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You Must Ask for Eternal Life... Matthew 21:22 - And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive. John 16:24 - Here to have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy…
When was the last time you sang praises to God outside a church building or devotional service with other believers? Why not open up the Psalms and find several verses that reflect your personal praise and thanks to God? Then, give them a tune — your own tune! God doesn't care if your spiritual gift is music or singing; he's just listening for your heart to be joyful as you share your praise and thanksgiving with him. Let's join in saying and doing what our verse for today commands: "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."
O gracious Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, forgive me for relegating my thanksgiving and praise to special days and special places. I praise you for creating your human children with the capacity to celebrate goodness, to rejoice in your creation, and to have the capacity for praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for making our world so full of reasons to offer thanks to you, our Abba Father and Creator. As you continually fill me with your Spirit, may my heart overflow with songs of praise and words of thanksgiving. To your glory, in Jesus' holy name, I pray and praise you. Amen.
For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
As many of us leave our season of Thanksgiving and transition into the season of Advent, we remember our most significant reason for giving thanks: Jesus' coming as God's incarnation in human flesh. After all, Advent means "the coming," and in particular, the coming of God to earth in Jesus. God loved us so much that he refused to be God far from us, dwelling only in a high and holy place. He chose to come near us and be one of us in Jesus. God is holy and beyond us (Isaiah 6:1-6). Yet, he became one of us in Jesus because of his mercy and grace (Isaiah 57:15). In Jesus, God surrendered his divine privileges and humbled himself so we could see both God's grace and our path to him in his greatness as a servant (Philippians 2:5-11).
Loving Father, thank you for loving us so much that you joined us in our mortality through Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for living among us and showing us what God-like living is. Thank you for knowing our struggle with living in human flesh in a broken world. Thank you for defeating death and giving us life with you forever. Because of Jesus, Father, we will forever want you to know our thanks and praise! Amen.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.
Don't complain or argue! We don't usually associate these things with purity and blamelessness, do we? Paul was extraordinarily close to these Philippians, and he knew them well. He knew their strengths and praised those strengths. He also knew their weaknesses and shortcomings. He knew the destructive power that complaining and arguing have on the life of an otherwise vibrant community of Christians. Let's heed his warning today, in our day, as we see church after church taken under by the negative and cynical spirit that pervades modern culture. We are meant to shine in our dark world of unbelief and unholiness as stars in the night sky, reminding others of "the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:16).
Forgive and cleanse me, O God, for my sometimes argumentive spirit. Please empower me with your Spirit to use my speech only to bless and to build up, never to tear down or discourage. I want to be one of Jesus' lights in my world, leading people out of darkness. In Jesus' name, I ask this. Amen.