Advent 2016 – Day 1
Many decades ago when I was just a little girl, I got the brilliant idea of preparing my Christmas thank-you notes before the holiday arrived. How was this possible? The gifts were still wrapped and under the tree! But smart me, I wrote out a template of notes that began, “Dear (blank), thank you for the (blank). It was very (blank).” All I had to do was fill in the blanks rapidly after my packages were open. For some reason, my older brothers showered me with much ridicule for my efforts.
Today, looking back I can see the humor of my idea, but the importance of giving thanks has never diminished, a thought which leads to the unveiling of this year’s Advent theme: “Thanking Jesus.”
In Philippians 4:6, Paul encouraged the members of his congregation to thank God for everything He had done. In the 24 days of Advent this year, we will look at people throughout the Bible who chose to give thanks to God under all kinds of circumstances. Have you given thanks to Him today?
(Challenge: Can you identify the first person in the Bible who gave thanks to God? Send your suggestions to me today and we’ll see who comes closest!)
Advent 2016 – Day 2
Welcome back to the second in our new series of 24 Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.” Did you attempt my challenge from yesterday? Several of you suggested names of candidates (including Adam, Eve, Cain and Noah to name just a few) as the first person in the Bible to give thanks to God.
When I began searching for that person, I was sure it would be someone like Noah or Abraham, but I was surprised to find no record of them offering praise to God. The first time someone clearly offers thanks to God, it is not one of the great patriarchs of the faith but a humble servant.
Abraham asks his most trusted servant, likely a man named Eliezer of Damascus who was earlier named as Abraham’s heir (Gen. 15:2), to seek a wife for Isaac. Eliezer sets off on a journey that, if he is successful, means he himself will lose a huge inheritance. The servant prays and God answers by pointing him to Rebekah. When she agrees to give him a drink and to water his thirsty camels as well, he knows God has answered his prayer. Gen. 24:27 records his words of thanks: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham. The Lord has been kind and faithful to Abraham, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”
Since Eliezer was from Damascus, he came from a pagan background. He must have learned how to pray to God by watching his master, Abraham. He also must have learned to give thanks by observing Abraham. Who is watching you and learning about faith in God? Are they also learning to give thanks?
Advent 2016 – Day 3
Welcome back for the 3rd devotional in our Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.” Yesterday we saw that it wasn’t a famous patriarch who first gave thanks to God, but a humble servant sent to Paddan-aram to find a wife for Isaac. Today we meet another person who gave thanks. Again this individual is not an alpha male, a leader of the clan, but she is a humble woman.
Like his father before him, Isaac sent his son Jacob to Paddan-aram to find a wife. Jacob serves there for seven years in order to gain a wife named Rachel, only to find he was a victim of bait and switch. He wakes from his wedding night to discover not Rachel but her older sister Leah in his bed. Jacob is definitely not grateful!
Leah seems to have the short end of the deal. She finds herself married to a man who does not love her, but she learns that God loves her: He blesses her with sons. Instead of giving in to bitterness, she responds with gratitude. When her third son is born, she says, “Now I will praise God!” She names him Judah, which literally means “Praise.”
From this line of Judah comes the one we know today as the Lion of Judah. Jesus Himself comes from the tribe of “praise.” He is the descendant of this grateful woman.
Have you ever felt cheated, unloved or bitter? Imagine what God could do for you if you released those negative feelings and, like Leah, transformed them into an expression of gratitude!
Advent 2016 – Day 4
Thanks for returning for the fourth in our Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.” We are exploring people in the Bible who expressed thanks to God for His blessings.
Today, once again, it is not the family patriarch but one of his sons who expresses thanks to God. The patriarch Jacob, who has every reason to give thanks when he learns that his son Joseph is alive, leaves no record of thanks. But Joseph, who has experienced slavery, injustice, and prison, leaves a forever record of a grateful heart. He who was ripped away from his family, now is the second most important man in all of Egypt. He has finally married and formed a new family of his own. In Genesis 41:51,52, Joseph’s wife gives birth to two sons. Their names reflect Joseph’s grateful heart. He names his first son Manasseh because “God has made me forget all my troubles,” and he names the second Ephraim because “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.”
