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power_of_thanksgivingTHE POWER OF PRAISE,






power-of-praise-2Thank you for your encouragement and prayers concerning this blog. What I am sensing is to continue, for we all are so blessed by the fellowship here. The lessons will be shorter and after Advent I may go bi-weekly. We are so blessed by women of depth here, and I would miss you — but I also know we all have other commitments. So, for now, this is the direction I’m headed. I will always try to give you a rich sermon or talk — and you can do it or not, for we are free in Christ to do as He leads us. Let’s head together into this Thanksgiving — and then, the glory of Advent! This week, a wonderful message on the power of praise from Ann VosKamp, given at Wheaton College. I find I can listen to messages while multi-tasking, as I think most women can! 🙂 Yet of course, you get more out of it if you take notes. So I’ll leave that up to you!


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Have you experienced the power of praise defeating enemies in your life?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

Prepare your heart with this, from Audrey Assad:


    3. Audrey’s song reminds me of J. B. Phillips paraphrase of 2 Corin. 6:10

       “We know sorrow, yet  our joy is inextinguishable.” Have you experienced this in sorrow? If 

        so, share.

Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

eyes-upon-you287-pixabay-sunset-5853344. According to verses 1-4, what was the problem and how did Jehosphaphat approach it?

5. According to verses 5-12, how did Jehosphaphat interwine petition and praise?

6. Now, you try it. Take a problem (an enemy, spiritual or circumstantial) that you are facing and follow Jehosphaphat’s model of 2 Chronicles 20:5-12.


7. Comment on the above verse.

8. What word came to Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah? (verses 13-17)

9. How did Jehoshaphat and all Judah respond? (verses 18-19)

10. The next morning, how did Jehoshaphat encourage the people in verses 20-22? What else did he do? (vs. 20-21)

11.  What happened according to verses 22-30?

12. How you could you make this Thanksgiving week for you (and perhaps your family) more filled with praise?

If you are interested, here are some tried and true questions for you and your loved ones. You could use these all week, or as many as you like on Thanksgiving! Some of you may be inviting those who have no place to go — and that’s wonderful. I think they too will be blessed by deeper conversation.


1. What can you be thankful for this year that you couldn’t have been last year?
2. Lift up the name of each person and have two to four people share one
reason they are thankful for that person.
3. Is there a way that God met you in a challenging time this year? If so, how?
4. Did you receive an unexpected kindness this year?
5. Is there a Scripture passage that became more meaningful to you this year –
if so, what is it, and how did it help you?
6. Is there something a little child said that delighted you?
7. Was there wisdom received from a book, a mentor, or a sermon?
8. Was there a time when circumstances lined up so you knew God was
behind it?
9. God said He would shake our world so that what was unshakeable would
remain – give thanks for one of those unshakeable realities.

Thanksgiving Day Through Saturday

Ann Voskamp speaking at Wheaton College. The 1st fifteen minutes is on the power of praise, including our lesson, and the 2nd fifteen minutes is a wonderful video on her newly released book: The Broken Way


13. What stood out to you and why?

14. What is your take-a-way this week and why?





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    1. And also to you!    

  2. 10. The next morning, how did Jehoshaphat encourage the people in verses 20-22? What else did he do? (vs. 20-21)     
    He again addressed the people of Judah.  Told them to listen.   And he made two distinct statements:
    “Have faith in the Lord God and you will be upheld.”
    “Have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”  
    The last statement is interesting.   What is true success?   I think it is when we are thriving spiritually,  even under very difficult external circumstances.    I’m not sure what kinds of success Jehoshaphat meant here, but I think it had several layers.  Probably military success.  Probably financial success.  But he must have been speaking about their souls too, because His focus is foremost on praise and honoring God.  
    Vs. 21 is interesting too.   J. consulted the people.   Met with them and then appointed people to be the singers.  Was this an audition for who was most talented?   Maybe.  Maybe he looked at skill level.   I think more likely though, he discerned those who had a heart for God and for worship.   He chose those who would lead the people physically as they came at the front of the procession….but also spiritually as they sang words that enveloped the heart of true worship.   They praised God for the splendour of His holiness.  They could not do this truly without hearts that were humble and contrite before Him. 

  3. 13. What stood out to you and why? 
    I will will give thanks in everything:
    My humiliation that that my daughter will have a baby (again), out of wedlock. Maybe these will be the only grandchildren I end up having? My oldest has a girlfriend who can’t have children, my next son is a crazy environmentalist who most likely won’t want to add to the population, and the youngest thinks he’s gay. My grandson is the LOVE of my life! God is good!! I saved this baby from death last summer. She will be born in February, and at least this time she has a father who cares (although he is in prison). You can’t make my crazy life up. Yet God endures! He lives! He loves me, I KNOW IT. NOTHING will turn my heart from Him. Do not “feel sorry” for me. I stand here to give you all HOPE. I know it seems bleak but when Anne talks about our purpose here; compassion and love, not busyness and stress, she is RIGHT. He loves us and we are to LOVE them (my daughter included).

    1. Laura Love You. Yes and AMEN.   Hebrews 13:15 Isaiah 43:19  

    2. Oh, my, Laura! You amaze me! 

      You can’t make my crazy life up. Yet God endures! He lives! He loves me, I KNOW IT. NOTHING will turn my heart from Him. Do not “feel sorry” for me. I stand here to give you all HOPE. 

      Hugs and prayers ongoing for you and your family! God has indeed enlarged your heart, as Dee says!

