In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Is God telling us to give thanks for the bad things that come into our lives? Not necessarily.
I believe, more importantly, that God is telling us to find something to be thankful for in every situation.
There are times in our lives when everything is bleak, and there doesn’t seem to be anything for which to be grateful.
Are you breathing? Did you wake up this morning? Thank God.
Are you healthy? Are you able to function throughout your day? Thank God.
Do you have a roof over your head? A good source of income to pay your bills? A bed to sleep in? Thank God.
Do you have family and friends who love you? Thank God.
These may seem like simple things, but, by thanking God for these things, we are focusing our minds on the positives in life.
Our circumstances may have not changed, but when we give thanks, even for the little things consistently, our mindset changes.
We are able to see things that we didn’t see before. Solutions to long-term problems. As our minds focus on the positive, we will also see a shift eventually in our circumstances too.
When a race car driver is about to crash into a wall, he doesn’t focus on the wall. No, he averts his eyes to where he wants to go, and the car automatically moves in that direction.
In the same way, when we focus on the positive, our lives will move in that direction.
What can you thank God for today?
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:18–19
Where are you focusing your life?
Most Believers I know are focused on Christ’s return. End Times classes are filled with people eager to find out more details about how and when He will come back. This is not a bad thing.
However, if we are sitting in classes and reading about the End Times, we aren’t doing what we were told to do. We were told to occupy until He comes. We are called to preach the Gospel, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
I am convinced that since we are here for a purpose, Christ isn’t coming back until most of us have fulfilled our purpose, the reason we were sent to this Earth.
We need to do what Jesus did when He walked the Earth. He knew He came to die for us, but instead of focusing on it day in and day out, He went about doing good.
He taught people the principles of Heaven. He healed the sick. He forgave sins. He loved the unlovely.
We too need to go about doing good. Asking God what He put us on Earth to do is a good start, but, until we figure it out, there are always the homeless to feed, people to talk to about Christ, prisoners and widows to visit. There is always someone who can use our help.
Let’s be like Jesus…and go about doing good until He comes.
The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing. – Psalm 23:1 (NIV).
The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing.
What does this mean?
We know that a shepherd cares for sheep. The Bible refers to us as sheep. We are the sheep for which the Lord is caring.
What does a shepherd do exactly? He feeds the sheep. He leads the sheep. He carries the sheep when they are wounded. He leaves the other sheep to look the one who is lost. He protects the sheep against wolves and other predators.
When we look to Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, we lack nothing.
Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear because the Father knows that we need these things (Matthew 6:25).
Isaiah 48:17 says that the Lord teaches us to profit and leads us in the way we should go.
Psalm 147:3 tells us the He binds the wounds of the brokenhearted. Jeremiah 30:17 maintains that He heals us of our wounds.
Psalm 91 shows His protection against our enemies.
Luke 15:4 explains how He leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one who is lost.
Jesus indeed is our Good Shepherd. He cares for us. He takes care of us.
Unlike sheep, though, we cannot do nothing and let Him do all the work. We must cooperate. We must work with Him.
We do our part, such as working to make money and giving Him our first fruits for Him to multiply.
We give Him our little, and watch Him create miracles out of very little.
We have to do our part, then God will do His.
When we meditate on Him our Shepherd, though, we see that He is our Healer, He is our Provider, He is our Protector, but, above all, He is our Savior. He is our Everything. Everything we will ever need. He wants to be those things in our lives…if we will just let Him.
Bring all your lack to Jesus, and watch Him perform miracles on your behalf. All you have to do is believe.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. – III John 2 (KJV).
Look at this verse carefully.
Today we have people preaching health and wealth. Both are not wrong. God does want us healthy and to have enough money in order to do what He has called us to do: to be a blessing to others.
However, there is a hitch here. God wants us to be prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper. The key to being healthy, the key to having enough to be a blessing to others, is soul prosperity.
What is the soul? It is your mind, will and emotions.