Like Leah, Joseph did not give in to discouragement. He trusted God to bless him in the midst of suffering. And later he was grateful.
Are you facing difficult circumstances today? Can you trust God to make you fruitful in the land of your suffering? How can you express thanks to the Lord today?
Advent 2016 – Day 5
Here is the fifth devotional in our 2016 Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.” I thank you for coming back to join us on this journey!
Yesterday, we saw how Joseph gave thanks to God for placing him in Egypt, but after Joseph’s death, new rulers in Egypt enslaved the Israelites for four hundred years until God intervened by sending Moses.
Moses had many opportunities to give thanks. After all, he was adopted out of slavery and into the home of royalty. He also saw God perform a multitude of miracles, beginning with a burning bush and continuing through twelve horrendous plagues. Yet, he leaves no record of gratitude during all this period. Only after the Israelites have crossed the Red Sea does Moses finally offer up a song of praise to God in Exodus chapter 15: “He is my God and I will praise him; he is my father’s God, and I will exalt him!”
His gratitude is infectious. When he finishes his song, his older sister Miriam takes a tambourine and all the women in the crowd join in on the chorus.
Words of appreciation are infectious. When one person gives thanks, people all around start changing their perspectives and join in. Whom can you infect with your thanks today?
Advent 2016 – Day 6
We are already on day 6 of our Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.” If you have missed any of the earlier devotionals in this series, they are all available here if you scroll down. Today, in contrast to the previous devotionals, we are going to look at a group of people who forgot to give thanks.
Like Moses, the people of Israel saw all the miracles God performed in Egypt. They saw the plagues of frogs, lice, and flies. They walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But unlike Moses, they quickly forgot all God had done for them.
Psalm 106 reviews the history and starts out positively: “Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough?” But quickly, the mood changes. The psalmist describes how the Israelites were not impressed by those miracles; they forgot God’s many acts of kindness. Again and again God rescued them, but again and again they complained and rebelled.
There are consequences for not giving thanks. The Israelites tested God’s patience and He sent a plague. They worshiped idols, and God planned to destroy the entire nation. When they rebelled again, God allowed other nations to capture Isreal. The psalmist ends by crying out to God, “O Lord, save us! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank Your holy name and rejoice and praise You.”
How is your memory today? What have you forgotten to thank God for?
Advent 2016 – Day 7
We are already a full week into our Advent series! Thanks for joining us again for this series on “Thanking Jesus.” Today we jump forward in history, now to the book of I Samuel. The story opens with a young woman who is struggling with infertility.
Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah. The other wife is a fertile myrtle, each season giving birth to yet another child. Hannah is in despair and falls deep in depression, weeping and not eating. In a time of fervent prayer, she asks God to grant her a son. The priest mistakes her for a drunkard and reprimands her, but when she explains her request, Eli assures her that God will grant her petition.
Hannah responds immediately by giving thanks: “Thank you, sir!” Before she ever received the tangible answer to her prayer, Hannah gives thanks by faith. Then, a year later, when her son Samuel was born, she gives thanks again. In 1 Sam. 2:1, she prays, “My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh how the Lord has blessed me!”
If you are at all like me, you often pray for needs of those you love. But how often do we thank God by faith, expressing our gratitude before we actually receive the answer to our prayers?
Advent 2016 – Day 8
Welcome to any who are newcomers to this site! We are in the midst of an Advent series of devotionals on the theme of “Thanking Jesus.”
King David was one of the most thankful figures in the Bible. David faced many setbacks in life before he stepped onto the throne of Israel. Just as things looked like they were going smoothly – he had killed a giant, was a national hero, and had married the king’s daughter – Saul tried to kill him. David escaped to the desert and for over a decade lived the life of a nomad, always just a step ahead of Saul’s armies. Ten years is a long time to live the life of a fugitive.
During this time in the wilderness, David composed many of his psalms. In 1 Samuel 22 and recorded again as Psalm 18, David was in the pit of despair; the waves of death threatened to overwhelm him. Yet he writes, “You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies. . . . For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations. I will sing joyfully to your name.”
Later, in 2 Samuel 25, David was angry and his men were ready to attack Nabal, but the man’s wife, Abigail, persuaded David not to take revenge. He calmed down. “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense . . . for keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands.”
