Giving Thanks & Praise

Spiritual Truth:
This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24

Everyday we have on this earth is a precious gift from God and He wants us to REJOICE in Him. He alone knows the number of our days as it says in Psalm 139:16, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

We were Created to Praise

Our lives are a gift and we each have a mission to fulfill, a special calling, and a destiny. A huge part of that mission is praise; giving thanks to our heavenly Father for all his goodness and daily blessings.

God’s Love is Forever

Psalm 118:1 encourages us to “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Just knowing we have a loving Father is enough reason to be joyful! Add to that, His love goes on Forever?!?! The concept is mindblowing especially in our temporary society.

There are many more reasons I can think of to give thanks to God each day and rejoice in His marvelous works.

Digging Deeper

When you dig a little bit deeper into Psalm 118 the passage goes on to list several reasons to rejoice and give praise to our God. The scripture says, He made His light shine on us, He defeated our enemies, and His right hand has done mighty things.

If you were the writer of Psalm 118, what are some of the works of the LORD you would be praising Him for today?

As I was making my own list of the amazing things He has done, the first thing that came to mind was His provision.

The LORD is my provider.

Everyday, I can thank Him for His provision of rich foods, a cozy home, and overflowing closets of clothes. My family is healthy, and He has enriched my life with incredible friendships.

Today, try to take a moment to rejoice and give thanks to God for all of His goodness and love. Remember this day is a gift as all of life is a blessing, and try to share some of that joy with others.

Praying the Word:
Lord, I pray You would help me to put You first each day and wake up with a joyful spirit. Teach me to count my blessings and create in me a thankful heart. I praise You today for the many ways You show Your love to me. Help me in turn to show that same love to others. Amen

Coffee Break in Psalm 23

Spiritual Truth:
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

Throughout life, we as Christians will always have outside forces opposing us. There will be dark valleys we must walk through. There will be road blocks and distractions that make reaching our goals seem impossible at times.

Remember Who The Real Enemy Is

The enemy of our soul is on a mission to keep us from becoming all God’s created us to be. And many times, the adversities and unfair situations are set up by the enemy himself to try to discourage us and deceive us. He wants us to give up on the vision God has given for our lives.

God Will Finish What He Started

If you find yourself feeling like you’re walking through a dark valley, not much is going your way, and you are facing some difficulties and setbacks, remember God still has a plan.

Today, I am meditating on the 23rd Psalm which gives me a beautiful reminder of who God is, and the way He is gently leading and guiding me through both the green pastures of life as well as the dark valleys.

Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

God wants to restore you when you are losing hope. He wants to make the path straight before you when you are unsure of which direction to go. He wants to encourage you during trials and He wants to give you rest and pour out His spirit on you.

The 23rd Psalm is one verse I would highly recommend committing to memory as a reminder of God’s constant care and love. I encourage you to take the opportunity right now to declare God’s promise over your life, “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”

Praying the Word:

Lord God, thank you for Your loving kindness through the good and bad days in my life. In times of struggle, I ask that You would give me a strong sense of Your presence and power in my life. Please keep me on the path of your calling and comfort me each day on my journey. Amen

Open Your Heart & Expect God’s Goodness

Spiritual Truth:
For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. ~Psalm 81:10

It’s patio season in the MidWest which happens to be my favorite time of year!

When you live in the MidWest, and have the pleasure of experiencing four full seasons, you learn quickly the late Spring and early Fall weather is typically just right for eating outdoors on the patio! And I plan to enjoy every second during these last days of summer outside, soaking up the vitamin D and fresh air.

So, my biggest question for you today is, do you have your mouth open wide? Of course, when it’s time to eat something delicious I’m always going to have my mouth ready for a bite, but in the spirit rhelm are you expecting God to fill you? Are you ready for God to increase you beyond what you can imagine?

In today’s scripture, God begins with a reminder of who he is and what he has done in the past, “the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt.” God wants us to remember His power and provision.

Have you ever been rescued by God in the past? Is there a time He answered that impossible prayer or bestowed you with a great blessing?

The God I serve is a God of miracles; He doesn’t act once and then walk out on you. He wants to continue to satisfy all your needs and desires.

This morning I was watching a mother sparrow feed her baby birds. When the baby birds were ready to eat they screeched and opened their little beaks wide, expecting to be fed.

We should look to God the same way a baby bird is looking to get fed. We should keep our hearts and minds open wide to the great things he is planning to give us.

We just need to trust Him as the scripture instructs in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” We need to continue to expect good things from Him. We need to keep our eyes open for the way He works. His plans are often different then our own plans. But they are Always, Always, Always for our good!

Open you mouth wide to God and He will feed you with His goodness.

Praying the Word:

Dear Lord my God,
Today, I am opening my heart to You. I am ready to receive the good things You have stored up for me. Keep my eyes open to the mysterious ways in which You work all things for my good. May I trust in You always and lean not on my limited understanding. Amen!

Labor Day Joy

Spiritual Truth:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Labor Day, America! I hope everyone had a relaxing and refreshing weekend! A three day weekend is certainly a circumstance I can be thankful for!

