Give Thanks


When is the last time that you stopped what you were doing and truly thanked God for all he’s done for you? In I Thessalonians 5:18, it tells us that no matter what your circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks. Even if nothing seems to be going your way right now, there is reason to give thanks.  

Having a thankful heart is a mindset that you have to create. We are not naturally thankful creatures. You need to practice being thankful with others and with God. When you truly make being thankful a part of your life, you will find that your attitude, your outlook and your perspective will change for the better.

Here are some reasons I have found to give thanks.

1. For salvation

Each of us should be eternally grateful for what Jesus did on the cross for us. There is nothing that we could ever do to earn our way to Heaven. It is only because God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins that we have that ability. I don’t have to spend my life hoping and trying to be good enough one day. The price for my sin was paid for by Jesus.

I love how 2 Corinthians 9:15 says it: “Now thanks be to God for His gift, precious beyond telling, His indescribable, inexpressible, free gift!” We have a very good reason to be thankful today. You do not have to spend eternity separated from God if receive His son into your life.

2. For God’s faithfulness

I’m thankful every day that God’s faithfulness doesn’t rely on my own faithfulness. 2 Timothy says that even if we are faithless or are untrue to Him, He remains faithful and true because He cannot deny Himself. What God has promised He will do, He will do no matter what.  

One of my favorite promises in scripture is found in Philippians 4:19. I remind myself of this scripture when things aren’t going my way. It says that God will supply all of my needs according to His riches. I often want Him to supply all of my wants, but He has promised to take care of my needs. I have air in my lungs, a place to sleep and food to eat. That is something to be thankful for.

3. For what He has done

How many times have we prayed and asked God for something and He’s done it? Too many to count I’m sure. I often thank Him for the big things when He does them, but what about the little things? Have we thanked Him for a good night’s sleep, help on a test, safe travels or for food to eat? We constantly petition God in prayer and rarely thank Him.

When He healed the 10 lepers in Luke 17, only one came back to thank Him. Jesus asked him where the other 9 were. How was it that only one came back for something as big as a life giving healing? I want to live my life like that one who came back and worshipped Him and thanked Him.

I know it’s hard to do sometimes. I’ve been at points in my life where it seemed I had nothing to be thankful for. The truth is that I had a lot to be thankful for, but I wasn’t looking for it. Wherever you are today, stop and give thanks to God. You will find that it will change you when you live with a grateful heart.

Here is a short prayer you can pray today to say “thank you” to God. It is provided by Michael Moak.

Dear Jesus,

Today I want to say THANK YOU!  Thank you for my life.  Thank you for my family. Thank you for salvation.  Thank you for my church.  Thank you for never giving up on me.  Thank you for allowing me to experience your favor and your blessings!  Thank you for everything that I take for granted for I know that without YOU I would have nothing.  THANK YOU.

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Unanswered Prayers

I’m taking a sabbatical from writing this week. To help you stay on track with your daily devotions, I’m selecting and reposting some I’ve written that you may have missed.

Garth Brooks sang a song called “Unanswered Prayers” in the 90’s. In it he tells the story of how he and his wife ran into his high school flame. He remembered how he had prayed every night that God would make her his. He promised he’d never ask God for anything again if He would just answer this one prayer. As they talked he realized they were very different people. When he walked away, he thanked God for his wife because God knew what He was doing after all. He then finishes the song with, “Some of God’s greatest gift are unanswered prayers.”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself asking God for a lot. I have a specific time of prayer dedicated to just asking God for things I need, my family needs or that my friends need. A lot of times they go unanswered, they are delayed or answered in a way that I wasn’t even praying for. I’ve had some of my most passionate prayers feel like they were falling on deaf ears. I’ve felt like my tears were for nothing. I’ve even been mad at God for not answering my prayers the way I thought they should have been answered. Thankfully, God is patient with me.

Have you ever read “If you give a mouse a cookie”? It’s a children’s book that says if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk. If you give him some milk, then he’ll want something else. If you give him that then he’ll want another thing. The book goes full circle to where if you give him this final thing, he’ll want a cookie. And if you give him a cookie, he’ll want some milk. I wonder if God looks at some of our prayers that way. We ask for something we don’t really need or is unhealthy for us and when we get it, He knows it will lead to needing other things that will create a cycle.

We don’t have the ability to see the cycle, but God does. He knows just what we need. James 1:17 says that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father. He wants to give us good things, but we don’t always ask for those things. James 4:3 says, “And when you ask you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” When I think of the prayers that aren’t answered, I try to go back and look at my motives. I try to think of why I wanted that so badly. Then I look at what a God did instead and I see that all along, He knew what He was doing.

You may be struggling with unanswered prayers right now. I’m not saying your motives are wrong or that you’re asking for your own pleasure. I’m saying that you should trust God to answer them His way. Say what Jesus said on His prayer, “Not my will be done, but yours.” Give God the freedom to answer your prayers the way He sees fit. He’s going to do it His way anyway. Giving Him the freedom helps you to accept it and helps to give you perspective. Who knows? Garth may be right. Some of God’s greatest gifts just may be unanswered prayers.    

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Comfort For The Grieving

I’m taking a break from writing this week. To help you keep up with your daily devotions, I am re-posting one I’ve already written.

Each of us have lost someone we were close to. Death does not discriminate. It is just as much a part of life as birth. I like to think of life on this earth as a cocoon and death is the rebirth into eternal life. While it’s sad and scary to us on this side, it is glorious on the other. When we close our eyes here, we open them there. 

