A Heart Gratitude – Day Four

a heart of gratitude - day four“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”
Psalm 95:2, NASB

Our God truly is a wonderful God!  His great love and mercy are awe-inspiring. What an overwhelming privilege it is to be able to drawn near the Lord of all with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12), and to be called His children (1 John 3:1)!
In His presence, He fills us with joy (Psalm 16:11). We’ve so much to thank Him for. How can one come before our God, without being overwhelmed by a sense of thankfulness to Him – the fruit of experiencing such amazing grace as our Heavenly Father shows towards us?

How can we express our gratitude to our loving God? One avenue through which we can do so is through psalms and songs of praise. In Psalm 33:3, we are bidden to sing a new song to the Lord. We are to play skillfully, and to shout for joy. Ephesians 5:19 tells us to speak in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Psalm 9:11 directs us to praise the Lord with song. God’s Word makes it quite clear that music is one way we can express our praise to our King.

What qualifies a song as one of praise? Is it about the tempo? Is the secret in the melody? Does the style of the music classify the tune as worship? Let’s take a closer look at Ephesians 5:19. After instructing us to speak in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, it mentions singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord. It isn’t how loud or soft the song is, how slow or fast it’s played, whether it’s old or new, or even which instruments are involved that classify a song as praise and worship. What’s important is the heart of the one who’s singing it. What are the words saying, and what do they mean to the worshiper? Are they providing a way for them to draw closer to God? Worship is all about relationship – us communing with our Heavenly Daddy, pouring out our heart to Him, and hearing what He has to say to us.

Music can be a powerful tool to aid us in growing in our relationship with God. It encourages us in being still before the Lord, giving us a chance to hear from Him. The lyrics can help us articulate what we may be having a hard time finding the words to say. Song gives us another way of expressing our praise and our thankfulness to One who’s most deserving of them. Take some time today to play your favorite praise and worship song, and spend some time with the Lord, in His presence. Think about the words you’re hearing, and what they mean to you. Tell God what’s on your heart, and hear what He has to say to you. He’s ready and waiting to reveal Himself to you in new and exciting ways, if you’ll allow Him to do so.

What is your favorite worship song? Why does it mean so much to you? Comment below to share!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.” 

A Heart of Gratitude – Day Three

A Heart of Gratitude - day three“I will praise the name of
God with song and magnify
Him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 69:30, NASB

Picture in your mind for a moment a magnifying glass. Say there was something written in minuscule print that you were trying to read, but you simply couldn’t make out the message. If you held a magnifying glass over the words, what would happen? It would make them seem more sizable, and and easier to read than before. You’d be able to see the writing much more easily, and tell what it said. Did you change the actual size of the letters any? No! All you did was magnify them – make them seem bigger to you.

It’s the same way in our relationship with God. He is much bigger than anything we could ever face, yet sometimes in this life, we have a tendency to focus more intently on our circumstances than on Him. We magnify the situation we’re in until it becomes so enlarged in our minds that it’s all we can see. Did the size of our problems actually change? Are they really larger and more powerful than our all-mighty God? Not even close to it! We’ve just fixed our attention on them so closely that they seem so to us, when the truth is that all things are possible with our God (Matthew 19:26).

Instead of fixing our eyes on our problems, and magnifying them to ourselves, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, who authors and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let’s give thanks to our Lord for all the ways in which He has worked, and is currently at work, in our lives. As we engage in pouring out our gratitude to Him, something begins to change within us. Our focus starts to shift from what’s going on around us to the One who can do anything. We begin to remember all that He has done for us in the past, and His present provision in our lives. The realization dawns on us that if He’s taken care of us up to this point, surely He can handle our whatever we’re facing right now. We begin to take notice of the fact that He is able to do much more than we could ever begin to ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Suddenly, God seems bigger to us than before, and we’re filled with confidence in Him.

What has happened? Have we, in actuality, made God any bigger? Has He mysteriously gained more power or ability than He had before? No! We’ve simply magnified Him to ourselves, remembering who He is, and all that He’s done for us. In focusing on Him, He becomes larger and more real to us than even our problems. As we worship the Lord, and extol His many attributes, we recognize His greatness in a way that we didn’t before. As we give thanks to Him, it’s like we are using a magnifying glass, which enables us to view Him more clearly.