As an old man, he looked back on his life and wrote in 1 Chronicles 29:10f, “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. . . . O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!”
David experienced weakness and praised God for His help. He experienced strength and praised God for keeping him from abusing that power. God blessed him all his days.
Today, are you weak or strong? Are you barely holding on to the bottom of a fraying rope or are you standing in victory at the top of the cliff? God can help you wherever you are. Just remember to give Him thanks.
Advent 2016 – Day 9
Welcome back for our ninth day as we review people in the Bible who left record of thanks to God. They are all part of this series of Advent devotionals on the theme of “Thanking Jesus.”
Asaph was a Levite, the priest whom King David put in charge of a very specific task: offering praise and thanks in the Temple.
According to 1 Chronicles 16:4,5, Asaph’s gifts included not only playing the cymbals, harp and lyre, but also composing songs for the congregation to sing. His name is attached to twelve of the psalms (50 and 73-83) we have in our Bible, though some of them may have been written by a later descendant having the same name.
Psalm 50 is one of the pieces written by David’s friend. Most of the psalm involves God speaking. The Lord begs His people to listen. “I have no complaint about your sacrifices . . . but I want no more bulls from your barns, I want no more goats from your pens. . . . What I want instead is your true thanks to God.” God asks for their obedience, for the people to trust Him. The Lord concludes by saying, “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
Asaph was gifted with musical talent. Playing his instruments and writing psalms were easy tasks for him, hardly a sacrifice. His natural gifts lay in those areas. But God demands more than just our talents. He wants our thanks when we face the tough tasks.
Where in your life do you sacrifice as you give thanks?
Advent 2016 – Day 10
Welcome back to this on-going series of Advent devotionals on the theme of “Thanking Jesus.”
Solomon was the wisest ruler of all Israel. He accomplished amazing feats that expanded his nation’s borders and made him wealthy beyond all imagination.
One of his greatest accomplishments was to build a Temple to the Lord. God had promised Solomon’s father, David, that one day his son would build a permanent Temple to replace the tent that Moses had provided in the desert. David died before the promise came true, but Solomon saw it fulfilled.
After the Temple was complete in every detail and the priests dedicated the sanctuary, the king knelt and prayed, asking God to bless the nation. When Solomon was done, he stood up and shouted to the people, “Praise the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel, just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises He gave through His servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56)
Throughout the scriptures, we find promises God has made to His people. Which ones mean most to you? Have you seen His faithfulness? Have you thanked Him for keeping His promises?
Advent 2016 – Day 11
Here we are again for day 11 in our Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.”
In the 1920’s, my grandfather had a severe case of tuberculosis. His doctor sent him away from his family and home in Massachusetts across the country to a sanatorium in southern California. He knew no one there. There was no known cure for his disease. Yet, a pastor prayed for him and God miraculously intervened and healed him.
Naaman was a commander in the army of Syria. He had success and a family but when he came down with an incurable disease, his ruler sent him far away to another country to seek help. There the prophet Elisha prescribed a course of baths in the Jordan River and, after a bit of protesting, Naaman followed the treatment plan. When his symptoms disappeared, Naaman was grateful and returned to the prophet’s home. “I know at last that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Now please accept my gifts.” (2 Kings 5:15)
Even though Elisha refused them, Naaman wanted to express his gratitude with gifts. When we have been blessed by God, we should want to pass on the blessings. To whom can you offer a gift today as a token of your gratitude for all God has done for you?
Advent 2016 – Day 12
Advent is quickly passing and here we are on Day 12, halfway through our series on “Thanking Jesus.”
Most of us remember the story of Jonah and the whale. This prophet is a melancholic character who seems borderline depressed and even wishes he were dead three out of the four chapters in the book that bears his name. He does not strike us as the type of person who expresses thanks to God. Yet, in Jonah chapter 2, while he is still within the belly of the whale, Jonah prays to his God: “When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord. . . . Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies, but I will offer songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
Stuck inside the belly of the whale, Jonah had no hope. No one – no friends, no sailors – could rescue him. And indeed not even one other person was there to hear Jonah’s song of praise! Nevertheless, he turns to his God and offers his praise to Him alone.
Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah on a beach, and it did.
