VIDEO Gratitude Attitude

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

If you enjoy seeing science validate the teachings of Scripture, search for “health benefits of gratitude” on the Internet. Links to study after study will appear, describing the health benefits—physical health as well as emotional health—of living with an “attitude of gratitude.” What is the biblical teaching on gratitude? Paul says it succinctly: “In everything give thanks; for this [along with rejoicing and praying] is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The most important thing to notice about Paul’s words is that he doesn’t say to give thanks foreverything, but in everything. Paul wouldn’t expect us to give thanks for some painful event or an evil person’s actions in our life or in the world. Rather, we can be thankful that God is sovereign over everything, that God can cause all things to work together for our good when we belong to Him. We can be grateful in every circumstance because God will use it to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

Try it today. Be grateful to God in every circumstance and take note of the difference it makes in your life.

I give it as my testimony that there is a marvelous therapy in thanksgiving. John Blanchard


What does the Bible say about God’s Will for me? (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 | Paul LeBoutillier)

The Will of God

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

God’s will is sometimes hard to follow. He asks us to do the right things. He calls us to endure hardship without complaining; to love awkward people; to heed the voice inside us that says, You mustn’t; to take steps we’d rather not take. So, we must tell our souls all day long: “Hey soul, listen up. Be silent: Do what Jesus is asking you to do.”

“My soul waits in silence for God alone” (Psalm 62:1 nasb). “My soul, wait in silence for God alone” (62:5 nasb). The verses are similar, but different. David says something about his soul; then says something to his soul. “Waits in silence” addresses a decision, a settled state of mind. “Wait in silence” is David stirring his soul to remember that decision.

David determines to live in silence—quiet submission to God’s will. This is our calling as well, the thing for which we were created. We’ll be at peace when we’ve agreed: “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). This is our first and highest calling when we make Him Lord and the source of our deepest pleasure. “I desire to do your will,” the psalmist said (Psalm 40:8).

We must always ask for God’s help, of course, for our “hope comes from him” (62:5). When we ask for His help, He delivers it. God never asks us to do anything He won’t or can’t do.

By:  David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

When have you thought God’s will for you was difficult? How can you live in quiet submission?

I may not always understand Your will, Father, but I ask for help to submit to it. Teach me to trust Your good and faithful character. Please give me a submissive heart.

God Is Good

At times when we’re struggling to trust God, we should remember all the ways He is good to us

Psalm 100

One of the first things a child learns in Sunday school is that God is good. But the simplicity of this statement can be a bit misleading. That’s because God’s goodness is multifaceted, and it encompasses many of His characteristics.

First, the Lord is absolutely perfect and holy, which means that He alone is the standard of all righteousness. God is also unchanging, and therefore His dealings with us are determined by His character; even when we rebel, He is still good to us. As a loving heavenly Father, He responds with discipline—not to crush out spirit but to restore the broken relationship. 

We can see the Lord’s goodness in His gifts to us, including every breath we breathe. As our loving Shepherd, He provides for all our needs. But the greatest expression of God’s goodness is the cross of Christ. What appeared cruel and unfair from man’s perspective was the only way to rescue us from a hopeless eternity without God. 

God’s goodness is intertwined with each of His attributes, and that’s why it is a pillar of our faith. It grounds us with confidence during difficulties, so when we don’t understand what the Lord is doing, we can still trust that He is good. 

Belief Systems Drive Global Events

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:16-17)

In the broadest sense, there are only two belief systems: theism and naturalism. One believes in supernatural influence on the affairs of men and as the foundation of purpose and order, the other does not. The vast majority of the world is theistic (though not creationist) in its worldview. Only the “civilized world” is arrogant enough to consciously exclude the supernatural from its thinking. But this is the key: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). This is why we are clearly told, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Underlying all, of course, is the great Adversary, who seeks to draw the worship of all men to himself and replace all “gods” as the god of this world. Satan is driven, like “a roaring lion,” to devour all who oppose him (1 Peter 5:8). The real war is a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12-13). President George W. Bush was correct when he insisted that the campaign against modern terrorism will be “unlike any other we have ever seen.” It will be worldwide in scope, transcultural in impact, and years in the execution.

Will terrorists be eliminated and evil conquered? Not until Jesus Christ sets up His millennial reign. But we can “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), and we can “reign in life” (Romans 5:17). Freedom is administered through truth (John 8:32, 36), and Satan, when resisted in “the faith” (1 Peter 5:9), will “flee” (James 4:7). HMM III

Weeping Over Jerusalem

By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees, for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [it’s skill]. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy! (Psalm 137 vv. 1-6).

