Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Power of a Thankful Heart

I am sitting in my living room. My family is all around me. It is cold and wet outside and the logs of the cozy fire are crackling in the fireplace. My heart is full of thanks to my Savior for the many blessings I have been given. After a week of family togetherness of laughing hysterically at the dinner table, playing card games and rooting on our beloved Razorbacks, I can't help but feel those warm fuzzies inside. I have so much to be thankful for and I never want to take for granted the happiness and comfort of my life.

After doing the Bible study for last Monday (which I couldn't post until today), I noticed some things in God's Word about a thankful heart and looked at my own past experiences and decided a "thankful heart" is a very powerful thing.

How is a Thankful heart powerful? When we begin to recount the things we have to be thankful for a positive change takes place. We begin to focus on blessings rather than complaints. We begin to see God's hand at work in out lives. We realize that all of the good we have is not from our hands!

You have heard the phrase "attitude of gratitude". Well, when we begin to give thanks for things, our attitude is shifted. Our attitude is one then that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

When I did last week's treasure dig for the word "thankful", I chose the Contemporary English version in studylight. The verses that stood out to me are Psalm 22:26, and Psalm 50:14 and 23.
Psalm 22:26 says that those who are thankful will live in hope! Wow! That's is pretty powerful.
Psalm 50:14 says that God doesn't want a bunch of sacrifices other than that of a heart of thanksgiving and verse 23 says that when we are thankful God will show His power and save!

So, as the Thanksgiving holiday has passed us, let's not stop giving thanks for all the He has done for us! Oh my goodness, we are so blessed! Let us determine that we will thank God for His goodness and His blessings as well as accept adversity and trials - all with a heart of thanksgiving.

Ok. My post question for this fun part of the Bible study is this:
What are you most thankful for? List them in categories.

To get you going here are my answers:
I am most thankful for:
Spiritual - God's saving Grace through His Son Jesus Christ. The song by Avalon- "Can't Live a Day Without You" is my theme song in life! I am so thankful to know that I have an eternity with the Lover of my soul!
Material - I guess my home. I love my cozy old house- even with it's "blueness". Ha! I love the fireplace and the big rooms - and I am thankful that I have a house that needs new carpet and new bathtubs and new lighting..... ha! It has its problems, but I love it! Oh! A very close second thing I am thankful for is my job! I love going to work! I love using the things God has given me for ministry.
Relational - This is easy- My wonderful, adorable, Godly, and very handsome husband! He is the love of my life, my best friend, my soul mate, my priest, provider, and protector! I am so madly in love with him! Also - my four wonderful children! (I love my life!)
Emotional - I am very thankful for a wonderful childhood with 2 awesome parents that gave me security and love.
Whimsical - Fun times! Being able to laugh at myself (that really comes in handy when you are an airhead klutz!) I am thankful when I can remember where my shoes are and where my keys are. I am thankful that I can go to bed and sleep even if my house is a wreck! M&Ms and Chocolate!!!!!! and Diet Coke!

Okay - bare your soul and share what you are most thankful for! I want to hear from ALL of you!
Have a great day! I love you all! (Don't forget to do the Bible study - Dig for Treasure!)


A Thankful Heart

Philippians 4:6-8
The Message Bible
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I want us to look at what God’s Word says about the subject.

I am sitting in our condo in Branson, without internet and having to do this Bible study the old fashioned way….. (I am having to crucify my flesh many times over on this one! Ha!) My kids and grandkids are all around me having a blast and my heart is full of thanks. I have been contemplating this word and it’s meaning – Thanksgiving. Looking back at the experiences of my own life, I can see where having a thankful heart is a very powerful thing. So began my search for what the Bible says.

Our scripture above is from Philippians 4:6-8. Why don’t you take a few minutes and read this scripture in several translations? In the NIV you will see the word thanksgiving used in verse 6.

Using your online tools with find the original Greek meaning for the word used in verse 6 – thanksgiving.

Next, go to Webster’s Dictionary online (I think it is websters-merriam) and find the English definition of thankful, thanksgiving, and thanks.

Is there a difference in our English definition and the original Greek word?

Now let’s use an Old Testament verse and see what we find.
Go to Psalm 107:22 and find the Hebrew word used for thanksgiving.
Why would the psalmist call it the sacrifices of thanksgiving?

