Friday, November 25, 2011

The Courage to Change: Praise & Thanksgiving

Here in America we celebrate a holiday called 'Thanksgiving'. We cook a big turkey, make mashed potatoes, and have pumpkin pie. A lot of folks though, don't really understand the title of this day of feasting. I hear a lot of people calling it "turkey day" instead. People have forgotten how to give Thanks. The word promotes 'want', 'desire', 'lust', and 'greed'. We have forgotten how to give thanks, and some of us have even forgotten, 'what' Thanks is. We are taught to want more than we have. If we search even deeper, we would find that by 'instinct', we want what we do not, or cannot have. It's a part of the sinful nature of man.
I think it is rather ironic, that the day after "Thanksgiving", is called "Black Friday", and it is a day of want, want, want, greed, greed, greed. Everyone wants what is on sale, even if they don't really need it.
The US has forgotten the meaning of "Thanksgiving"....And we have forgotten the reason for giving Thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ In everything give thanks: for 'this' is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ O Give thanks to the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endures for ever.

Psalms 18:49 ~ Therefore will I give thanks to you, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises to Your name.

Psalms 30:4 - Sing to the Lord, O you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.

Psalms 30:12 - To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

Why do we give Thanks? We give thanks firstly, because we are blessed. What greater gift have we been given than eternal life? What more moving gift have we been given than the death of Christ in our place for sin? You see...According to the law and most likely wouldn't even exist right now. But, Christ bore the penalty for your sin on the cross. He also rose again in order to be a victor over not only sin, but death its self. Do we not have something to be Thankful for?? Why do we all live as if we are still under the law? We whine over this, we whine over that. We doubt, we cry, we panic. We fear everything will crumble right under our feet. We fear life, we fear death, we fear every breath. Why? I think a lot of it is because we do not give thanks. And we do not believe that God is in Control.

"In everything give thanks...How do we do that? Obviously, there are hurdles in our lives that we don't always feel thankful for. There are people in our lives that sometimes we would rather see punished than give thanks... even when they hurt us. We would rather cry ourselves to sleep, sit in misery, or scream out that we are dissatisfied. We see giving thanks as a fantasy, of some sort of 'pretending' to not see the circumstance as it really is. This is not true. Giving Thanks is not a cop out, or refusal of reality. If anything it is the opposite. Read the rest of the Scripture..."In everything give thanks: for 'this' is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

 Give Thanks in everything 'not' because it is easy, not just in the times you have everything that you want. But also in the times you are going through the worst trials. Give Thanks, Praise God...through 'everything'. For it is 'the will of God' that as His child, you do so. When we give thanks to God, even when we are experiencing hell fire; when we praise the Lord, even when we don't feel like it...We surrender our pity, our pride, our situation to God, and a proclamation that "We trust Him", and we realize that in order for things to get better, we must think on what is good, and not get caught up in pessimism and doubt.

 If we do not praise God in our storms, we get caught up in our pain. We think on it, mull over it, all the way to depression. Those who do harmful things to themselves are the fruit of those who did not 'give thanks, or praise God' in everything. My friends, we no longer have to be under the law of guilt, or sorrow. Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our sins, and those of others. Giving Thanks even in the hard things, is almost the same as the concept of 'loving those who spitefully use you'. It's like 'praying' for those, who abuse you. God wants our hearts not to be tied down so tightly to this earth. In reality, He wants us  to live lives in the light of Liberty.

Stop being in bondage to your pain, or to the lies of others...Give God praise in all circumstances. He is worthy of your consideration, of your honor, and of your worship. Only when we surrender our pain, our sin, our relationships, our concerns to God will we begin to change. It's by making the decision to Worship Him, even in the hard times of our lives. Choosing to cling to our pain, our hurt, our not only prideful, and is detrimental to our selves. God knew we would experience trials, and tribulations. He knew that the world's and other peoples' sin still would have their arrows, that bring hurt, and pain etc.

Life was not fair to Christ, so it is not fair to us...But Christ has left us an example, and He has told us that it is God's will that we do not let sin, or it's fruit overtake us. It is alright to be angry. But do not stay angry over night. It's alright to feel sorrow, Jesus cried...but do not let sorrow steal your Joy away in serving the God of Liberty and Consolation. God wants us to live in the world, but not 'of' the world. Those of the world, who do not know the Christ, have no hope when bad things happen. Do not be like the heathen who have no hope. Do not ignore Christ and the healing He can bring. Remember, His is in You, and you are in Him. You are not your own, nor are you ever 'alone'. When people hurt you, they hurt Christ in You.

When you are guilty, ask for forgiveness and move on...Christ has died for You. Christ has Risen. Christ is with You. This is enough to give thanks for. Let Christ give you peace, even in the fires of life. The fruit of the Spirit, proves that love, peace, long suffering...are not supposed to be seasonal. Sometimes it may be hard to see God in the bleak moments of life. It may be hard to pray for those who are rude to you. It may be almost impossible you think to love those who have hated you...But listen, every time you choose to love instead of let hate eat you up, every time you let your focus go on a God, who is: FOREVER good, gracious, holy, loving, just, powerful, and merciful you do yourself a giant favor, and you do others a giant favor.

You save yourself from letting evil, sin, and injustice win. It's similar to what I was mentioning in an earlier blog post, on offenses. People can harm you, bad things can happen, mistakes take place, but if you let them consume you in thought, attitude, and reign over your living you let them win over you. Only believing the truth, praying or praising God...will set you free from not only hatred, bitterness, but lies and brokenness etc, etc!
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I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will be continually on my mouth. My soul shall boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear and be glad. Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together! I sought the LORD and he heard me and, and delivered me from all my fears.They looked to him, and were ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good!; blessed is the man that trusts in him. O fear the LORD you his saints; for there is no want to them that fear Him. ~ Pslam 34: 1-9
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Come all ye creation! Come praise the Lord for His Goodnes! He is Forever Faithful, He is Forever Good. Come all ye sinners, come all ye saints, come all ye broken, fearful, and faint.
Come praise the Lord for His Mercy. His Love endures Forever.

Focus on Christ. You are His child. Everything else should get second dibs. You belong to Jesus, and he has sacrificed all for You. Focus on His goodness today, give Him what He deserves. When you let other things, your circumstances, other people's wrong doings, your own wrong, completely 'consume' you, you are pushing Christ aside, and living as if He is not all that He has proved to Be. Live in the Liberty of Jesus, Praise Him! You have so much to be thankful for...Try and focus on the good things.

Jesus has given you in your life. And Praise Him in your storms as well. He is Faithful, and He is True.. Taste and See! that the Lord is Good!

Lay everything else down before His feet.

Lay Um Down - Music Vid version

Lay Um Down - w/ Lyrics bellow

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