Revive Me #47– Give Thanks

Revive Me, Week 47–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Give Thanks

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”

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“Be thankful” (Col. 3:15; 4:2).  “Give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psa. 100:4).

When?

  • In all circumstances- 1 Thess. 5:18
  • In all that you say and do- Col. 3:17
  • In every situation- Phil. 4:6
  • Always and for everything- Eph. 5:20
  • Forever- Psa. 30:12

Why?

  • For God is good and His love endures forever- 1 Chron. 16:34; Psa. 106:1
  • Because it is God’s will for you- 1 Thess. 5:18
  • For the Lord is the great God, the great King- Psa. 95:2,3
  • Because of the kingdom- Heb. 12:28
  • Because everything God created is good- 1 Tim. 4:4
  • Because of grace- 2 Cor. 4:15
  • Because of the generosity of others- 2 Cor. 9:11
  • Because it is good-Psa. 92:1
  • Because of all of the Lord’s wonderful deeds- Psa. 9:1,2
  • Because God answers- Psa. 118:21
  • Because the one who does it glorifies God- Psa. 50:23

Expressing thanks should be easy for the Christian.  We are most blessed!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, readers.  May the Lord bless you and your loved ones as you continue to live for Him.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Memorize Psalm 100
  2.  Send handmade cards expressing thanks for several individuals who may feel unappreciated, unnoticed, or taken for granted.
  3.  Makes sure your daily prayers overflow with thanksgiving.
  4. Create a list of specific things to be thankful for.  Post it in a prominent place and add to it daily.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #39– Be Content

Revive Me, Week 39–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Be Content

Discontentment keeps us from being satisfied.

  • The job you were thankful to land is no longer good enough.
  • Stay-at-home moms resent being stuck at home.
  • Moms who work outside the home grumble about never having enough time to get things done at home.
  • Preachers’ wives and elders’ wives resent the demands on their time or the time their husband gives to others.
  • Bible class teachers resent being stuck in the same classroom for years.

What once were viewed as blessings or opportunities to serve can become sources of disgruntlement!  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are God’s people and that should satisfy us (Psa. 65:4; Prov. 19:23).

Discontentment blinds us to the blessings found in Christ.

  • Hope and glory (Eph. 1:18)
  • Grace (2 Cor. 9:8)
  • Strength (Eph. 3:16)
  • Love and fullness (Eph. 3:17-19)
  • Might (Eph. 1:19)
  • Peace (Phil. 4:7)

Those who are focused on self find the flaws and see only inadequacies.  Even these blessings are no longer good enough.  Contentment reflects a heart that focuses on God’s blessings and trusts Him with the rest.

Discontentment is a sign of a weakened spiritual state.  In the passages that command us to be content, we see a direct correlation between our level of contentment and our relationship with God.

  • Heb. 13:5- Make sure your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He himself has said, “I will never desert you nor will I forsake you.”  Contentment is based on God’s promise to be with us.  He will never turn His back on us, and that should be enough.
  • Phil. 4:11- I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  How could Paul do that?  By relying on Christ’s strength (v. 13).  Discontentment happens when we try to rely on our own strength.
  • 1 Tim. 6:6ff- Godliness with contentment is great gain…If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  Paul goes on to write that those who long for more have wandered away from the faith.

Be content.  Who are you most drawn to…those who find fault and are never satisfied or those who are grateful and content?  When we choose to be content, we lift up the cross and draw others to Christ (John 12:32).  When we give in to discontentment, we keep the world from seeing the blessings of being in Christ (Rom. 10:12).

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities

Who heals all your diseases

Who redeems your life from destruction

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies

Who satisfies you with good things.

–Psalm 103:2-5

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  List the blessings found in these verses:  Rom. 15:13; Eph. 1:7,8; 2:7; 3:20; Psa. 119:165
  2.  If discontentment has taken root in your heart, determine the cause.  Have you become self-absorbed?  Have you allowed bitterness to color your thinking?  Are you caught up in the world’s mindset of always wanting more?
  3.  Read Rom. 12:2.  How is this verse tied to contentment?
  4.  As a parent or grandparent, focus this week on teaching contentment.  Be mindful of ways you might be inadvertently encouraging discontentment.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #17–Think About Your Baptism

Revive Me, Week #17– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Think About Your Baptism

In ladies’ Bible class last week, Deanna Brant taught us about the covenant relationship we have with God.  As she discussed the fact that those who are in this relationship will strive to be holy and a light to the nations, she suggested a way to make that easier.  She said, “Think about your baptism…a lot.”  What wisdom!

Remember what happened at the moment of your baptism:

  • Your life became new (Rom. 6:4).
  • You were saved (1 Pet. 3:21).
  • Every spiritual blessing is found in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and you gained access to those blessings when you put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
  • You also became an “heir according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).
  • You “received the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
  • You gained access to the Father (Eph. 2:13,18).
  • You became a “member of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
  • Every one of your sins was washed away (Acts 22:16).

