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Happy, and Full of Thanksgiving!

Ever met someone who, no matter how bad things appeared to be—even in their own life—they always are happy? They always wear a smile. I’ve known people like that and, to be honest, I strive to be that same way myself. Sometimes it’s not easy, considering the many challenges we all face from one day to the next. But the one thing I’ve learned is that when we truly believe and understand just how much God loves us, we’ll also understand why, no matter what’s going on around us, we can be happy and thankful.

In Philippians 4:4, New Living Translation, Apostle Paul tells us to “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” When you make the time to rejoice and give God praise, there is no time left to worry or fret. That’s very important for walking in victory. Instead of worrying about your problems, pray—don’t complain—to God about them. Thank Him for the answers, and then rejoice and be thankful for His lovingkindness and faithfulness in what He has already done for you.


Just Say ‘Thank You’!

The words “thank you” are two very simple, yet profound words that, when spoken in sincerity, convey humble appreciation for someone’s kindness or generosity. Sadly, many find it hard to express their thankfulness when kindness is shown to them. Maybe it’s because they feel that something is owed them. Or perhaps it’s because they just don’t know how to be thankful. The truth is, when we sincerely look at all God has done for us, it’s hard not to be thankful.

What about you? Are you only thankful when life is comfortable? Do you think about and thank God for His love and faithfulness only when you are facing trouble? Despite the negative things we deal with from day to day, we all have reasons to be thankful. We have our lives and our health, our family and friends, and we have God’s promise that He will never leave or forsake us. He is faithful and will continually bless us abundantly. When was the last time you thanked God not because He did something for you, but for just being Himself? If it’s been awhile, take a moment right now and let Him know how thankful you are for Him and His love for you.


No Worries, Just Thanksgiving!

Did you make it through this week thinking of positive things? Or did the cares of this world—problems with family, money, the job—cause you to become distracted and take your mind off God and His goodness? It happens to us all at one time or another. The important thing is that we don’t allow life’s problems to get us so distracted that we end up complaining and not trusting God. If we put our faith and trust in the world’s system, that can easily happen. But as believers, that’s not where our faith and trust should be.

Proverbs 3:5, New Living Translation, says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” That means no worries, no cares. It means trusting God to take care of whatever situations arise in our lives, and not being concerned about the outcome because we have His promise that He will always take care of, provide for us and protect us. Isn’t it comforting to know we don’t have to panic when the world appears to be in chaos? We can put our faith and trust in the true and living God, and be thankful that He is faithfully taking care of us.


Think Thanksgiving!

That may sound like an odd subject for a devotion. But the more I think about God and His goodness, the more I understand how important it is that we always stay in a thankful mode—that we are constantly thanking God for His goodness and mercy toward us. That’s what Apostle Paul meant when he encouraged the church at Philippi by saying, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, New Living Translation).

There may be some negative things happening in the world today that affect you and your family. But that doesn’t mean you have to focus on those things. By God’s grace and with the help of His Holy Spirit, you can look right past them, around them and over them, and give your attention and your thanksgiving to God for the good things He has done, and is still doing, for you. When you do that, you won’t find yourself worrying and fretting, but instead you’ll experience God’s peace—always! Train yourself to think of giving Him thanks.


Always a Reason to be Thankful!

It’s November—the month of thanksgiving! Decide right now to take time and learn to be thankful in everything. You may be wondering how I can make such a suggestion when so many bad things are happening in the world today. My answer is simple: Being thankful is how God desires that we all live, regardless of negative circumstances. First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

There’s a reason God tells us to always give thanks. Philippians 4:6-7, New Living Translation, says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” If God has already taken care of your problems, and provided everything you need, what’s left for you to worry about? Now, isn’t that a good reason to be thankful?


Keep On Hoping!

In a world so filled with misfortune, confusion, uncertainty and hopelessness, like some people, you may be looking for a sign—a ray of hope that will assure you that eventually everything is going to be all right. You’re hoping for something that will take your mind off the negative, fill you with joy and peace, and help you to forget about all the darkness and emptiness that exists in the world. Here’s some good news: There is hope, and it comes through Jesus Christ—the only One who has the power to turn things around. Only He can turn your darkness into light, your despair into hope, your brokenness into wholeness. He is the only One who can change all the negatives in the world into positives.

