REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was first posted on November 11, 2013. He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Finding Reasons to be Thankful”
Psalm 100:1-5 (ESV)
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
When I was a child, Psalm 100 was a very familiar call to worship in my local church. I was always excited for the singing and clapping of hands that would ensue whenever our worship leader opened the service by reading it. I’d imagine that the doors of the church were God’s “gates,” and I sensed that I was supposed to start thanking Him for all he’d done for me whenever I walked through them. Although it didn’t all make sense at the time, I figured there was something important to thanking the Lord and I knew I always felt better when I did.
In a couple of months, Americans will be celebrating a day of giving thanks. One mother wrote out her reasons for being thankful as follows:
“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.
For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
For children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy that you hate to see them go home to their own parents.
For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
For smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”
Although our lists may look a little different, we all can find something for which to be thankful. Yet, many in our country aren’t quite sure to whom their thanks should be directed. But Scripture teaches us that every good and perfect gift is from God (James 1:17). We owe our gratitude to Him for He truly has done marvelous things. Let Psalm 100 be your call to worship this morning and usher you into praise.
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You rule and reign over all creation and in our personal lives. Help me to trust You in all things as I am reminded of that truth. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 10
Lunch Break Study
Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV): Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Questions to Consider
- What does Paul encourage us to do here?
- What are the components of Paul’s remedy for anxiety (worry)? How are these related to the preceding command to rejoice always?
- What types of things are we encouraged to think about? Are these the types of thoughts that typically dominate your mind?
- Paul encourages us to pray in the face of worry and anxiety. He tells us to talk to God about what’s going on and to ask him (petition) for what we need. One important factor in this passage is thanksgiving. Along with expressing concerns and asking for help, it’s important that we give thanks to God for who He is and the things He has done. This is more important for us than for God. When Peter walked on water in the midst of the storm, as long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus, he was capable of the impossible. But the stormy waters distracted him (and understandably so) and caused fear. He took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Similarly, the storms of life can distract us from the reality of who God is and what He can do. So if we give thanks, we remind ourselves of the solid rock upon which we stand, the God in whom we trust. We can rejoice in God always because He is unchanging even when life is constantly changing.
- Paul also encourages believers to fill our thoughts with truth. At first glance, verse 8 can sound a bit like New Age thought with its focus on self-help and positive thinking. But the difference here is that the object of our thoughts must be God himself. He is the one who is true and noble and pure and lovely. When circumstances around us are as such that we are tempted to worry, we have to remember the truth of God’s word and the beauty of his character and the praiseworthiness of his deeds. This is how we participate in guarding our minds and allowing God to fill us with peace.
- Are there situations in your life today that are leading you to worry? Follow Paul’s advice and bring them before God, with a heart of thanksgiving for who God is and what He can do. Are your thoughts focused on all things true, lovely, praiseworthy, admirable? Ask the Holy Spirit to bring these kinds of thoughts to your mind and replace any lies with truth, anything impure with pure thoughts, and so on and so forth. Let’s dwell in the peace God longs to give us.
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” (Henry Ward Beecher)
In his book on spiritual disciplines, John Ortberg encourages readers to spend time in the evening reviewing their day with God. The principle behind this discipline is to make ourselves aware of the movements of God throughout the day that we can so easily miss in our fast-paced lives. Spend some time reviewing the movements of God in your day today – how was He working in and around you? Ask God to open your eyes to see. Give Him thanks for the specific things He has done today.