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“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15

These Thanksgiving season, exercise an “Attitude of Gratitude” toward God. An “attitude” is more than a single act or action but, rather, an atmosphere or lifestyle. An attitude is continuous.

I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Note that Paul says “in,” not “for” everything. It would seem abnormal to thank God for pain or suffering; but, as a child of God, you must have an attitude of thanks in the midst of every situation.

Philippians 4:6 exhorts you to “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” When you do this, “. . . the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart[s] and mind[s] through Christ Jesus.” (Verse 7) Note again: “in” everything.

“Thanksgiving” defined is an act of GIVING. . . being grateful for something or someone else . . . acknowledging the value of another.

You have much for which to be thankful, so express your thanks to God as a continuous sacrifice of praise… an “Attitude of Gratitude” toward God!

PRAY: “Precious and holy Father, I will thank You today IN all things for You have promised me perfect peace when I keep my mind stayed on You. Glory and praise is Yours.”

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” II Timothy 2:20

What kind of vessel are you? Gold and silver or wood and earth?

Before you answer, consider first what God really is looking for. Verse 21 instructs you to be a “sanctified” vessel, holy and useful to God, and “prepared unto every good work.”

The fine china in your cupboards at home probably gets very little use. It is the everyday dishes that are the most useful. God seems more interested in your everyday usefulness to Him than in your particular size, shape, or beauty.

In fact, II Corinthians 4:7 says: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

God wants your focus to be on His spiritual Treasure, NOT your earthly vessel. A vessel of honor to God may be broken, cracked, or chipped, but its function and use is honorable to God. Allow your pot to be broken, and focus on God’s eternal living plant that is inside.

PRAY: “Honorable Father, I want my life to be pleasing to You. Guide my steps as I function in Your service Prepare me to do Your good works. I love You, Lord. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.”

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  II Corinthians 4:7

God has intentionally made your earthly body fragile breakable. Scripture refers to your body as a “jar of clay.” God could have made you differently — unbreakable, indestructible — but He did not… and seemingly for a very important reason.

It seems that God wants your attention to rest upon the strength of His power and not that of your own. In fact, He would prefer that you deny yourself and be willing to die (spiritually) to your flesh in order to grow strong in His Spirit.

“And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

The more you allow your flesh to be broken through obedience to God and separation from sin, the brighter His light will shine in your life. Your vessel is fragile so that your dependence will be upon Him! His saving and sustaining power is your “TREASURE” in an earthen vessel.

PRAY: “Almighty God, You have chosen to put Your light and life in me, and I am grateful. You are my reason for living, my hope and peace, my joy and salvation. Thank You, Lord! Amen.”

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit”  Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

Look upon your life today as a beautiful tree. God wants you to be planted by the rivers of living water (Psalm 1:3). He sees your potential as a mature and beautiful tree of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3).

However, you cannot grow a mature tree in a POT! The pot must be broken, like Gideon’s clay pot, to allow the light of Christ to shine forth. (See Judges 7:19-21.)

Read again the text verse (Jeremiah 17:7-8) and identify six benefits of being planted:

1) Happiness – “Blessed [happy] is the man. .

2) Confidence – Hope in God.

3) Well Watered – ‘. . roots by the stream.. .

4) No Fear – Even “when [the] heat comes!”

5) No Worries – Of seasonal drought. . . life’s “ups and downs.”

6) Always Fruitbearing – A healthy, reproductive tree.

Get planted! Put your roots down deep. . . in your CHURCH. . . in your COMMUNITY. . . in your HOME on your JOB. Find your place to function. Be the best at where you are NOW!

PRAY: “Patient Lord, I am ready to put down roots and grow strong in You. Help me to find my proper place to serve In Jesus’ Name, amen”

 

“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen the cords, and strengthen thy stakes.”  Isaiah 54:2

A large potted plant beside the house was dying. Closer inspection revealed that the roots were actually splitting the plastic pot and growing into the earth. God spoke in this situation and said, “The plant is potted and root-bound like many of My children today.”

Here are six characteristics of a “potted,” root-bound Christian.

1) Sickly – Low on vitality, wilted leaves, anemic, no testimony, no desire to worship or pray.

2) High Maintenance – Requires daily attention, water, self-centered, overdependence on pastor or friends.

3) Root-Bound – No more soil (vision), just a ball of roots (knowledge). Like a stagnant pond, nowhere to go.

4) Top Heavy – Easily blown over by winds of adversity, bigheaded, high, lofty with pride.

5) Unsettled – Ungrounded, easily moved about by others, no foundation, no long-term direction.

6) Sterile – No reproduction, ingrown, no room in pot for new seeds, no vision for souls, no compassion.

PRAY: “Dear God, heal my root-bound condition today Expand my vision and help me to grow out of the confines of my flesh to experience Your infinite provision. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

“Verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 18:18

Here Jesus was reiterating His teaching in Matthew 16:19. It is as if He is saying actually: “Whatever you decree on earth has already been decreed in heaven.”

Matthew 12:29 records Jesus saying: “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” The “strong man” represents Satan who must be bound through the Name of Jesus, and then the evil spirits can be cast out of his human dwelling place.

Conversely, then, whatever you “loose on earth” has already been “loosed in heaven.” The Holy Spirit is loosed to dispatch God’s love and healing power.

So bind the strong man of jealousy and pride, and loose the love of God. For a spirit of heaviness, loose the garment of praise and oil of joy. If you see a spirit of infirmity or sickness, bind the strong man and loose the Spirit of life and healing. A spirit of fear can be bound as the Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind is loosed upon a person. In cases of sexual perversions, loose an excellent spirit; and for idolatry, loose the true Spirit of God.

PRAY: “Hallelujah, praise to You, Lord, for Your teaching on binding and loosing Once I was blind, but now I can see Empower me by Your Spirit to help set captives free. Amen.”

 

 

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Consider this definition of a friend: “A friend is one who KNOWS you as you are, UNDERSTANDS where you have been, ACCEPTS who you have become, and still gently invites you to GROW.”

Friendships help you grow. Your levels of friendship should grow also, from casual acquaintance to intimate friend. Consider what it takes to develop friendships at these four levels:

1) Acquaintance – be friendly, smile, learn names, be a great listener.

2) Casual Friendship – requires regular communication and contact; takes personal interest; being honest about your strengths and weaknesses.

3) Close Friendship – requires scheduled time together; takes interest in each other’s lives, dreams, potential; speaks of your friendship as “close.”

4) Intimate Friendship – takes more time! Assume personal responsibility for the other’s reputation. Learn how to comfort in trials and sorrows; pray for each other; be committed, loyal, faithful.

PRAY: “Dear Lord, I love you. As my friendship with You grows, help my friendship with others to grow, also In Jesus’ Name, amen”

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