Are you stuck alone in an impossible situation? Are circumstances far beyond your control? Have you lost hope? Why not follow Jonah’s example and turn back to God with praise and thanksgiving. Perhaps God will deliver you, and, like Jonah, you will find yourself once again on firm ground.
Advent 2016 – Day 13
We are over halfway through through this series of 24 Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.” Thanks for joining us on the journey.
Hezekiah was a godly king of Judah. One of his first acts as ruler was to reopen the Temple of the Lord which had been neglected for over a decade. He repaired the doors and removed the defiled things from the sanctuary. In 2 Chronicles 29, we read that it took the priests over a week just to clear a path through the foyer of the Temple!
After the priests rededicated the sanctuary, the nation celebrated, but king was still not finished. He declared, “Now bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple.” (29:31) The grateful nation brought such an abundance of gifts that the huge piles overwhelmed the Temple grounds.
Years later, Hezekiah fell ill and lay at death’s door. When God healed him, the king again offered thanks. Isaiah 38 records his words: “The dead cannot praise You, they cannot raise their voices in praise. . . .Only the living can praise You as I do today. . . . Think of it – the Lord has healed me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life.”
Don’t neglect God for decades or wait until you are on your death bed to offer thanks to God. It may be too late! Instead follow Hezekiah’s example and praise him every day of your life. Begin today!
Advent 2016 – Day 14
Are you enjoying this series of Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus”? Which message has impacted you most?
Isaiah wrote the longest book of prophecy in the Old Testament. Year after year, he passed along messages and visions he received from the Lord. Whenever I think of Isaiah, my dad comes to mind. Both of these godly men ministered faithfully before the Lord for over half a century.
Isaiah’s messages warned of judgment for sin, but they also included descriptions of a Savior. In Isaiah 25:1, Isaiah prays, “O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.”
Hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to a manger in Bethlehem, God had planned every detail of that birth narrative. Isaiah spoke of a virgin giving birth, a savior who would one day be called King of Kings, a light onto the Gentiles, and much more. Today, we can read the gospel accounts and see how God accomplished every one of those prophetic events.
God still does wonderful things. He has a design for each of our lives too (Ps. 139:16), a design that he planned long before we were born. Pause today and reflect on how God has led you to this point in time. Can you join Isaiah and offer Him honor and praise for what He has accomplished in your life?
Advent 2016 – Day 15
Ready to thank God again? Here is the next in our Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.”
When Daniel was a young man, he lived through some horrific events. His parents were likely killed when King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem. Daniel watched his nation go into captivity. He saw the City of David destroyed, including the great Temple built by Solomon. And he himself was forced to move to Babylon, learn a new language, and serve a foreign king. On the index of stress caused by change, Daniel is off the charts.
If all this were not enough trauma for a lifetime, while Daniel is just getting settled in Babylon, soldiers from Nebuchadnezzar come one night and pound on Daniel’s door with a death warrant in their hands.
The king has had a frightening nightmare. He demands that someone not merely interpret a dream but also describe the contents of that dream. All the wise men protest that first the king should reveal the basics of the dream. No, the king demands, they must first reveal the dream and then its interpretation. Daniel, unshaken by this impossible request, prays for wisdom. And God answers. In Daniel 2:20-24, the prophet writes, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He alone has all the wisdom and power . . . He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He Himself is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God, , , , for you have given me wisdom and strength.”
You and I will hopefully never face the degree of trauma that Daniel experienced, but each of us needs God’s wisdom. When we pray for understanding and God answers, don’t forget to give thanks.
Advent 2016 – Day 16
Lots of new people have been joining us for this Advent series on “Thanking Jesus.” Some may already believe in Jesus, but others may not. Today we look at a man who had no faith in God – indeed, the man demanded that others worship him as a god.
Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of Babylon. One day he looked all around his kingdom and his heart swelled with pride. Then he had a terrifying nightmare. Once again he called on Daniel to interpret it. With great fear, Daniel explained that, according to the dream, if the Nebuchadnezzar did not humble himself, the king would go mad for a period of time, eating grass in the field like the cattle, until the king acknowledged that the Lord was ruler over all. Daniel begged the king to change his ways.
