Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 136:1-3
The Alphabet of Thanks!
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” (From an old hymn)
“Count your blessing, name them one by one.” (Another old-time favorite song)
We are thankful, hopefully not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of the year. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help me be a grateful person, to give thanks to our Lord God, our maker, and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ every day. Just today, I felt the Lord opened my eyes to see the countless blessings He has given us. So, I would like to share some of those blessings here in alphabetical order. This concept of “alphabet thanksgiving” is borrowed from a dear neighbor and friend. However, the content of thanksgiving is from our hearts.
Here is our “alphabet thanksgiving list” to our Creator God, the Giver of all blessings. We praise and thank our Lord God for the following physical and spiritual blessings:
A – Apostles (the 12 original disciples of Jesus who spread the Good News of salvation); Air we breathe, Animals (pets).
B – The Bible, the written Word of God in our language; the Bible is the Word of God.
“ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
Birds, books, babies, bread
C – Church family, Christians, and children. Also thankful for the blessing of computers to use and candies and chocolate to enjoy.
D – Devotions/devotional books to nourish our soul.
E – Eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We also thank God for electricity, eyes, eyesight, and ears.
F – Freedom, both physical and spiritual; the blessing of being in a free land.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NKJV)
Forever grateful also to our Father God for His forgiveness and faithfulness.
Thankful also for the blessings of families, friends, flowers, and food!
G – Goodness of God
H – Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide to all truth.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 (NKJV)
Thankful also for the hope of heaven, health, and healing.
I – I AM (the eternal existing One)
“And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)
J – Jesus Christ. Very grateful for the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the cross, the lamb who was slain.
K – Kingdom key
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16: 19 (NKJV)
L – the gift of Love, love of God, families and families,
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I John 4:7 (NKJV)
M – Mercy of God and the blessing of mothers, moon, mouth,
N – New beginnings and new life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
O – Omnipotent (all-powerful) and Omnipresent (always present) God
(Others: oxygen, ocean)
P – Sweet Presence of Jesus
Q – Quiet times in prayer and Bible study
R – the gift of Rest
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
S – Salvation
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NKJV)
Sun (sunrise, sunset), Sisters, Stars, Sleep, Skills
T – Talents and/or spiritual gifts
“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability.” (Matthew 25:15 (NKJV). Also see I Corinthians 12.
U – Universe “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)
V – Victory in Christ
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5 (NKJV)
W – Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NKJV)
X – X-ray machines used to check health, Xerox machines to make copies
Y – Yahweh (I AM)
“And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.” Exodus 6:2-3 (NKJV)
Z – Zebras, Zoom, Zest, Ziplock storage bags
Perhaps you can add some of your own “items for thanks” to this list!
Reading: Acts 27
Key verse: “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” (v.25)
The Holy Spirit gives peace and encouragement in the midst of storms.
Last week, many people in the southern part of the United States experienced a strong category 4 hurricane. Many experienced damage to their homes, properties, and roads. Thousands lost electricity and experienced flooding. We saw on live TV news the strong winds due to the hurricane. Almost at the same time, in the Far East on the other side of the Pacific, a powerful typhoon hit some parts of the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Perhaps some of you are experiencing some kind of storm in life, too.
In the Bible, a man named Paul also experienced all kinds of storms in life. Here is the story from the book of Acts:
Paul was falsely accused by some religious leaders in Israel and was put in jail (Acts 23). He was transferred from a prison in Jerusalem to Caesarea. For two years he went through court trials and testified before two governors and the king of Israel, Herod Agrippa (Acts 23-25).
He remained steadfast in his faith and plea for innocence.
Paul was granted his request to appeal to Caesar. “Then Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’” (Acts 26:32 NKJV)
Paul knew and was certain of the Lord’s will for him to go to Rome to witness for Him: “‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.’” (Acts 23:11 NKJV)
Preparations were made and logistics lined up for Paul and other prisoners to be transferred from Caesarea to Rome. They were under the care of Julius, a Roman official centurion ( a commander of 100 soldiers). “And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.” (Acts 27:1 NKJV)
They all sailed from the port of Caesarea to Sidon, Cyprus, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Crete. As they set sail from Fair Havens, Crete they encountered strong winds and stormy seas. The captain of the ship and the crew did everything they could to keep sailing in the midst of the storm. (See Acts 27:2-21 for the full story.) In the meantime, Paul kept praying and encouraging everyone:
“And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” (Acts 27:22-25 NKJV)
The situation was dire with the strong winds and storm beating the ship. Most of the people in the ship were fearful and did not know how they would survive the strong storm in the middle of the sea. They even stopped eating. But Paul was at peace, as he trusted the words of God that were given to him by the angel (Acts 27:23-24). The Holy Spirit gave Paul peace and calmness during the tempestuous storm that threatened their lives. He even encouraged everyone in the ship:
“Therefore, I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” (Acts 27:34 NKJV)
Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ( John 14:26 27 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit gives the followers of Jesus peace and calmness even in the midst of the storms of life, so we can encourage others.