Here is a challenge treasure hunt for you.
You can use study light or your e-sword resource. Pull up every verse in the Bible that has thanksgiving, thankful, or thanks in it. Try to find all the different Hebrew words used for those words and the original meaning.

How many words did you find? And what did they mean?
Sometime next week, I will post my thoughts on Thanksgiving and the Hebrew words. But in the mean time, I hope you ponder Philippians 4 in your heart and memorize this word.

I love the way the Message Bible phrases this powerful verse. According to this verse in the Message Bible, what happens when you have a thankful heart?

I pray you all have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! May we all look around us and see all that we have to be appreciative of. God is so good and His mercy endures forever!

I am thankful for each of you!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Love you all!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Fun Comment Day

Okay Girls. As you all are working on last week's Bible Study - I know you are - here are some thoughts to hopefully spur some fun discussion for the week.

As we enter into the wonderful holiday season, I can't help but think back on seasons past and all of the fun times I had as a kid growing up.

I want you to think about the most fun and/or memorable Thanksgiving you have had and share that with us. Let us all be thankful together for the goodness and mercies of our Awesome God!

Thanksgiving Memories

Well, I have lots of wonderful and even humorous Thanksgiving Memories. Of course, at my age, memories begin to run together and I wonder if that happened at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or in my dreams! ha!

I guess my most memorable Thanksgiving started out as a sad one. It was 24 years ago, right before Rusty and I got married in December. Because we were getting married during Christmas break of college, we had to both work through the Thanksgiving holiday. We were bummed- we had never fathomed a holiday away from our parents. We were students at Central Bible College in Springfield and madly in love.

We decided we would make the best of our first holiday away from home. I remember getting up in the eerily quiet dorm on Thursday. It felt and sounded like a ghost hall. I called Rusty's dorm and we made our plans for the day. We would meet for lunch wherever we could find an open restaurant and fill our day with play and study before we had to report to work.

Not only was our college campus empty and quiet, but the streets of Springfield were strangely void of traffic. It felt like we were in a sci-fi movie where aliens had abducted everyone.....

We finally found a restaurant open serving the traditional Thanksgiving day meal. We walked in to the most crowded and loudest place we had seen so far. There, other lone stragglers gathered to celebrate a holiday and hide the lonliness everyone had to feel. We ordered our turkey and dressing. Our meager meal was served and I know we both thought about our mom's and grandmother's meals they were serving. What we had before us could never compare. Once again self-pity engulfed me.

I remember Rusty taking my hand and praying over our meal. At that moment, as he prayed for all of our Thanksgivings to come, I knew how thankful and blessed I really was. I had been in the "mullygrubbs" for not getting to celebrate the way that I was accustomed to, but suddenly I saw a wonderful future ahead of me- a future full of Thanksgivings, Christmases, and other holidays with the man of my dreams - the love of my life.

From that moment on the day was magical. We ate, laughed, and went to the park and played football with some other "left behind" students. I guess that was our first time to be our "new family" in our hearts- if that makes sense. We missed like crazy our traditional time with our parents and siblings, but we were in love and were together.

So, share your most memorable Thanksgiving! Funny, sad, silly.... whatever. Gives us your thoughts!

Love ya all! (and I am waiting on you gals to post from the Bible Study!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Made in His Image - Body, Soul, and Spirit

Good morning Ladies!

I hope you are all doing well on this beautiful day!

We have had a couple of weeks break and I am chomping at the bits to get back into our Bible study full swing. I hope you are also.

We have been looking at different issues we face with being human- basically struggling with our humanity while serving our Savior. Last time we looked at the word "trust". I haven't heard from all of you on that one, but I hope you have given it some thought and done the scripture search on it.

The next two weeks we are going to look a little more in depth at our tri-partite beings and the struggles we face. Before we go any further, it would really help to make sure you have completed the Bible study from October 1st, on looking at our sinful nature. Here is a link to that page to refresh your memory:

One of the greatest "revelations" for me in my Christian walk was when I gained an understanding of how God made me (all humans) and how to gain victory over my unChristlike desires. That is what we will be looking at this week.

How God Made Us

  • Genesis tells us that we are made in His image. (Genesis 1:26) Notice it says, "Let US".

  • Use your reference tool and check out the word used for God in that verse.

