Tag Archive for Beatitudes

Give Thanks to the Lord

Thanksgiving is one of the very few times each year that the entire nation takes time to give thanks. To give thanks for friends and family. To count their blessings. Each day I read Facebook posts about what my friends are thankful for.

It’s great.

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” 

~ Psalm 107:21

Throughout Scripture we are called repeatedly to give thanks.

However, sometimes I feel like we have missed a key factor (or maybe two).

If you look at all the verses in the Bible about giving thanks, they all relate to giving thanks to God. Not just being thankful, but for being thankful to our Creator.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”
~ Psalm 136:26

Moreover, we tend to be thankful for all of the good things we have. When we count our blessings, they are always things that make us happy.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Earlier this year I led a Bible study through the Beatitudes, and one of the first things I learned, was that blessed doesn’t mean happy.

Blessings don’t always come in pretty packages.

Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you,
and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.

~ Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus taught us to give thanks to God in every circumstance. Not just when we have a house to live in and food on the table.

Give Thanks to the LordI actually learned this week that the pilgrims (who started this whole Thanksgiving thing) dug 3 times as many graves as they built houses (and houses held more than one person, graves don’t). Yet they still chose to give thanks.

They still set aside a day to praise God for all He had done.

No, they weren’t thriving, but they were still thankful.

Can we be like that? Can we give thanks even in the midst of heartache?

I don’t know where you are this Thanksgiving–what you are going though. But I encourage you to stop and thank God for what you do have, even if it’s not wrapped up in a pretty package.

Here’s another fact for you:

Did you know the biggest blessing we could ever dream of, came through what was the most heartbreaking event in the history of the world?

The biggest blessing we have is the gift of Salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That blessing came through His life (where He was scorned), His death (when He was beaten, hung on a cross, and abandoned), and His resurrection (where He achieved His victory).

If you have never seen The Passion of the Christ, but it depicts that blessing in a very real way. Just knowing what our Savior went through to save us, to save me, I can’t even imagine.

But He can.

And He did.

So, no. Blessings don’t always come in pretty packages. But true blessings are eternal.

I encourage you this Thanksgiving, not only to be thankful for what God has given you, but also to be thankful for true blessings that come from above.

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

I invite you to go deeper into the beatitudes this Thanksgiving with my book, “Blessings from Above.” In it, I share modern-day examples of biblical teachings. Each of the eight chapters is short, includes questions to ponder, and was designed to bring Christ’s message home.

various pumpkins on wooden background

This post is part of a blog hop for Christian Indie Authors. Check out what other authors have to say by visiting BooklyBooks.com/thanksgivinghop

We’re also sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Here are my 3 favorites (click the recipe name to be taken to them on AllRecipes.com):

  1. Easy Herb Roasted Turkey: This is by far the best turkey recipe I’ve ever found. It’s so flavorful and juicy! I cook mine in an oven bag and it always turns out perfect.
  2. Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  3. Sweet Potato Casserole

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

~ Psalm 69:30

 

{Update}

Hey Y’all! I just wanted to share a few quick updates with you today to let you know what we’ve been up to.

Group Bible Study Guides

Most of you know that I write the Bible study guides for the ladies’ Bible study at my church. You can now download the study sheets for free here on our website. Find out what studies are available here: https://www.paulandheatherhart.com/bible-study/   I’ll be adding more later, so keep an eye out and spread the word.

Book Review Program

Reviews are a huge part of getting books in front of new readers. If you have a blog and are interested in reviewing books for us, you can sign up for our Book Blogger Review Program and be the first to read any new books we write here: https://www.paulandheatherhart.com/books-by-hart-blogger-book-review-program/

DVD Giveaway

We are also giving away a DVD on our website for Teen Guys. It’s for the movie Ragamuffin. It’s about the life of Rich Mullins, and honestly, it has some really great insights on the condition of your heart. It prompted me to do some more research on the Ragamuffin Gospel. I was actually amazed to find people tearing apart Brennan Manning (the one who coined the term) for being a sinner. That’s the whole point of the Ragamuffin Gospel.

Manning believed that the one question God would ask us when we get to heaven is, “Did you believe I loved you?” He believed there were only two responses to that question:

  1. “Yes, Lord. I did believe that and I tried to shape my life around that belief.”
  2. “No, God, I didn’t. Because ______.”

Do you truly believe that God loves you – the way you are right now today? Not that He will love you only if you do xyz, or whatever, but just because you are who He made you? This has been a recurring theme of messages that I’ve heard lately. Any way, it was an awesome, thought provoking movie and I highly recommend it. You can enter to win your copy here: http://findyourtruestrength.com/do-you-have-the-faith-of-a-ragamuffin/

What’s Next?

I’m working on a new Ladies’ Bible study through Revelation, outlining a novel, and planning to launch a newsletter to make it easier to post updates such as this and stay connected with everyone among other things.

What about you? What have you been up to this summer?

{Happy Easter} 3 FREE eBooks

3 free eBooksChristmas has always been my favorite holiday. It’s where it all started. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

But Easter is where it was finished. It’s where our Savior took a stand for us and chose to die so we could live. Easter is the time we celebrate the Gospel. It’s a time to remember what Christ has done for us.