.A great way to give thanks to God, and to magnify Him to ourselves, is through song – through the singing of His praises. As we focus on the words we’re singing, hope is kindled within us, and we are encouraged in the Lord.

What is a worship song that holds special meaning to you? Share by commenting below.

Take some time to listen to this worship song, and magnify the Lord to through thanksgiving today!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

A Heart of Gratitude – Day Two

a heart of gratitude day two“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You
among a mighty throng.”
Psalm 35:18, NASB 

Our God is a good God. He is our loving Heavenly Father. He gave His best – His only Son – for us, to redeem us. He makes available to us freely all that we need. His favor is on our lives – not because we deserve it, but because of what Christ has done for us. We have been saved by God’s amazing grace (Ephesians 2:5).

When we recongnise the exceeding goodness of our God to us, we will want to share Him with others. When we understand all that He has done for us, we will desire to reveal to those around us who He really is – to make known to them His abounding love. We won’t be ashamed of Him or of the gospel – His saving power to all who believe (Romans 1:16). We will be compelled by His love (2 Corinthians 5:14). We will be emboldened to proclaim His praises, and give thanks to Him in the midst of many. His grace and mercy towards us will kindle within us an overflow of gratitude and thanksgiving to our King, which others will see. The light of His love in us will draw them to Him.

It all starts with an understanding on our part of God’s loving-kindness towards us – of His wonderful goodness in our lives. Ask God today to give you a fresh revelation of how truly good He is. He desires to do so.

In what ways has God been revealing His goodness to you lately? Share by commenting below.

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”   

A Heart of Gratitude – Day One

a heart of gratitude - day one” . . . Our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.”
1 Chronicles 29:13, NASB

We have a God who is most worthy of our praise in every way. He’s the Creator of the entire universe. He formed everything around us simply by speaking. He sits enthroned as Lord of all. None can fathom His greatness (Psalm 145:3).

This mighty God, this magnificent King, knows and loves each of us personally. Think about that for a moment.  The One who is without beginning or end knows everything about you, and is interested in each detail of your life. He knows when you sit down. He knows when you arise (Psalm 139:2). He numbers the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). He knows each word you will say even before you give voice to it (Psalm 139:4).  He perceives each thought you think (Psalm 139:2). In addition to this, He loves you intensely – so much so, that He gave His one and only Son for you (John 3:16) in a demonstration of that love (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39). That the King of the universe cares for us in such a way surely is a cause for thanksgiving! Such a God truly is most deserving of our highest thanks and praise!

There are many Scriptures that speak of the greatness and glory of our God. What is one of your favorites? (Comment below to share!)

Listen to this worship song, and praise our wonderful Lord! Take a moment to give thanks to Him for His love and care for you! <3

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

A Heart of Gratitude Journal

A Heart of GratitudeTomorrow begins day one of the series of posts based off of the free, printable, two-week study journal,
A Heart of Gratitude. This series of posts will run from November 14-23.
To download A Heart of Gratitude, complete these simple steps:

  1. Subscribe to Called and Created by entering your email in the field that says “Your email here,” located at the top of the right-hand sidebar found on Called and Created’s home page, then hit the subscribe button below it.
  2. Activate your subscription by clicking on the link found in your confirmation email.
  3. Request your copy of A Heart of Gratitude through our contact form at http://calledandcreated.com/welcome/contact/, or by emailing info@calledandcreated.com.

You will receive a response email, containing a link to A Heart of Gratitude’s pdf file. By following this link, you will be able to view A Heart of Gratitude, and save it to your computer. Once you have downloaded it, you can print it, and form your very own journal. There are many different ways you can display the printed pages. You can store them in a special folder, punch them and put them in a binder, or make your journal pages into a scrapbook. I chose to use a binder for mine.

Here are some pictures of my journal – of putting it together, and how it turned out:

A Heart of Gratitude journal 1

 

Pages printed out.

 

 

 

 

A Heart of Gratitude journal 2

 

Three-hole punching the pages.

