Tag Archives: thanks

The Gift of Himself

The Gift of Himself

I read about one boy named Alfred who “wrote a letter to Santa which read, “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.””

Of course, us humans receiving material gifts is not the purpose of Christmas. Modern thinking tends to focus on gifts to the neglect of the reason for Christmas to begin with.

As the Christmas day approaches news reports always come in about record sales or low sales at the stores.  As soon as Black Friday hit, we heard of the large number of retail sales.  Online sales soared again on Cyber Monday.  Business owners perhaps are thinking “this is the best Christmas ever!”

When everything is said and done – the first Christmas is the best Christmas.  It was on that day, that Jesus inserted Himself into this human experience, took on flesh, and began His mission to seek and save the lost.   He gave Himself to us as a gift.

With all the busyness of the season, please do not forget the reason for this season.  God’s love.  His Gift. God’s Son. His Sacrifice. Our Sins. His Forgiveness.  Thank the Lord Jesus came to earth for us.   Thank God for the gift of His Son and the Salvation He purchased at the cross.

Philippians  2:5-8 is a good Christmas reminder: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Be Like Your Dog

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

“A little lad of six was invited out to lunch in a neighbor’s home. As soon as all were seated at the table the food was served. The little boy was puzzled, and, with a child’s frankness, asked, “Don’t you say a prayer before you eat?” The host was uncomfortable, and mumbled, “No, we don’t take time for that.” The lad thought silently for a while, and said, “You’re just like my dog! You start right in.””

Don’t be like your dog on Thanksgiving.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord.

One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is to watch Charlie Brown and his talented dog, Snoopy.  One of the best yearly reminders of God’s blessing to early America can be seen in Charles Schultz’ rendition of the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower, meeting Chief Massasoit and Squanto and sitting down to dinner and giving thanks to God for surviving the brutal and deadly winters they were unprepared for.  With little food, a majority of the settlers buried, and with great uncertainty facing the future, they stopped everything to praise and thank the Lord.

It has been said that being truly “thankful” involves “giving.”  After all, the word Thanksgiving is a compound word; and both “Thanks” and Giving” are words rich with meaning.  Grateful people are happy people.  Have you ever seen a complaining, grumbling person?  Sure.  Are they happy?  No.  We are most happy when we have thankful attitudes, grateful words, and gracious actions.  If you are consistently giving praise and thanks to the Lord, you will be less likely to be critical, self absorbed, and feeling negative about life.

We need to be like the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The early Christians living in the city of Thessalonica were challenged and encouraged to give thanks in everything in life.  Every life stage.  Every circumstance.  Every weather event.  Every electoral cycle.  Every season of life.  Every start to the week.  In.  Everything.  Give.  Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank-you for reading these devotionals.  I am grateful for each reader and pray that these postings will be a help to you.

 

 

 

 

 

(Snoopy rendition by Charles Schulz, from internet search)

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

The Change Thanksgiving Makes in Us

Do you enjoy the thanksgiving time of year?  Football games, awesome food, Christmas shopping season kickoff, and the great change in weather are terrific!  I always look forward to seeing Snoopy and the Charlie Brown characters make their way across the ocean on the Mayflower.  Does anyone have any plans for popcorn to replace the turkey dinner? Snoopy knows what I am talking about.

There is much more to the “attitude of gratitude” than all of the mostly superficial things we see.  It has been accurately stated that “The foundation of gratitude is the expectation of nothing.” This is an important proposition that each person must come to terms with if they are going to be a thankful person.  Today we will examine all of the “Thanksgiving Psalms” as found in the Book of Psalms.

“Perhaps you have heard of the man who wished to dispose of his home. He went to see a friend who was in the real estate business and, describing his house and grounds to the man, asked him to write an advertisement which he could put in the newspapers. His friend did as he was requested and then read what he had written to the home-owner.

“Read that again,” said the man who wanted to sell his house. His friend obliged, to hear this astonishing remark:  “The house is not for sale. All my life I’ve wanted a place just like the one you have described. But I never knew I had it until I heard what you have written about it.”

Once he gave an account for his blessings, he was able to be thankful.  It is true that the more we focus on the blessings of God, the greater a change that grows in us.

Being thankful produces great change in us.  Notice the many ways that giving thanks changes us…

Thanksgiving Changes Our Conversations. Psalm 26:7 says, That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.  What we speak about publicly and personally is affected by a thankful heart.  in what ways have you declared the blessings of God to others this week?

Thanksgiving Changes Our Commitments. Psalm 50:14 declares, Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:  The priorities of our life are all affected by the purpose for service we find in our hearts.  When we pay our vows to God, we are purposing to honor Him above all else.  Vows in the Bible were voluntary.  When we are thankful, we have no problem making a vow and then following through with that vow to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Songs.  Psalm 69:30 teaches, I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. The word Magnify means increase the apparent or actual size of something. It has to do with increasing the importance of something.  The songs we sing should minimize us and maximize our estimation of God.  Jesus should be magnified and increased in value as we sing.

Psalms 147:7 also indicates praise in our singing:  Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:  Praise includes words of approval and admiration or worship. The song of our heart is affected when we are thankful to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Awareness.  There are 3 areas that we can be aware of in connection with our God.

  • Be Aware He is Here. Psalm 95:2, Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
  • Be Aware He is There. Psalm 100:1, Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  In this Song of praise or thanksgiving, we find the Lord is in other places besides where we are.  Missionaries in other parts of the world realize His presence too!
  • Be Aware He is Near. Psalm 100:4, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  The court of God is not too far from where you are today.  James 4:8 informs, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  

Have you noticed the Lord is these areas of your life this week?  Do you see Him at work in your life and in the lives of others.  Be aware of His presence and be thankful for his being here, there, and near.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Attitude. Psalm 107:22 challenges, And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Sacrifices of thanksgiving are the result of the affection of the heart and the direction of the mind. Declaring the word of God with rejoicing indicates that the heart of the thankful person is joyful.  Our attitude is changed to reflect gratitude as we say “thank you to God.”  We are undeserving of anything good.  Everything good comes from God and our attitude must reflect this truth.

Thanksgiving Changes Our Prayer.  Meditate on Psalm 116:17 which states, I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.  How have you been praying lately?  Have you been asking God for more things?  It is good to ask!  Be sure to stop and say thank you before you ask for more.

“One morning there was a little puddle by the roadside. Some small brown birds gathered around it and took turns hopping in for a great time of splashing. Then they flew up in the bushes near by and sang gaily, as though pouring out their thanks for the nice bath they had found on a hot, dusty day.

Birds and animals seem to enjoy and appreciate every little blessing that comes their way—a cool drink, a bit of food, a little shade on a hot day, some shelter from a storm.  Don’t they rather shame us humans who take so much for granted in our lives? Suppose we try looking about us today to find the little things we should be thankful for.”

Being thankful produces great change in us.  As you consider Thanksgiving, be sure to give thanks to God for the ways in which He is changing you.