Happy Joyful Noise

Has 2020 been an easy year to sing praise and be thankful?  I have often found it difficult.  It is too easy to fall into complaining.  That is why I wanted to spend extra time expressing gratitude this month.  The Bible often tells us to be glad and rejoice. Even when there is a difficult time, there is reason to praise God.  God would not have asked us to praise Him if there was not.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the Bible with reminders to be joyful.  I want to serve You with gladness and to sing in Your presence.  You are so good!

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving

I find it sad that few people know the story of the Pilgrims sailing to Massachusetts in 1620 on the Mayflower.  They had a very difficult 2 month journey from England.  The Pilgrims left England, because they were not allowed to worship as they believed God wanted them to.  When they arrived in Massachusetts they had to face a tough winter.  Over half of the original 102 passengers died.  That spring they had help from the Wampanoag tribe to plant crops.  The harvest of 1621 was a good one.  They invited the Wampanoag to join them in celebration and thankfulness to God for His provision.

We don’t have recorded transcripts from their conversations, but it is known that the Pilgrims practiced thankfulness on a regular basis.  I think they might have read Psalm 9.  This psalm talks about God’s provision during tough times.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of the Pilgrims. Thank you that they spent time regularly declaring thanksgiving. Please help me to follow their example.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Hesed – Steadfast Love

Today I am thankful for God’s steadfast love.  In the Old Testament of the Bible, the Hebrew word is hesed.  It is an interesting study.  Sometimes it is translated mercy, kindness, goodness.  The point is that God has offered such great love that does not waver.  I cannot even begin to describe it in a short blog post.  Please know that God is very good.  He is loving.  He has given the most loving gift possible in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sin.  I pray if you don’t know Jesus that you will soon.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of your steadfast love.  I know am unworthy, but You chose to love me anyway.  Please help me to live in a way that shows this same love to others.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Gathering in Jesus Name

Today I am thankful for those who gather in the name of Jesus.  My church family has commented on how much we missed gathering from March – May this year.  If you haven’t learned what gathering around the name of Jesus is, you have missed out. We aren’t perfect, but when we have our eyes fixed on God, the fellowship is wonderful.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for my church family and others who gather in Your name.  Thank you for the joy when we are in tune with Christ.  Thank You for the unity we can have when we put You first. Please help us to focus on You and all You have done for us.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Rejoice and Repeat

Today’s verses are compliments of my mom.  I love the book of Philippians.  There is so much practical advice for daily living.  Verse 4 tells us to rejoice – twice!  I also appreciate the reminder in verse 6 to bring requests with thanksgiving.  The beauty of this practice is the peace it brings.  Peace that can only come from God.

Peace can seem elusive when times are tough.  I think we sometimes don’t have peace when things are good, because we look for peace in the wrong places.  We think it will come from the right job, house, possessions, people. Godly friends can help us achieve peace, but only if they direct us to Christ.

Friends, I pray you know Jesus Christ as your savior according to what the Bible says.  If not, please contact me. I would be happy to share the truth of the gospel with you. God is worth it!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing peace when we come to You with our praise and requests.  Thank You for the protection for our hearts and minds.  Please help me to rejoice and have a gentle spirit every day.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Inexpressible Thanks

I have had a few responses from others who shared their favorite verse about thankfulness.  Today I will share the verse my grandma sent to me. 

If you read all of chapter 9, you will find the concept of cheerful giving.  When we understand what God has done for us by sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins, cheerful giving is so much easier.   The Bible tells us that we are sinners – the book of Romans shares a lot about that.  We shouldn’t have too much trouble believing that when we look at the wrong all around us.  But I believe if we are honest with ourselves, we can see wrong within us.  That makes the joy of what God did greater.  Who can express the joy?  I am going to try throughout this month.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die for me.  Thank You that everyone has the opportunity to know You and trust in Your Son.  The gift of salvation is indescribable.  I praise Your name!

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Sleep in Peace

One of the biggest battles we have fought in the last 4 months is fear.  The fears are as diverse as the population.  Much of the fear is turning into anger.  Anger at anyone who disagrees or doesn’t seem to understand.  There are facts, misinformation, and opinions being shared at every turn.  Each of those sway our emotions again and again.

