ that makes this life worth living.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Gratitude-poster
quotesgram.com

Give Him Praise!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5)

This was one of the first passages of Scripture that I learned in my early days.  To this day, it evokes a heart of praise and worship that stirs me and causes me to anticipate the day when we will all acknowledge that Christ is Lord!

Note the action/descriptive words in this psalm:  joyful noise (shout), serve, gladness, singing, know, enter into, thanksgiving, praise, and bless.  Now all those words describe in some way the blessing of worship.  When we know, understand, meditate upon, and acknowledge that . . .

  • The Lord, He is God,
  • God made us; we did not,
  • We are God’s people, children,
  • We are the sheep of His pasture; what a Shepherd (Psalm 23),
  • The Lord is good,
  • The Lord’s mercy is everlasting,
  • The Lord’s truth endures to all generations . . .

what better response to these absolutes than worship?  Give Him praise!  Shout and serve Him!  Enter into worship corporately with other born again believers!  Bless His holy name!  Sing joyfully to the Lord!

Enter into your family supper gathering, visiting with friends, corporate worship, small group Sunday School class, or car on the way to work or school with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise! Respond to Who God is by every praise, every word of worship, giving Him the glory due to His name!!  Give Him praise today!!

Overflowing Gratitude

Recently, a friend of mine, Ken Turner of Ken Turner Ministries, a frontline outreach to high-risk and fatherless teens in Dayton, TN, sent out the following testimony via email:

The other day I led a Bible study at the Mountain View Juvenile Development Center in Dandridge, TN with a group of high school age boys. Since we are in the Thanksgiving holiday season, I decided to address the topic of… you guessed it… Thanksgiving. To be honest, I had to really pray about this and think it through carefully. How do you teach on the topic of gratitude to a group of high school guys who are locked in a detention facility and will spend Thanksgiving away from family and loved ones? How do you communicate the Biblical truth “in everything give thanks” when there could be so many things to steal your joy? After praying and asking God for help, I was led to share Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3. We studied Ephesians 4:17-32 and Colossians 3:12-17. After absorbing the truth of these passages and seeing a clear and specific list of things God wants us to “put off” and “put on” the guys came to the conclusion that you cannot be truly thankful if your heart is not right with God. Colossians 3 tells us to “let the peace of God rule in our hearts… and let the word of Christ dwell richly in us… and to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to Him.” Once they “got it” I closed the Bible and asked, “Okay, so what do you have to be thankful for?” And that’s when the gratitude began to flow freely. They didn’t struggle to think of things worth thanking God for. The list included, a warm bed top sleep in, three meals each day, a secure environment, family, people like us who care enough to come share the Word with them and even more interesting were things like “eyes to see, ears to hear and a nose to smell.” They got it! As much as I was worried about how awkward it might be to study Thanksgiving from a Biblical perspective I left knowing that on this Thursday morning, a group of boys locked in the detention facility in the mountains of Tennessee are going to wake up and thank God for some very specific blessings He has bestowed upon them. If they can be thankful… so can we.

When you consider the greatness and goodness of our God, overflowing gratitude should pour from our heart and lips every day, and especially today!  As you gather with your family, friends, co-workers, or . . . maybe you are alone, consider the awesome majesty of God!  Begin to praise Him for Who He is and thank Him for all He has done!  I promise you that the praises will begin to overflow! Indeed, if young men in prison can be grateful, so can we.

Psalm 9:1-2

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;

I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in You;

I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

HAPPY, BLESSED THANKSGIVING!!

Ken Turner Ministries

I Rest My Case At the CrossI’m resting in my justification in Christ and praising, shouting, weeping, overflowing with gratitude when I hear this song!