Charles Stanley – Giving Thanks in Everything

Charles Stanley

Why would God command us to thank Him regardless of the circumstances? The idea defies human logic. But then, the Lord rarely binds Himself to man-made rules. Scriptural principles serve specific purposes in the Christian’s life. Gratitude keeps us aware of God’s presence, which builds our trust and ultimately strengthens our witness.

We must realize that thankfulness is not based on emotions or a situation’s outcome. We can be grateful, even during trials, because the Lord has promised to work everything for our good (Romans 8:28). That means He has a purpose for every experience, pleasant or difficult. A big problem stacked against our small resources sends us running to Him, thankful He has committed to work it to our benefit.

The believer’s part is to trust God will bring good from trials and to discover His plan, which gives further reason for thanking Him. Understanding His intentions renews our strength for facing difficult trials. Expressing gratefulness changes our attitude about God, ourselves, and our situations. Most people allow hurt and stress to form a pessimistic mindset, which negatively impacts every facet of their life. But believers have God’s Spirit working within to provide courage and a flow of thanksgiving.

When we demonstrate thankfulness in harsh circumstances, other people pay attention. Our coworkers, family, and friends will want for themselves the peace and energy we derive from a grateful relationship with the Lord. So whatever you experience today, go ahead and defy logic—praise God.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

Overflowing With Gratitude

As Christians, we have so much for which to be thankful. But sometimes we lose our focus, as we get sidetracked by life’s responsibilities, struggles, and challenges. Before we know it, our joy is gone, and we end up expressing a bitter, ungrateful spirit. In this message, Dr. Stanley talks about how Christians ought to be overflowing with gratitude, and begins by reminding us of the security and faith we have in our relationship with Christ. (Watch Overflowing With Gratitude.)

 

Our Daily Bread — Outlasting Bitterness

Our Daily Bread

Colossians 3:12-17

If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. —Colossians 3:13

During the Second World War, Corrie ten Boom’s family owned a watchmaking business in the Netherlands, and they actively worked to protect Jewish families. Eventually, the entire ten Boom family was sent to a concentration camp, where Corrie’s father died 10 days later. Her sister Betsie also died in the camp. While Betsie and Corrie were in the camp together, Betsie’s faith helped to strengthen Corrie’s.

That faith led Corrie to forgive even the ruthless men who served as guards during her concentration camp days. While hate and the desire for revenge continued to destroy many lives long after the concentration camps were gone, Corrie knew the truth: Hate hurts the hater more than the hated, no matter how justified it may seem.

Like Corrie, we each have the opportunity to love our enemy and choose forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the offense but when we forgive we show Christ to the world. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

God will help you let go of every angry grudge as you watch the Spirit build into you a place where others see the Savior. —Randy Kilgore

The love of God within our hearts

Enables us to show

Forgiveness that is undeserved

So others too might know. —Sper

When we forgive someone, we look more like Jesus than at any other moment in our life.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 20-21; James 5

Insight

Paul’s letter to the Colossians was one of four letters Paul wrote while being held as a prisoner in Rome. These four letters, commonly called “The Prison Epistles,” consist of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. The church letters went to three different destinations in two different regions of the ancient world. Philippians was directed to the church at Philippi, a city in Macedonia (ancient northern Greece), while Ephesians and Colossians were written to two cities (Ephesus, Colosse) in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The personal letter to Philemon was also delivered to Colosse, where Philemon is believed to have lived, being actively involved in the church there. These letters were probably intended to be circular letters that were read and passed along to other churches.

Alistair Begg – Nearer to God

Alistair Begg

Get you up to a high mountain. Isaiah 40:9

Each believer should be thirsting for God, for the living God, and longing to climb the hill of the Lord and see Him face to face. We should not rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of the mountain beckons us. My soul thirsts to drink deeply of the cup that is reserved for those who reach the mountain’s peak and bathe their brows in heaven. How pure are the dews of the hills; how fresh is the mountain air; how abundant is the provision of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem!

Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who do not see the sun; they eat dust like the serpent when they might taste the food of angels; they are content to wear the miner’s garb when they might put on king’s robes; tears disfigure their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. I am convinced that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof and view the goodly land. Rouse yourself, believer, from your low condition! Discard your laziness, your lethargy, your coldness, or whatever interferes with your sincere and pure love for Christ, your soul’s Husband. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of your soul’s whole range of delight.

What fully enchants you to remain in a pit when you may sit on a throne? Do not live in the lowlands of bondage now that mountain liberty is conferred upon you. Do not be satisfied any longer with your tiny attainments, but press forward to things more sublime and heavenly. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life.

Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!

When will Thou come unto me, Lord?

Oh come, my Lord most dear!

Come near, come nearer, nearer still,

I’m blest when Thou art near.

