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But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 

-Luke 21:34

Whenever I am confronted with a person who doesn't understand the power of joy, this is what I always simply say, "If you don't understand joy ... then just be thankful because thanksgiving and joy are not so very far apart."

Joy is that supernatural vitamin that bestows a weak human being with strength.  Joy is nourished by thanksgiving, it is nurtured by forgiving and it is sustained by heartfelt giving.

Joy can powerfully be spelled with the letters "G-I-V-E".

... I am going to wring the joy out of these three words ... thanksgiving ... forgiving ... and giving from the heart.

Today - let's start with giving.

When you give to others, you will be the recipient of an unexplainable, dynamic and vibrant joy!

If you lack joy, give what you don't have to someone else.

If you don't understand joy, give a smile to someone in need.

If you resent others who have joy, buy a person a cup of coffee.

Give when you don't feel like it.

Give when you have nothing to give.

Choosing to give to others is the prerequisite for receiving the inheritance of joy. 


(Keep reading here...

Carol is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She hosts a daily radio program called, "Defiant Joy Radio", has written 5 books - "The Rooms of a Woman's Heart", "Defiant Joy!", "Holy Estrogen!",  "No More Ordinary!" (which hit several of Amazon's best seller lists), and her most recent, “Refined … Finding Joy In the Fires of Life!”. She has also written several devotionals for the popular Bible app, YouVersion.  She is the mom of 5 grown children, Marmee to 6 grandchildren and is married to her college sweetheart.

More of Carol McLeod: http://www.justjoyministries.com/

God is Good! Give Thanks!   

  

Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. —Psalm 106:1 (NLT)

 

It’s Thanksgiving-eve today and whether it’s a travel day or you are getting ready for tomorrow’s celebration, you will probably be busy. In the hustle and bustle of this day, there will likely be more reasons that you can count for why being thankful might not be on the top of your list today. Here are a few possibilities:

 

• You need to drive the family 60 miles to get to your T-Day celebration and there is a 10-mile back-up of stop-and-go traffic.

• The turkey is thawing in the kitchen and you didn’t know that your dog loves raw turkey until you noticed him gnawing on one of the drumsticks in the living room.

• You are hosting a dozen people tomorrow for dinner, and all of your three kids have just come down with an explosive intestinal virus.

 

Whatever your day-before-Thanksgiving brings, allow me to simply remind you that there is always at least one good reason to give thanks, whatever your circumstances, and it is this: God is good.

Here are three of my favorite ways that God displays His goodness:

 

1) God is good because He gives us free gifts. Everyone loves a free gift, right? God is good because His gifts are amazing! We read in Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God is so rich in mercy, He loved us so much, that He gave us back our lives again when He raised Christ from the dead. Only by His undeserved favor have we been saved.”

Do we deserve God’s kindness? No. Do we deserve His mercy?  No.  Do we deserve His forgiveness?  No.  God loves us and He gives us these free gifts.  This is a reason to be thankful!

 

2) God is good because He loves us unconditionally. God loves us not for what we’ve done, but for who we are. This is a core truth about God and worthy of our embrace. God's love isn’t based on our income. It’s not based on our job. It’s not based on our looks. It’s not based on the way we dress. God's love for us has no strings attached. There’s nothing you can do to earn God's love. This is a reason to be thankful!

 

3) God is good because he offers us life forever. In the midst of all of the craziness happening in the world, we can be thankful that God wants our future to include real life! He offers us life to the full—here and now (see John 10:10) and someday, life in heaven. We read in 1 Peter 1:4-5, “and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” This is a reason to be thankful!

 

God is good! He gives amazing gifts! He loves you unconditionally! He gives us life now and a future in heaven. So, what are you waiting for? Thanksgiving Day? There’s no need to wait! Give thanks!

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What are the most personal and meaningful ways that you are thankful for God’s goodness to you?

2. Wherever you find yourself today, take some moments to thank God for His goodness.

 

FURTHER READING:

1 Chronicles 16:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California. 

More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com

Reasons for Giving Thanks -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. —James 1:17

 

I wonder at times why it seems so easy for me to focus on the negative aspects of my life. I routinely take for granted some of the very basic blessings that God has given. How about you? This week as we have celebrated Thanksgiving, take a few moments to reflect on all of the good things that God has provided you with and give Him thanks. It just might make your day! Here’s a reminder (author unknown) that helped to spark my own thinking about how God has blessed my life:

 

• If you woke up this morning with more health than illness… you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

• If you have never experienced battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

• If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep… you are richer than 75% of people in this world.

• If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace… you are among 8% of the world’s most wealthy people.

• If your parents are alive and still married… you are very rare, even in the United States.

• If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful… you are blessed because the majority can, but do not.

• If you prayed yesterday and today… you are blessed because you believe God does hear and answer prayer, even though you are in the minority by holding this belief.

• If you can read these words… you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

 

There is no doubt that God is good and that we are blessed! Like the Psalmist, we can ask, “How can I repay the Lord for all of his goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12) Though we can never fully repay God for his goodness, we can demonstrate our gratitude through our praise and by serving others. Today, live your life as one who has been blessed. Begin by whispering a simple “thank you” to God, in prayer. Then, demonstrate your gratitude by serving someone else, in Jesus’ name.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Take a few minutes and make a list of God’s blessings that you find it easy to take for granted. Carry the list with you today, as a reminder of God’s many blessings.

 

2. Spend some time in prayer, giving God thanks for each one of these items on your list.

 

FURTHER READING:

Psalm 128; Psalm 84:11; Hebrews 13:15-16

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

LAWN CARE 

BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN

In Streams in the Desert

"He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass" (Ps. 72:6).

Amos speaks of the king's mowings. Our King has many scythes, and is perpetually mowing His lawns. The musical tinkle of the whetstone on the scythe portends the cutting down of myriads of green blades, daisies and other flowers. Beautiful as they were in the morning, within an hour or two they lie in long, faded rows.

Thus in human life we make a brave show, before the scythe of pain, the shears of disappointment, the sickle of death.

There is no method of obtaining a velvety lawn but by repeated mowings; and there is no way of developing tenderness, evenness, sympathy, but by the passing of God's scythes. How constantly the Word of God compares man to grass, and His glory to its flower! But when grass is mown, and all the tender shoots are bleeding, and desolation reigns where flowers were bursting, it is the most acceptable time for showers of rain falling soft and warm.

O soul, thou hast been mown! Time after time the King has come to thee with His sharp scythe. Do not dread the scythe--it is sure to be followed by the shower. --F. B. Meyer


"When across the heart deep waves of sorrow

Break, as on a dry and barren shore;

When hope glistens with no bright tomorrow,

And the storm seems sweeping evermore;


"When the cup of every earthly gladness

Bears no taste of the life-giving stream;

And high hopes, as though to mock our sadness,

Fade and die as in some fitful dream,


"Who shall hush the weary spirit's chiding?

Who the aching void within shall fill?

Who shall whisper of a peace abiding,

And each surging billow calmly still?


"Only He whose wounded heart was broken

With the bitter cross and thorny crown;

Whose dear love glad words of Joy had spoken,

Who His life for us laid meekly down.


"Blessed Healer, all our burdens lighten;

Give us peace, Thine own sweet peace, we pray! 

Keep us near Thee till the morn shall brighten,

And all the mists and shadows flee away!"


The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

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