You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
“Thanksgiving increases the proximity of God in our lives.” Shakirah A. Hill
When we take time to reflect and thank God for the things He’s done, our hearts soften and become more sensitive to the essence of who He is. We give ourselves the opportunity to recognize the favor and intention in everything around us; we change our less than positive thinking to that of a renewed and peaceful mind; we move our focus from us to Him.
What are you thankful to God for? What can you take the time to praise Him for, even in this moment?
When we praise Him for all that He’s done, we acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives, we defeat attempts of the Enemy and we set the atmosphere for the work of His Living Spirit within us. Thanksgiving, essentially, draws us closer to Him and in turn, Him closer to us (James 4:8 NLT).
With the prompting of the holiday, let’s create/continue to lead a lifestyle, not solely a day, of Thanksgiving. In thanksgiving, we gain more of Him! In it, we win!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Be thankful.
On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. Psalm 100 (MSG)
In July 2010, I began attending “Foundations classes” at my now church home, to better understand the foundations, beliefs and expectations of the church I was considering becoming a member of. I, along with the other attendees, were asked to take the time to write down our “story”, sometime between the first and fourth class. The story that I told (via email), began like this, and I quote:
Since I received this “homework assignment” about a week and a half ago, each time I take a moment to think about what “My Story” is, the following song lyrics come to mind (and I’m grateful):
As I look back over my life, I can see how Your love has guided me.
Even though I’ve done wrong, You never left me alone, but You forgave me, and You kept on blessing.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It’s because of Your mercy, that we are not consumed.
Because Thy compassions fail not, they are new every morning.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness.
I was reminded of my love for each and every word of this song, a few weeks ago, after listening to this sermon. Since, my hubs and friends who’ve also listened to the sermon have had this song and the faithfulness of God imprinted on our hearts.
Please press play to listen. He’s truly been so faithful.
Thanks KD & SH.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
I first heard this verse during my courtship with my now, husband. And, I frequently refer to it when conversing about relationships and when solicited for any respective advice.
Although we, including me, tend to reference “heart” when speaking of our emotions, the Bible teaches us that the “heart” is so much more.
In turn, guarding our hearts is far beyond, and including, the guarding of our emotions. It is essentially, being intentional in the way we shepard our actions, thoughts, desires, choices and words.
- Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
- For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. Mark 7:21-22
- A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
Since everything we do is inherently directed by the orientation of our hearts, as followers of Christ, the guarding of our hearts is kind of like a big deal.
Though I realize this, I do sometimes question how to best go about doing so day-to-day. And, just like every other question, the Word gives such clarity in its answers. We simply have to first ask for and receive a renewed heart (1 John 5:14-15); then, walk in and find rest in the protection of our heart that God has given us in Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Over recent weeks, the George Zimmerman trial has been at the forefront of news headlines, social media, water cooler discussions and conversations amongst family and friends in the United States. Frankly, since the death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, many have been consumed with whether or not Zimmerman is guilty or not guilty.
When the verdict was read on Saturday evening, the reaction of millions could immediately be heard and seen throughout the country. The support, as well as the opposition was expressed with fervor. The initial reaction in my own home and from my family and friends was equally passionate. Taking in the feelings of others seen on television and the thoughts of those on Twitter that evening weighed on my heart. Where I could understand that everyone had the right to their own opinion and also clear on how we could end up on different sides of our take on what actually happened; what burdened me the most was the realization that the majority (if not all) of us were missing out on an opportunity…to be different.
As I replayed in my mind so much of what I’d read and heard about the incident and the trial over the weekend, God placed the need to talk to Him about it on my heart. At first, I assumed He solely desired that I pray for the comfort of the family that lost their 17 year old young man. I cannot fathom the emotions they have experienced, and at that time, felt that it was our responsibility to cover their hearts with as much intensity as we expressed our positions on what they were going through. As I began to go in on my prayer, I realized the need for much more.
As many of us wondered whether or not violence would play a role in the response to the trial’s outcome, and as many debates continue to occur on whether or not race has been or remains a factor, the necessity for forgiveness is prevalent. Therefore, as we move forward this week and in the upcoming days; and even as the interest and enthusiasm of this trial may waiver, I charge us all to be different in our response to the Zimmerman trial.
When drawn to share our opinion on the subject at hand, let’s instead choose to seek and ask for a heart of forgiveness – forgiveness for our own judgements of the prosecution, defense and families, and forgiveness between the Martins and Zimmermans for one another. When reading or watching news updates from witnesses, juror interviews, and more, let’s elect to think and act with a heart of compassion. Then, no matter what side we are on, we can walk in freedom from our own thoughts of disappointment, pride, resentment, anger, revenge, hatred, doubt and/or fear. We can truly be the difference He’s called us to be – and through Him love our neighbors and our enemies selflessly, and as ourselves (Matthew 22:39, Matthew 5:44).
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16