You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
“Thanksgiving increases the proximity of God in our lives.” Shakirah A. Hill
When we take time to reflect and thank God for the things He’s done, our hearts soften and become more sensitive to the essence of who He is. We give ourselves the opportunity to recognize the favor and intention in everything around us; we change our less than positive thinking to that of a renewed and peaceful mind; we move our focus from us to Him.
What are you thankful to God for? What can you take the time to praise Him for, even in this moment?
When we praise Him for all that He’s done, we acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives, we defeat attempts of the Enemy and we set the atmosphere for the work of His Living Spirit within us. Thanksgiving, essentially, draws us closer to Him and in turn, Him closer to us (James 4:8 NLT).
With the prompting of the holiday, let’s create/continue to lead a lifestyle, not solely a day, of Thanksgiving. In thanksgiving, we gain more of Him! In it, we win!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Be thankful.
On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. Psalm 100 (MSG)
My prayer, today, is that we embrace the freedom we’ve been given, as a gift, in Christ. May we boldly receive His forgiveness, declare “I am free”, live in it and love one another through it. Press play to hear the song on my heart.
You’re the reason I have hope / You’re everything I need and more / You made me / You made me free ♪
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 (MSG)
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25 (NLT)
Well, I’m gonna go ahead and pull the pregnancy card here, and ask for your understanding in why I’ve been away for some time. I haven’t forgotten about JBA blog in the least bit, but with all of the competing to-dos, it’s been a challenge for me to prioritize these days.
All that to say, pregnancy, parenthood and all things baby have been occupying my mind over the last 7 months! Recently, the hubs and I took a child birthing class and learned (and saw) way more than I think either of us wanted to. At some point in the class, we were walked through the purpose and importance of the umbilical cord – which, in lamest terms, is the conduit between the baby and mother, via the placenta.
A fetus’ growth, development, oxygen and blood supply are all supplemented through this cord. Essentially, the cord sustains the baby’s life. If the flow of nutrition through the umbilical cord is inhibited (e.g., by being cut or severely tangled), the life of the developing fetus would end.
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much abundant fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (AMP)
Jesus, aka the True Vine, is our umbilical cord. Just like the fetus who is nourished and developed via the cord, we are fed and in turn produce through the True Vine. Just like the unborn baby who cannot grow without constant connection through the cord, we cannot grow without constant, daily, minute by minute connection to God through Christ. The only way to get Who and what we need in order to walk this life out in the way He intended us to, is through Jesus (John 14:6).
Now, I realize that those of us who strive to live our lives as disciples, are familiar with the aforementioned concept (for lack of a better term) imparted in John 15. Yet, I do not want any one of us to take for granted the value in being intentional in remaining connected. Otherwise, He tells us that “Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” #notaboutthatlife
So, how do you purposefully abide in Him, so that you may be fruitful? How do you allow the sustenance, that only He can provide, continue to flow in your life? What will you begin doing, differently, to connect to the Source of abundant life?
My prayer today is that the Lord would encourage our hearts and increase our desire to make our constant connection, with Him, priority. To give us a thirst for His will and for wisdom, that we will in turn seek through the daily study of and meditation on His Word. That we will remain in Him by spending time with Him and conversing with Him, not just each day, but throughout our days. And, that we may grow in understanding and appreciation of His love by loving others with His heart.
Last month, Gungor’s new album I Am Moutain reached top 10, overall, on iTunes! Although I love their new single (here), one of my favorites – an “old school” Gungor – reminds me that He makes beautiful things…out of the dust; out of us.
Press play. Be encouraged. You are made beautiful.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8