Tag Archives: thank you

Give God Thanks

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

To say “thank you” and have people regard you as a messenger of God is something that we need in the world today. We want people to declare that there is a God in this land and that we can say thank you for His presence.

Psalm 137:1-6
By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There we hung up our lyres
on the poplar trees,
3 for our captors there asked us for songs,
and our tormentors, for rejoicing:
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How can we sing the Lord’s song
on foreign soil?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!

The songs that the people of Israel were called to sing by their captors were not considered to be songs that could be sung publicly, because they were considered to be sacred, but what the Jews did not realize was that those songs were an opportunity to witness and proclaim God’s holy name. Like the people of Israel at that time, who were on the banks of the river Babylon in captivity, it is the overwhelming circumstances of the world today that make you stop and weep. Yet, you need to remember and understand how God brings us out of the wilderness is what causes you to be thankful. You need to always remember the importance of God’s presence and not take Him for granted.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12
10 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you—a land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, 11 houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Does this remind you of America today? A nation that was formed and raised up to be a witness of the world. God has called us to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ and be thankful for His presence–even if no one else sees a reason to do so. We are to be His witness to the world in the presence of he sin and evil of the world.

Psalm 9:17
The wicked will return to Sheol—
all the nations that forget God.

Psalm 50:22
“Understand this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart,
and there will be no one to rescue you.

The world needs to see us praising His name in spite of our troubles and difficulties. They need to know the power of the living God and see His light, and the hope of the world. We have a song of grace, mercy, love and redemption to sing. He showers each of us with his love, mercy, grace and redemption.

Psalm 105:1-5
God’s Faithfulness to His People

1 Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
3 Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
4 Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.
5 Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced.

Psalm 106:1-2
1 Hallelujah!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Who can declare the Lord’s mighty acts
or proclaim all the praise due Him?

In all things, search your heart and seek the One who is worthy of praise and give thanks. Who else can proclaim the works of God and His saving grace? Only God Himself and the ones He has redeemed.

Psalm 107:1-2
Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim
that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe.

Our love for God depends upon our obedience to Him. God wants to show Himself as mighty in your life. The psalmist says “God is good.” It does not matter what you have gone through or are going through.

No one else can tell your own story of how good God has been to you. God has given you life, and you should thank Him for it. Your here because of the grace of God.

We need to be a people that sees the world as if we are passing through. While we are passing through, leave the message as to how God forgives, provides grace, and that He is able.

Psalm 107:8, 19-21, 31-32
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.

19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them from their distress.
20 He sent His word and healed them;
He rescued them from the Pit.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
32 Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
and praise Him in the council of the elders.

If The Lord is not on your side, who is on your side? If The Lord does not help you, who will? Be assured that The Lord will help you and be with you, because He never leaves us nor forsakes us. What has God delivered you from recently. He guides your steps. He cares for you. He gives you the reason to celebrate His presence and give Him thanks.

Always remember the goodness of God. Thank you, Lord, for who you are and for everything You have done!

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A Study of Psalm 91

The following is the text of a sermon presented by Melvin Gaines at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church on August 5, 2007:

I was leaving work Friday evening and had just finished walking to my car when a gentleman who was dressed in slightly dirty clothing approached me. He was headed for a shelter up the street to take a shower and he asked for some money to get himself a meal for the evening. I told him that I was sorry but I could only spare two dollars, but that was enough to get himself a couple of burgers on the dollar menu at McDonald’s.  He said thank you, and he went on to explain his present circumstances.  He said that he was here looking for work and that he had been through a great deal of difficulty over the last few days.  He had no money and was looking for his wife who was somewhere in the area, but they lost track of each other and she was missing. She had just gotten out of prison within the last week or so, and she had tried to steal some wine from a grocery store in East Cleveland, and she also deliberately tried to get arrested right in front of some police by violating an open container law.  The gentleman went on to say that he was starting to smell and needed to get a shower, thanked me for my generosity, and then he continued on to speak with more information about his own circumstances. He said that he has run into a lot of people here that have called him all kinds of names and treated him poorly. He said he was called a crack head and a dope addict, but he seemed to not mind very much about this because he felt as though he still had protection from the Lord.  He said this because he had a verse he was claiming in the midst of all of his troubles and difficulties, and that verse was Psalm 91. He then finished up stating again that he had to go because he really needed a shower.  I told him that he would be in good hands if he remains focused on Jesus.  He said thanks again, and I asked him if he had a bible.  He said that his wife had it with her in her purse.  I gave him a bible and told him to take it so that he could once again focus on the Word and Psalm 91.  He had a wonderful smile of gratitude on his face as he left and expressed joy in the midst of sadness.