  • Now go to 1 Thessalonians 5:23. This is a classic verse that references HOW, we as humans, are made in God's image. We saw in Genesis 1 that the word "elohim" was the plural form of God, used when God is speaking of the fullness of the Godhead - the trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This Bible study is so simple, yet can be so revolutionary to our thinking. I pray that you have an enlightening from the Holy Spirit on this subject. I know many of you have heard Pastor Rusty preach a sermon series on this, but I need to make sure we are all on the same page.
We are made in His image a tri-partite being- Body, Soul, and Spirit.

  • Our body, through our senses (sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell), is world conscious.
  • Our soul, through our thoughts, feelings, and will is self conscious.

  • Our spirit is God conscious through our conscience and convictions.

The part that I want to bring together is the fact that we struggle with our "flesh" or the desires that our body has, but we control those desires through our soul - our will. We also struggle with our "flesh" through innate desires -and again we control those through our will.

Let's take a basic "sin" and look at it for a moment. Galatians 5:19 lists several. Drunkeness is one. Through the sense of taste the body "drinks" an alcoholic beverage and becomes drunk. If the person enjoys the taste and likes it and the "buzz", a "desire" is born. But the spirit of man, the conscious, says losing control is not good. Our soul man thinks about what his conscience is telling him, has an emotion about it (positive or negative) and makes a choice to drink again or not. It is our will that is in our soul that sets us apart. God has given us a free will to choose serving Him and His ways or not. We are in control of what we choose.

Now think about this for a moment- we are born with a carnal nature- a sinful nature. We don't teach our children to lie or disobey. They do those "sinful" things naturally. We have to teach them to tell the truth and to obey, etc. Those "sins" come from our fleshly desires.

Keeping all of this in mind, let's go to our next study passage: 1 John 2:15 - 17 and Genesis 3:1-19. Research the meanings of the original Greek and Hebrew using your studylight reference tool. ( - use the KJV with Strong's numbers, then click on the word(s) you need.)

Looking at the two texts listed, place the following phrases into the proper category below. (It is my natural tendency to just put it out here for you, but I want you to "dig" this out for yourself.)

Phrases from 1 John 2:
(NIV) "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has
and does"
Phrases from Genesis 2:6:
(NIV) "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom..."
1 John 2; Genesis 2
Body World Conscious

Soul Self Conscious

Spirit God Conscious
(If you are on my email list, I will send a word document with the chart in it. I think that may make a little more sense. I can't get the chart to post correctly in the blog.)
With this chart that you just made, any sin and any temptation can be placed into one of these categories. Is it a sin of base fleshly desires? Is it a sin of pride and arrogance? Or is it a sin against the knowledge of God, of rebellion?

Here are your life application questions: (You do not have to post your answers, but please make some kind of post when you are finished.)
1) List three areas in your life that you continually struggle with.
2) Under what part of your humanity do each of those struggles fall- body, soul, or spirit?
3) Do you feel that any of these struggles would be considered by God as a "love for the world"?
4) What does 1 John 2:17 mean to you?

For those of you who complete these studies easily and quickly, here are some challenge questions and a sneak preview into November 19th's study:
  • Read Isaiah 53:4-7 Place those into our chart above.
  • Find other 3s in the Bible that can be placed in our Body, Soul, and Spirit chart.
I pray that the Word of God will produce a 100 fold in your life as you study and seek His face.
I know this week is a different study, but I want you each to be able to draw the conclusions from God's Word yourself, rather than me telling you. The truths in this lesson are a great tool for you to gain victory over your flesh. I pray that as we complete the next couple of lessons, that all of this will make sense and come together for you as it has in my life.

Please feel free to email me personally if you have any questions at

Remember - you guys voted to have the Bible study every other week. On the off weeks, I will try to post something fun. Usually posts are made on Mondays or Tuesdays. (This week was a little late because I am getting old and have been quite under the weather.) POST POST POST!!! I want to hear from you! And if you have to post anonymously- don't forget to put your name so we will know who it is from.

Love you all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This Weeks Bible Study

Hey Ladies!
I am still working on this week's study. It has been a very difficult one to put into words. I have been working on it for 2 weeks, and still struggling for the exact terminology. The topic this week is the central part of this whole unit on "Lord Help Me, I'm Human". So, I want the message to be clear and insightful.

If you are caught up and waiting on what is coming next, please re-read Romans 6, 7, and 8. If you are not caught up, please make sure you do the study on October 1st.

As always, it helps me gauge where you are when you post your answers.

Love ya all dearly!