Some people don’t agree with that. They’re so discouraged and have such negative views on life that they’re willing to accept whatever comes their way. The truth is, God always has something good to say no matter the situations you face. He has different thoughts about them than you do. Your situations in life may be a reality, but reality is never finality because God can change any situation—especially those that don’t line up with His purpose and desire for your life. If there’s something you’ve been hoping for, don’t stop. Keep on hoping. And if you have to, hope some more. If it’s in line with God’s will for you, He’ll see to it that you get it.


He’s Still Working On You!

Right now, I believe there are some people out there who are thinking about giving up. You’ve pretty much decided that nothing’s ever going to work out for you, so you may as well call it quits and throw in the towel. Let me just stop you right there so I can tell you something: The spiritual journey you’re on is like a fight. There are going to be times when you get pushed around, knocked down, maybe even battered and bruised. But there’s nothing in the spiritual rule book—the Bible—that says you get to give up! In fact, Galatians 6:9, New Living Translation, says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

I know things may be rough, and this may be a difficult season for you. But you should understand that seasons don’t last. They’re not permanent! It’s a natural fact that when winter ends, summer begins. And when spring is over, then comes summer. So it is with the challenges we face in life. They’re only here for a season and then, because God is faithful to His promise to take care of you, suddenly they’re gone! God didn’t create you to be a failure. You are His workmanship—fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. He wouldn’t create you to prosper and be a success, and then stand by and watch you self-destruct or fail. Philippians 1:6 says, that God has begun a good work in you—a work that He “will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” So, rest easy and let Him complete His work in you!


Avoid the ALDAG Syndrome!

As we saw on Monday, success in life begins with successful relationships in the home. And one of the best ways to ensure a successful family relationship is to not become addicted to something I call ALDAG—an acronym for anxiety, loneliness, depression, anger, and guilt—fives things that play a major role in destroying family relationships and tearing families apart. The Bible speaks a lot about these, and the negative affects they can have on us. Philippians 4:6, for example, tells us to “be careful,” or anxious “for nothing.” Why is that? Because anxiety, which the dictionary defines as “a state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties,” destroys our faith in God’s love and promises to us and can lead to disappointment, which can ultimately result in loneliness, depression, anger and guilt.

Instead, the scripture says, “…but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). Want to experience success in everything in your life? Start by developing successful relationships at home. Show your family that you love and appreciate them, and that they have your support, as well as your love. Begin to build true relationships in your home, right now. Then, you and your family will enjoy the happiness and success in life that God desires.


Family Ties!

We all have family. The sad thing is, not everyone can say they enjoy a great family relationship. Success in life begins with successful relationships in the family. Aside from our personal relationship with God, the next closest relationships we should have are with family—beginning with our spouses and children and then with parents and siblings. One of the most challenging areas in many people’s lives has to do with family relationships. They may be successful in their jobs, business, and even ministry. But at home, everything is falling apart. Why is this? It’s because there is no love, and there is no family companionship or fellowship or unity.

God expressed how important relationship is to Him by creating the marriage union, and then the family. Soon after He created Adam, He said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion (Genesis 2:18, The Message). Later, God instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply,” to start a family. Relationship is important to God, and it should be to you and me as well. If you’re challenged with relationship issues in your home, especially where there have been disagreements or misunderstandings, begin to mend those relationships through good communication. Reach out and show love to those family members who have become distant. Let them know you love them no matter what your differences are. Be determined to be the peacemaker, so that you can build and develop good family relationships.


The Right Place; the Right Time!

Ecclesiastes 9:11, New Living Translation, says, “The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.” That may sound a little contrary to what most people think, because it’s obvious that in a race you must run faster than everyone else to win. But the rest of that verse says this: “The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”

You see, the race really is not always to the swiftest, or those who want to reach their destination quickly. It’s won by the one who is in the right place at the right time. Unlike a natural race, a spiritual race may sometimes take a while longer. And as believers, it requires patience on our part. If God has a plan for your life—and He does—then it will happen. But it will happen according to His timetable, not yours. Whatever it is you’re going through—whether it’s a sickness in your body, the loss of a job, or maybe even a family situation—don’t become discouraged and assume that God’s not going to help you through it because nothing’s happened up to this point. Just be patience and wait on Him. And if you have to, wait some more!