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Giving Thanks

The book of Thessalonians was written with a focus on
The Soon Coming King.
Interesting? As you read the passage below, do you find these verses to have a stunning and resonating sound for today?

1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 (AMPLIFIED)
See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations—words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test [all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].

Did you read in the center of it all: past, present and future, these verses supply a truth that will forever remain? We can find God’s heart and will again and again. It’s found central to our giving – thanks, continual prayer, rejoicing and delighting in the faith.

Give-thanks: To be grateful, feel thankful, give thanks. Friend, this is how we stay plugged into God.

Pray continually: this one is obvious, happening all the time, always loyal.

Rejoice: success in doing, finding a source or cause of great happiness; connect your joy to your delight in the faith and you will begin to rejoice.

Give Thanks to God

Here are few give-thanks verses we find in scripture that have the same meaning as when we read in:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Matthew 26:36 – And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

John 6:23 – however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks—

John 11:41- Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

Lastly, Romans 1:8 supplies giving-thanks and a prayer
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Prayer:
Father, I humbly thank you that in the midst of your brokenness you gave thanks. You continue to walk beside me through every season of my life. In times of great hope and hopelessness you strengthen my faith, may it not fail? You’re an ever present help in time of need. Thank-you! Grant opportunities of grace so that I can share my faith effectively with others. May I rely, lean on and trust in You. Thank you, You hear my prayer!

Quote:
Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.
Zig Ziglar

Deborah Somjak ~ 4 Unfolded Hearts Ministry

Picture, perfect.

Isaiah 26:3-4

You will keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on You,

Because he trusts in You.

Trust in the LORD forever,

For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

 

Perfect peace? Could this be true?

As I read this verse, it began to read me. I knew I needed a closer view.

The wording perfect peace comes from the Hebrew word shalowm better known to us as shalom. It’s defined as completeness, soundness, peace, safety, welfare, health, and prosperity, contentment, friendship of human relationships and with God especially in covenant relationship.

After reading the definition of shalom used in this verse in Isaiah 26. I can sincerely say that I’ve experienced perfect peace. I don’t know that I would have been so confident to say so had I not took a closer view. Certainly, not at all times in all circumstances however as I gain understanding of perfect peace, it aids in the framework of my mind. Which is, friends, the prerequisite to our perfect peace.

Strongs describes mind as: form, framing, image, and purpose. I could ask you this way: What are you focusing on? What framework, picture or image is on your mind? Do you allow others to frame your thoughts? If you listen to the media-reports, posts or news feeds they will bombard you with current issues and concerns. It’s easy to be thrown into their projected purpose, which is to leave an imprint of influence upon your mind. In order for you to stay tuned, only for more of the same!

but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ephesians 4:23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

We can be informed people without the dramatic digression under the wrong influence. Isaiah 26 verses three and four are most revealing as they state a progressive process to perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Verse 4 continues to encourage us further reminding us to go back and place Trust in Lord forever – He is our everlasting strength. Selah. Stop and think about that. Literally, purpose to imagine and create a framework in your mind of trusting the Lord forever. The Lord is our everlasting strength.

The Rock of Ages – He forever remains.

In His watchful care,

Deborah Somjak~ Unfolded Hearts Ministry

Divine Promises

Promise
As we prepare to celebrate Easter it wouldn’t be fitting if we didn’t first recount the events that took place in the life of Jesus individually and at our place of worship during what is known as Passion Week, the time from His triumphal entry to resurrection. Jesus spent most of his time in Bethany, just two miles east of Jerusalem on the opposite slope of the Mount of Olives. He probably stayed at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Jesus spent Thursday night praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Friday and Saturday nights Jesus’ body lay in the garden tomb. [Billye Brim describes the third day from her book The Blood and the Glory.]
The third day, our Lord Jesus arose- triumphant over death, hell and the grave-and carried His own precious blood into the Heavenly Holy of Holies where it was accepted for you, me, our families and generations to come.

