Thanksgiving is a choice I make

Written by: Tim Wood

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

(1 Chronicles 16:34)

Giving thanks is a choice we get to make.  Giving thanks is an attitude that shows maturity in my walk with Jesus Christ. The Psalmist wrote, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart” (Psalm 9:1). That phrase “all my heart” gives us the idea that he is making a choice. He’s choosing deep down inside his life to give thanks. I can choose to grumble and complain or I can choose to give thanks.  I can choose to complain about what I don’t have or I can choose to give thanks for what I do have.  I can choose to complain about my job or thank God I have a job. I can choose to complain about how people drive their car or thank God I have a car to drive. I can choose to complain about people or I can choose to thank God for people. How much different would our attitude be if we chose thankfulness?

An attitude of giving thanks is a discipline that I choose to work on. For most of us, it doesn’t happen automatically.  Here are some practical ways that have helped me to choose giving thanks.

 1) Prioritize giving thanks in your devotional life.  When you read Scriptures that teach you something about God – stop and thank Him.  When you see something that shows you God’s love – stop and thank him.

 2) Allow Christian songs to stick in your mind.  A simple lyric can change your attitude. The other day this lyric stuck in mind, “thank you Lord for saving me, thank you Lord for saving me, oh my soul cries hallelujah, thank you Lord for saving me.” That lyric made my day go better.  Paul said, “Sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks” (Ephesians 5:19).

 3) Be thankful when someone blesses you.  Be thankful for big and small blessings that come your way. When I thank people, it completes my enjoyment of the blessing and increases my capacity to thank God.

4) Hang out with grateful people.  They will inspire you to be thankful.

Let’s choose thanksgiving every day! “I will give thanks to you Lord with all my heart!”

 

Doing Thanksgiving

Written by: Tim Wood

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
(Psalm 116:12-14)

Margaret Craven tells of a young minister, Mark Brian, who is sent by a bishop to a remote parish of Kwakiutl Indians in British Columbia. The Indians, he is told, do not have a word for thank you. But Brian soon finds that these people show exceptional gratitude. He learns that instead of saying thank you, it is their custom to return every favor with a favor of their own. They don’t say thank you, they do thank you.
We have much for which to thank God and most of the time we’re good at verbalizing our thanksgiving. Is there a way to show our thanks to God? Can we do thanksgiving to God that would bring Him glory? There is no way we can ever repay God for all His benefits to us. But is there a way to show Him we’re thankful?  Psalm 116 teaches us a few ways to “do” thanksgiving toward God:

Verse 13 – We can lift up His salvation so others can see it.  We do thanksgiving when we live out the Gospel in public. When we are not ashamed of the Gospel. When we are ready to give an answer to those who may ask us about our faith. When we shine His light rather than hide it. When we share His goodness rather than keep it.

Verse 14 – We can keep the promises we make to God. We do thanks toward God when we are faithful to his calling and the gifts He has given to us. We do thanks to God when we serve others with the gifts that God has so graciously loaned us.

Verse 16 says, “O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.” We can do thanks toward God by walking in the freedom that He has given us.

Verse 17 says, “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” In verse 19 the Psalmists says we praise God in the courts of the House of the Lord. In other words, public worship. We can do thanksgiving toward God by bringing an attitude of gratitude into our public worship gatherings.

Let’s not only tell God we’re thankful, let’s show God we’re thankful. I want to encourage you to “do thanks” toward God. He deserves it. And our lives will be enriched as we practice thanksgiving toward God.

 

What are you asking Jesus for?

Written by: Tim Wood

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

 These are amazing words from Jesus. He is saying that anyone (whoever) has faith in him will do what he’s been doing. A person who has faith in him will do even greater things. What, then, are the greater works?  D. A. Carson in his commentary on John’s gospel points out, “the greater works are those done on the basis of Jesus’ death, resurrection and exaltation. The greater works point to the power of the gospel to transform lives as it spreads through the apostolic witness. Through Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were born again, probably more than Jesus saw converted during His entire ministry. The Book of Acts tells how the message kept spreading, first around Jerusalem, and eventually to the Gentiles around the Roman Empire.”

There is no “greater work” than the conversion of one’s soul. That is what Jesus came to do, “seek and save the lost.”

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that prayer is the key to doing greater things. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The possibilities are endless. I can’t even begin to tell you what that means. All I know is it’s exciting. Jesus is telling us that He is going to the Father so we can pray in His name. And when we ask for the things that he came to earth to do, He will do it. We can ask for power against sin and evil because Jesus came to destroy it. We can storm the status quo because Jesus did. We can change the oppression. We can shine a light in the darkness, we can proclaim the good news of God, we can set the captive free…if we believe in Him and ask Him!

What are you asking Jesus for? Are you asking for the things He came to earth to do? When we pray believing in Jesus name, our prayers become powerful and effective.

I want to challenge you to meditate on John 14:12-14. And as you do, ask Jesus to take your life and do great things through it so that the Father may be glorified. In Jesus Name! Amen!

 

The Word of God Cycle

Written by: Tim Wood

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)

 The water cycle that God created is a beautiful picture of God’s Word cycle. Notice, five things that the rain does after it comes down from heaven. It waters the earth. It makes it bring “forth” (makes it bud). It sprouts. It gives seed to the sower. It gives bread to the eater.

God’s word cycle produces the same result – “so shall my word be”.  The word of God comes down from heaven. It produces life in us. The word of God produces fruit in us. The fruit that God’s word produces in my life blesses others and in return glorifies God. The word of God cycle.

The brown hills of San Jose desperately need water to bring them back to life. Similarly, we need the Word of God to bring life to us. Do you view the Word of God as life for you? Unless we view the word of God as life, we won’t receive it as life. We won’t be obedient to the life- giving Word of God.

A.W. Pink wrote, "God never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good, for 'God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”

God word will accomplish its purpose in our life. And as it does, our fruit filled lives return to God the glory due Him.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

 

Daily Renew Your Mind

Written by: Tim Wood

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.   (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)

Satan attempts to target our minds. His scheme is to lure us away from the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Satan wants to distract us from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. He employs mind games to draw us away.

Eve lost her focus on God. Her thoughts were led astray. Paul is warning that this can happen to us like it happened to Eve. So, what do we do? We must be aware to these attacks. We must renew our minds daily with the Word of God. We must receive and believe God’s Word over our own thoughts or feelings. We must be diligent to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Don’t ever open yourself up to ideas that will corrupt the Gospel and harm you. We can and should determine, by the grace of God, to rework our mental diet to the Scriptures. Our meditations (what our thoughts dwell on), should be verses from the Bible. Try to add in to your day godly conversations. Prayer is a godly conversation. Christian friends can provide for us godly conversations. Our thoughts can be led astray, but we can renew our mind!

Sincere and pure devotion to Christ is what Paul wanted for the Corinthians. Sincerity is literally being unfolded. It’s being completely open to God. It is simply and passionately declaring what the Lord wants in my life is what I want in my life. Being devoted to Christ means that I don’t let other voices distract me from that sincerity. Let’s daily renew our mind to the purposes of God.