Thanksgiving – or Not

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

The Halloween costumes are stored away and the moldy jack-o-lanterns are thrown out. Time to think about gathering in Christmas presents. After all, earlier this week, we lunched  at White Castle to the accompaniment of Christmas songs!

Perhaps you’re like me. You want to scream, “What about Thanksgiving?”

Thankfully, that is one of the holidays our forefathers saw fit to establish—a country of people with hearts of gratitude. I wonder when those with atheist leanings will protest this holiday. After all, who are we thanking for blessings?

Ah, but I digress. 

My main point is that I want to urge us to enter this season (and all the time for that matter) with hearts of gratitude to our heavenly Father. Let’s think in these next three weeks of some practical ways of carrying that out.

One of my favorite times of prayer is in the car—with eyes open, of course! Before I turn the radio on, I pause to talk to the Lord. May I suggest that we make that kind of time to spend in thanksgiving.Let’s see what endless list we can make.

For this week, let’s focus on material blessings. Mine often starts something like this:

– Thank you for this car and that is running well and I have gas to keep it going.

– Thank you that I can have a hot shower anytime, unlike others in our world who have to wait every two days to get two hours of hot water. 

– Thank you for the sunshine today and the way it cheers my very soul.

– Thank you for clocks that keep me on track for the day. Help me make good use of the time you give me.

– Thank you for music and the joy and inspiration it brings.

You get the idea. Having grateful hearts is pleasing to the Lord and helps spark our awareness of his blessings.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Well that’s it for week number one of gratitude. Short and sweet and easy. Can you promise yourself every day to give some time to thanksgiving? The very act will be a blessing.

I look forward to hearing your revelations!

~ Joyce ~

On a side note: Many of my friends are in great mourning this week because of the election. Many are rejoicing and filled with great hope. Others are watching cautiously and praying that the heart of our new president-elect will be touched by God’s Spirit. Let us add to our list, thanksgiving for our great country, pleading for God’s wisdom and direction.

Fear – The Things We Must Do

 

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

If my people, who are called by my name, will HUMBLE themselves and PRAY and SEEK my face and TURN from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14

I find myself continually coming back to this verse. If we have fear for the soul of our country, then God has given us a mandate in this verse. He provided the who, the what to do, and the result.

Who? Those who are believers.

What to do? Humble ourselves, pray and seek His face and turn from sin.

The result? Forgiveness and healing. 

When I went to Chronicles to check this verse in context, I noticed that I had underlined the verse and wrote in the margin, “9-11-01″—a date we all recognize immediately. 

The context? Solomon has just completed the building of the temple. The elaborate furnishings are in place; the ark is brought in, and the sacrifices are made during a great festival, complete with musical instruments. 

Solomon then comes to a platform before all the people. He kneels and spreads his hands up toward heaven to pray. The lengthy prayer is recorded in II Chronicles 6:14-42. In essence, he praises God and reminds Him of promises made to his father, King David. Hear the pleading in his voice:

The heavens cannot contain you, much less this temple.

Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy.

Hear the cry that your servant is praying in your presence.

May your eyes be open toward this temple.

Hear from heaven and when you hear, forgive.

Solomon goes on in much detail. The point is that he prays with passion and heartfelt, submissive pleas. God dramatically responds before the people by bringing fire down from heaven and consuming the burnt offering and the sacrifices.

That night, God appears to Solomon and says the verse above (among other things) promising to forgive their sin and heal their land. 

Let’s look closely at God’s mandate.

HUMBLE yourselves –  cease being prideful, self-centered, and greedy.

PRAY and SEEK God’s face – not rote prayers or only quickies, but truly spending quality time pleading with compassion as Solomon did.

TURN from your wicked ways – judging, gossiping, misusing valuable time, centered on self, whatever you see as sin in your life.

When you can’t “fix” the problems of the world or even your own little world, He calls on you and me to turn to Him. He wants to transform our living and our thinking, but once again, he gives us the choice as to who is in charge. Try to do it ourselves? Or surrender to Him.

How do you see the power of prayer in your life? Do you turn to prayer only if all else fails? Do you say, “When I can get around to it. I’m so busy.”

Or “I’m daily working toward submission. I’ve seen His power at work in my life and others. Even if I’m the only one, help me to be disciplined and passionate in prayer, O Lord.”

~ Joyce ~