Nebuchadnezzar ignored that warning and boasted, “I, by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city.” And immediately he went mad. Months went by until at last the king sought God. In Daniel 4:34-37, the ruler spoke with a heart of gratitude, “My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. . . . Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All His acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud.”
Nowhere else in the entire Bible do we have a whole chapter devoted to the first-person testimony of a non-Jew! King Nebuchadnezzar at last learned to give thanks to God.
Do you know someone who has not acknowledged the Lord’s power and authority? Why not pause today and pray that your friend will learn to give thanks and praise the one true God even as Nebuchadnezzar did?
Advent 2016 – Day 17
Thirty plus years ago, I began preparing Advent devotionals each year for my family. Three decades seems like a long time! Seventy years seems even longer…
After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Ezra led the exiled Jews back to Jerusalem and, on that ruined site, started to rebuild the Temple. Even as Ezra began his task, he led the nation in corporate thanks to God. In Ezra 3:11, we read that “With praise and thanks they sang this song to the Lord: ‘He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!’”
Years later, Nehemiah led another wave of his people home to Jerusalem and helped them rebuild the
wall around the city. When the task was complete, he too led the nation in a time of corporate thanks to God. In Nehemiah 12:24,31,38,43, we read how Nehemiah led the leaders to the the newly reconstructed wall and organized two large choirs that walked along the top of the wall, one choir turning north and the other south, until they met again at the other side of the city. “Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given the people cause for great joy. The women and children also participated in the celebration, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
When is the last time that you joined together with all God’s people – men, women and children – to give thanks? Could the neighbors hear your songs of praise? Perhaps you and your friends and your family can go caroling this season and sing your thanks to the Lord.
Advent 2015 – Day 18
Can you believe that we only have one week left in this Advent series on “Thanking Jesus”?
In Luke chapter 2, the gospel writer described two special people who were righteous and devout. Both hung out at the Temple on a regular basis and both prayed for the appearance of God’s Savior. Luke did not mention Simeon’s age but Anna was 84 years old. That was a ripe old age in that historical period and is considered old even in our own day.
When Mary and Joseph appeared at the Temple carrying the infant Jesus, first Simeon and then Anna approached to see the child. Both offered praise and thanks to God for allowing them to behold the Messiah with their own eyes. Simeon reacted by saying, “Now I can die in peace!” but Anna responded in a very different way. Instead of lying back and waiting for death like her friend, Anna spread the word. She “talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come.”
When God has answered your deepest prayers, will you be like Simeon, offering your quiet thanks and then waiting to die? Or will you, like Anna, use every breath that you have remaining and share your good news with others? With whom might you be able to share your thanks today?
Advent 2016 – Day 19
We are coming down the homestretch on this series of 24 Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.”
My husband and I have welcomed hundreds of people into our home. Some have come for a meal, others have stayed for months. We have noticed, however, that of all our guests, those who are most grateful are often foreign students.
Jesus was out walking with his disciples one day, headed toward Jerusalem. As they approached the northern border of Samaria, they met ten lepers. The lepers pleaded with Jesus to have mercy on them. Unlike other times when he healed people, Jesus did not touch the lepers or even command them to be healed. According to Luke 17:14, the Master simply directed them to go and see their priests.
As they hastened to obey, the ten men discovered they were healed. Only one of the ten, a Samaritan, turned around and returned to give thanks. He fell at Jesus’ feet and cried, “Praise God! I’m healed!”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?”
If a foreigner knows enough to give thanks to God, shouldn’t we who are God’s children do it even more naturally?
Advent 2016 – Day 20
Christmas is only a few days away! Thanks for sticking with me for the remaining Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.” We have been tracing stories of individuals throughout scripture who chose to thank God.
Luke tells us, in chapter 7 of his gospel, about a day when Jesus was having dinner at the home of a Pharisee. A woman of dubious reputation entered the house carrying a jar of expensive perfume. Kneeling before Jesus, she began weeping and washing his feet with the perfume, wiping them with her long hair.
From the Pharisee’s perspective, this event only confirmed his opinion that Jesus was no prophet. But from Jesus’ perspective, the woman’s actions were a demonstration of her thanks. “I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, thus she has shown me much love.”