I do not know the gentleman’s name, and I doubt that we will ever cross paths again, but he mentioned Psalm 91 as being the verse that he was clinging to at this time in the midst of his difficulty.  He was very clear in his communication to me that he was going through an extreme difficulty, and yet he still managed to smile.  How can a person manage to smile when there is nothing but bad news and trouble all around?  The gentleman had problems that he spoke openly about…his wife was missing…and may have even created problems on his own, but when all was said and done, he seemed to understand that life was not centered around his own circumstances, but on the One that was greater than himself, his enemies, and his problems.

Let’s examine Psalm 91 in greater detail, and we can learn some truths that relate to where faith really matters.  We will look specifically at verses 1 and 2, and then later examine His promises to those that show true faith in Him.

Psalm 91:1-2      

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

This psalm begins with a statement of who God is.  He is the God who is all-powerful and is our protection, that is, if we choose to live under His care and protection.  What is protection?  It is a covering.  It is shelter.  An umbrella has great symbolism in demonstrating this truth.  We know what an umbrella can do, but in order for it to be effective, we have to open it, and not just open it, but stand under it or walk beneath it for protection from the rain or the hot sun.  It requires a simple act of opening it and then holding it over our heads.  In the same way, God is our protection, but we have to do a very simple thing in order to realize His protection…we have to make a decision to come under it.  We have to submit to Him and to His will.  In order to be protected by Him, we have to see the need for His protection and then take refuge in it.  Look at Isaiah 25:4-5 to describe how God is like the ultimate umbrella of protection:

Isaiah 25:4-5

For You have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the humble person in his distress, a refuge from the rain, a shade from the heat. When the breath of the violent is like rain against a wall, like heat in a dry land, You subdue the uproar of barbarians.  As the shade of a cloud cools the heat of the day, so He stills the song of the violent.

Going back to Psalm 91, verse 2, the key word used to connect the protection of God is the word “trust”.

The word trust is an action word that requires movement…taking a position.  It is a word that is claimed when making a decision as an act of faith.  This has everything to do with putting on the full armor of God that we have studied in Ephesians 6:10-19.  When we put on the full armor of God, we are relying upon His strength, His energy, and His protection to withstand the enemy, the Devil.  We have faith that His protection is sufficient for us, and when we realize His covering, we rejoice in it.  We are able to, as stated in verse 1, “rest in the shadow of the Almighty”.  When you are running for cover when you are trying to get out of a hard rain, what is the feeling that you experience once you reach shelter?  You feel a sense of relief, of course.  We can rejoice when we feel rest in His shadow and relief in His covering.

To rejoice is a mindset of faith.  The joy in your life is the distinction that others see when you are in the midst of God’s covering and protection.  This is not about how God blesses you or shows you favor, for the one that is going through a hard time yet still able to find rest in Jesus is experiencing anything but favorable circumstances.  To rejoice is indeed a choice, but it is a choice that is made with the conclusion that God is greater than any and all of our circumstances.  Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22         

Rejoice always!

Pray constantly.

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Don’t stifle the Spirit.

Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things.

Hold on to what is good.

Stay away from every form of evil.

These verses are some of the easiest that you could ever begin to memorize, and yet carrying out the action of these verses is very difficult for a person who cannot get beyond their circumstances.  You will not be able to rejoice or pray if you are not looking to the Lord for comfort.  The greatest obstacle to putting on the full armor of God and coming under His protection is to in some way, shape or form have total focus on yourself.  Self-focus is the greatest hindrance, and Satan’s greatest ally, to following Christ and to remain in the faith.  You will not accomplish the message of these verses without faith in Jesus, who is our rest, refuge and protection beyond our circumstances.

In Psalm 91 there is an important “if-then” statement that is better than a guarantee because the Lord is faithful in His promises.  The first statement is about faith in the Lord as a refuge and what He does for us in return:

Psalm 91:9-12    

Because you have made the LORD—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent.

For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.  They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent.

Do you believe in angels?  Angels are real.  Angels are God’s servants that are moved and dispatched about the earth to assist in your covering and protection.  The angels are God’s agents of protection for you.  They are there to assist you because you take the step to have faith that the Lord does indeed protect you.  We need His protection because Satan knows these very words in Psalm 91:12 and tried to use them in the tempting of Jesus (see Luke 4:9-12).

