Learn to develop a thankful heart and let the fruit of your lips be praise to the Lord Most High. He is worthy of all praise, and we are told in the Word of God to give thanks at all times. Find something to thank God for because God is faithful and He is worthy of all glory.
“Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18BSB
If you are expecting a trouble-free life, I have news for you: That is not going to happen. Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33NLT).
We can take comfort in knowing Jesus is with us until the end, and He has not left us alone. However, we need to trust Him in all things, and that means we will have to push self aside, look to Him, and fully depend and rely on Him. Take heart…Be strong and courageous because our Savior has overcome the World. So put your faith and hope in Him. In all you do and say, trust in Him. Submit and commit yourself to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
PRAYER: When I can’t find my way, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of the Heavens and Earth.”
Heavenly Father, You are my Helper and have not left me comfortless. Thank You for always being here for me and for Your Holy Spirit who guides me into all truth. I know that I can look to you and know You have already gone before me and made a way for me. Lord, be with me as I am putting my hope and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Our Lord is great. He is bigger than any problem or struggle you have. He is the One who catches you, not permitting those who belong to Him to slip and fall. This old hymn of the church says it all, “WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS.”
Remember the Lord hears you calling out to Him. He hears you when you cry out, and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
Written By Joseph M. Scriven In 1855
Copyright Status Is Public Domain
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30NLT
You are a child of the Most High God, and He has created you with purpose. He has plans He has designed specifically for you. As you go through this season, ask Him what He has planned for you. Seek His counsel and His ways.
If the Lord has laid on your heart to do something and if you have been putting it off, then let me encourage you to rise up and do what God has called you to do. Do whatever task God has told you to do.
What is stopping you from moving forward into the plans God has for you? May I encourage you to lay whatever is stopping you before God? Surrender yourself to God and submit to His will. Let Him do His work in you, and let Him use you for His glory and to further the Kingdom of God. Let Him use you to be a blessing to others.
Rise up, Child of the Most High God! This is not the time to sit back! Wait on God, and as you wait on Him, do His will. Obey His Word. Follow through with whatever God is calling you to do and do whatever He has told you to do.
Heavenly Father, You are the Most High God, and You have created me with purpose and significance. You have called me according to Your purpose that I might go forth and do Your will, to do the tasks You have called me to do. Lord, I surrender myself to You, asking You to show Your will and Your way that I might walk into the destiny You have specifically designed for me. Continue to be my Light and my Guide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Having God’s favor upon your life is priceless. You cannot put a price on His favor because it is so costly, and yet God lavishes His favor upon His true children because He is the God of Goodness. He gives good things to His children, but did you know that if you grudgingly obey you can forfeit the blessings/rewards He has for you? Let me explain this way: The Word of God states, in Deuteronomy 6:7, “Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” Note the words ALL of your heart and ALL of your soul, and ALL of your strength. ALL of your being must desire to do the task you are doing for God. ALL of your being must be upright and pure before God while you are obeying Him.
IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF THE HEART.
“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”
2 Chronicles 25:2(NLT)
Amaziah did what was pleasing to God, but he did so reluctantly. He had paid for troops to come from Israel to help him go up against Edom when a man of God came to Amaziah and told him God would not give him victory if Amaziah used the troops from Israel no matter how well he did at fighting. Amaziah’s heart attitude was not blameless. He complained about the money he had paid, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” God had sent him a warning through the man of God in order to let Amaziah know God was not with the troops of Israel, and instead of giving thanks to God for the warning or thanking the man of God for giving him the message God had for him, Amaziah complained and said, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” The man of God told him, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.” He reluctantly obeyed God, taking the warning the man of God had just given him, and he discharged the Israeli troops
Amaziah may have done what was right and obeyed, but in his heart, he was grudgingly compliant. By the way, Amaziah did go into battle and win. After having the victory in the battle, he had taken the idols of the people of Seir and he set the idols up as his own gods and bowed down before them, offering sacrifices to them. By worshiping these idols, Amaziah angered God. When you are obeying God halfheartedly, you are opening the door to other sins. Amaziah may have done what was right, but in obeying God halfheartedly, it was a slippery slope and his heart led him right into idolatry.
