8 Thankful Quotes

“…May we also unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him—To pardon our national and other transgressions, To enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, To render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, To protect and guide all nations and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord, To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, And generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.” —George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 

“Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving. It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this.” —C.H. Spurgeon 

“As flowers carry dewdrops trembling on the edge of the petals, and ready to fall at the first waft of wind or brush of bird, so the heart should carry its beaded works of thanksgiving, and, at the first breath of heavenly flavor, let down the shower perfumed with the heart’s gratitude.” —Henry Ward Beecher 

“Thanksgiving will draw our hearts toward God and keep us in fellowship with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” —Andrew Murray 

“If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in everything. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at present see not how they tend to it.” —Matthew Henry 

“Blessed is that home which has in it an altar of sacrifice and of prayer, where daily thanksgivings ascend to heaven and where morning and night praying is done.” —E.M. Bounds 

“Not to lose myself and reader in this digression, the sum is, the unspeakable blessings which the priesthood of Christ hath obtained for us are a strong obligation for the duty of praise and thanksgiving; of which that in some measure we may discharge ourselves, He hath furnished us with sacrifices of that kind to be offered unto God.” —John Owen

“Gratitude is from the same root word as ‘grace,’ which signifies the free and boundless mercy of God. Thanksgiving is from the same root word as ‘think,’ so that to think is to thank.” —Willis P. King 

4 Thoughts To Help Prayer Become A Daily Habit

ImportunityI have shared several strategies about prayer throughout January (you can read them here, here, here, and here). One danger in putting these steps into practice in our life in what I call one-and-done. We do it once and think we’ve done all we need to do.

Scientists tell us at a minimum it takes 21 days in a row to make a habit. Jesus went even farther than that in talking about prayer in Matthew 7:7. When we look at the three aspects of the verbs ask, seek, and knock in this verse, it would be better stated like this—

You need to keep on asking, and keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. This is not good advice or a helpful suggestion, but it is vital for your spiritual life. So after you have asked, sought, and knocked, then do it again, and again, and again.

Matthew Henry said it this way: “Here is a precept in three words to the same purport, Ask, Seek, Knock; that is, in one word, ‘Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity and seriousness; pray, and pray again; make conscience of prayer, and be constant in it; make a business of prayer, and be earnest in it.’”

In the English language the dictionary has a word for this: importunity = being urgent and persistent, sometimes annoyingly so!

I believe importunity requires these four characteristics:

  1. Trust. Remember Jesus taught us to pray Our Father. We have to come to Him again and again and again trusting that He loves us, that He alone is the Source of our help, and that He wants to help us (Matthew 6:8). We also have to trust that our Father wants to give us the very best (Matthew 7:7-11).
  2. Perseverance. I love the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-5. This determined lady kept coming back again and again. Henry Ward Beecher said, “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
  3. Creativity. One of my favorite New Testament stories is about a mother who is not only as persistent as the widow in Luke 18, but she is creative in her prayer as well (Mark 7:24-30). This lady bantered with Jesus in a way that I believe caused Christ to throw back His head and laugh! This is not bargaining with God, as Oswald Chambers wrote, “Repetition in intercessory importunity is not bargaining, but the joyous insistence of prayer.”
  4. Action. Paul was looking for an open door to preach the Gospel, but he didn’t sit still while he waited for God to say “yes” (Acts 16:6-10).

Keep these in mind as you make importunity a key part of your prayer life. And check out the full video of my message on importunity in prayer here—

That Grand Old Flag

American flagToday is Flag Day in the United States of America. I proudly fly the stars and stripes outside my home, and I get misty-eyed every time I sing the national anthem or say the pledge of allegiance. These words from Rev. Henry Ward Beecher penned many long years ago still ring true today for me—

“If one asks the meaning of our flag, I say it means just what Concord and Lexington meant, what Bunker Hill meant. It means the whole glorious Revolutionary War. It means all that the Declaration of Independence meant. It means all that the Constitution of our people, organizing for justice, for liberty, and for happiness, meant. Under this banner rode Washington and his armies…. It waved on the highlands at West Point…. This banner streamed in light over the soldiers’ heads at Valley Forge…. It crossed the waters rolling with ice at Trenton…. Our flag carries American ideas, American history, and American feelings. Beginning with the colonies, and coming down to our time, in its sacred heraldry, in its glorious insignia, it has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: Divine right of liberty in man. Every color means liberty. Every thread means liberty. Every form of star and beam or stripe of light means liberty. Not lawlessness, not license, but organized, institutional liberty—liberty through law, and laws for liberty. This American flag was the safeguard of liberty. Not an atom of crown was allowed to go into its insignia. Not a symbol of authority in the ruler was permitted to go into it. It was an ordinance of liberty by the people, for the people. That it meant, that it means, and, by the blessing of God, that it shall mean to the end of time.” —Henry Ward Beecher

7 Quotes For Preachers

PreachingI love getting counsel from been-there-done-that people, because I’m always looking for ways to grow and improve. I was reading these quotes for myself, but I thought my fellow pastors might enjoy them as well.

