Take Time to Praise

I have often caught myself spending more time in prayer asking God for things than thanking Him.  I also know how easy it can be to complain instead of praise.  God tells us multiple times in His Word to be thankful and give praise to Him.  I appreciate verses like Psalm 100:4-5 that not only remind us to praise, but also give us an easy reason to give praise.  God’s steadfast love (Hebrew word hesed) and faithfulness are readily evident (when we are paying attention).

I need to pay attention for the many ways to thank and praise God, but I know when I get stuck that God’s Word will give me the help to get started.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your steadfast love.  You are unchanging and Your love is always available to me.  I praise Your faithfulness.  I am in awe of the endurance Your love and faithfulness has.  You are worthy of praise and honor and glory.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Willing to Receive

Lord,
I am willing to receive what You send,
lack what You withhold, 
relinquish what You take, 
suffer what You inflict;
To do what You command and
To be what You require.

Elizabeth Elliot

I know I much prefer receiving the “nice” things in life.  Something that warms my heart like a friendly greeting or good news.  I find it much harder to receive difficulties.  Going through appointments and surgery for a pre-cancerous tumor hit my introverted personality hard.  There were many difficult things along the way.  However, I spent so much more time praying.  I have also been convicted to watch for and write down the joy God sends throughout the difficulties.  I have found it fun to share the stories of the blessings.  I found it easier to make it through the tough times by looking for and enjoying the positive things.

I want to be willing to say what Elizabeth Elliot did – to be willing to have what God wants.  I know God’s gifts are always best.  Prayer and thanksgiving are two great ways to receive what God gives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings You send my way.  Thank You that the difficulties are a gift to help me draw closer to You. I ask for help as I continue to navigate the challenges of life.  Please help me to share hope, love, and faith in You with those around me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thankfulness to Heal

I know I can struggle with being thankful.  This week was extra hard.  Work is tough with our new computer system issues and I had a coworker out on vacation.  I also faced a health issue that went a direction I didn’t want.  I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.  It sounds kind of scary, but in situ is my new favorite term.  It means the carcinoma is believed to be contained. I will be facing surgery to remove the tumor and possibly some other treatment after (to be determined based on surgery results).

As I faced this week, I knew I would need God’s grace.  This was my first mammogram, and I knew I was likely to need a biopsy.  Not an easy thing for this introvert.  There is also the emotion of dread if the results are bad.  I struggle counting trials joy because it can feel like we have to lie.  Brutal honesty – the biopsy wasn’t exactly fun.  There were several hard things for my introverted personality during the tests.  I didn’t want to take my worry out on the medical professionals providing my care.  I spent a lot of time praying, both before and during the appointment.  I asked God to show me His grace and make me aware of the ways He sent it.  God came through with His usual generosity.  My interactions with the medical professionals that day and after have been wonderful.  They showed great compassion and care.

When I find it hard to thank God for a mammogram and biopsy or a diagnosis that requires surgery, I can easily thank God for the many evidences of His grace through trials. Medical research shows that thankfulness helps with healing.  I will need that in the next weeks.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the kindness, care and compassion that You sent through medical professionals this week.  Thank You for friends and family who are joining me on this journey.  Thank you for the joy and comfort Your grace provides.  Please help me to honor You throughout this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thank You to Hard Workers

Today I want to take time to thank all of those who work hard in their jobs, no matter what the job is.  This year we have had a lot of talk about “essential workers”.  While I understand the concept at the time, anyone who provides an income is essential.  And sadly, I have seen some in the “essential” roles who have not worked hard.  I believe that is true in every profession.  Some people work hard and sadly some are lazy. 

I am thankful for all who work hard.  Whether in stores, distribution centers, truck drivers who provide us with products we need for life or medical professionals who work hard to take care of our health and learn as new things come along.  The single parent who works doubly hard to provide for family, the caregiver who is navigating new circumstances and so many others.  All of you are a blessing to me.  I have worked with both hard workers and lazy employees.  I much prefer the hard workers and I know that God is pleased with hard workers (Proverbs 14:23, Acts 20:35, 2 Timothy 2:6).

Again – I say, “thank you”, to all of you. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all who work hard.  Their effort brings things necessary for life and joy to the recipients.  Please help those who do not work hard to see the benefit and joy of putting more effort in.  This will bring glory to Your name.

I pray this in Jesus’ name. 

God is so good.

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.

Live Without Complaining

Happy week of Thanksgiving!  I wanted to take extra time this week to be thankful.  I know this is something that I need to do more.  Gratitude is even proven to be effective in helping with health issues (there are many medical studies).

Today’s verse was chosen by a friend of mine when I asked for thankfulness verses.  I know how easy it can be to complain when days are tough.  I also know the struggle of putting negative things in their place.  I am not going to lie about challenges – pretending they are no big deal.  However, it is too easy to get stuck in negative thinking.  There is nothing worse than someone who is constantly negative.  Thankfulness can bring refreshing joy despite challenges. 

I will continue to spend my life working through how to be honest about negative things and grateful at the same time.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing instruction on how to handle difficulties.  Please forgive my complaining.  Please give me wisdom to deal honestly with trials, but not be trapped in grumbling.  Thank You for the many blessings You give.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.