I find it’s easy to be joyful and give thanks when there is a Holiday! Everyone is excited to have an extra day for relaxing, spending some additional time with family, competing in your favorite backyard games, savoring some tasty bbq, and maybe getting in one last swim for the summer!

Today, the scripture tells us it’s actually God’s will for us to be joyful always. That’s right, God wants us to be in good spirits at all times, and on all occasions.

God wants us to be happy and carefree. He wants us to love our lives no matter what the circumstances are.

In fact, when you have joy in the middle of difficult circumstances, as well as those relaxing Holiday weekends, it is evidence that you have faith and trust in God.

You trust that even if you are faced with some challenges, God is going to bring you through. When you have faith that God has the victory it is eaisier to enjoy your life and make the most of the time you have been given.

Praying the Word:

Lord God, thank you for times of refreshing. Today, I ask that you would fill me with your joy. Give me a positive outlook on life and teach me how to remain in your joy and practice thankfulness for your many blessings. In your name I pray, Amen

Coffee Break in Psalm 139

Spiritual Truth:
How precious to me are Your thoughts, God. How vast is the sum of them! ~Psalm 139:17

A penny for your thoughts?

Do you ever wonder what God is thinking about? Do you imagine He is probably too busy to really give His full attention to your request or the things that are taking place in your life?

The truth is that nothing in this world is more important to God then we are! God will never put you on hold to take another call, He won’t be checking His phone when you spend time together, and you don’t have to wait till the baseball game is over to bring your requests to Him.

In fact, He knows us better then we know ourselves! One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible goes into great detail concerning God’s exact thoughts about us.

~Psalm 139:1-17~

“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

Coffee is always a great pick me up at the end of a long week but there is nothing quite as refreshing as knowing my God has me in His thoughts today and always! ♡♡♡

Let’s finish the week strong; keeping Psalm 139 in mind. God’s thoughts toward us are amazing!

Festival of Nations

Spiritual Truth:
And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation ~ Acts 17:26

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the annual Festival of Nations in my city! For two straight days people from all over the area congregate in a large, historic park to enjoy great food, music, dancing, shopping, crafts and more.

Trend Alert!!!

There are over 125,000 in attendance each year which amounts to approximately a third of the city population!

God’s Power on Display

I am always amazed to see the greatness of God on display as the scripture says, “from One man” came MANY nations. This is proof God has the power to multiply anything.

From one man God created countless ethnicities. Each with a unique culture, distinct language, delicious cuisine, and interesting traditions.

Can you imagine that type of power working in your life?

Where do you need God’s Multiplication Power?

If God can multiply one man into many nations, He can multiply you! In what area of your life do you need to see His multiplication power? He can multiply your family. He can multiply your strengths. He can multiply your resources and talents. He can multiply your faith!

All you need to do is ask in His name. If your request is in line with His great will for your life, He will answer. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:14). This is a powerful promise for all believers that should give each of us hope.

Praying the Word:

Lord, thank you for creating many different nations. I am in awe of Your great power that is on display throughout the earth. I pray You would continue to make Yourself known to each and every city, tribe and country all across the World. In Your name I pray that You would bless this nation and Your people. Multiply our resources, time, and talents in a way that brings you glory. ~Amen

Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit

Spiritual Truth:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulnes, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

God doesn’t just want us to read His Word then walk away and forget about it. He wants us to remain in Him 24/7. When we are filled with Christ we start to exemplify FRUITS of His Spirit living in us.

It’s Easy On Sunday

I find in my own life it’s easy to feel swept up by the Spirit and encouraged to live out the Word on Sunday, when I’m at church, surrounded by other believers with the same goal.

But what happens when the Monday morning grind comes? It’s back to school, work, sports, chores, etc… and the Sunday morning fever is forgotten.

All of the sudden, living out the fruits of the Spirit like patience, and gentleness can be as hard as buttoning up your favorite skinny jeans after a big meal!

Showing others kindness comes naturally if it is someone I like; who is regularly building me up. But I find it can be very difficult at other times.

Think about that one co-worker or neighbor who always knows how to get you fired up. Showing kindness to certain people during the week can feel like breaking in new high-heeled shoes. Somewhat painful!

And what about practicing humility? Is it easy to take the back seat and give others others the spotlight and credit they deserve? Or is it like trying to figure out how to wear the fanny pack trend… across the chest, or around the waist?

The scripture says these virtues are “fruits of the spirit” which means they grow and develop as a result of God’s Spirit working inside of us.

Just Choose One

The good news is, you don’t have to be everything all at once! Start by choosing one virtue you would like to see cultivated in your life like patience. Tell God your desire through prayer and ask Him to show you what it looks like. I guarantee He will give you opportunities to try it on.

Praying the Word:

Lord, I pray that You would help me to learn more about Your virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Teach me what is means to live out the fruit of the Spirit in my daily life. Fill me with Your power that I will be able to live out the fruits in my daily life.

~Amen