What Hinders Your Thankfulness – 1 Samuel 18:6-16

Saul had himself to thank for losing God’s blessing. He had brought about his own downfall when he became jealous of David, took his eyes off God, and grew envious of the way God blessed David. He couldn’t tolerate David being more successful than he was. David, on the other hand, just continued to keep busy doing what God had asked him to do. And because Saul could see the obvious difference in David’s life because of God’s blessings, this made Saul even more jealous and self-centered.

Jealousy can start out as a small thing. First, you notice that your friend seems to have something you don’t have (like success, talent, or money). That makes you pay closer attention, looking for differences in the way God blesses your friend compared to you. You have an increasing sense of entitlement. Don’t I deserve to have what my friend has? And before you know it, you’re headed down the same path Saul took, growing angry, bitter, and suspicious of your friend. You look for ways to even the score. In the end, though, the one who gets hurt the most is you.

Learn from Saul’s mistake. He had plenty of reasons to be thankful, but his jealousy blinded him to his own blessings. Don’t take your eyes off God to compare your blessings with anyone else’s. Choose the path David took–the path of thankfulness–and you’ll enjoy God’s blessings throughout your life. What causes you the most jealousy?

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Turn Back To God – Romans 3:5-20

It’s amazing sometimes how we, as humans, can justify sin in our lives or in the lives of our love ones. I wonder sometimes do we take sin seriously. When it comes to justifying sin, I believe I have heard every excuse in the book but sometimes people surprise me. There’s all kinds of excuses and people may think they don’t have to worry about sin for a couple of basic reasons.

Sin is not something for you to worry about because it’s God’s job to forgive. Or, Sin isn’t so bad because God is so loving that He won’t judge. Or, sin is okay we have to learn from our mistakes. Or, it’s okay, we need to stay in touch with the world around us. It is really, really easy for all of us to take God’s grace for granted. But the face is God cannot overlook sin and will not. No matter how many excuses we can make and justify in our minds, we can never bring justification to the Throne of God. He is Holy, and Righteous. Do you desire a deeper relationship with Him? Let go, confess your sin and turn back to God.

PRAYER – Gracious Father, thank you for forgiving me. Help me to see when I let down my guard and justify sin. God I turn to You and ask you to forgive me of _______________________________________________________________________ Thank you Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer Is Something We Need – Matthew 6:5-18

One of the reasons Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread” was because He wanted to build in us a barrier against ingratitude. Do you pray daily for your physical needs? Do you ask God daily for things like food, shelter, and the other physical necessities of life? I must confess that when I asked myself this question before writing this, I had to admit that I do not. Now I have made a decision to apply myself to this part of the Lord’ s Prayer with greater sincerity.

Of course some people argue that because Jesus said: “Your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him” (Mt 6:8), then it is pointless to inform God of our physical needs because He knows them already. But the central value of prayer is that prayer is not something by which we inform God of our needs and therefore influence Him to give things to us. Prayer is designed to influence us; it is we who are in need of this kind of prayer, not God. Of course God knows what we are in need of, but He also knows that unless we come face to face daily with the fact that we are creatures of need, then we can soon develop a spirit of independence and withdraw ourselves from close contact with Him.

Prayer, then, is something we need. God does not need to be told, but we need to tell Him – that’ s the point. And unless we grasp it, we can miss one of the primary purposes of prayer. In doing so, we confess our need for Him and our lack of answers.

PRAYER – O Father, thank You for showing me that prayer is not begging for blessings. I pray, not to change Your attitude towards me, but to change my attitude towards You. Thank You, Father. Amen.

God Is All-Powerful – Isaiah 42:1-13

The Bible never argues that there is a God; everywhere it assumes and asserts the fact. Majestically the opening verse of Scripture says: “In the beginning God . . .” Its paramount concern is not to persuade us that God is but to tell us who God is and what He does. This is why the first thing we see Him do in the Scriptures is to act creatively, to show His might and omnipotence. Many think the only reference to God’s creative act is the one that appears in the first two chapters of Genesis, but this truth is woven inextricably into the very texture of both the Old and New Testaments. One example of this is found in our text for today. We cannot have a right conception of God or contemplate Him correctly unless we think of Him as being all-powerful.

He who cannot do what He wills and pleases cannot be God. As God has a will to do good, so He has the necessary power to execute that will. Who can look upward to the midnight sky, behold its wonders, and not exclaim: “Of what were these mighty orbs formed?” A great and powerful God brought them into being simply by saying: “Let them be.” This is the God I serve.

PRAYER – Father, I sense that the more I grow in my understanding, the more my soul responds to that You with thanksgiving, adoration, and praise. Grow me still more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Giving To Others – Acts 11:27-30

In Acts 11:27-30 we read about a severe famine that caused suffering to many Jewish Christians. The church at Antioch—made up mostly of Gentiles—sent an offering to their fellow believers in Jerusalem, and that offering was an important means of tearing down national and cultural barriers between them and building bonds of genuine Christian love. God likens generous giving to reaping a harvest: “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6).

Perhaps the greatest benefit of generous giving to other Christians, however, is this—it results in “overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:12). Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when you take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving and praise of God for your help. Giving to the needs of fellow Christians means many will thank God and fill His church with praise.

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. In Your name, Amen