As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I want to stop to contemplate thanks giving.
In 2 Timothy 3:2, Paul told Timothy that in the last days people would be "unthankful". He was not talking to or about the world; but he was addressing a church of the living GOD! Average Americans have the deceptive attitude that they put themselves where they are today. They falsely believe that everything they have is because of their hard work.
But what about us?
It’s not so much as what we are thankful for...but to whom we give thanks.
We aren’t going to be thankful when our focus isn’t on the WHO but on the “what”.
We can be unthankful when we covet and envy what others have. We seem to think we deserve that blessing more than they do. But listen how David pleads with man to forsake the lies of the devil and focus on GOD!
Psalm 107:8,15,21,31–“Oh that men would praise the LORD for HIS goodness, and for HIS wonderful works to the children of men!”
Did you notice how this statement is repeated 4 times? When GOD repeats things, we would be wise to take heed. Often we don’t praise the LORD because our perspective is tainted. When our focus is on GOD we will, by default, be thankful.
Lamentations 3:22-“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because HIS compassions fail not.”
I don’t know about you, but there have been many days that I should have been consumed...but GOD!! HE is a merciful GOD! How can we not be thankful?!
Psalm 115:17-“The dead praise not the Lord,neither any that go down into silence.”
Are you unthankful today because you’re “dead in your trespasses and sins”?
Today would be a great day to become "alive in HIM"!
Look how the next verse (vs.18) confirms a CHRISTians actions...
“But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.”
As you join with family and friends for this day of thanks giving, may this be the crescendo of your thankfulness throughout the entire year.
Fall! Autumn! My favorite season! What a beautiful season!
As I was pondering fall and our next season, winter, I began thinking of what needed to be done before the cold set in. Why? Because the ground will soon be too hard to work with anymore.
I began to think of how the Bible likens our hearts to the ground. Soft and pliable or hard and rocky. Matthew 13:18-23
In late spring and summer the ground is soft enough to start to turn to plant things or to dig holes for fencing. But come fall that ground starts to harden up and becomes so hard you can't even drive a small yard flag into it.
The difference?-- the distance from the sun
In the spring and summer our side of the Earth is tilted toward the sun so we can soak up more of its heat-giving rays, but come fall and winter we are tilted away from the sun.
Spiritually speaking, when we are close to the SON our hearts are soft and pliable for GOD to work. HE desires to dig out the rocks and weeds that are harmful to the beautiful, fruitful garden HE sees in us. The water of HIS WORD can also penetrate our hearts to nourish the roots and cause us to bear much fruit.
Yet, hard ground (heart), because of cold due to the distance from the SON, is virtually impossible to be worked.
I know we go through seasons in life.
Even in winter when trees look dead, their dormant stage is causing those unseen roots to grow larger and stronger.
Come spring that dormant tree will once again start to bear fruit.
Proverbs 12:12b-"the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."
It is GOD that causes us to bear fruit. No work of our own but yielding to HIM.
No matter what season you are facing in life, allow GOD to deepen your roots(trust) in HIM and HIS Word to penetrate that ground that easily becomes hard (our hearts). Keep soft and easy to work with and bear much fruit for JESUS!
I grew up in a Christian home. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 6. My mom sacrificed more than I will ever know to make sure my brother and I were given an education in a Christian school. Yet I didn't appreciate what I had. I had eyes to the outside and thought others with complete families had it better than me.
I saw the glamour and sparkle of this world and wanted to experience it. As a teenager I clung to friends who aided my obsession with the world. When my husband and I married we knew what not to do, but really didn't understand the "why". We experienced this world to a point but realized that what this world offers is empty. Meanwhile, we went to church every time the doors were open and served in many different aspects of the church.
When my husband woke me one morning telling me he had just gotten saved, I answered, "I thought you were saved". I believe GOD used that to cause me to begin to question my salvation. I started wondering-- "Why do I go to church? Why do I help out with activities of the church? Why do I do what I have just always done?"
Well, what else do you do on Sunday? It's all I knew.
I realized that's not why I should be going to GOD's house. I should be going there because I want to be there, because I love HIM and want to worship HIM.
We were on our way out of North Carolina to Oregon and the first Sunday morning at the church we later joined, I just knew I needed to be saved. I was tired of living one way on Sunday and another throughout the week. What a peace swept over me that I no longer needed to try to please this flesh which always hungers for more!
I have to admit it took me a while to begin even baby steps. I still lived for myself more than I should have but GOD was gracious. HE kept our marriage together through recruiting in Oregon--just barely.
Returning to North Carolina we came back to the same, yet different church. GOD had grown a love for GOD in that church that I haven't seen anywhere else. We began to grow in the LORD, by leaps and bounds, and one day I realized that our marriage was back to what it once was---continuous honeymoon! No marriage counseling or dedicated work to rebuild---just each of us growing closer to GOD separately.
Moving back to our home state of Colorado to plant a church was definitely where GOD wanted us to be. What a beautiful place to have a “desert experience”! Struggles on top of struggles and discouraging times after discouraging times made us (especially my husband) want to quit. But we gained strength in knowing that we weren’t in Colorado for the people in our community. We were there because HE wanted us to be there and HE is worthy of each of the souls in Colorado.—HE already paid for them on Calvary.
Now living in Indiana, GOD has knit our hearts to the people here. We love living here because we know it’s GOD’s perfect will for us right now.
Are there days I want to say "Calgon, take me away!"? Yes. Sometimes I wonder, "What was I thinking having this many children?" But then one of my littles brings me a bouquet of dandelions; or one of the baby giants pitches in somewhere without being asked to help. And I know I am exactly where GOD wants me to be and that pleases me just fine.
22 years of marriage, 18 years of being a child of GOD, and 11 children later, I feel like the most blessed child of GOD!!
Carlene is the wife of Pastor Mike Thornsley Jr. and a mother of eleven children. She is a home maker and home schools her children.