Practice Gratitude

The truly prosperous, abundant life that God wants us to have cannot exist apart from gratitude. That is because a thankful heart is a happy heart. When we are thankful, we are better able to appreciate and enjoy life and experience greater fulfillment. We are also more likely to recognize God’s goodness and be conscious of His abiding presence. The inner joy that results strengthens us. And as we grow stronger, we grow closer to God. We get to know Him, love Him, and trust Him more. Giving God thanks and praise becomes a part of our lifestyle.

practice gratitude

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There is power in praise. The Bible tells us that God inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). When we give Him thanks, the enemy has to flee. Our burdens grow distant. Our faith is increased. We are strengthened and filled with joy. We experience His peace. We embrace His love.

How to Practice Gratitude

We can practice gratitude every day by choosing to be thankful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Notice that the Bible does not say for everything, but in everything. So even in difficult times, God is with us and gives us reasons to be thankful.

Being thankful is a way of life. It is a way of thinking that affects how we feel and what we do. To make it a part of our life, we must practice it. A great way to do this is to think of at least 3 things every day that you can be thankful for. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, think about all the things that were good and give thanks for them. Record them in a journal if you would like.  (Excerpt taken from my book: Giving Thanks – Why It Makes You Happy, Fills You With Peace and Changes Your Life!)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. (Psalm 95:2)

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)

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3)

You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence. (Acts 2:28)

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. (Psalm 75:1)

I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was fully strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:20)

 

Today’s post is written by Krystal Kuehn, author of Healthy Relationships: 10 Keys to Happy & Loving Relationships. Krystal is a psychotherapist, best-selling author, teacher, musician and songwriter. Krystal specializes in helping people live their best life now, reach their full potential, overcome barriers, heal from their past, & develop a happiness lifestyle. Her inspirational and empowering approach has been helping people all over the world for over 20 years. Her books, articles, poetry, and songs have been published locally and internationally. Krystal has a passion for encouraging others. She believes everyone has untapped potential for greatness, and everyone can live a life of fulfillment and true happiness.

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Your Kingdom Come – Lord’s Prayer

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10 (Part 2 of the Lord’s Prayer Series)

Today I re-read the Lord’s prayer in the Message version of the Bible. I learned the Lord’s prayer as a child in the King James version, and I love the poetic flow of the words. But sometimes its good to read another version, so the words and ideas seem new and fresh.

In the King James version, the second part of the Lord’s Prayer is: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. And in the Message version its: Set the world right. Do what’s best, as above, so below.

A Heart’s Response

This second part of the prayer is a heart’s response to the first part of the prayer where we have praised God and put Him in his appropriate place in our lives. We have ascribed him power, greatness and holiness. We have looked up from our daily lives and seen the true glory of the Lord.

In the second part of the prayer, we are responding to this glory of God in our lives. As God is the best and the highest, it inspires us to focus on what He wants, on his kingdom, on his will, here on earth right now. It inspires trust and faith that He knows what is right and is always working towards His goals.

Setting our Sights on the Kingdom

Jesus was always talking about the kingdom of God, telling us what this kingdom was like, to open our eyes to his Father’s plans. I know I get captivated by my own problems, my own needs and wants. I get lost in these little things and constantly forget to watch for God’s kingdom, to see his hand in all the circumstances that surround me.

With this part of the prayer, we shed my earthly vision and give our circumstances over to the Lord with the hope and courage to let Him use them for his kingdom and his purposes.

We pray to see more of the kingdom, to see things through God’s eyes, to know his purposes in the things that surround us right now. This is a whole discipline in itself, to live in surrender and hope that his word is true – that he is working things out for good – including the details of daily life.

Give me vision, give me hope – I surrender this day to your will and watch for your hand. Keep me vigilant, I don’t want to miss one thing You are doing.

This post is the second of a five part series on the Lord’s prayer. Please enter your email address over to the right to get the next part of the series. Tell me about your experiences with prayer in the comments!

Your kingdom come

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

 

This is part of a series on the Lord’s Prayer, the complete series is available at these links:

Part one: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name

Part two: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

Part three: Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors

Part four: Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one

Part five: For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

Path of Life Psalms 16

Psalm 16 verse 11 proclaims: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Thinking about Joy

I have been thinking about joy a lot lately. As I get older and (somewhat) wiser, I am starting to know the path of life, and allow the path before me to fill me with joy and anticipation. During my morning devotions, I have been moving away from my usual long list of supplications to devoting myself to relationship. As I open up to the Holy Spirit’s moving, I move away from negativity and worry, to thankfulness and faith. I have been inspired by some words by CS Lewis – “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

Gifts or God?

Often what I want is gifts from God, more than God Himself. I am seeking health, wealth, safety for my children, and all the other good things in life. God may want me to have these things, but I am learning that they are nothing apart from his presence. In his presence there is joy and only there. I can be temporarily happy with some special life moment, but my continuing joy comes in pursuing a right relationship with God.