I’ve faced the grief of a lost loved one many times in my life. To help heal the sadness I feel, I look up these verses for comfort. I hope they help you too.

1.   You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:4 MSG)

2.   He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. (Isaiah 61:2 NLT)

3.   The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. (Psalms 116:15 NLT)

4.   When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV)

5.   God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 AMP)

6.   He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. (Isaiah 25:8 AMP)

7.   For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalms 30:5 NLT)

8.   To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 AMP)

9.   You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. (Psalms 71:20 NLT)

10.   For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT)

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Times of Transitions

I’m taking a sabbatical from writing this week from writing. To help keep you on track with your daily devotions, I’ll send out a previously written devotion.

Transitions in life are hard. They mean that one part of your life’s story is over and a new one is about to begin. They are the space between where faith is tested and fear fights to creep in. They are a temporary no man’s land that we have to walk through in order to grow. As we walk through them, it’s hard to see what’s coming next. The territory is so unknown to us that we put our attention and focus on the transition rather than on where we’re being transitioned to. We question God’s providence in our situation during these times.

I remember one if the first lessons I learned working in a child care center was with transitions. Kids hated transitions as much as adults. I learned that if I told them we were going to be making a change in direction in a few minutes, it would give them time to finish what they were doing and to prepare mentally for what was coming next. Now, when I talk to sales reps, I talk to them about transitions in the sale. It’s important for the buyer to know where they are in the sale and what’s coming next. I even encourage them to share with the buyer the why behind the transition.

As I’ve thought about all of that, I started wishing God would give us the warnings about transitions approaching in our lives and the why’s behind them. As I prayed about it, God reminded me how many times Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem and why. They never heard a word of it and were shocked in the Garden of Gethsemane. They entered a time of transition between having Jesus walk with them daily and having the Holy Spirit coming as their guide. Like us, they were confused, frightened and wondered where God was in the transition.

God speaks to each of us daily. He says things we ignore or don’t want to hear so we block Him. We use our selective hearing when He speaks of things that scare us. The disciples heard Jesus tell them about the transition, but they weren’t listening. Even when we know a transition is coming, it’s still natural to be scared. We’re afraid of change. The last few years have taught me that change is necessary for growth. When we fight it, we fight growing, we fight the future God had for us and we fight God’s will. Our times of transition help prepare us for the change. They grow our faith and trust in God’s plan for our life. It’s something we can only see when we take the time to look back.

Imagine if Peter and the others had stayed locked up in their house and never went to the upper room. Out of 500 people whom Jesus told to go and wait, only 120 made it through the transition. They were tough enough to stick it out and trusted that God had something more on the other side of the transition. As He did for them, so He does for you. God has something greater for you on the other side of this time of transition. It may take longer than you expected, but hang on. The reward will be worth it. The growth you will experience will be like no other time in your life. Don’t give up in the time of transition. Hold strong to your faith and trust God to see you through. 

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Blueprints (Video)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here.

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Refined Faith


We don’t have a choice of whether or not we will go through hard times. What we do have a choice in, however, is how we choose to respond. We can choose to look at hard times as if God is against us or that He’s making us stronger for something down the road. Some times they are a consequence of a past mistake. God rarely takes away consequences when we’ve chosen to disobey. No matter what though, He always offers us grace to endure.

God purifies our faith through hard times. I once watched an episode of “Gold Rush Alaska” on Discovery channel. Parker, who runs his grandfather’s mine, had been working all summer for gold. He took what looked like a lot of gold to the gold refinery. They heated it up and kept removing the dross from the top. In the end, he had a small bar no bigger than his hand. Though it was a small amount, it was worth more because it was pure.

God does that with our faith. He send us through the fire to remove the dross so our faith is pure. It may seem small afterwards, but it is more precious than gold. When I’m going through hard times, I like to read these verses. I hope they help you too.

1. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Psalms 23:4 NLT

2. My brothers and sisters, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.

James 1:2-3 GNB

3. Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG

4. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.

Psalms 34:19 NLT

5. But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].

Job 23:10 AMP

6. For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried, refined, and purified.

Psalm 66:10 AMP

7. The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.

Proverbs 27:21 MSG

8. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honour on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:7 GNB

9. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.

Isaiah 48:10 NLT

10. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 NLT

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The Necessity Of Generosity 

One of the things I look forward to each November 1st is Jimmy Kimmel showing videos of parents who told their children they ate all their Halloween candy. When the kids find out that all the candy that they got for free is gone, they freak out. Some cry, some scream in anger, and some destroy the house in anger. There are some though, who smile and say, “It’s ok.” They are generous with what was given to them.

While I laugh at the angry kids response, it’s scary to think that their reactions are mirrors of so many adults. We are rarely generous with things that have been placed in our hands. When others ask for those things, we get angry and tell them to go get their own. The truth is that everything we have has been given to us by God and He asks us to be generous with what He gives us.

If you have been given something, why wouldn’t you want to share it? Usually we don’t because of the law of scarcity. We hold tight and value something we are afraid to lose and never get back. But God works differently. If we are willing to be generous with the little He gives us, He will multiply it. That’s a hard concept for us to understand when we’ve learned to treasure things that are scarce. God’s ways are not like ours though.

In his first book, Peter reiterates the necessity of generosity. In I Peter 4:10 he wrote, “Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it” (MSG). God has been so generous with us and He expects us to be like Him. As Corrie Ten Boom warned, we shouldn’t hold tightly to the things God places in our hands because it will hurt if He has to pry our fingers open. Keep an open hand that gives and God will keep putting things in it.

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