We will only be in health and prosper to the extent that we have surrender those things to God and allowed Him to help us in those areas.
God never expects us to get our minds, wills and emotions right on our own. He is only asking that we surrender them to Him and allow Him to do a work in those areas of our lives. A lot of times it is a daily, even moment by moment process. The key is to work with Him and not against Him.
Have you surrendered them to Him today?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
What are you meditating on? When storms come in your life, when you feel overwhelmed, when you are depressed, you have to look at what you are meditating on? What are you thinking about? What are you reading? What are you listening to?
I find that the times I get overwhelmed and slip into bad depression are the times when I have taken my eyes off the Cross, off what Jesus has done for me. Those times are when I am meditating on everything that is wrong in my life…and with me.
I purposely reset my thinking, reprogram my mind. I start listening to positive music, sermons and begin declaring the Word over my life again.
It is then, when I start meditating on the good, that I feel “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
I challenge you to meditate on the good and not the bad in life, on how good our God truly is today.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:13–14
Lately I have had to meditate on this Scripture a lot and read it repeatedly in my devotional time.
Life seemed to be fighting me from all ends, but I have learned a secret to letting God fight my battles.
It may be the secret to the whole Christian life.
The secret is…drum roll please…surrender.
I know such an awful word, but it is a necessary truth.
When we surrender our fears, when we surrender our plans, when we surrender what we expect to happen, and we leave it in God’s Hands, we see God fight our battles.
Most of the time, though, we are fighting God for control. We pray prayers like, “Lord, if You will just work it out like this…”
It is when we surrender that God moves on our behalf to work everything out for our good. It is then that God will bring His Will to pass in our lives. His Will instead of ours. It is when we pray “Not my will but Yours be done” or “Lord, I don’t know what You are doing, but I choose to trust You,” that we see God fight our battles for us.
Whose fighting your battles today? You or God?
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44 (NIV).
It is amazing that no matter how much we know the Word, how much we rely on God, how many times we can still fall for the lies of the enemy.
Maybe you have been waiting on God to put someone special in your life. Perhaps you think that God must not want that for you, or it would have happened by now.
Maybe you think that you are unloveable because He hasn’t placed someone in your life, and all your past relationships seem to point to that conclusion.
Only that is a lie. You are loveable. Everyone is loveable in their own unique way. If you desire to have someone special in your life, God promises to give you the desires of your heart as you delight in Him.
Whatever the problem is in your life, what do you believe about it? Do you believe God about healing or what man has taught us about healing? Do you believe God about your finances or what you see in your checkbook?
We have to learn to read the Word for ourselves. We have to learn to believe it wholeheartedly. When we focus on what Jesus did for us, that’s when miracles happen for us.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? – Romans 8:32
According to this Scripture, God is not withholding anything good from you. He is not withholding a spouse, children, your destiny. Nothing. I know it seems that way. It seems like God has forgotten you, that maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t want those things for you. It is more likely that God is having you wait because, like Hallmark, He wants to give you His very best. Too many things, we’d like to settle for less than God’s best because we feel like we have been waiting forever. Remember, though, when things look the darkest, when you are about to give up, your breakthrough is right there, on the edge of coming forth. All we have to do is hang on just a little bit longer.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV).
Even when it feels like your prayers aren’t hitting the ceiling, be assured that God hears every whisper, every groan, every cry of your heart. God knows what life is like for you. God knows all the good times and the bad. Even when it seems like He has left you, abandoned you, know that God is working behind the scenes to bring you the answers to your prayers, to bring around the miracle, the breakthrough, you need in your life.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. – John 10:11 (KJV).
God gave His life for us. God the Son hung on that Cross. As much as we want to separate the Trinity, it was God on that Cross.
He didn’t want to be separated from us by our sins, so He took the punishment for our sins in His human body. He took our sicknesses and pain. And in that time, He literally felt the pain and suffering of the world.
God loves us that much. He suffered for us.
When we think about, meditate on, what He did for us that day, when we think about what He has saved us from, the more we will love Him.