Are you obeying God with ALL your heart? Have you ever done something God told you to do and you did it reluctantly simply because God told you to? When we do not put our whole heart into obeying God and doing His Will, then we will find ourselves exhibiting ungodly behavior such as complaining about having to do His Will or complaining about His perfect timing. We can find ourselves exhibiting anger because when we do God’s will halfheartedly, we resent having to obey Him.
Obeying God is not just about doing what is right. It’s about loving God. How you obey God and how you do what He tells you to do matters. Do you truly love Him with your WHOLE heart? Will you love Him with your WHOLE heart as you obey Him and do His will?
Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.
PRAYER: Sovereign LORD and KING, You are worthy of my best, not my leftovers. You, O God, have been very good to me. Thank You for all You have done in my life, for providing for me, and for being my protection. I’m sorry for obeying You halfheartedly and for being reluctant in carrying out the tasks You have set before me. Forgive me for these sinful attitudes of the heart. Forgive me, Father, for offending You, and I ask that You cleanse me of these sins as only You can do. I bow my heart in surrender to You and ask that You take control, giving me new desires and attitudes pleasing to You. I ask that You, O God, rule and reign in me. Show me what I need to change in my life and what I need to get rid of. Take me along Your paths of righteous because what You approve of and have to say is the only thing that matters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” -Deuteronomy 6:7(NLT)
“Do not present an animal with defects because the LORD will not accept it on your behalf.” -Leviticus 22:20(NLT)
The Levitical Laws, more specifically in this case the ceremonial laws, were a foreshadow of what was acceptable worship and what was unacceptable worship. In order for an animal sacrifice to be made, the animal had to have NO blemishes, NO defects, NO sickness. The animal had to be perfect. If there was the slightest flaw or imperfection in the animal being presented, the animal sacrifice would be rejected by God as shown in this verse, “…the LORD will not accept it on your behalf.”
As I found myself reflecting on this passage of Scripture this morning, I was reminded of another passage in Romans 12:1(NLT), which states, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
We’re told in the Word of God to be perfect as He is perfect, to be holy as He is holy. When we keep that in mind, we will be careful how we live our lives because ALL that we do is worship to God. Our sacrifices must flow out of hearts consecrated, wholly devoted to God.
REFLECTION: The LORD will not accept less than the best. We cannot present the sacrifices of our talent, time, praise, effort and the like to the LORD if we are living lives defiled by pretense and hypocrisy. We cannot present ourselves in worship to the LORD if we are half-hearted in our obedience to Him. When our sacrifice to the LORD is blemished and defective, like the animal sacrifice spoken of in Leviticus 22:20, then we will be the kind of sacrifice He rejects.
Our LORD is the King of kings. For all of Who God is and for all that He has done, how can we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices if we are defiled with sin? Sin cuts us off from God, and therefore, when we recognize our sin, we must come before God with humility to repent and turn from our wicked ways, aligning our thoughts with His, so that we will be the kind of living and holy sacrifice He will find acceptable.
Our God will forgive us and restore us when we come before Him with the spirit of humility, bowing before Him. His Word tells us in 1 John 1:9(KJV), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You are worthy of my very best, and I’m sorry for giving you leftovers rather than giving You my very best. I humbly ask for You to forgive me, and remind me always that I am to be holy as You are holy. Father, before You, I have no excuses, and I am asking that You cast me not away from Your Presence but renew a right spirit within me. I give myself into Your hands, committing myself to You and to Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything,” (Proverbs 13:3 NLT). “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences,” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT)
The tongue may be a tiny member of the body, but oh the disasters it can cause without practicing self-control. The tongue has within it the power of life and death. The tongue can tear down or build up, curse or bless, complain or speak gratefulness, tells lies or tells the truth… This tiny member of the body causes many problems when left unchecked and when left untamed.