This is just a sampling of the beautiful blessings that resulted from your baptism.  The list could be much longer!  Your baptism truly was the greatest and most important moment of your life.

I admit that I usually only recall the day of my baptism when someone else is being baptized.  Deanna made me realize that thinking about it more often could make a difference in my Christian walk.  Consider what thinking about your baptism each day can do for you:

  • You are more likely to “go on your way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
  • You will desire to sin less and be more holy.
  • If it’s on your heart, you will share it with others.
  • You will maintain an attitude of gratitude.
  • You will want to grow ever closer to your Father.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Spend a few minutes thinking back to the day of your baptism.  Write down why you did it and how you felt.  If you did that already when you were baptized, read it.
  2. Contact the person who led you to Christ and thank them.
  3. Determine to begin each new day thinking about the moment you became a child of God.
  4. Thank God for all the blessings that came from your baptism.  Be mindful of them each day.
  5. Be on the lookout for the newest Bible-marking topic at Come Fill Your Cup which will be “What Baptism Does.”

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*Brett Petrillo baptizing Deanna Philippus for the remission of her sins!

Revive Me, Week 12– Count Your BLESSONS

Revive Me, Week 12–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Count Your BLESSONS

Karen Salmansohn came up with the word “blesson.”  She said it means “when you’re able to see the blessing in the lesson that your trial taught you.”  I love this reminder of a very biblical concept!

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(James 1:2-4)

We serve such an amazing God!  It’s all too easy to count our problems, to wring our hands over trials and disappointments.  First of all, they do exist.  Christians aren’t exempt from experiencing hardships (John 16:33; Psa. 34:17,18).  As long as we’re in this world, we may barely get through one difficulty only to encounter another.  Second, it’s also all too easy to count our burdens because nearly everyone does it.  What’s covered in the nightly news?  What’s trending on social media?  Typically it includes what’s wrong with the world.  And yet, again I say, we serve an amazing God!  While we are surrounded by “trials dark on every hand,” God wants us to KNOW that they are temporary (2 Cor. 4:18), that He will not forsake us (Heb. 13:5), and that good can come from suffering (see several passages listed below).

Jesus lived a perfect life and was the Son of God yet “He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:8,9).

The world points to suffering as proof of an indifferent God or a nonexistent one but Christians know better.  We trust God because we know He loves us, refines us, and works for our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28).  Please remember that, dear reader.  No matter what life throws at you, you can smile anyway because your Creator holds you in His care.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Go ahead and list your problems but then list how you can grow from them.  Do you need refining in attitude or character?  Do you need to increase your faith or trust?  Have you been relying more on yourself instead of God?
  2. Read through 1 Peter, paying close attention to what you can learn about suffering as a Christian.
  3. For personal Bible study or family devotional time, list the spiritual good that can come from suffering or the hope God offers:
    1. 1 Pet. 5:10
    2. James 1:2-8, 12
    3. Rom. 5:2-5
    4. Rom. 8:18
    5. 1 Pet. 1:7
    6. 2 Cor. 5:1
    7. Heb. 12:7-11
    8. 2 Tim. 2:12
    9. Psa. 119:67
    10. 2 Cor. 1:3-5
  4. Bible-mark “Why Good People Suffer”

 

 

God’s Wonderful People

Last night after dinner, Neal explained to his cousin, Naomi, that we have never lived close to our families, and that he would’ve liked our sons to have had more opportunities to be with their grandparents and other family members.  Naomi replied, “But you’ve had your church family.”

Oh yes, we have had our church family!  Whether in AL, VA, or CO, we’ve had brothers and sisters and role models and friends.  When we were young newlyweds and then new parents, we had couples take us under their wing and act as our own parents would.  Our boys have had adopted grandparents and mentors.  What a treasured blessing!  But that’s just one aspect of the beauty of the Lord’s church.  Consider some other blessings of being in God’s Family:

  • Continual support and encouragement (Heb. 10:24,25)
  • The much sought after feeling of belonging and community (Eph. 2:19)
  • Being with people who try to treat others with love, honor, and respect (Rom. 12:10)
  • Available help in time of need (Rom. 12:13)
  • Never having to suffer alone (Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:26)
  • A feeling of usefulness and purpose (1 Cor. 12:14-25)
  • Togetherness, devotion (Acts 2:42-47)
  • Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)
  • Always having family (1 Tim. 5:1,2)
  • Being loved even when unlovable (John 13:34,35)
  • Being in God’s household (Eph. 2:19-22)
  • Pure and sincere love (1 Pet. 1:22)

Sometimes relationships in physical families are severed for various reasons.  Or sometimes it’s just not possible to be with our physical family as often as we’d like because they live so far away.  But God’s Family is God’s gift to us.  In God’s Family we always have loving relationships.