________________________________________

The family reading plan for November 23, 2014 * Jonah 2 * Luke 7

________________________________________

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Love’s commendation

CharlesSpurgeon

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 2:5-9

I could almost conceive a parliament in heaven. The angels are assembled; the question is proposed to them: “Cherubim and seraphim, cohorts of the glorified, ye spirits that like flames of fire, at my bidding fly, ye happy beings, whom I have created for my honour! Here is a question which I condescend to offer for your consideration: Man has sinned; there is no way for his pardon but by someone suffering and paying blood for blood. Who shall it be?” I can conceive that there was silence throughout the great assembly. Gabriel spoke not: he would have stretched his wings and flapped the heavens in a moment, if the deed had been possible; but he felt that he could never bear the guilt of a world upon his shoulders, and, therefore, still he sat. And there the mightiest of the mighty, those who could shake a world if God should will it, sat still, because they felt all powerless to accomplish redemption. I do not conceive that one of them would have ventured to hope that God himself would assume flesh and die. I do not think it could have entered even into angelic thought to conceive that the mighty Maker of the skies should bow his awful head and sink into a grave. I cannot imagine that the brightest and most seraphic of these glorified ones would for an instant have suffered such a thought to abide with him. And when the Son of God, rising from his throne, spoke to them and said, “Principalities and powers! I will become flesh, I will veil this Godhead of mine in robes of mortal clay, I will die!” I think I see the angels for once astonished.

For meditation: Man had sinned; man must suffer. Only a real, yet sinless man could take his place; God the Son alone qualified for the task (Romans 8:3).

Sermon no. 104

23 November (1856)

John MacArthur – From Jacob to Israel

John MacArthur

“By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped” (Heb. 11:21).

Jacob’s life typifies the spiritual pilgrimage from selfishness to submission.

Jacob’s life can be outlined in three phases: A stolen blessing, a conditional commitment, and a sincere supplication.

From the very beginning it was God’s intention to bless Jacob in a special way. But Jacob, whose name means “trickster,” “supplanter,” or “usurper,” tricked his father into blessing him instead of his older brother, Esau (Gen. 27:1-29). As a result, Jacob had to flee from Esau and spend fourteen years herding flocks for his Uncle Laban.

As Jacob traveled toward Laban’s house, God appeared to him in a dream (Gen. 28:10-22) and made him the recipient of the covenant promises first made to his grandfather, Abraham, then to his father, Isaac.

Jacob’s response is revealing, for he “made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God'” (vv. 20-21, emphasis added). Jacob’s conditional vow said in effect, “God, if you’ll give me what I want, I’ll be your man.”

Despite Jacob’s selfish motives, God did bless him, but He humbled him too. By the time he left Laban’s house, Jacob was ready to yield to God’s will unreservedly. Note his change of heart in Genesis 32:10: “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to [me].”

Then the Lord appeared in the form of a man and wrestled with Jacob all night (v. 24). Jacob refused to let Him go until he received a blessing. That wasn’t a selfish request, but one that came from a heart devoted to being all God wanted him to be. That’s when the Lord changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” which means “he fights or persists with God.”

Like Abraham and Isaac before him, Jacob never saw the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. Yet on his spiritual journey from Jacob to Israel, from selfishness to submission, he learned to trust God and await His perfect timing.

Suggestions for Prayer; Pray for grace to consistently pursue God’s will, and patience to wait on His perfect timing.

For Further Study; Read Jacob’s story in Genesis 27-35.

Joyce Meyer – Spiritual Warfare

Joyce meyer

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] . . . And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. —Colossians 3:15

You are waging spiritual warfare when you give radical praise to God in the midst of your need and lack. When you are thankful to God for all He has done and is doing, you are de¬feating the enemy. When you hold your peace in the midst of the storm, you are warring with spiritual weapons (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you… [Stop al¬lowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimi¬dated and cowardly and unsettled]” (John 14:27).

Jesus has given you peace! Put it on, and wear it everywhere you go.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Filled With Good Things

dr_bright

“He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:5).

One day a poor woman greatly desired and sought a bunch of grapes from the king’s conservatory for her sick child.

Taking a half a crown, she approached the king’s gardener and tried to purchase the grapes. Rudely repulsed, she made a second effort – with more money. Again she was refused.

Finally, the king’s daughter heard the crying of the woman and the angry words of the gardener. When she inquired into the matter, the woman told her story.

“My dear woman,” said the princess, “you are mistaken. My father is not a merchant, but a king. His business is not to sell, but to give.”

Plucking a bunch of grapes from the vine, she gently dropped it into the woman’s apron.

What a picture of goodness and bounty of our wonderful Lord! He fills our lives with good things, and even as we approach and reach old age, He renews our strength and vigor so that in effect we become young again.

This truth was impressed upon me anew when I reached my 60th birthday in late 1981. Age really did not seem to matter at all; God continues to give liberally – not only all good things that are needful, but also a renewal of strength and vigor for each day and for each task. I seem to have as much strength and energy at 60 as when I was 30 – with far more experience and wisdom.

Bible Reading: Psalm 103:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will dare to believe God is filling my life with good things. Even when a particular thing may not seem good at the moment, I will still praise and thank Him as an expression of my love, gratitude and faith

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Abba, Father

ppt_seal01

Most parents-to-be anticipate the arrival of their baby with a deep desire to love, nurture and raise their precious child. Where did this longing come from? “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10) God created people in His image. Along with that came the need to have children.

I said, “How I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful of all nations.”

Jeremiah 3:19

From the time God created Adam and Eve, to the time He set Israel apart as His people, to the time of Christ, and to the church – God’s goal has always been to be a loving Father to His creation. He has gone to great lengths to accomplish this. “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15) “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” (I John 3:1)

Thank the Lord for the rich heritage America has enjoyed—of following after God, helping nations less fortunate, and being blessed as a result. Pray for this nation, its citizens and leaders to turn wholeheartedly to the Heavenly Father once again.

Recommended Reading: Luke 11:1-13