We need to practice self-control, and with the Holy Spirit living within us, we cannot say we can’t control what we say because self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So since the Holy Spirit lives within us, we do have self-control. We make the choice.
No one can make you swear. No one can make you tear someone down with your words. No one can make you use ungodly or unwholesome speech. You and only you choose how you will react in your use of speech. Let your speech be filled with saltiness and filled with grace. God will not hold someone else accountable for your words; He will hold you accountable. We are told in Romans 14:12 (NLT), “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God,” and in Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT), Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
“In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest on fire. The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” (James 3:5-6).
What you say does have consequences.
For example: If you are lying to a someone and that someone finds out you are lying, you will have destroyed the person’s trust in you, proven yourself to be untrustworthy, and if you ever speak to that person again, there will be doubt as to whether or not you have told the truth.
As children of God, our speech is to be different than the world’s speech. Blessings and curses should not be flowing out of the same mouth because the Word of God tells us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” In Ephesians 4:29 (BSB), it states, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.”
If you were face to face with Christ, standing there in front of you, would you speak carelessly, not caring what Christ would say or would you be careful of the words you speak if you were standing face to face with Christ? We may not be able to see Jesus, but He did say He would be with us until the end, which means He is with you no matter what you are doing, no matter where you go, and no matter who you are talking to.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the All-Knowing and All-Seeing God. You are holy, and You have commanded me to be holy. You are pure and wholesome, and You command me to walk in Your ways. Help me to always remember that no matter what I say or do, You are with me, and because I am Your child, I represent You. Help me to never bring shame to You or Your name. Let my speech be seasoned with salt and filled with grace as Your Word commands. Fill me with Your words so I may build others up, and Father, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and work the fruit of self-control within me. Help me to choose wholesome speech, pleasing to Your ears. In words and actions, Lord, make me more and more like You so I may act wisely amongst those who do not believe and be encouraging to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly,” (Proverbs 15:2 (ESV)
You, O LORD, are glorious, from everlasting to everlasting. You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are the only Rock, the only Way; You are Life and Truth. You are Holy, and You are King of kings and Lord of lords. YOU, O God, are my Shield and my Buckler. No one compares to You. I put my hope and trust in You alone, and there is no other foundation except the foundation You have laid. Thank You for being my Salvation, my Portion forever. To You, Abba, I offer the sacrifice of praise, giving You thanks because You are worthy of all glory, of all honor, and all praise.
PSALM 138 – A Psalm of David
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
It was that moment I knew I would be standing alone, but I didn’t see where I had a choice if I wanted a deeper walk with the Lord, if I was to do the task He called me to do. So with every ounce of strength He gave to me, I stepped out in faith and obeyed. It was like jumping off a cliff, but when it was done, when it was finally done, I felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in a long time, and freedom came rushing in.
It didn’t matter if those around me understood what I was doing. The only thing that mattered was doing what God wanted me to do, what He told me to do, and simply following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It didn’t matter if the words I spoke would be received or not. I simply had to let go and let God, and then I had to get out of the way in full surrender and say, “It’s all yours, God. I did what you wanted. You take care of the rest, and I’ll stay out of the way.”
…because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is GOD’S APPROVAL, not man’s …because when all has been said and done, it is knowing and understanding GOD’S GRACE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH to sustain us …because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts …because of what Christ did on the cross and because of His resurrection, we are able to live a life of victory.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
You do NOT have to explain your relationship with God to anyone nor do you have to explain how God speaks to you. Just keep following God, leaning on Him, and relying on Him alone for strength. His grace is more than enough.
Whatever God has told you to do, just obey. Yes, it’s worth it all. It may not be easy and the road may be rocky, but it’s worth it all. What influences you? What is stopping you from obeying God? Who are you listening to? What are you allowing your eyes to take in? What do you have to lay down in order to have a deeper walk with God, for Him to take you where He wants to take you? What will you give up? Do you care more about the approval of God or the approval of man? Where does your heart lie?