Sadly, some have not felt the love or sense of belonging in their church family.  If this is the case for you, there are a couple of things you can do:

  1.  Make sure you are doing your part to reach out, love, serve, and sacrifice for your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sometimes we are quick to point out when others let us down but neglect to consider our own lack of involvement.  Maybe no one called you when you missed a service or two.  Before feeling indignant, do some soul-searching.  How many people did you call that week?  Focus on being an active, loving, giving member of your local congregation.
  2. Remember the church is worldwide.  Perhaps you worship with a small congregation and when experiencing a difficult situation you received little to no support (and maybe even received criticism or were the object of gossip).  In those cases, it helps to remember that the Lord’s family consists of more than just your local congregation.  There may be another one in the next town over.  You can find brothers and sisters (and their love and support) nearby and worldwide.  Look for strong, encouraging members and groups on Facebook.  Write letters of encouragement to stateside missionaries or those serving on foreign lands.  There are all kinds of ways to connect and serve in God’s Family.

God’s people are wonderful.  None of us are perfect, and we may even let each other down occasionally, but I’m thankful for this blessing of our dear church family.  I can’t help but think that if we each strive to be even more close and loving in the Lord’s church, those in the world around us will want to enjoy this blessing, too.

Photo credit:  Tracy Threlfall
Photo credit: Tracy Threlfall

Do I Help Others Thank God?

We are spending time together as a family, all five of us, and I am soaking it all in.  I am mindful of the many reasons to thank God for family, for love, for commitment, and for memories.  I am thanking God for the reminder to treasure the here and now and to embrace His gifts.  Even when facing difficulties or experiencing hardships, God showers us with reasons to enjoy the pleasurable sensation of gratitude.  Because of that, I want to be more diligent in showering others with reasons to look up and praise God.

  • With my husband, may I daily give him reasons to thank God for our marriage.  This means each morning I must renew the commitment to love unconditionally.
  • With my sons, may I help them see God’s forgiveness, patience, and tenderness by offering those consistently as their parent.  My love for them should make it easier for them to understand God’s love for them.
  • With my fellow Christians, may I give them reasons to praise God for companionship, encouragement, and sincere interest.  What a unique blessing the Lord’s church is!  May I do my part to help others remember that.
  • With those in my community, may I look for ways to cause them to pause and look up, to see God as the source of all good.  This means I must look like His Son as much as possible by being friendly, by being unselfish.  I can’t live unto myself but must look around with interest in the souls around me.

Today is always the beginning of our future.  I pray that I will do so much better in showering others with reasons to thank God.  Nothing is more important than making sure my life (my actions and my attitude) makes it easier for others to see God.

Prayer for Today:  Thank You, Lord, for showering me with reasons to praise You.  Please help me do better at intentionally helping others see You.

21 Reasons Why I Love Being a Preacher’s Wife

Yesterday Neal and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.  How do I feel after 21 years of being married to a preacher?  Very, very blessed.  And here’s why, in no particular order:

1.  Our coworkers- We work with the best people.  They’re all Christians.

2.  Uplifting events- Gospel meetings, seminars, lectureships, and ladies’ days provide lots of opportunities to get revived, refreshed, & renewed.

3.  Encouragement- Through the years we’ve been given some thoughtful notes.  Sure, we’ve also received some criticism, but who hasn’t?

4.  Prayers on our behalf- Many Sundays involve someone praying, “Please bless our preacher and his family.”

5.  Opportunities for growth- There have been more than a few moments when I’ve been nudged out of my comfort zone.

6.  Hospitality- We’ve enjoyed open hearths and open hearts in all kinds of homes.

7.  Great meals (because of #6)-  🙂

8.  Life events- We share in the lives of others when they get married, give birth, and bury their loved ones.

9.  Compassion- Some of my stumbles and goofs have been pretty public.  I’m grateful for the patience and love we’ve been given.

10.  My sons’ role model- Their dad is a preacher who always speaks highly of the Lord and His church.

11.  Mission trips- We don’t have to take time off from work; it IS our work.

12.  Fellowship- I can never get enough.

13.  Kindred spirits- I love the instant bond that forms when meeting other preachers’ wives.

14.  Support- The church family is so good about being there through thick and thin.

15.  Elders- God bless them for their labor of love.  They have the best hearts and make the best bosses.

16.  Baptisms- We rarely have to miss them.  Day or night, we can stop what we’re doing and head to the building.

17.  Preachers- We get to be around them, and get to know them.  We sure like them!

18.  Bible studies- I’ll never get tired of seeing the Truth work on the hearts of genuine searchers.  Joy and tears.

19.  People- We’re with all kinds…working, struggling, sharing, caring, learning, growing.  It’s what our job is all about.

20.  Friends for eternity- There are so many that we’ve met and loved through the years, and we never have to say goodbye.

21.  My husband- He studies, prays, leads, and puts God first.  What’s more attractive than a man with an open Bible?

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for my preacher, for Your church, and for the blessings you shower upon all of Your children.  

Gospel meeting in West Palm Beach