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November 2018

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving! Do you want to be happy this Thanksgiving while celebrating with family and friends? If so, start thanking God for your Salvation in Christ, specifically for your victory through faith over everything that causes stress and anxiety.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1

A Response from Montana…

My heart goes out to Christopher, who sent me a JOY Christmas card, expressing his battle in life, writing:

“I hope this card finds you well and in good spirits. I saw your website and had a read through. I’m hoping you can provide some insight to an issue of mine.

“I am a 36-year-old father and a wildlife biologist by trade. In 2012, I went through a very messy divorce and ever since my self-confidence has been terrible. I’ve been battling depression ever since.

“Deep down – I know I’m a good person. I know it. I’m kind, caring, thoughtful. I’m always willing to help others. I volunteer…the list goes on. But for some reason, my heart and brain aren’t lining up properly. ‘Like ships passing in the night.’

“I feel like I do have a lot in my life to be thankful and grateful for. My diminished mental state may have no cause. I’ve slipped further and further from who I was and who I want or need to be.

“It has been really difficult to get a foot hold in order to turn this all around. I have a family who loves me, but I can’t seem to let go of the pain and bitterness. Any advice? I’d love to hear your outlook. All my best. Christopher, MT.”

Rejoice Always, Pray without Ceasing…

I know of no better advice for Christopher than the above Scripture: “rejoicing always” in our victory in Christ overcomes pain and bitterness, and “praying without ceasing” brings a change of heart and mind, which we so desperately need. Shout to the Lord, saying:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 2

Jesus is joy living, but we have to get to know Him in order to rejoice with joy over and over again. He is the One who died and rose again to empower us to overcome divorce, lack of confidence, depression, a diminished mental state, pain and bitterness through faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” 3

For me, one way to “pray without ceasing” is to simply pray the Scriptures. For instance, pray: Father, I thank You that You are “…able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we [I] ask or think, according to the power that works in us [me].” Speak the Word as a prayer for you and others, giving praise and thanksgiving to God for renewing the mind and creating joy in your soul. This is the language of faith.

In Everything Give Thanks…

We don’t thank God for everything [trials, tribulations and sickness], bit “in” everything, knowing that God has empowered us to overcome them by faith in the finished work of Jesus. “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 4

The secret for Christopher and all of us is to build our faith in God’s word; “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 5

Instead of wallowing in the past, give thanks for everything God has done; not trusting in our good deeds. “For by grace [unmerited favor] you have been saved [delivered, healed, made whole and preserved] through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” 6

For instance, I don’t thank God for the devastation I’ve caused, nor for the decades in prison, but I do thank God that He provided comfort, compassion and empathy for the victim’s families, and that He has saved and empowered me to make living amends. I thank God for setting me free, providing healing, wholeness and safety, using His limitless strength to save me. So, I sing with the Psalmist:

“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” 7

The Will of God for You…

God’s will is the same for us all when it comes to rejoicing, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in Christ Jesus for our salvation. Jesus said,

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 8

Not only is it God’s will “…that everyone who sees that Son and believes in Him have everlasting life” and “…in everything give thanks”, but “…this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor…” 9

Otherwise, the Holy Spirt who lives in us will be quenched by our sin, and this sin will hinder our rejoicing, praying and thanksgiving in our daily lives.

Lastly, it is God’s will for us to “…submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 10

In today’s political turmoil, these are good verses to put into action during Your Thanksgiving celebration. Be a blessing!

A Prayer for You…

Father, we rejoice in You, praying without ceasing and in everything giving thanks, especially in everything going on in Christopher’s life, knowing that You have raised him up for great victories to take place in every area of his life. We place not only his life in Your hands, but ours to be blessing to those around us this Thanksgiving. May You use us to shine the light of Your love upon the faces of family and friends, so they too will experience Your will for their lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Scripture References (NKJV):

1) 1 Thess. 5:16-18
2) Phil. 4:4,6-7
3) Eph. 3:20
4) 1 John 5:4

5) Rom. 10:17
6) Eph. 3:20
7) Psa. 2:8,9

8) John 6:40
9) 1 Thess. 4:3,4
10) 1 Pet. 2:13-15