A Heart of Thanksgiving:  Thankful For God’s Abundance

A Heart of Thanksgiving: Thankful For God’s Abundance

Thanksgiving.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word?  Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods?  Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel?  Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances?  These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving:  Living a Life of Thankfulness”.  I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.

Here is day twenty-eight with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for a God who gives in abundance.

Day Twenty-Eight:
Thankful For God’s Abundance

“How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” 
Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)

Today I am thankful for a God who provides abundantly more than I can think or ask.  Do I always have what I want?  No.  Do I always have what I think I need?  No.  Sometimes I simply don’t ask.  Sometimes I ask and the answer requires some effort on my part that I’m not willing to give.  Sometimes I ask selfishly and my request would not be a true benefit to myself or anyone else if granted.  Sometimes I’m impatient and assume the good that I’m asking for isn’t coming when it just isn’t time yet.  When I think of God providing abundantly, I think of the promised land that was “flowing with milk and honey”.  When confirmed by Joshua and Caleb that this was in fact true, the people resisted and rebelled because of the other reports that detailed how much work and difficulty appeared to be involved in claiming God’s promise.  God’s promise of abundance doesn’t always look like we expect it to and the promise is really about God providing Himself so that the abundant life He gives is an eternal life.

Spending a month writing a post each day about giving thanks is a helpful exercise in seeing the abundance given by God.  When doing that, I realize my abundance isn’t accurately measured by my bank account or my house or my truck or by any other possession I have but rather my abundance is measured by the goodness of God He has placed in my life.  I am thankful for the things God has given me.  Even as I have a turkey on the smoker this morning, I am thankful for the feast God provides daily through His Word.  With coffee cup in hand, I am thankful for the living water that God provides as I surrender my life to Jesus.  After a day of brutal winds, I am thankful for the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit providing comfort and direction to my soul.

I am thankful that God is accessible to me, and to you, no matter how the world sees us.  I am thankful that God is a refuge to all who would come to Him.  I am thankful that God’s love never fails.  I am thankful for the people God uses to comfort and encourage me.  I am even thankful for the people God uses to challenge and convict me when I allow my life to drift off track.

I pray that you and I would know an abundance that isn’t measured by material possessions.  I pray that we would count our blessings each day as a reminder of what God is doing in and through us.  I pray that we would see even our material abundance as a gift from God and use it to bring glory to His name.

In prayer,

Tom

Encouragement and Prayer (11/27/20)

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This is the audio from the November 27, 2020 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

You can find the live video feeds of these encouragement and prayer times on Impact Prayer Ministry’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

In prayer,
Tom

A Heart of Thanksgiving:  Thankful For God’s Spirit

A Heart of Thanksgiving: Thankful For God’s Spirit

Thanksgiving.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word?  Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods?  Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel?  Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances?  These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving:  Living a Life of Thankfulness”.  I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.

Here is day twenty-seven with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for the presence of God’s Spirit.

Day Twenty-Seven:
Thankful For God’s Spirit

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 
John 14:26-27 (NIV)

Today I am thankful for the availability of peace that surpasses all understanding.  I must admit that even while I am thankful for it, I don’t always grasp hold of it in the way that I should.  I am thankful that God understands my times of high anxiety and chooses to draw me to Himself to find peace.  I am thankful that the peace God promises, and gives, is not based on everything going my way.  I am thankful that whether the trouble I face is caused by the world or by myself, God’s peaceful presence is always available for me to claim.  I am thankful for the promise, and presence, of God’s Spirit who reminds me of God’s faithfulness.

Life in this world has a way of stacking one anxious moment on top of another — at least that seems to be my experience.  Unfortunately, my history has been to often allow those moments to go unchecked until my very spirit is crushed under the weight of them.  I suspect some of you have been there also.  The thing that is stealing your peace doesn’t seem that big and so you don’t look to others to help carry your burden, and you definitely don’t turn it over to God — the old, “it’s not that bad, I should be able to handle this” routine.  I am thankfully learning that anything of any size should be turned over to God, especially when it keeps me from the peace God desires for me to experience.  I am thankful for a God that doesn’t say, “Oh, it’s you again.” but draws me close and says, “Come and rest while you tell me about your day.”

I am thankful for a peace that comes as God’s “perfect love casts out all fear.”  I am thankful that a peaceful spirit can exist even in the midst of conflict.  I am thankful that the peace of God has the power to dispel internal conflict and make the external happenings less powerful in their influence.  I am thankful that God’s Word carries the message of the good news of Jesus that is more powerful than the things I am tempted to fear.  I am thankful that I have peace with God through Jesus Christ, His Son.

I pray that you and I would continually grow in our experience of peace regardless of the circumstances we are in.  I pray that we would walk each day in step with God’s Spirit as we experience a peace only He can bring.  I pray that we would live as peacemakers because of the peace we have found in Christ.  I pray that we would daily acknowledge that the troubles of this world are no match for the peace of God in the midst of those troubles.

