Praise God first, then thank others

I enjoy it when someone says thank you to me.  It encourages me.  It lifts me up.  It warms my heart.  I really take pleasure in someone telling me how much they appreciate me and are grateful for what I mean to them.

More and more often I am hearing the response from people that they do not even know how to say thank you.  Those two words just seem too small.  Yet, I am told there are no words to express what they feel in response to something that I have said or done.  It is as if people are in awe of me.

This has become such a great concern to me lately.  Honestly, I am not worth being in awe of.  Not who I am and not what I have done.  I sin.  I have bad thoughts.  I do selfish things.  I say hurtful things.  I truly am human with all the bad traits.

I do believe that I am beautiful, that I am a priceless masterpiece and the I am a cherished treasure.  But, this is not from who I am or anything that I have done.  ALL of the credit goes to GOD, JESUS and the SPIRIT!  It is the Holy Trinity that can take the mess that is who I am and transform it into a message that can be shared to encourage others.

I passionately believe that this world is starving from the lack of nutritional value that comes from encouragement.  I believe that encouraging others is one of the greatest callings that I have in my life.  In fact it is my life’s mission to encourage with love, passion and enthusiasm.  This is all a gift given to me by God.  A gift that is to be used to please Him as it says in Hebrews 13:21 He will “equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever, Amen.”

To Jesus Christ be the glory!  To God be the glory!  To the Spirit be the glory!  Not to Julie, no, not to Julie.  May the Holy Trinity get the Glory.  When I get the glory, that is it.  It ends on this side of heaven.  When God gets the praise, the honor, the awe, then great treasures are stored up in heaven.

These feelings of concern that I have had, have thrown me into God’s Word, into listening prayer and into seeking Him even greater.  It has brought me tears and a crushed heart that I might be taking that which rightly belongs to God.  God has given me so, so much!  I deserve none of it.  How could I repay such a priceless gift by taking which belongs to Him.  My greatest prayer has become that not I, but God would be praise for what I do in my life.  May my actions turn people to Him!

Will this cause me to stop encouraging others?  Absolutely not.  There are so many verses that have captivated me in God’s Love Letter, the Bible, that talk about encouragement.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching”  Hebrews 10:25.

I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage you” Ephesians 6:22

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2:2-3

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints” Philemon 1:7

That is what I deeply long to do.  To encourage others to be united in love, to build them up and to refresh their hearts.  I do it out of obedience to God.  For if you happen to hear a message from me that seems to be divinely timed, it probably is just that.  It is not of my hand but of God’s.  It is his promptings that I try to be obedient to.  I try to listen the best that I can to Him and to do that which He asks of me.

Honestly there are many times where I do not move upon first impulse.  Sometimes that is good because I need to listen to God for the details.  Sometimes it is just my selfish and rebellious spirit that fights it or puts silly little insignificant tasks ahead of what God wants me to do.

So if I am not going to stop encouraging people, what am I going to do when people shower me with gratitude and thanks.  For that I turn to Paul’s glowing example that flows through his letters.

“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus” 1 Corinthians 1:4.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” Philippians 1:3-4.

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” Ephesians 1:16

We need to thank God when someone does something so amazing for us we just can’t thank them enough.  I need to do this perhaps more than anyone.  I get so excited, so enthusiastic about pouring encouragement, gratitude and thanks upon people.  This feeling of elation causes me to move very quickly and often I forget to slow down.  It is in the slowing down that I remember who the generous grantor of all these gifts is, down to the last drop of enthusiasm that I have.  It is the LORD!

I need to go to God first.  I need to praise Him for putting all these amazing people in my life!  I must give Him the glory for allowing me to have a positive impact on this world and for taking my sins that I may be made in His likeness to be a part, an ever so small, part of His grand design.

It is by God’s encouragement that I may encourage.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Dearest Lord,

I praise You!  I praise You!  I praise You!  I am so sorry for every time that I have taken glory which is rightfully Yours!  Please help me from now on to defer that praise from me and move it onto You where it belongs.  

Please Father, allow me to continue to be able to encourage, to build up others with love and to refresh their spirits.  It is such an honor, a pleasure and a blessing for me. 

Lord, please slow me down that I may praise You for the people You have blessed me with in my life.  I praise for these readers, Lord.  I praise You that they would read these humble and jumbled words that flow from me.  I praise You that they would continue to come back to read time and time again.  I praise You for the way that they walk through my journey with me, good and bad.  Lord, they are a blessing beyond measure! 

Please in this day, Lord, lift their hearts and their spirits.  Reveal Yourself to them in new ways.  Show Your love for them in the small details and in the major events of their day. 

Thank You for Your love!  Thank You for Your patience!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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