Oswald Chambers once wrote: “It is not God’s promises we need, it is God Himself.”

How about you? Let me know where you are at in the comments – I love to hear from you!

This design is available as an art print on Fine Art America.

path of life psalms 16 11

God makes the path of life known to us, in his path and presence is joy

God of Hope Romans 15:13

Our hearts sing with hope, to our God, the God of Hope. So what is up with this concept of ‘hope’? Today’s modern idea around hope is a kind of wishy washy optimism. Its no sure thing, just a big maybe. Today’s modern idea of hope simply doesn’t match up with God. The God of maybe? No, that simply doesn’t work. Biblical hope is a much stronger idea, its a strong and confident expectation, it has certainty attached to it, it is about the nature of God himself. Hope is about things we can’t see or haven’t received, sometimes both. Our God of Hope both holds our hopes and offers us hope. God wants us to abound in hope, to have strength in hope, to be certain of our hopes. Hope is a part of God’s essence, just as God is love, God is also hope.

Approached biblically, hope is an active thing, it gives our lives new dimensions. It gives us power to live with courage and grace, knowing that we are here for a purpose, even if we don’t see it yet. We are watching for eternal outcomes and know that what we can see is not the whole story. If things are looking discouraging, we can turn to God and know that with his perfect love, his infinite resources, we can find compassion, help and support. His mercy doesn’t fail.

Meditate on the God of Hope, let this idea fill your thoughts and heart. Ask God to fill you with joy and peace in believing, ask to abound in hope. Let hope lift you up and bless you with its beautiful future and grace in the very heart of God.

You can get this picture in a greeting card on Fine Art America if you like!

God of Hope Romans

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing

Lift up Your Heads – from Psalm 24:7

Its time to open up wide the gates of your head, your heart and mind and let God in. Its time for the King of Glory to enter. The Lord comes where he is invited. There is no indication in the Bible of hesitation when the gates are open. So lift up your head from the daily grind and take a look around. Have you invited God into all the areas of your life? Don’t be afraid, its time for you to get in on the glory too. Those dark places, those places you have been keeping to yourself – let God in. Nothing bad is going to happen. God has wonderful plans for you, and you can trust him.

You can get this picture as an acrylic print on Fine Art America.

lift up heads ancient doors king of glory

Lift up your heads, you gates. Be lifted up, you ancient doors that the King of glory may come in

 

Jesus – Words from Matthew

The book of Matthew offers a wonderful look at Jesus’ life, teaching and death. To make this picture, I used words from the book of Matthew, all speaking of Jesus, or Jesus’s words.  Matthew was one of the disciples of Jesus and a much-hated tax collector.  The book of Matthew concentrates on the kingship of Jesus, yet still Jesus’s deep, tender love for people comes through over and over, as he heals, teaches, feeds and calms the storms.  Draw close to Jesus and he will draw close to you.

This picture is available as a high quality metal print at Fine Art America.

Jesus words from Matthew

Jesus, the Son of God, come to earth to reconnect us to God.

Give Thanks to the Lord Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. From Psalms 9 verse 1.

I want to give thanks with all my heart, remembering not just this instance for thanksgiving, but times in the past as well.  Maybe I can even stretch it to be grateful for the problems in this moment, which the Lord will use to teach me and help me.  I will see the pattern later as I struggle now, I can be sure of that.

You can get a high quality print of this design at Fine Art America.

psalms 9 1 thanks Lord heart

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart psalms 9 1

The Lord Reigns – Psalm 97:1

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Psalm 97:1

Let this truth sink deep into the core of your being, let it give you confidence in every twist and turn in life. Its the very foundation of peace and joy. For God reigns, and everything is under His control, working together for His purpose.  He has unlimited power and infinite wisdom. We are not living in anarchy or chaos, nothing is coming about through chance.

You can get this design as a greeting card or print over at Fine Art America.

The Lord Reigns Psalm 97 1

The Lord Reigns – in goodness, mercy, perfectly and forever

He Sends Rain on the Just and the Unjust

God sends rain on the just and the unjust – words of Jesus from Matthew 5:45.  God is gracious to to all humanity, not just those who deserve it.  This is an example for us in our Christian walk, love has higher demands than mere justice.

You can get this design as a fine art print over at Fine Art America.

God sends rain Matthew 5

God sends rain, a sign of his goodness, upon us all, deserving or no.

Jesus is the Same, Today, Tomorrow and Always

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. From Hebrews 13:8.

Jesus is the same today as he was in the gospel days.  He’s just as merciful, still answering prayers and walking among us, speaking gently and persistently.  Still he feeds the hungry, hates the self-righteous and lifts our eyes to God.  Its just as easy to know him today and to listen to his voice.

Lord, let me be still and hear you so that I can know you and do your will.

This design is available as a fine art print over on Fine Art America.

Jesus is the same today and forever

Jesus is the same, today, tomorrow and forever. We can know him through the Bible and grow in love for him.