The precious blood of Christ- 1 Peter 1:19

Hebrews 6: 9-12

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 Let’s consider a few redeeming lives of those who have gone before us, and their maturing attributes, as they trusted in that which Christ had promised:

Thomas may have doubted until Jesus revealed himself, but he didn’t allow the doubt to remain. He matured through his belief while stating, “My Lord and my God!” Selah. [John 20:26-29 you are blessed for believing yet having not seen]

Abraham received great promises from God. Many which seemed impossible to be realized, yet Abraham trusted God with confidence and active faith. [Mature choice(s) in righteousness]

Jeremiah accused God of being unreliable [15:18]. God reminded Jeremiah of His promise to stand by him [12:5,6; 15:19,20]. Jeremiah’s questioning of God forms one of the best examples in the Bible of what it means to follow God in spite of everything. [Jeremiah matured in his depth of understanding as well as in the spiritual challenge]
Hebrews 12:2 AMP

[Looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

I love how this one verse in Hebrews 12:2 starts with encouragement that enfolds us, you and I, in the assurance of Christ. The perfecting of faith is a part of our maturing. The word focus by definition is the center of interest or activity; focusing our eyes on Jesus is strategic victory for our completion [the will & purposes] as we follow a divine and supreme example.
Do you have promises from God that seem too incredible to fulfill?

Hear the integrity of His own heart in this verse.

Hebrews 6:17-18
Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

Isaiah 26:4 MSG – “Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.”

Deborah Somjak
Unfolded Hearts Ministry

Cited Resource Chronological Life Application Study Bible

Let’s apply our diligence.

For this very reason, applying your diligence [to the divine promises, make every effort] in [exercising] your faith to, develop moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge (insight, understanding), and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, steadfastness, and in your steadfastness, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly affection, and in your brotherly affection, [develop Christian] love [that is, learn to unselfishly seek the best for others and to do things for their benefit]. For as these qualities are yours and are increasing [in you as you grow toward spiritual maturity], they will keep you from being useless and unproductive in regard to the true knowledge and greater understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8 AMP

 

Pray for Peace

Pray for Peace

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”
Psalm 122:6

Recommended Reading
Galatians 3:7-9
Three times each year the men of Israel journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16; Acts 2:1, 9-11). Most scholars believe the fifteen “Songs of Ascents”—Psalms 120–134—were sung by the pilgrims as they ascended to Jerusalem. Psalm 122 exhorts the faithful in Israel to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was the heart of Israel—the site of the temple, the center of Jewish worship. All the descendants of Abraham knew that Jerusalem, the place where God dwelt, was God’s city of peace.
Should we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem today? For a host of reasons, yes! Perhaps the best reason is the same reason the ancient Israelites prayed for Jerusalem: They were descendants of Israel bound by the covenants of God to His holy city. The New Testament teaches that those who have faith in God’s salvation plans, whether Jew or Gentile, “are sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Jerusalem, the most embattled city on earth, is still very much in God’s plans.

Pray for the peace of God’s city and God’s chosen people who remain “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!
Babylonian exiles, Psalm 137:5

By: Dr. David Jeremiah

Deborah 4 Unfolded Hearts

Thanksgiving

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

— Philippians 1

I’ve been pondering love as John and I were preparing to celebrated our anniversary. As I was attempting to fathom God’s lavished love, and how He freely offers this love, I found myself thanking Him! During this same time, I happened to come across an old journal entry I made a few years back. I recall writing this entry after hearing Ephesians 3:17-19 “…being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Soon after, I began to sing a worship song on the same verse. As I was singing “how deep/how wide” is the love of God, I had a gentle and sudden unction from the Holy Spirit, as if to nudge me saying, “so, are you asking Me?” Immediately I knew He wanted to answer the very question I was singing, and I certainly didn’t want to miss it. I rushed to find pen & paper in order to capture His reply. We know the heart-care of God that when he speaks to one sheep, He often times will speak the same encouraging words to another. When you see my name below you can [insert your name].

