…Lifestyle of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

“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)

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…Meditation Moment : Romans 5:3-5; Galatians 6:9

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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)

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

…Keen Eye for Detail

There have been instances in my life, that in a moment of exasperation, I have definitively made up my mind and proclaimed that “no one knows nor understands how I truly feel!” Whether its the busyness of life that I’ve allowed to overwhelm me while single-handedly trying to save the world; or the tiredness that I may feel from having my hand in every possible thing; or even the sadness that comes to heart while worried about a family member, friend or stranger; at the valley of my thoughts, I convince myself that its just me against the world.

But thank God for Jesus! During one of these dramatic moments of mine just last week, the Holy Spirit simply reminded me that He actually knows and He actually cares.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

He knows exactly how we feel. Matter of fact, He knows us better than we feel. He is omniscient. He is aware of every single detail of our lives – whether simplistic or intricate, black and white or gray. And, He intends for each one of those details to yield to an outcome of good (Jeremiah 29:11).

I am so thankful for just this. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches (and He cares and He loves and He comforts and He provides for and He blesses and He prunes and He parents and He corrects and He takes care of and He woos you and) me.

SM.

…Mouth Guard

Hi! My name is SH and I’m a roaring extrovert. If we’ve met you probably already knew this. People often assume that being an extrovert means that you’re just social. There is some truth to this, but the true definition of being an extrovert is someone who processes and draws energy externally. This is me in every sense. When I pray I have to do it out loud even if I am praying alone. When I’m processing situations and ideas I have to talk through or write them out. I ask a lot of questions. SM has told me many times that I ask really deep questions.

I’m also a talker. If you sit next to me on a bus, train, plane; in a movie theater or at a park we’ll end up talking. I want to know you. I want to understand your life. Where did you come from? What fears do you have and why? How many pets do you own? I feed off of people. I’m really proud of being an extrovert. It’s helped me build wonderful relationships. I have found that for some reason people open up to me. They talk to me about any and everything. In many ways I have been entrusted with the wonderful ability to speak into people’s lives and to share stories. But there is also added responsibility to this.

As an extrovert I am often surprised and sometimes not so surprised that some of the people closest to me are introverts, including SM. As much as I love being an extrovert I secretly envy introverts. They’re so deep and mysterious. They’re often very selective with the words they choose. Having spent a lot of time with introverts God has really taught me the importance of processing internally, by allowing myself to hear from the Holy Spirit before responding.

As Christians we have amazing power. When I started walking with God I underestimated the power He gives us. This was until my pastor’s wife, MJ, spoke directly into my life on two occasions when there was absolutely no way she or anyone could have known my thoughts. She heard from the Holy Spirit. To further that, there have been countless times that I have had something on my heart and without me uttering a word LJ has spoken directly to it in the exact moment. He heard from the Holy Spirit and responded in obedience. Both MJ and LJ happen to be introverts. My envy is stirring.

Envy aside, I’ve learned that we can all possess this amazing power if we heed the Apostle Paul’s advice:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…
(James 1:19 NIV)

When we listen we are not just providing an ear to those around us. We are hearing what God has to say. Then we can respond or not respond how the Holy Spirit directs us. Sometimes God prompts us to offer an encouraging word. Sometimes we’re called to pray. We’ll never know if we don’t listen and that requires resisting the urge to respond instantaneously.

I’m not suggesting that God wants me to become an introvert. He made me an extrovert for a reason. But one of my goals last year was to become a better listener. I want to be able to speak God’s words of Life into the people He entrusts into my care. With that, I’m guarding my mouth and opening my ears to the Holy Spirit.

Have you struggled with hearing from the Holy Spirit? How are you overcoming this?

Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna

**SM and I are praying for those who have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. If there is anyway we can pray for you specifically, do not hesitate to send us a note.