“First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men.” 1 Timothy 2:1 Amplified
As we continue looking at verses regarding thanksgiving, this verse today encourages us to give thanksgivings on behalf of others. So not only are we to be thankful to God for what WE receive, but also for what others receive. The verse says on behalf of ALL men, all people. We don’t usually have a problem with being thankful for the people around us who are a blessing to us or who are nice to us, but those others? The human tendency is to complain and runaway from those “others”, those who bring stress and even harm into our lives.
There are a number of people who dread the Thanksgiving holiday because it means they will have to be with their families and that can often be uncomfortable. The larger the group the more chance there is that there may be several people who don’t get along or who we don’t get along with. Past hurts, that may go as far back as our childhood, resurface and the heartache is felt all over again.
I believe this verse is twofold. First, Paul tells us to offer petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings on behalf of all the people we know. Do you pray for those who have hurt you? Not the prayer that tells God to go get ’em like sicking a dog on an enemy, but the prayer that thanks God for blessing them, and asks God to continue to bless them. Secondly, in praying for all people, even those we don’t like, doesn’t that humble us before God and bring us closer to Him? To me that’s the key to praying for all people. We can be thankful that though they bring us stress, they bring us closer to our Creator Who gives us the peace we want and need.
Give Him the stress and be thankful.
“And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!” Psalm 107:22 Amplified
In this Thanksgiving week we are looking at verses that talk about just that, thanksgiving. Today’s verse is short, but oh how powerful it is.
First, it talks about the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Well, how exactly do you sacrifice an intangible? The Bible has many stories, especially in the old testament, of the Jewish people sacrificing animals to God for their sin. Since Jesus gave the greatest sacrifice at Calvary we as Christians are not required to give animal sacrifices. This verse tells us what we are to sacrifice, our words, our life, by continually thanking God for what He’s done for us.
Secondly, the verse says to rehearse His deeds. If you’ve ever been in a play or had to recite anything you know that you have to repeat it over and over again. We should almost daily telling someone of what God has done for us. This verse says we are to do it with shouts of joy and singing!
Go shout hallelujah today to someone, everyone!
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and with a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 Amplified
In honor of Thanksgiving, a holiday started by the Pilgrims to glorify and honor God for what He did for them, we will look at verses this week that speak of thanksgiving.
When we read today’s verse it speaks of God as someone you converse with, like a friend. God is our friend, at least if we are a believer. If you have a hard time doing what the verse says, then just for a moment give Him the name of a friend and substitute it in this verse. I’ve heard the story of a little boy who said he knew God’s name and when asked what it was he replied Andy. When asked how he knew that was God’s name he said he heard it in a hymn sung at church. Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own. So thanks to that little boy let’s review our verse today replacing God with Andy (I don’t think God will mind if it gets the point across).
Enter into Andy’s gates with thanksgiving and with a thank offering and into Andy’s courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Andy, bless and affectionately praise Andy’s name! For Andy is good; Andy’s mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, Andy’s faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
It’s not as hard to “say so” to Andy is it? God wants you to talk to Him and He especially loves to receive your praise. As parents we enjoy hearing our children say thank you to us and so does God, he is our Father after all. Try, at least for this week, to be more thankful than ever before. We can all find something to be thankful for, start with your next breath.
“But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment. For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:19-20 Amplified
As we stay in the 10th book of Matthew studying what Jesus told His disciples before they went out, we see He tells them to wait. He’d already informed them that they’d be arrested, in verse 17 He said that those opposing God will deliver them up to councils to be beaten. Now He tells them not to speak until God gives them the words to say.
I don’t know to many people who like waiting, it seems the faster and further along in our society that we go the less and less patient people become. Quite often though, we miss out on the best because we’re in a hurry. In this instance the Lord tells them they wouldn’t have to wait long, He said in that hour and moment God would give them the words.
As believers we must ready to be brought before councils and if we are standing up for God and speaking His word, we must then wait for Him to speak through us. It would appear that troubling times lie ahead for Christians and we must be ready.
“Be on guard against men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues. And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles, the nations.” Matthew 10:17-18 Amplified
We return to the scene where Jesus is instructing His disciples before they go out into the world to share the good news. I find it interesting that our verse today applies to our situation in this country. With the possibility of foreign refugees coming into our country and possibly bringing among them those that would seek to harm us, we must be on guard. Islam is in total opposition to what God says in the Bible and based on the radicals who practice it, it’s a religion of conform or die.
Most pastors and leaders of Christianity believe we are in the end times. In fact even unbelievers comment on how fast the time seems to be going and how much is going on around the world. The escalation of events around us is incredible and can be frightening. Jesus never wants us to be afraid, He is victorious and has already won the battle, but the enemy will do whatever he can to make us doubt.
In our time we may very well see believers brought before authorities for being a Christian. If and when that happens we must heed the advice He gives us, in tomorrows verse.
“Be strong and courageous. Be not afraid or dismayed before your enemies, for there is Another with us greater than all those. With them is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 Amplified
We have certainly seen some horrendous events take place over the weekend. It’s one thing for some sort of weather event like tornadoes, earthquakes, fire and hurricanes to wipe out lives, but it is a whole different effect when man is cruel to man. We feel the presence of an enemy when that happens, an evil that hangs over us and we often wait for the next strike. This brings along with it the feeling of fear and anxiety primarily because we don’t know when that next event could take place. We ask ourselves and those around us, are we safe?
Today’s verse tells us Who we need to turn to. Those who choose to harm others only have an arm of flesh. No matter how smart or devious they are, God knows what their plans are and can intervene. Why He does that sometimes and not always is a great unknown. All I know is that all things go through His hands and I trust Him with my life.
As Psalm 27:1 says “The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.” I keep His word even closer to me at times like this, you can too. I just gave you two to get you started, the Bible is full of more. I recommend you go and find them.
“If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me, to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26 Amplified
In honor of Veterans Day I chose the scripture above. I know not all those who served in the military are believers, but serving in our military is an unselfish act. I’m sure there are those who joined for other reasons, but they still offered their life as a sacrifice.
To me the point of this sacrificial service and our verse today is that as believers we are to have that same mind-set. We have joined the Lord’s army when we accept Him as our Savior. He is our Lord and the Commander of our life. We must follow, cleave steadfastly to, confirm wholly to and if need by die for Him.
When we stop and think about and thank the men and women who served this country in our military, we must decide for ourselves if we will do the same in the Lord’s service.