The Pharisee offered no words of gratitude for all God’s blessings on his life – his home, his education, his social position, the food on his table – but the woman gave the best she had in order to express her thanks for God’s forgiveness.
Has God forgiven you? Sometimes words cannot express our gratitude for that gift, but our actions can demonstrate to others how much God has done for us. What act of gratitude can you offer God today?
Advent 2016 – Day 21
Are you enjoying all the Christmas fudge and cookies these days? Are you also feeding your soul? Thanks for coming back for another of these Advent devotionals on “Thanking Jesus.”
My husband visited in the home of a local family when he was touring Russia. His host asked him if he would say a blessing before they began the evening meal. Gene offered thanks to God for the food and the new friendships being made. The next day, the family asked Gene to say grace again. Again Gene prayed, expressing simple appreciation for God’s provision. After the “Amen,” Gene looked up to see surprise registered on the faces of his host family. Accustomed to rote prayers of their Orthodox church, the father said, “You know two graces!”
Jesus too made a habit of thanking God for his food. He thanked God as he blessed the loaves and the fishes before distributing them to the 5000 and again when He fed the 4000. He blessed the meal at the Last Supper. But Jesus also expressed gratitude at other times. For example, as Jesus stood before Lazarus’ grave, he prayed. In John 11:41, we read that prayer: “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe You sent Me.”
Many of us remember to pause and say grace before we eat, but do we pause and offer thanks aloud when there are strangers standing nearby? We never know when those who overhear us may become curious and choose to believe in our Savior.
Advent 2016 – Day 22
Are you on Facebook? Despite my objections to the way it can monopolize one’s time, it offers a way to stay in touch with people you don’t get to see every day.
The apostle Paul loved the people he served. Because he wasn’t geographically near them and he didn’t have access to Facebook, Paul wrote them letters. He was a grateful man. Over and over he expressed thanks for his family in Christ:
Rom. 1:8 “How I thank God through Jesus Christ for each one of you.”
1 Corinthians 1:4 “I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 1:16 “I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly.”
Philippians 1:3 “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”
Colossians 1:3 “We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 “We will never stop thanking God that when we preached His message to you . . . you accepted what we said as the very word of God.”
2 Timothy 1:3 “Timothy, I thank God for you.”
Philemon 4 “I always thank God for you, Philemon.”
Why not take time today to thank God for your family and for the friends you have on Facebook? If you are not on Facebook, you could write a letter!
Advent 2016 – Day 23
Only one more day of Advent. Tomorrow is our last post on this theme of “Thanking Jesus.” Hope you can join us!
With so much to thank the Lord for in his own life, Paul struggled to comprehend how other people could ignore the God of Creation. In Romans 1, the apostle pointed out that God programmed a knowledge of Himself into every person’s heart. People could observe not only the things the Lord had made – the sun, the sky, the earth – but they could even clearly see God’s invisible qualities such as His eternal power and divine nature. Despite this inner programming, many people turned away from God. “They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks.” (1:21) These people did not “forget” to thank God as the Israelites did in the wilderness. These people refused to give thanks.
Paul went on to say, “The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.”
What a testimony of Paul’s own experience. It took three days of utter darkness filled with blindness and confusion before Paul himself recognized the truth of who Jesus Christ was. But once he saw clearly, he never forgot. Thirty years after that experience, he wrote, “Thank God for His Son – a gift too wonderful for words.” (2 Cor. 9:15)
If you saw someone stumbling in darkness, wouldn’t you offer to help? If you know someone who is confused, can you point them to the Light of the World? Then they too will be able to give thanks.
Advent 2016 – Day 24
Tomorrow is Christmas. Thank you for staying with me through these 24 days of Advent. May the Lord bless your Christmas celebrations.
You may think this season of thankfulness is done, but actually it is only the beginning. All the individuals – people like Moses, David, Isaiah, and Daniel – whom we have looked at over the past days have already moved from this world to the next, but there they continue to give thanks and praise to God. They are not alone.
In the book of Revelation, we see a great throng of angels singing around the throne of God. They sing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!” (7:12) The twenty-four elders join them, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty . . . for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.” (11:17)
As you and I draw near to the manger, it is our turn to join their song of thanksgiving. Why not read Psalm 150 aloud today with all those who gather at your table? “Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord!”