To celebrate, our family always make Resurrection rolls on Easter morning. If you’ve never heard of them, they are marshmallows (that are white to resemble Christ), dipped in butter (to symbolize the anointing oil), rolled in cinnamon and sugar (spices), and wrapped and sealed inside of rolls (to symbolize the tomb). After you bake them the rolls come out empty (just like the tomb on that first Easter morning). It’s a great way to remember what Christ has done for us.

This year, we are also giving away 3 free eBooks that focus on Christ. “21 Teen Devotionals… for Girls!” “21 Teen Devotionals… for Guys!” and my newest Bible study book, “Blessings from Above: A Deeper Look at the Beatitudes.” All three are free now through Easter Sunday, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy and share about them with your friends. I’ve included the links below for your convenience.

Blessings from Above: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JAN7DT4/

Teen Devotionals… for Girls! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009JU23IE/

Teen Devotionals… for Guys! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FS1LPNC/

I hope you can pick up a copy of them while they are free.

Happy Easter!

{New Release} Blessings From Above

I’m excited to announce that “Blessings from Above” was released on Amazon Kindle yesterday!

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

If someone asked you to define the word “blessing,” how would you respond. What would you say qualifies as a blessing? Is it something physical? A position or a relationship? What is the determining factor that makes something a blessing?

 

 

In this short Bible study, Heather Hart takes women deeper into the beatitudes. Each of the eight chapters is short, but provides modern-day examples to the biblical teachings of Christ. After each reading, you’ll find questions to ponder and Scriptures to look up to really bring Christ’s message home.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first in a series of Bible study books for Christian women that I’ve been working on. It takes readers verse by verse through the blessings mentioned in the beatitudes. We just finished going through this in our ladies Bible study group at church and I’m excited to be able to share it with others.

You can pick up your copy to discover true blessings from above for on 99 cents on Amazon.com at the link below:

http://smarturl.it/beatitudes

{Behind the Book} Blessings from Above

Relationships with other Christian women have helped me grow in my walk with God more than anything else I can remember. When Christian women come together – God is there (Matthew 18:20). He can do amazing things when we get together.

Proverbs 27:17 says that Iron sharpens Iron – Christian women do that for each other.

I’ve been blessed with multiple women throughout my life that have poured into me, and I’ve learned that we can all learn from each other – it’s never been one-sided. God uses us to sharpen one another.

Every Christian woman can be a blessing to another Christian woman – and whether we realize it or not, we all need each other. Most recently God has blessed me with a wonderful group of Christian women who leave the business of their lives every Monday morning to study God’s Word with me. We’re currently working our way through the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and I’ve learned so much.

Blessings

God has taken me from an elementary understanding of His blessings and blown me away. He has challenged me to dig deeper – both into His Word and into my heart. I’ve learned that the biggest blessing anyone could ever hope for is the truth that is found in the Gospel. To know we are sinners in need of a Savior. To know who Christ is and what He has done for us. To know that He rose from the grave and is preparing a place for us to spend eternity. How could I ever ask for more?

My favorite part of this study has been the fellowship with the other women. I’m an introvert and talking face-to-face has never been one of my strong suits, but these women have befriended me, loved me and encouraged me. They build me up and help me grow – and I love being able to witness the changes God is making in them as well.

These precious ladies have shared my study outlines with other women and churches and encouraged me to pursue publishing it as a book. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking the study sheets I’ve written for them, expounding on them, and will be publishing the study later on this month.

Blessings-from-above-cover

“Blessings from Above” will include 8 study chapters – one for each of the beatitudes, as well as an introduction and conclusion (all based on our 10 week study). It’s my prayer that it helps Christian women to deepen their understanding of God’s Word and open their eyes to the blessings He has already bestowed upon them. Most of all, I pray that God can use this book to encourage them.

Stay tuned for more information about “Blessings from Above” coming soon.

— Update —

“Blessings from Above” is now available on Amazon.com.

Click here to get your copy

The Peace of the Gospel

Proverbs 16 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. As someone who is self-employed it’s a great reminder for me each and every day. When I was reading through it this morning, verses 6 & 7 really stood out to me. Here’s what they say:

“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”

I added some notes in my Bible just to clarify the passage in my mind. Here’s what I have:

“Through love and faithfulness (the sacrifice of Christ) sin is atoned for; through the fear (loving respect) of the Lord a man avoids evil (sin). When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he (God) makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”

 

That’s the gospel.

Through the love of Christ our sin against God is forgiven and we are able to live at peace with Him for all eternity.

In my Monday morning ladies’ Bible study group, we’ve been working our way through the beatitudes, and this week we were on verse 9 (blessed are the peacemakers) so this reminder of the gospel came at a perfect time for me.

We just finished talking about how the key to true peace is trust in God. It’s obeying His commands and living to please Him. In other words, when we lovingly respect God, we find peace. When we trust and obey, He fills us with the peace that surpasses all understanding and we are able to inspire peace in others wherever we go – even with our enemies.

Peace isn’t about our surroundings. It’s about our relationship with the Creator of the world. When we are right with Him, He gives us peace and we can trust Him to take care of everything else. And what a blessing that is.

Before you go, the women’s ministry leader at our church shared the following article on blessings with us on Facebook, and I wanted to pass it on to you. It’s certainly worth reading: The One Thing Christians Need to Stop Saying