How do we survive times like this? How can anyone sleep at night?  King David wrote Psalm 4. He had experience in many difficult situations, frequently counseling himself to trust in God.  Psalm 4:8 shows how he could “lie down and sleep.”  He knows that God is in control.  God is the means of our safety.  I am all for making wise choices, but no matter how good the choice is we don’t have ultimate control over the results.  With all the disagreement lately, our choices have been somewhat limited. 

Friends, whether we believe it or not…whether we live it or not, God IS in control and will provide safety when we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, we are facing so much fear. Please help us to turn to You instead of turning against each other. Please guide us in following You.  Thank you for the safety that You provide.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

A Sure Foundation

As I read what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3, I could easily think he is talking about today.  We have so much division in the church (and our society).  Difficult times often reveal underlying issues.  I wonder if we live as though Christ is our foundation.  Or do we try to add to the foundation Christ has laid with our own wood, hay, and stubble?

Friends, we would weather storms better if we remembered that Christ lays a perfect foundation.  If we tune ourselves to Christ, we will find His foundation to be much more stable than ours.  I hope this is what you want to do.  Times are tough.  We are all struggling with many different hardships.  We need to remind each other to cling to Christ.  He is the only way to walk through good times and bad. 

My hope with this blog is to encourage others as I walk (sometimes tripping) down the path God has set me on.  I need much of the encouragement that I share.  Sometimes I write about things my friends are going through.  We all need the help the Bible and prayer give.  I hope you will come along for the ride and share what God is teaching you as well.

Dear Heavenly Father, there is so much hurt, fear and anger in our world right now.  We have division every where we look.  Please help us to cling to Christ and show one another how much You love us.  Thank You that You have a plan and You are trustworthy. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Notice the Blessings

I am thankful to see a little bit better news these days, although sadly much negativity is still circulating.  The reality is that bad things will happen.  We live in a sin cursed earth (read the book of Genesis to see the origins of that).  However, even though we see ugly, hard things around us there are many blessings. 

I have heard a saying, “Blessings come to those who notice.” There is Biblical truth in those words.  We can get too focused on the negative and miss the positive.  I’m not saying that we pretend the bad things never happen, but I think we need help to keep a proper perspective.

I love to tell storiespositive storiesstories of blessing.  I have told several in my blog.  God sent me some more this week.  The picture behind Psalm 34:8 was sent to me by a friend who was thinking of me.  #heartwarming!  Another day I saw a friend at the grocery store.  I had a big grin on my face as I waved through the window to get her attention.  We talked for a few minutes. I was smiling for a while after our conversation (especially when she waved at me at the next store).  That evening God painted the sky yellow, orange and pink as the sun was going down.  I love the beauty of sunset.  All of these happenings were hugs from God – blessings God sent my way. 

I am still processing the negative things that God allowed in my life this week.  He is using those to perfect me (James 1:2-4).  However, I want to notice and claim God’s goodness to get me through each day.  Blessings hold great power when we allow God to work.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing you send my way: friends who know and love You, all the beauty in Your creation.  Please help me to keep a proper focus on the blessings in my life and encourage others to do the same.  Please give me the strength to view the challenges correctly and not let them weigh me down.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Wait for God’s Timing. Trust God’s Timing.

Another week has come and gone with the usual bruises that go with the challenges of life. As I process the circumstances in my little piece of the world, I found myself drawn to a couple of statements posted on Facebook.  One reminded me that God’s timing is always trustworthy.  The other reminds me of God’s control over and through difficult circumstances.  As I looked for a verse to use in today’s blog, the YouVersion Bible app had Psalm 27:14 as today’s verse of the day. 

I’m not a big fan of waiting.  I would rather keep moving.  Maybe not as fast as the waterfall in the picture my friend sent to me, but at least moving.  However, sometimes God asks us to wait.  His timing is perfect.  He has a plan and will bring it about His way, in His time.  God IS in control, even when life seems out of control.  When I don’t see how things are going to work out…when I start to worry about the big and little things in my life, I need to stop and go to God.  Talking to Him in prayer will help me to be strong and allow me to take courage as I wait on God.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for always being available.  Thank You for providing the way to have courage.  I claim Your promise to promise to provide courage.  Please help me to wait on You and Your timing for all the details of my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.