What does this mean as far as our act of faith in the Lord?  My interpretation of this is that if Satan himself is quoting Scripture, doesn’t it make sense that we are as prepared as we can be with the knowledge of God’s Word?  What is one of the components of having the full armor of God?  Look at Ephesians 6:17 (Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word).  Ephesians 6:10-11 is what I call a battle cry, which begins with encouragement in its statement that the Lord is strong, much the same way that Psalm 91:1 declares His strength.  Verse 11, however, implores us to put on His armor to withstand the tactics of Satan.  How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptation?  With Scripture, of course!  How are we to defeat Satan?  With God’s protection fortified by Scripture.  In order to have Scripture as a resource, you have to take the time to read and study God’s Word!  Don’t expect to be consistent and successful in your practice of faith if you remain anemic and weak in your knowledge of God’s Word!

Psalm 91:14-16 summarizes the faithful believer’s reward for following Jesus Christ and trusting in His protection:

Psalm 91:14-16

Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will exalt him because he knows My name.  When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.  I will rescue him and give him honor.  I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.

God promises that our trust and faith in His protection goes beyond our circumstances and that He will remain with us through our difficulties.  His promise of salvation is referenced by Peter in Acts 4:12, where he states “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”  Peter referred to Jesus Christ, which is the Cornerstone of our faith.  The cornerstone of a building has an important function in that it is strong and provides support for the structure.  The structure of our faith remains strong when we rely upon Jesus.  Our strength in overcoming adversity is our trust and faith in Jesus.

Jesus keeps all of His promises, but we will never reach our fullest potential when we are inconsistent in our faith.  How much more can we do in our own attitudes about our expression of Christ in our lives when we look at someone like the gentleman who had two dollars and a Bible, and yet he could still smile in the midst of his tears?  It is not about how much we have, but it is about much we can have with Jesus in our lives.  He is our refuge, our strength, our protection, and our salvation.

Thank you, Jesus.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.


Heather’s Update

I received a letter from Heather Abernathy this morning that is worth sharing here in the blog post.  It is also on our International Workers page.  Please keep our sister in Christ in prayer and also give consideration to providing her with support.  Thank you.

Dear friends,
I want to once again thank you for your constant prayers and encouragement.  As the subject line states, God truly is a good God.  He is one worthy of so much praise and if His people will not praise Him, the rocks will!  As I have prayed through this particular battle, I came to realize that as I have been talking to the kids about the importance of crying out and searching for wisdom, as if it were a hidden treasure (see Proverbs 2), I was not doing it.  Yes, I was praying and yes, I asked you to pray, but was I really searching for God’s wisdom in the midst of the battle?!  I am happy to say that I did begin doing just that, and although things are not “all well”, they are much more bearable and manageable.  God is at work and I praise Him for it.  He has surrounded us with His grace and His mercies have been new each morning.  I thank you so much for your prayers and for standing in the gap for me (us).  Thank you, too, for all the encouraging words that were sent.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s grace, through your prayers, have seen me through this.  There is truly no way in which I can thank you enough.  There IS power in prayer and if you ever feel like you are not doing enough for me, know that praying does make a world of difference here in this dark country.
Those of you who are on FaceBook know that Linda has gotten chicken pox 😦  Gina actually had gotten them as well, but she had an extremely mild case.  Linda is covered from head to toe and has truly been miserable 😦  She has taken several oatmeal baths and is actually on some medicine, too, since she is a high risk kid who could have complications because of her problems.  She finally has begun to feel better and is actually, right now, upstairs in our new school room playing!  I have been very thankful for a friend who has come each morning of school to stay with her.  Tomorrow morning, another friend will come to stay, so I praise God for His provision.
I will close for now, but once again ask that you prayerfully consider being a financial partner with me.  Since being back, my expenses have increased some, so that leaves me still a bit short in my budget.  I continue to walk on water with Jesus, trusting that He will continue to raise my financial support base.  It is so humbling for me to even bring this to you, but I live in the reality that I need faithful supporters at “home” ~the US & Malaysia ~  Please remember that every little bit helps!  $5 pays my water bill and another $5 buys us drinking water for the month.  I have just read recently a quote in which I have now written on my bathroom wall (with bathtub crayons!), “With God, all sacrificial things are possible.”  I believe it was in the Made to Crave devotional book, but not positive, so please forgive my using a quote without its reference.  I have put it on my bathroom wall to remind me daily, several times a day, that God empowers those He calls; He gives strength to those who belong to Him; He supplies when we do things out of a sacrificial heart.  Might you be willing to step out in faith and be a financial partner with me in this ministry here in Cambodia?!
All for Him,

Heather