Tag Archives: thanks

30 Days of Thankful: Day 6

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6).

A friend confided to me the other day that she’s had to go into counseling because she’s worried about the threat of ISIS.  The same thing happened again.  Another woman admitted to me that she is suffering panic attacks because she’s fearful of  threats in the Middle East.  These are affluent, suburban women, far from the conflict. But anxiety over the world situation has crippled their hearts. That’s the goal of terror.

It’s Day 6 of 30 Days of Thankful.  And you’re probably wondering what in the world anxiety has to do with our discussion of thankfulness.   I’d like to suggest that giving thanks may be one of our best secret weapons against worry.

I decided to talk with a friend who serves on the front lines of war, giving relief to refugees. I asked him if he was afraid of ISIS. He answered matter of factly, “We’ve learned to trust God for our protection.”  He said these words as calmly as I would have said, “I’ve learned to buckle my seat belt when driving to the grocery store.”

But it was his next words that really got me thinking.  “I am overjoyed at the work God is doing among these refugees,” he said.  “Many are accepting Jesus. I praise God and give thanks as I  see the children reciting Bible verses and taking a bold stand for the Gospel.” There wasn’t a trace of worry in his voice—only gratitude.  And joy.

Most of us live far from the front lines and don’t face daily threats from war. But fear and worry can still attack us right where we live.  Let’s take a lesson from my friend and simply trust God for His protection.

And let’s follow his example in our own neighborhoods and step out boldly to share God’s love with the broken around us.  As we watch God at work, let’s remember to pray and give thanks–and watch fear and worry flee.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

30 Days of Thankful: Day 5

At midnight Paul and Silas worshipped, and praised God (Acts 16:25 WYC).

Just how powerful is praise? And why does giving thanks seem to change the spiritual atmosphere? I’m not sure anyone really knows the answer. But we can look at some of the results. Earlier, I shared the story of the ten-year-old boy who, after being kidnapped, sang praises to God and was released unharmed by his kidnapper.

Here’s another praise-power encounter: After preaching in Philippi, Paul and Silas were dragged out of the marketplace and thrown into prison.  After being severely beaten and bound with chains, they began to praise and worship God—and a miracle occurred.

Suddenly, there’s an earthquake. The prison was shaken to its very foundation and the doors flew open and “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:26). The jailer wakes up terrified, ready to kill himself. But Paul shouted, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

What follows is surely the quickest salvation message ever preached. The terrified man simply cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” To which Paul and Silas reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-34).

More amazing things happened. The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home where they told his family about Jesus and “his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” Wow. Salvations, beatings, prison, rejoicing, more salvations, more rejoicing. The whole account is dizzying.

Praise and thanksgiving seem to lift burdens that nothing else can move. And miracles in the Bible often follow a time of giving thanks. Remember how Jesus thanked God before he fed the 5000?  And He cried out, “Father I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41) before calling Lazarus forth from the tomb.

Praising and giving thanks are powerless by themselves. But what if they connect us with God? “God inhabits the praises of His people” writes the psalmist (Psalmist 22:3). And when you connect with God, powerful things happen. Lives are changed. Souls are saved. Darkness flees. Grief is lifted.

Perhaps thanking God—even in the midst of our storms–is simply an expression of faith in its purest form. And faith changes things. It was Jesus Himself who reminds us that “all things are possible when we believe” (Mark 9:23).

Lord, tune my heart today to praise and thank you in each situation I face throughout my day. And I thank you in advance for your mighty work. –Amen










30 Days of Thankful: Day 2

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? (Jer. 32:27)

Welcome to30 Days of Thankful.”  I’m honored you’ve decided to join me as we strive together to develop a thankful heart.

Sometimes I wonder if my view of God is too small.   Just the other morning, I was outside enjoying the quiet when suddenly, two fighter jets flew overhead at a very low altitude. Their roar was deafening and everything around me shook violently. I realized the two massive jets were probably part of the game opener show at a nearby college football stadium so I wasn’t alarmed. Even so, I was overwhelmed by their sound, speed, and power.

Strangely, tears welled up in my eyes and I got a lump in my throat.  Now I admit to having a soft spot for our military, but this went deeper. It was if God whispered to me: “You need not fear anything in life,  for I am far stronger than these mighty, fighter jets.”

Then, I remembered the words God spoke through the prophet  Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

I thought about the word behold.  Not a word I use every day.  The dictionary defines behold as “to see through sight or apprehension;” or “to gaze upon.”  I realized that beholding is connected to thankfulness:  If I want to develop a thankful heart, I need to spend time each day “beholding” God’s majesty. Simply put, I need to “gaze upon him.”

Then it hit me: The closer I get to God, the more easily I behold his awesomeness. I was very near to those fighter jets—so their might and power were awe inspiring. How often am I awed by God? Maybe I need to spend more time each day drawing close to him.

My prayer partner once said this:  We should “glance at our problem, but gaze on God’s promise.” The fighter jet episode reminded me that I also need to gaze upon God himself. I need to draw near to him each day and behold his majesty and glory.

When I truly behold God, fear, discouragement, and hopelessness flee.  And my heart swells with thankfulness.