 

 

 

Finished journal:

A Heart of Gratitude journal 3A Heart of Gratitude journal 4

 What are some unique ways you can display your A Heart of Gratitude journal? (To share, comment below!)

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give Thanks to the LordThanksgiving is a time for giving thanks to God for all of the wonderful things He’s done for us. Sometimes, however, this may seem hard to do. Perhaps you are going through a difficult time, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t find anything to be thankful for. Maybe it seems, at this point in time, as if there’s nothing in your life for which you can be grateful.

What should we do during those times? Instead of fixing our eyes upon the negative circumstances around us, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, who authors and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let’s focus our attention on the will of God for us, knowing that no matter what our situation, He’s already provided a way out.

What is the will of God for our lives? Jeremiah 29:11 provides us with a clear description of the plans of God for us. It says that they are not for our harm, but rather to prosper us – plans to give us hope and a future. Think about that for a moment – hope and a future. Perhaps you’re surrounded by feelings of hopeless right now. Maybe you can’t see past your present circumstances. If so, know that God’s plans for you – the path He wants you to walk down – contains both hope and a future. It’s not over – not as long as you have God, with whom nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), on your side, and He will never leave you
(Deuteronomy 31:6)!

If you are going through a time when it seems like everything is crashing down around you, know that God desires good for your life. His Son came, that you might have life more abundantly (John 10:10). He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). His Word contains many promises for you, which you need only receive. (See the post God’s Blessings for You for a listing of some of the blessings made available to you in God’s Word, and their corresponding promises). Don’t let the idea that what you are going through is somehow a part of God’s plan rob you of the abundant life His Son came to give you, and of all of His good gifts, which are yours as a child of the King of Kings.

Mark 11:24 tells us that whatever we ask for – believing we’ve received it – will be ours. God wants us to trust that all He promises in His Word belongs to us. He wants us to simply receive His blessings, which He’s made available to us as free gifts of His grace. Understanding this, we can give thanks to Him whatever our circumstances, knowing that He’s made a way for us, even where it may seem like there is none. Nothing is to big for Him to handle. No detail is to small for Him to notice. Wherever you are in life, rejoice and give thanks to the Lord that it is His will for you live an abundant life, and that your victory is found in Him.

A Heart of Gratitude – Preview

A Heart of GratitudeIn just a few days (on Thursday, November 14), Called and Created will begin a series of posts, based off the free, downloadable study journal, A Heart of Gratitude. This journal spans two weeks, and is focused on praising God, and giving thanks to Him for all that He’s done for us. It’s made available to subscribers of Called and Created.

To download this printable pdf file, simply enter your email address in the field that says”Your email here,” located near the top of the sidebar on the right hand side of Called and Created’s homepage, and hit the subscribe button just below it. Activate you subscription by clicking on the link found in the confirmation email, and request your copy of the A Heart of Gratitude via the contact form at http://calledandcreated.com/welcome/contact/, or by emailing info@calledandcreated.com. After doing so, you will receive a response message, containing a link from which you can view the file, and save it to your computer.

A Heart of Gratitude is a wonderful resource to use year-round, and especially suits the Thanksgiving season.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the pages of a Heart of Gratitude:

A Heart of Gratitude preview page

(To view this preview image at an enlarged size, simply click on it.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Become a subscriber to Called and Created, download A Heart of Gratitude, and follow along with our series of posts based off of this resource, running from November 14-23. Look forward to joining you in journeying through A Heart of Gratitude!

The Time of Harvest

HarvestFall is the time of harvest. The crop is taken in. We celebrate abundance.

Pumpkins abound. Cornstalks are used for adornment. Bails of straw are displayed decoratively.

The topic of harvest is also addressed a number of times in God’s Word. Let’s see what the Scriptures have to say on the subject:

 

 

  • With what our lips produce, we are filled. We are satisfied with their harvest  (Proverbs 18:20).
  • We are to ask God to send workers into His harvest field (Matthew 9:38).
  • Don’t grow weary in doing good – if we do not give up, we will reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9).
  • What is good God will give, and we will receive a harvest from the land
    (Psalm 85:12).
  • Those who go out weeping, with seed, will return with sheaves, and songs of joy (Psalm 126:6).
  • The harvest of our righteousness, God will enlarge and increase
    (2 Corinthians 9:10).

