Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

So often in life we say, “thanks”. We instinctively reflex and it comes out, or we say it begrudgingly, or sometimes (sometimes) we really mean it. But just as many of us grew up reading, the Bible gives us one really good reason to be thankful:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…”Psalm 107:1-2

During Thanksgiving time, it’s easy to “give thanks”. Going around the dinner table sharing what you’re thankful for, or going to church and giving a little more for offering during Thanksgiving. I mean, what’s not to be thankful for?

Plenty, actually!

We can count our blessings, be grateful for all the stuff we own, or the people we know, but what about the difficult situations? What about the difficult people? For some of us, what about that difficult job, or that difficult family member? Are you still thankful?

I was reminded of the story of the Israelites fleeing from Pharaoh’s men in Egypt. There was no guarantee of safety. There was an army chasing after them. It seemed like the worst day in the world. How can they give thanks? How can they be grateful?

We all have storms in life. We go through things where it feels like there’s no hope. But just as the Israelites did, we need to trust God even in the rockiest moments. And maybe you’ve had that kind of moment already where you can look back and realize that God was working on a solution for you, where God pulled you to safety so that you too would have a story to share. …Maybe you’re going through that moment even now. But that shouldn’t stop us from praising the Lord or offering a heart of thanksgiving.

It’s easy to be thankful for the great & fluffy things. But look at the trials & storms around you. Can you be more grateful for these as well, for how God is using them and using you to give you a story of His faithfulness? I know I need to work on this as well! So won’t you join me this Thanksgiving and shift your perspective a little bit so that we ask God for His clarity in order to see that indeed He is always good & that His love endures forever. Let’s truly give thanks for everything with a grateful heart…

Reflection Song: All To You

Love God, Love Others

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

We’re so honored to lead worship wherever we go and yesterday was no different at the leadership seminar across the bridge (George Washington, that is). It was such a blessing to see church leaders, new and old, encouraging & showing love to one another.

This was the core of the seminar: love. And all throughout the day, I witnessed small encounters of love between others. Whether it was during the games, at the appreciation dinner, or in worship, love was evident and displayed. If we can’t love ourselves and one another, how are we to go out into the world and show that same love?

I believe that when we focus on loving God and our relationship with Him, everything else will fall into place. Loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s difficult loving others on your own but when the love of God is working through you and you’re reflecting that love, the rest will come naturally.

It’s a game changer for sure, but where do we start? Well, we’d like to challenge you this week as Thanksgiving approaches (fast) to really consider what you’re thankful for. God’s blessed us all with so much and we take these things for granted more often than not. Why not simply start by loving God and loving others with a gratitude that is a response from God’s blessings? For many of us, today may be Thanksgiving Sunday at your church. Let’s be thankful and let’s show the love of God in all things!

Reflection Song: God Our King

What Am I Worth?

What do you base your self-worth on? We look around and see competitions on television, whether it’s for singing, unique talents, funny videos, or even “beauty”. We see online posts and determine their merit based on the number of shares or likes… And this culture of ratings affects us.

When we start to come up with unrealistic expectations for ourselves, we start to feel disappointed and unworthy. Perhaps you feel that way right now because your week wasn’t what you expected or things just didn’t pan out the way you had hoped today. But instead of hanging onto the disappointments and things that bring you down, consider those in your life that lift you up & encourage you; consider the moments that bring you joy, the things that actually make you feel valuable. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Don’t get hung up on the value of material things and how they can affect your worth. With Black Friday just a week away, we look so far in advance all of the deals and promotions going on… how to get the best bang for your buck – for great discounts you’d stand on line for hours. You see this kind of desire and may feel like you’re not “worth it”, but God will tell you otherwise.

The Lord your God is with you,the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Whether it’s something someone said to you, or the way you feel about yourself after a long hard day at school/work, know that you are loved by our almighty God in heaven! See yourself the way that the Father sees you. It may be hard at first, but be encouraged that the amount God loves you far outnumbers any racing negative thoughts you may have. “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, start by looking to your family, your friends, those that are close to you… they love you too! You’re probably thinking of a few people right now. And, of course, don’t forget to look to God! You were bought with a price, you are worth it – God showed His great love for us with the sacrifice made on the cross with His son Jesus Christ, our Lord & Savior. So in this Thanksgiving season let’s be grateful, giving thanks and praise to God our Father who has redefined our worth. It’s because of Him we have life and everything within it, so going forward let’s continue to give Him our lives and everything we have, showing Him that He is worthy of it all!

Reflection Song: Unending Praise