Living a life of Thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:4

"David appointed some of the Levites to be ministers before the ark of the Lord, to celebrate the Lord God of Israel, and to give thanks and praise to Him."

Here in this story David has just brought the ark of God to Jerusalem. The first thing he does is appoint priests to minister. Their job description: to celebrate the Lord, to give thanks to the Lord and to praise the Lord!

All day, every day, all these priests did was minister to the Lord. They stood before the Lord and celebrated Him. In other words they remembered what God had done for them. They recalled His goodness, His mercy, His favor. They spoke of His miracles. They remembered. 

When was the last time you stopped and remembered what God has done for you. We celebrate a time of thanksgiving in the United States every November. It is meant to be a time to reflect on all that God has done for us. This should not just be a once a year thing, as good as that is, but instead we should be people who are constantly celebrating the goodness of our God. 

As you celebrate Him and His goodness you can't help but give thanks. I remember the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. They came to Jesus and asked to be healed. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. As they went they were all healed. But only one came back to give thanks to Jesus. Jesus was shocked. It was offensive that some were healed but never gave Him thanks. It pleases the Father when we are thankful. I know as a parent I appreciate it so much when my children are thankful. It is no different for God. He loves for us to be thankful. 

Finally the priest were told to give praise to God. What is praise? We throw that word around sometimes without really understanding it. It has ties to thanksgiving and celebration, but it literally means to go crazy with your celebration. It is the same word for rave. Imagine a rave type of party, except for you are expressing worship. Now I know some people will have a problem with this. David's wife had a problem with his expression of worship as he brought the ark in. David was basically "raving" before God. Some would say, "This sounds like the flesh, that's not very spiritual!" But I would say, God gave you your flesh, worship Him with it.

Immediately after David appointed the priests to serve he wrote a song or psalm of thanksgiving to be sung before the Lord by the priests. David had in his heart to give thanks. It was right after this that God spoke to David and made a covenant with him, promising Messiah would come from his line. When we have in our heart to be thankful to Him, He is going to bless you for it. Get in your heart to be thankful today. Live in Thanksgiving ever day. 

God is in the small things too.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers."

We like big things. I know when I visit a restaurant I am really disappointed if my food comes out and I get a small portion. I am really upset if my wife gets a bigger portion than me. I want a big plate. I want to leave the restaurant full. I want to have so much that I can take some home and eat a full lunch off of it the next day. 

In life we love the big things. The big events, summer breaks, vacation, and Christmas. We look forward to these things. And so we tend to overlook the small things. The daily routine of life. We call Wednesday "hump" day, because we made it half-way through the week, looking forward to another weekend. But the small things are where life happens. Don't miss the small opportunities to speak to people about the Lord, to share your faith, to teach and encourage. That is what the Lord was encouraging the people to do in the above Scripture. 

The Lord was telling them to make the Word of God the central part of their lives, so much so that even something so normal as walking down the street would become an opportunity to speak to their children about Him. They were encouraged to have the Word on their hearts and mind, to put them on their doorposts and on their hands and foreheads. The people took this very literally and still today you will see Jewish men with small boxes containing Scripture tied to themselves. But the point is the Word should be so central in our lives that it becomes the focus of all we do. We don't wait until a "big" service or a special day to discuss the Word. It is meant to be the center of our lives, because when it is that means Jesus is the center. 

Make a commitment today to make Him the center of everything you do, the big things and the small things.

A Picture of God

Zephaniah 3:17

Yahweh your God is among you,

a warrior who saves.

He will rejoice over you with gladness.

He will bring you quietness with His love.

He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

What a picture of God! 

If we're honest, most of us don't see Him that way. So many have a view of God as a grumpy, old man waiting to hit you on the head with his cane. Even those of us who feel like we have a good understanding of who God is still may have trouble seeing Him as He is portrayed in the verse above.

A warrior. God is a warrior who saves you. The knight in shinning armor. That's Him! You may feel like you're in over your head, and there's no way out... But that's when the warrior comes in! To read this brings up images of fairy tales and legends, full of knights, and dragons, and the damsel in distress. It doesn't matter how big the dragon is, he is no match for the knight, determined to win the damsel's heart. That's your God. His love is beyond measure.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, "I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 17b-19)

His love for you is beyond measure. But Paul prays that if they could just get some kind of understanding of His great love, that is to us through Jesus our Savior, they would be "filled with all the fullness of God." The key here is love. God is love. When we begin to understand that we are filled with love for one another.

Look again at Zephaniah 3:17. 

He rejoices over you with gladness... In other words, you make Him happy. Think about that. You make the creator of the universe happy. If you are in love with someone, it should make you happy to be around them. This is how God feels about you. You make Him happy. Not just a small grin, happy... but rejoicing with gladness. The Hebrew word here is "sim-khaw" which is more than gladness but a happy festival! God has a big party over you. There is essentially a heavenly party taking place over your life, and God is in charge of it! 

The next part of the verse says, He will bring you quietness with His love, and He will delight in you with shouts of joy! His love for you should bring peace to your life. When you know the love of God nothing can bring you down. He is shouting joy over your life today. So walk in that truth.