Lord, how deep is your love?
My love has gone willingly to the depths of the earth, swallowed up by earth, a place you do not know or have known, a place in which I would not send, require or hope for you to ever know. I went before you so you wouldn’t have to – Yes, I paid the debt, [Debbie] I love you, I love you, I love you – more then you could ever comprehend this side of eternity – – – I am for you, I am with you, now and forever more! Take my yoke and follow after Me, as you serve, lead and love in My Name.

How high is your love, Lord?
It’s the Highest Love it reaches to the Highest Heaven. Its the most wonder-full, glorious, radiant love that could ever be experienced. When you come to Me, you are able to reach this place with Me. Then you carry it on your face, heart, and hands as I lead your steps to bring an expression of the most Holy Love to earth and to those who yet long to reach the highest heaven.

You know of this place! You know, [Debbie], full well how to reach and touch my heart. You fill me when you come to me, even in your desperation and deepest need – you honor My Name, when you cast your cares upon me – – –

I love my time with you, I enjoy how you hide away with me. You hide My word, My ways, your plans, and longings – even your plans of when you will come and you bring all things before Me.

I am watchful over you – My eye, My heart, My ways to protect and preserve you – you are mine, you are mine, you are mine.

You have learned of Me – you truly love Me!
I delight in the process in which you seek to please Me and are un-moveable in your devotion to Me.

 

By: Deborah Somjak ~ 4 Unfolded Hearts

God Sent a Savior

God Sent a Savior
By Max Lucado
God has given a son to us.…
His name will be Wonderful Counselor,
Powerful God … Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Every Christmas I read this reminder that came in the mail several years ago:

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.

Christmas cards. Punctuated promises. Phrases filled with the reason we do it all anyway.

He became like us, so we could become like him.

Angels still sing and the star still beckons.

Isaiah 9:6 proclaims, “God has given a son to us. His name will be Wonderful Counselor.”

Powerful God.

Prince of Peace.

The wonder of it all is that…

He loves each one of us like there was only one of us to love.

Lord, Protect those who Protect Us

In Honor of Memorial Day

Today’s blog comes to us courtesy of  enews from AACC.  First, my thoughts to you. If you or a loved one has served in the arm forces – May I offer to each man and women one huge and sincere Thank You along with a holy hug for your service and honor to our country. While I may never know the extent of your sacrifice I do desire to honor you. Below are a few book resources with a brief excerpt written by men who have either dealt or have had experience with the workings of combat stress and trauma. I hope you find these resources a benefit to both you and your family. Certainly share with those in need or who may be currently serving. 

At this time, more than ever, let us humble ourselves before Almighty God and pray for our country…

‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good, but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!’
Billy Graham

 
Combat Stress & Trauma
by Major General, U.S. Army (Retired) Bob Dees

The reality of war is that everyone gets wounded. Some wounds heal rapidly, but some last for a lifetime. Some wounds can be seen. Some wounds are invisible: inside the heart, soul, and spirit of the warrior. These unseen wounds (ranging from mild reintegration issues to severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)) are often the most difficult to heal – they must truly heal from the inside out.”

Our Warriors Today and “Combat Trauma”
by Raymond Kahle

In the Armed Forces the average age of today’s young Americans serving in uniform is 20 and a half years of age; making them about ten months older than their grandfather who would have served in my war. They are high school graduates; are all volunteers; they are brighter and better educated and trained to lead than any soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen, or marines of any other country in history.

“Today’s warrior can use his body like a weapon and his weapon as a part of his body, and he can take a life or save one because he is so remarkably trained. The images of today’s warriors going to inner Faith Services and/or Bible studies are not staged – they’re all real and initiated by these young warriors. When they huddle up in prayer circles before deploying on a mission they’re not preparing to go to play football, they’re going into mortal combat and they know that some of them are liable not to come back – and they do it because they have faith.”

God Speed ~

Debbie 4 Unfolded Hearts