In prayer,

Tom

Encouragement and Prayer (11/26/20)

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This is the audio from the November 26, 2020 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

You can find the live video feeds of these encouragement and prayer times on Impact Prayer Ministry’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

In prayer,
Tom

A Heart of Thanksgiving:  Thankful For God’s Goodness

A Heart of Thanksgiving: Thankful For God’s Goodness

Thanksgiving.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word?  Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods?  Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel?  Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances?  These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving:  Living a Life of Thankfulness”.  I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.

Here is day twenty-six with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for the goodness of God.

Day Twenty-Six:
Thankful For God’s Goodness

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.  In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.” 
Psalm 31:19-20 (NIV)

Today I am thankful for the storehouses of God from which He lavishes good gifts upon His children.  I grew up on a farm where not only did the livestock live through the winter by eating what we had stored up for them during harvest, we lived through the winter by eating the things which were stored up for us during harvest.  I am thankful for a God who has not only stored up His goodness for those who fear Him, He is generous in giving from what has been stored.  God teaches us that there are times when we ought to store up for future use, but most importantly we should be focused on storing up treasures in heaven.

I am thankful that God not only gives us instruction, but He sets the example for how to live according to those instructions.  I am thankful that God teaches me to store up and to share, just as He has stored up and shares.  When Jesus told the story of the rich farmer tearing down his barns to build bigger ones, it does not appear that the condemnation of this man was about the storing of the harvest as much as it was about the man’s attitude of selfishness.  I know when I go to God, I don’t want to survive on what I deserve or have earned — in fact, I have no hope of surviving in God’s presence without a generous sharing of His goodness.

I am thankful that in Jesus, God has given an example of great generosity even when possessions are few by the world’s standard.  I am thankful for many people who have been generous to me in their goodness and love.  They represent Jesus well when they give of themselves.  I am thankful that God’s goodness and love reside within me so that I can be generous with others.  I am thankful that the One who supplies the seed for every good thing within me is able to increase that seed for a bountiful harvest.

As you pray, ask God to fill you with an awareness of how His goodness has been poured into your life.  Pray that  your thankfulness for God’s goodness would lead you to share with others as freely as He shares with you.  Pray that your goodness would always be seen by others as a reflection of God’s goodness.

I pray that you and I would recognize the goodness of God as He showers it upon us.  I pray that we would learn to store up treasure in heaven as we share God’s goodness with others.  I pray that we would grow in our generosity as we consider the true source of every good and perfect gift that we have ever received.

In prayer,

Tom

Encouragement and Prayer (11/25/20)

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This is the audio from the November 25, 2020 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

You can find the live video feeds of these encouragement and prayer times on Impact Prayer Ministry’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

In prayer,
Tom

A Heart of Thanksgiving:  Thankful For the Freedom to Serve

A Heart of Thanksgiving: Thankful For the Freedom to Serve

Thanksgiving.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word?  Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods?  Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel?  Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances?  These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving:  Living a Life of Thankfulness”.  I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.

Here is day twenty-five with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for freedom which is used to serve one another.

Day Twenty-Five:
Thankful For the Freedom To Serve

“You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.” 
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Today I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy in Christ.  While our culture works tirelessly to convince each of us that freedom is all about doing whatever we want regardless of how it impacts others, God says that true freedom is all about being able to serve others according to their need.  I am thankful that Christ continually frees me from the pride and selfishness that would keep me from serving others.  I am thankful for the freedom to say no when an expected action would cause harm to someone’s faith.  I am thankful for the confidence I have in Christ which gives me freedom from having to prove myself to others.  I am thankful for the freedom I have to ask God for wisdom, knowing He will supply it without finding fault.

It seems that the Christian culture has an ever-increasing lust for the world’s definition of freedom.  We do whatever we want, whatever we like, and whatever we enjoy with little to no thought about whether it is bringing glory to God or simply indulging our sinful nature.  Many are quickly dismissing the old standards of purity, integrity, and righteousness as being outdated and no longer “in touch” with the culture.  And I’m not talking about standards created by our parents or grandparents; no, I’m talking about the standards found in God’s Word.  It is in this context that I am thankful to have the freedom to hold fast to what God says whether anyone else finds it fashionable or not.  I am thankful for godly examples of people who live with integrity in the midst of a broken world. 

As you pray, ask God to remind you of both the freedom you have and of His purpose for that freedom.  Pray that you would keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as you consider how to use your freedom to serve others.  Pray about how you can use the various abilities and talents that you have in order to serve others in the name of Jesus.  Pray for a willingness to allow God to define the freedom that you have and how you use that freedom.  Pray that the people around you would see Jesus in the way you serve.

I pray that you and I would fully value the freedom we have in Christ.  I pray that we would use that freedom to love people just as Christ loves us.  I pray that we would be honest with ourselves when we examine our motives and how we use our freedom.  I pray for a spirit of conviction when we project our sinful desires onto others in order to justify using our freedoms to indulge our own desires.  I pray that we would ask God to open our eyes each day to specific ways we can use our freedom to serve others.

In prayer,

Tom

Encouragement and Prayer (11/24/20)

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This is the audio from the November 24, 2020 live social media broadcast of encouragement and prayer by Impact Prayer Ministry’s director, Tom Lemler.

You can find the live video feeds of these encouragement and prayer times on Impact Prayer Ministry’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

In prayer,
Tom