Tag Archives: thanks

30 Days of Thankful: Day 30

I once saw an old Tarzan movie in which the famed ape man was peering at a droplet of water through a microscope. The instrument had been brought to Africa by Jane’s father, Professor Porter. Tarzan was quite shaken to see that the water he drank daily was teeming with all kinds of organisms, invisible to the naked eye.

Similarly, the Bible reveals that our spiritual atmosphere is filled with unseen enemies—the real source of our spiritual battles. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).

I wonder how we’d react if we could catch a glimpse into the invisible heavenly places. Like Tarzan, I imagine we’d be shocked by the creatures we saw. The Bible doesn’t spend a lot of time describing this spiritual realm. It does, however, give us instructions on how to do battle. We’re given a detailed list of spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-20.  James 4:2 encourages us to “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.”

But one of the most powerful weapons against the powers of darkness is the weapon of praise. Giving thanks helps us fight our spiritual foes—something worth emphasizing again as we bring our 30 Days of Thankful to a close.

The New Testament is filled with examples of the power of thanksgiving. We see Paul and Silas singing and praising God in a Philippian jail—their chains fell off, the jailer accepted Jesus, and his whole family became believers.

The Old Testament, too, tells stories of the power of praise:  “After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’ At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).

Perhaps you’re facing a spiritual battle today. You’ve resisted, and prayed, and fought the good fight. But you’re weary. This may be your strategic moment to simply thank God and praise Him for His goodness. Let Him fight this battle for you. Rest in His power—even if you don’t fully understand how He works.  Just remember: the devil and his minions hate praise. So if you can stand firm and continue to thank God, I believe you will notice that the devil flees. After all, he is allergic to praise.

30 Days of Thankful: Day 22

In everything give thanks,  for this is the will of God…concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18)

I have been pondering 1 Thessalonians 5:8 as we continue our 30 Days of Thankful. I’m struck by what seems like a double meaning.  Am I to give thanks in every situation because giving thanks is the will of God? Or is God simply reminding me that every situation I encounter is His will for me at the moment?

Perhaps both meanings are true. Everything  I encounter, the good times and the hard times, is God’s will for me. And in each situation, I am to give thanks, because giving thanks is always God’s will for me.

I recently walked through a difficult time with an extended family member who was critically ill. I couldn’t seem to find the words to pray…and even reading the Bible seemed a bit hollow.

But what I could do was to give thanks. To praise God in the midst of the fiery trial actually brought peace. Here’s why I could thank Him:

  • He is still God and He hasn’t changed.
  • He is in control, even if things look out of control.
  • Only He knows what my loved one truly needs.
  • He can bring comfort and peace that defy my own reasoning.
  • He knows how to bring glory to His name through this situation.
  • The burden is not on my shoulders, but on His.

In short, I found thanksgiving to be the most effortless prayer I could pray.  And strangely, as I put the situation squarely into God’s hands, joy began to spring up inside.  A peace that passes understanding.  I’m beginning to have every assurance that God is at work, though I can’t tell you exactly what He’s doing. It’s no wonder that the New Testament words for joy and thanks are so intertwined.  God gives us everything we need, at just the moment we need it, so that we can give thanks to Him in everything.


30 Days of Thankful: Day 19

Giving thanks changes everything. When we find someone giving thanks in the Bible, there’s usually a miracle close by. The feeding of thousands, the healing of the leper, a changed heart. That’s not to say that giving thanks causes miracles—but they’re definitely related.

This is Day 19 of our 30 Days of Thankful. We’ve been talking about giving thanks to God for our blessings. Becoming more aware of His many benefits, large and small.

But what about the hard places? Can we thank God when we’re going through trials? During times of suffering and pain? The Bible tells us to do just that. And this is where the real stretch comes.

The book of James takes it a step further.  He encourages us to “consider it pure joy” when we face those hard times when our faith is tested, promising that the testing or our faith “produces perseverance.”   “Perseverance,” he promises, will make us “mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).   A different translation tells us to “be very happy” when trials come our way (GW).   Seriously?