 

A Heart of Gratitude

A Heart of GratitudeWe have a wonderful Heavenly Father, who takes good care of us, His children. He didn’t spare His own Son, but gave Him for us, to save us from our sins. He freely provides all that we need. We can see many evidences of His provision in each of our lives, if we will only stop and look. Let’s take the time to recognize the many things we have to thank God for, and praise Him for them on a daily basis.

For encouragement in doing so, download our free resource, A Heart of Gratitude. It’s set up in the format of a printable, two-week long study journal. Each day’s journal page features the reference to a scripture about giving thanks to and praising our God, and a thought-provoking statement or question, with space below to record your thoughts on this and the scripture. The daily pages also include room to write out your own prayer to God, and a place to list something for which you are thankful. (This daily listing of something you are thankful for coordinates well with The Daily Thankfulness Challenge mentioned in last Friday’s post.) There is also a page towards the end of the download, on which you can compile a more complete list of the things for which you are thankful.

A Heart of Gratitude is only available to subscribers. To download this resource, complete the following steps:

  1. Subscribe to Called and Created by entering your email in the field  that says “Your email here,” right above the subscribe button. This field is located near the top of the sidebar on the right hand side of Called and Created’s home page.
  2. Check your inbox for a confirmation email. Click on the link within it to activate your subscription.
  3. Once you have subscribed to Called and Created and confirmed your subscription, request your copy of A Heart of Gratitude. You can do so either through our contact form at http://calledandcreated.com/welcome/contact/, or you can email info@calledandcreated.com.

Once you have completed these steps, you will receive an email from Called and Created, containing a link. By following this link, you will be able to view and download a pdf file of A Heart of Gratitude.

Called and Created will be doing a series of posts based off of A Heart of Gratitude, running from November 14-27. To follow along, visit calledandcreated.com during this time.

Subscribe to Called and Created, and enjoy your copy of A Heart of Gratitude. May it help you to develop and express a heart of gratitude towards your Heavenly Father this Thanksgiving season!

God’s Unmerited Favor

God's Unmerited FavorOld Covenant, and New Covenant. The law, and God’s unmerited favor. The two are vastly different and very distinct, yet so often we have a tendency to try to mix them together.

Sometimes we, while acknowledging Christ as our Savior, still have this feeling that we must act a certain way to merit God’s fellowship. When we fail, we get the sense that God is angry with us. We know that Jesus died for our sins, yet we still feel like there is something we must do to continue on in unbroken relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Where do these thoughts and feelings come from? They are the result of trying to mix elements of the old covenant of the law with elements of the new covenant of God’s grace. Though we understand that Jesus came to save us (John 3:17), we sometimes feel that we must do something to try to merit our salvation, and God’s blessings in our lives. We get caught up in the mentality of system of the Old Testament, in which mankind was rewarded for obedience, and punished for wrong-doing. That was how man related to God under the old covenant. In the new covenant, however, because of what Jesus has done, the blessing of redemption and relationship with God – as well as all of the other blessings promised in His Word – are free gifts of grace, which we need only receive.

God loved us so much, that He gave His only Son for us (John 3:16). We have been justified by Jesus’ blood, and saved from God’s wrath through Him (Romans 5:9). Romans 8:32 (NASB) declares that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” If God gave Jesus for us, how will be not also give us all the other good things His Word promises? Our righteousness is apart from the law (Romans 3:21). Because we have been made right in God’s eyes, we are now qualified to receive all of His blessings, including on-going, undisrupted relationship with Him.

Rather than trying to mix together parts of the old and new covenants – bits and pieces of law and grace – let’s receive the good news of the gospel in its entirety. Instead of relying on our own good works, let’s depend solely on Christ’s finished work at the cross. Let’s accept God’s blessings as free gifts from a loving Heavenly Father, rather than rewards of merit for good behavior. Let’s abandon the mixture, and receive God’s unmerited favor on our lives today!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”