“A sermon is not like a Chinese firecracker to be fired off for the noise which it makes. It is the hunter’s gun, and at every discharge he should look to see his game fall.” ―Henry Ward Beecher

“That is not the best sermon which makes the hearers go away talking to one another, and praising the speaker, but which makes them go away thoughtful and serious, and hastening to be alone.” ―Gilbert Burnet

“Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher. Good preaching leads to people to praise the Savior.” ―Charles G. Finney

“The priests have so disfigured the simple religion of Jesus that no one who reads the sophistications they have engrafted on it, with the jargon of Plato, or Aristotle, and other mystics, would conceive these could have been fathered on the sublime Preacher of the Sermon on the Mount.” ―Thomas Jefferson

“The sermon edifies, the example destroys. Practice what you preach.” ―Abbé de Villiers

“Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.” ―John Wesley, in his journal

“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.” ―George Whitefield

Henry Ward Beecher On Prayer

Henry Ward BeecherSome great quotes from Henry Ward Beecher on prayer―

“The world’s battlefields have been in the heart chiefly; more heroism has been displayed in the household and the closet, than on the most memorable battlefields in history.” —Henry Ward Beecher

“The strength of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going that way.” —Henry Ward Beecher

“Prayer covers the whole of a man’s life. There is no thought, feeling, yearning, or desire, however low, trifling, or vulgar we may deem it, which, if it affects our real interest or happiness, we may not label for God and be sure of sympathy. His nature is such that our often coming does not tire Him. The whole burden of the whole life of every man may be rolled on to God and not weary Him, though it has wearied the man.” —Henry Ward Beecher

“It is not well for man to pray cream, and live skim milk.” —Henry Ward Beecher

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

Thrilled for the pro-life victory in today’s Supreme Court ruling!

[VIDEO] This is a really straightforward explanation behind the horror of the Plan B pill that Hobby Lobby stood firm against providing.

“We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.” —Henry Ward Beecher 

“Whatever we may undertake with a sincere desire to promote His glory, we may comfortably pursue. Nothing is trivial that is done for Him.” —John Newton

“I would never follow a leader who doesn’t follow a leader.” —John Maxwell

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” —George Bernard Shaw

[VIDEO] Why didn’t anyone tell me that Star Wars’ Mark Hamill did the voice of Joker in the animated Batman series?!?

“Quiet heroes dot the landscape of our society. They don’t make the headlines, but they do sew the hemlines and check the outlines and stand on the sidelines. You won’t find their names on the Nobel Prize short list, but you’ll find their names on the carpool, and Bible teacher lists. They are parents! Heroes! Their kids call them mom. Dad. And these moms and dads, more valuable than all the executives and lawmakers, quietly hold the world together. Be numbered among them. Read books to your kids. Play ball while you can and they want you to. Make it your aim to watch every game they play, read every story they write, hear every recital in which they perform. Children spell love with four letters:  T-I-M-E. Not just quality time, but hang time, downtime, anytime, all the time! Cherish the children who share your name. Succeed at home first!” —Max Lucado

Dr. Tim Elmore has a great post called How Failure Can Be Your Kid’s Best Friend. And exciting news … he has a new book coming out! I cannot wait to read Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid.

 

“The cosmos exists to help you know God, the Maker. And the main message is that He is very great and that we are very small. We need to feel this greatness. We need to be able to say, ‘You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You’ (2 Samuel 7:22).” —John Piper

Thursdays With Oswald #38

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Are You Obstinate?

     The difference between an obstinate man and a strong-minded man lies just here: an obstinate man refuses to use his intelligence when a matter is in dispute, while a strong-minded man makes his decision after having deliberately looked at it from all standpoints, and when opposed, he is willing to give reasons for his decision.

From Baffled To Fight Better

So are you obstinate or strong-minded?

Consider what Henry Beecher Ward wrote:

The difference between perseverance [strong-mindedness] and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.

So are you obstinate or strong-minded?

The Apostle Paul knew something about being strong-minded:

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)

So are you obstinate or strong-minded?

It’s a good question to both ask… and answer. I would hope that I’m strong-minded, never obstinate.

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