Losing. Everybody hates to lose. This past month has been filled with reports, statistics, and poll results of winners and losers. I have always hated losing. Whether it was a game of chess or ping pong with my late father or my baby brother beating me like a drum playing the Madden video football game. The chuckles from under his breath as I struggled to navigate the game controller, infuriated me. As I have gotten older, I am thankful that I have learned to appreciate the joy of spending time with family and not caring so much whether I win or lose.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still want to win and succeed in everything I do. The joy my father and me shared as we teamed up to beat a computer in a game of chess was indescribable. He may not have grasped as much while he battled Alzheimer’s, but I could tell he understood when the computer read checkmate, and the screen said game over!
When I think of losing, I picture someone holding up their thumb and index finger in the shape of an L. Oh, how I hate to lose! However, today I want to give you some inspiring words of hope that begin with the letter “L.” It is my prayer for you that some of these words will become imprinted in your mind as you go to God with a thankful heart this holiday season.
Thank God for His Love.
Love is a word that gets tossed around carelessly at times. I have to catch myself when I say I love food or love a particular item. The kind of love I am writing about today is unconditional love. God loves us because of who He is and not because of anything we have done ourselves. There are no selfish motives on His part. He asks us to commit to loving Him in return.
As we approach the holiday season, there will be lots of focus on the birth of baby Jesus… at least in some areas, I pray that takes place. We must always remember the reason for His birth. He came to give His life for us. What a display of love to give His life as a sacrifice for all our sins.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Have a heart of gratitude for the life that God gave so you could accept His Son as your Savior. A promise of eternity with Him in Heaven someday. Where you will sit at His feet and worship Him forever!
Thank God for Leaving us the Holy Spirit.
I get overwhelmed with joy when I think of the Holy Spirit living within me. Such a blessing that God has implanted within us a part of Him to live in our hearts! The Holy Spirit is here to guide us, to offer comfort and encouragement, and to convict our hearts to seek God daily. It is our responsibility as Christians to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading and do God’s will. He will empower us to do all that God asks of us, and for that, we must be thankful. Read these words from Jesus Himself.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17)
That verse makes me want to shout Hallelujah! God has not left us alone. He wants us to feel His presence via the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in us, we bear His fruit. (Gal. 5:22-23) In doing this, we represent Christ for all to see. So, as you humble yourself in prayer, remember God is always here to support us, and for that, we should be thankful.
Behold God is my Helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul. (Psalm 54:4)
Thank God for His Living Word.
Another thing God has left us with for which we should be thankful is the Bible. The divinely breathed, inspired word of God. It is our instruction manual for Christian living. It is full of admonitions and warnings but also infused with God’s promises.
I get excited every time I open my Bible because I expect to experience something new. God continues to educate me, encourage my heart, inspire my thoughts, and enlighten my mind through His Word. How many times have you read a familiar passage of scripture, and you feel like you are reading it for the very first time? God revealed something to you specifically for that moment because His word is living!
For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Dive into God’s word with expectant wonder. Ask Him to reveal to you wonderful and marvelous things that will help you bloom and mature into a beautiful representation of who Christ is.
Thank God for Lavishing us with His Grace.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. For this, we should thank Him every day. I wrote about God’s grace in a post last month regarding the parable of the prodigal son. God is always watching over us, and He is also waiting for us to return to Him. That means coming to our senses and realizing that His way is the right way, the ONLY way to go. I’m sure God shakes His head in disbelief at the times when we try to do things on our own or in our own strength. He says I am here, waiting for you to come to Me. I promise I am with you. Thank you, God, for your patience.
God grants us grace, even when we flounder around in sin. Trying to do things in our own strength is sin. It’s called pride. We must humble ourselves and seek God in everything. He will guide us to serve Him. For me, personally, I have experienced God’s grace in times of suffering and confusion. Especially when facing circumstances I did not understand, I wanted the pain to go away!
After I was released from the hospital, I challenged myself to commit this passage of scripture to memory for future times of pain and suffering. It has brought me tremendous comfort and clarity in those moments I don’t understand.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God’s grace is more than enough to bring you through many trials and tribulations you encounter, and for that, you should be thankful. Thank Him for the strength you receive from His undeserved grace.
Thank God for Listening to our Prayer.
I’ve heard it said, I’m not sure how to pray, or I need to be better at praying. Prayer is a privilege. God desires to communicate with His children. Can you imagine living in a home where children never said thank you? Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have unlimited access to God! We can talk with Him at any time. No appointment is necessary. God wants to hear from you.
When you go to God in prayer, you acknowledge your dependence and express your gratitude. Thank Him for His blessings and for the opportunity to cry out to Him in times of emotional and physical need. Talk to God and tell Him much you love Him. Show your love by your obedience to do His will.
I want to share a couple of verses that I referenced in my award-winning book on prayer regarding God hearing our prayers. I hope that they are an encouragement to you as they are to myself.
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalm 34:15,17)
When you bow your head in prayer, get personal with God, and thank Him for His abundant blessings. Remember, your hope is in Him, and for that, you should be thankful.
By the way, if you want to read more on how to live victoriously during the challenging seasons of life, you will be blessed by my latest inspirational Christian book, The Furnace of Affliction: How God Uses Our Pain and Suffering for His Purpose. Endorsed by author, speaker, and bible teacher, Sheila Walsh, this book has brought hope and encouragement to many of those who have read. Available in paperback and also for download. You can get your copies right here. Just click on the image below.