Dear Father, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to us as our Comforter. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving us Your peace and calmness in times of distress amidst the storms of life. Please give us your strength, courage, peace, and comfort so we can encourage others who are going through storms in life. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen!
Do you sometimes feel like the world is spinning out of control? Do you feel like life is tangled up like a spider’s web? Feeling stuck and hopeless? Wishing there was a “reset” button to push? Whispering to yourself, “If only I could start a new life?”
Well, good news friends! A fresh start and a new life are possible!
Sounds to be good to be true, but it’s real and not impossible at all.
You can begin a new life and have a fresh start because God’s mercies are new every morning:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3: 22-23 (NLT)
I have heard countless stories of people whose lives have been changed by God.
For example, a few years ago, my husband and I were invited to a seminar in another church on prison ministry. We heard someone share about guidelines for prison ministry including practical aspects like collecting cookies for inmates. Then, the leader of the group shared his own personal story. Ron shared how his life in the past was a mess. He was in jail and had to serve several years in prison for various crimes such as robbery, drug abuse, etc. Even in prison, he started out as a very tough guy who got into fights with other inmates.
Then one day, he heard a man who came to the prison and talked about the salvation Jesus offers. As he continued to study the Bible and listen to Christian teachings, his life was changed. He accepted Jesus into his heart and became a changed man! His behavior changed, and those in the prison saw this remarkable change. He was given an early release and parole. Later, he met a Christian woman and married. He was even given a pardon and is now a real “free man.” Now, he and his wife are serving the Lord through a prison ministry. He is indeed a free man, both physically and spiritually. The Bible says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (NKJV)
I was truly amazed as I heard him speak about his past life. It was hard for me to imagine that he had been a bad guy in the past. As I looked at him now, he appeared to be a gentle and kind man. Ron had been transformed into a completely different person. God is still in the business of changing lives!
As the Word of God says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT)
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
Perhaps your life is not as bad as Ron’s. However, the Word of God says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23 NKJV) No one, not one person is perfect. Big and small sins are all the same in the eyes of God. Jesus was the only perfect man who walked on earth because He is the Son of God. However, we have hope:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)
In John 3:5-8 (NIV), Jesus tells us how to have a new life:
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘Youmust be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Do you want a fresh start, a new life? It is not about changing religions or churches. It is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is really simple. Believe, repent, have faith in Jesus, and receive the love of God in your heart.
To begin a new life in Christ, here is a simple prayer guide:
Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins. I open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Holy Spirit please help me to have a new life in Christ. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Giver of life.
Thank You, my Creator, for the gift of life.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving us Your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to preach Good News to the poor.
Thank You, Lord, that You came to heal the brokenhearted.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to set people free.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to open blind eyes.
Thank You, Jesus, for your life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your gift of eternal life.
Thank You, Jesus, for your great love.
Thank You, Jesus, for You are the God of love
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to make me free.
Thank You, Lord, You are my life.
Thank You for blessing me with Your life and love.
Thank You, Lord Jesus!
The Apostle was in Athens, Greece.
Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Apostle Paul, Acts 17: 23-31
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus Christ, John 4:23-24
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV
Scriptures are taken from the Bible Gateway
Only if they know You
Only if they know
How much you love them,
They will love you too
Only if they know your love
They too will be in awe of You.
Only if they know
That You gave Your all
Body, soul and all
Only if they know
That Your body was bruised for our transgression
Only if they know
You bore a crown of thorns
Only if they know
You carried the cross for our sins
Only if they know
Your hands and feet were nailed to the cross for our iniquities
Only if they know
Jesus only if they know
They too will be in awe
That You love them so true
Jesus if they know
How much you love them so
They too will love you so.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”Romans 5:8 NKJV