Sometimes crying is more appropriate than singing! I find myself at times feeling homesick for the past. I’ve looked back with longing to the days when I was growing up on Word of Life Island, Schroon Lake, New York, where we spent wonderful summers. Or the days when I was in public school in Maplewood, New Jersey. Or the beautiful high school campus of Hampden DuBose Academy in Zellwood, Florida. But we can never go back except in our memories. I can identify with the homesick Israelites.

The people of God are homesick for their beloved homeland. Captive in Babylon, hundreds of miles from Jerusalem, they lament the loss of their freedom. Even the tough Hebrew spirit, known for it’s fervor and fire, is quenched, and all they can do is weep. They have been deeply hurt by slavery and oppression.

When their captors demand entertainment, “one of the songs of Zion,” they refuse and hang their harps on the poplar trees “by the rivers of Babylon” (vv. 1-3), The motivation for music making had been hammered out of their lives.

Instead, the psalmist reminisces about Jerusalem, where tribes and families once gathered to praise the Lord. He will remember those days at all costs and vows to consider Jerusalem his “greatest joy” (v. 6). Remembering will keep his zeal fresh.

This psalmist, like other musicians who despair over lost opportunities, is open to a deep work of God in his life. When the Lord restores his glory to Zion, there will be singing and dancing! But that will come later. Because God is good, the future will be good if we walk with him!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, do an exciting and colorful work in my life also, and may I burst out in creative worship of your mighty name and awesome power!

Organizing a Quiet Time

I wait and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.—Psalm 130:5-6

Someone has described the morning quiet time as “turning the dial until we tune in to God’s wavelength—then we get the message.” But how do we gain the best results from our quiet time?

First, decide on the amount of time you want to invest in waiting before God. Next, take your Bible and read a portion slowly. Let it soak in. If some words or verses strike you, focus on them in meditation. They will yield up new meanings to you. Write these down.

After the reading, let go, relax, and say to Him: “Father, have You anything to say to me?” Learn to listen. All those who hear God’s voice on a regular basis say that it is something they have had to develop over time and by experience. They pause, they wait, and they learn after a while to disentangle their own thoughts from what God is saying.

Then speak to God in prayer. And finally, thank Him for the answer. He always answers—whether it is “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” His “no” is just as much an answer as His “yes”—sometimes even a better answer.

Not far from my home is the River Thames. Sometimes I walk along the riverbank and watch small boats entering the locks from the adjoining rivers. To get into the Thames, these boats must enter the lock and wait there to be lifted up to a higher level. Our quiet time does that. It shuts us in with God. But then infinite resources begin to bubble up from below, and we are lifted silently and without strain onto a higher level. The lifting is the result of being shut in with God.

Prayer

O Father, help me resolve to spend a quiet time with You every day. May my quiet time at this moment be the open door through which I glide out onto a higher level of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 27:14; 37:7; 62:5; 130:1-8; Isa 30:18

What do we often find the hardest thing to do?

Take time out today to do this.

The Judgment to Come

Acts 17:31 Jude 14-15

Men in all ages have agreed with men of today in one thing—that in this life rewards are not proportionate to virtue, nor punishments to vice. That this is so is self-evident. The relation between conduct and condition is unequal. All around us we may see that the good and worthy are oppressed, while the bad and unworthy flourish. So manifest is this that it often appears as though there is no judge taking account of human action, or that if there be one, he judges unjustly. There is, however, another possibility. It is this—that judgment is deferred; that there is, in fact, “a judgment to come.”

Sowing and reaping govern one another with inexorable certainty, as does everything in this life except as to doing good and doing evil. The exception has proved a terrible trial to men since the world was made. Out of those agonies has sprung a conviction that human existence does not end with the grave, but that in some other world, or in some other state, these inequalities will be rectified, the balance will be restored, and goodness will receive its fair reward, while badness will meet its proper consequences.

The Bible fully harmonizes with reason and instinct in this matter. It declares from beginning to end that thus such a thing will happen as men’s hearts have from the dawn of time either desired or feared. The first of the prophets, Enoch, only seventh from Adam, foretold it. “See,” he said, “the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone” (Jude vv. 14-15). And Paul, almost the latest of the great prophetic voices, with equal definiteness cried aloud, “For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice” (Acts 17:31). What reason and instinct demand, therefore, revelation has clearly foretold. The judgment described in the Word of God meets this universal cry of the human spirit.

Look also at the universal sentiment as to hidden wrong. Is there not in every one of us a persistent anticipation, almost amounting to an earnest expectation, that sooner or later the secret will out, and the guilty will be brought forth? Is it not almost equally a conviction that unknown good ought somehow to be rewarded? The world has had innumerable examples of unselfish devotion to the well-being of others which have found no reward in this life. Is all this to be buried in oblivion for some, while trumpeted forth for others?

The pictures in which the Bible describes the Great Assize meet, with remarkable exactitude, these very demands.

Bramwell Booth, Life and Religion