To help us understand the connection between giving thanks and joy, let’s take another look at the following verses:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Rejoice. There’s that pesky word again. Rejoice, or chairo, is the verb form of the word we just saw translated as “joy’ in James 1:2. We’re instructed here to “give thanks in all circumstances.” All circumstances—not just the good ones. Are you tracking with me?

The word translated as “thanks” in this verse is Eucharisteo. It comes from eu, which means “good or well,” and chairo, or “rejoice.”  So the word,  thanks, actually comes from the word for rejoice.

If this makes you a little dizzy, it should. But when you stop to think about it, giving thanks is an expression of joy. When we give thanks in hard places, we are saying to God that we trust Him so much that we can be joyful, even when going through trials.

Why? Because this is the time when our faith really grows. We mature. So we’ll be lacking in nothing. Not missing out on one single blessing God has for us. And when you think about it, that’s reason enough to give thanks….and to rejoice!







30 Days of Thankful: Day 17

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV).

I don’t know about you but I am beginning to notice some changes during our 30 Days of Thankful. The changes aren’t huge ones—more like a shift in the atmosphere. But they’re real nonetheless.

For example, yesterday I noticed a softening in a very difficult extended family member’s attitude. And a friend who I’ve been reaching out to for years is becoming more tender to the gospel. Just the other day, I experienced an unexplainable feeling of hope in a long-standing problem that had begun to feel hopeless. I wonder if you’ve noticed some changes, too?

As I become more thankful, I’m more aware of God’s blessings all around me.  And no wonder, since the words in the New Testament for thank and bless are practically the same. Both can be used to translate the Greek word eulogeo, which means “to speak well of or to give praise.”  More thanksgiving naturally leads to a greater sensitivity to my blessings.

But the vagueness of praying for God to “bless” my food, my friends, or my family was a problem until I learned a simple tip from our friend John DeVries, founder of Mission India.

In his wonderful book, Why Pray?  DeVries recommends praying for blessings by focusing on five areas which correspond with the letters for B-L-E-S-S:

B – Body – For physical health, safety, strength

L – Labors – For the success and prospering of their work

E – Emotions – For emotional health, peace and joy to replace fear and anxiety

S – Social life – For social relationships, family to have love and unity

S – Spiritual life – For each to know Jesus personally and grow in their spiritual lives

I set my cell phone each day to remind me to pray for several special people. And I pray the BLESS prayer when someone comes to mind and I’m not sure how to specifically pray for them.  Why not take a minute right now to B-L-E-S-S a friend, a family member, a government leader, or even the ruler of a nation.  And while you’re at it, be thankful in advance for what God will do in response to your prayer.










30 Days of Thankful: Day 16

Sometimes the words we use can start to sound a little ordinary—words like bless, or grace, or thanks. Consider how often you casually say “thanks” to someone.   Or pray for God to “bless” so and so? Or say “grace” over your meal.   We may not even be conscious of the true meaning of these words—thus, their power can be lost on us.

We’re on Day 16 of 30 Days of Thankful—just over the half way mark. I’d like to pause here and look at the word thankful through the lenses of Scripture. I believe it might just breathe new life and power into this simple word—and could even transform your day.

It helps to understand that there are a couple of different words translated as “thank” in the New Testament. Let’s take a look at one of of those words, eulogeo.  Eulogeo comes from two words which mean “good” and “to speak.” So eulogeo means to speak well of, or to praise, or to thank. It can also be translated “to bless.”

Eulogeo is the word used when Jesus served His disciples what would be their last supper together: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body…” (Mat. 26:26 MOUNCE).

Eulogeo is the same word Jesus used before He fed the 5000: “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves (Matthew 14:19 NIV).

We see that eulogeo is translated as bless Hebrews 6:14: “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number” (Hebrews 6:14).  This verse refers to God’s original blessing to Abraham in the Old Testament. What’s more,  this blessing is the foundation of our entire covenant with God:

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).

Do you see the strong connection here between eulogeo and the biblical words thanks and blessing? Powerful, when you stop to consider this truth:  If you believe in Jesus, those very same blessings promised to Abraham are also your inheritance.

So next time you say “thanks”eulogeo—pause to realize the power of your words. And when you pray for blessings for others or receive God’s blessings for yourself, be aware—these gifts of thanks and blessing are powerful, and not to be taken lightly!