    3. Oh Laura….the situations you endure would make many crumble, yet here you are encouraging all of us (me), “I stand here to give you all HOPE.” You are our Hosea….”Yet God endures! He lives! He loves me, I KNOW IT. NOTHING will turn my heart from Him.”

    4. Oh Laura-your broken mamma’s heart, yet your trust-He’s your Joy! YOU ENCOURAGE ME in regard to my two oldest boys and their issues. 

    5. Laura, I appreciate you sharing your hard eucharisteo. ” You can’t make my crazy life up. Yet God endures! He lives! He loves me, I KNOW IT. NOTHING will turn my heart from Him. Do not “feel sorry” for me. I stand here to give you all HOPE.” Yes, you have given me hope for my own hards. Thank you and thanks be to God!

    6. Laura–no matter how many times I re-read this, I get chills and tears. “Yet God endures! He lives! He loves me, I KNOW IT. NOTHING will turn my heart from Him.”
      You are LIVING OUT Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  4. 7. Comment on the above verse
    As I read through this passage in 2 Chronicles, I was reminded of a similar incident that happened in the life of Jacob, in Genesis 32. Jacob was returning home and was told that his brother Esau was coming to meet him, along with 400 men. Jacob feared the worst, that Esau was coming to take revenge and to destroy his family. Jacob was afraid and prayed to the Lord, “Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.”
    When my back is up against a wall, what else can I do but to appeal to God for help?
    8. What word came to Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah? (verses 13-17)
    Two times in this passage God says “Do not be afraid or discouraged”.  Through Jahaziel, God told the people to march out to meet their enemies and to stand firm in their positions, and to see how God would deliver them. God told them it wasn’t their battle to fight, but HIS.
    9. How did Jehoshaphat and all Judah respond? (verses 18-19)
    Jehoshaphat bowed himself to the ground, and all the people also fell down in worship. Then, some of the men stood and praised God with loud voices.
    10. The next morning, how did Jehoshaphat encourage the people in verses 20-22?  What else did he do? (verses 20-21)
    Jehoshaphat stood before the people and told them to have faith in the Lord their God and they will be successful. He also appointed some men to lead the army while singing to the Lord and praising Him for the splendor of His holiness. They were saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” This is also in the psalm I’ve been reading this week, Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever”.

  5. 11. What happened according to verses 22-30?
    As the men began to sing and praise, God went into battle for His people. He set ambushes against the enemies. It sound like they were thrown into confusion, as instead of fighting as one against the Israelites, they attacked each other. When the Israelites reached the place where they could look out over the desert, all they saw was dead bodies. Then, Jehoshaphat and his men took all the valuables from the dead; so much plunder it took three days to collect it all. They returned, rejoicing, to Jerusalem, and celebrated. All the nearby kingdoms were afraid of God after they heard what had happened, and God gave Jehoshaphat a time of rest and peace.

  6. 12. How could you make this Thanksgiving week for you (and perhaps your family) more filled with praise?
    I have been trying to focus more on giving thanks and praise, though I have to admit I had an evening of grumbling and complaining as I was feeling overworked and tired. I had practice at being gracious and not controlling when my oldest son spent Thanksgiving with his girlfriend’s family. He had been off for two weeks before this week, and made efforts to spend time at home, and with each set of grandparents. He spent one afternoon with my parents, driving them to a doctor’s appointment and then going out to lunch with them. I thanked him and told him that I appreciated his spending time with his family, and to have a nice day with his girlfriend and her family. They may be getting married in the not so far future, so I am getting practice at being a gracious mother-in-law! I need more practice to praise and to trust and to let go concerning each of my children, and my middle son who is worrying me right now. He tells me often that I nag him, so that tells me that I have an idol of control operating.
    We spent Thanksgiving at my sister’s home, and unfortunately, there wasn’t any deep or spiritual conversation. Her husband is not a believer, her daughter and her husband are not believers, and I am not sure she is, either, though she would say she is. Everyone fills their plates and sits down and starts eating. We did not say grace, and as I was not the hostess, I didn’t feel comfortable interrupting everyone, and I know my own husband would have frowned upon that, too. I was very blessed, though, to see my mom, especially, enjoy being with my son, as they have always been close and she just dotes on him.

  7. 14. What is your take-a-way this week and why?
     I  rarely do takeaways, but this week is different. I never have really appreciated  Anne  Voskamp’s style of writing, although I always wanted to be her!  Now I know it’s true! She is an amazing speaker!  I listened twice, and had my husband also listen to the story about the Jewish internment camp. Wow.  She really brought home how our real purpose here on earth is to love each other.   That is what I’m taking away this week  I may even have to sponsor a child from that organization! 

    1. Oh Laura, now I’ll have to try to get to listening to it later this evening!  My crazy (but very fun) mom’s family not only has Thanksgiving Day but they also have LEFTOVER day!!!  So we are heading to my aunts soon, but with your encouraging endorsement I’m going to try to listen later! 😀

      1. That’s fun Mary! We actually cooked another Thanksgiving dinner today because we met family at a restaurant yesterday and it just wasn’t the same as the home cooked meal! Tomorrow we have another dinner at our friends house! We LOVE THANKSGIVING!

    2. Laura, thanks for the endorsement of Ann’s talk and reminding us to listen. Going to do that now!

  8. Have you seen this incredibly moving video of a Sudanese man falling to his knees in a Texas airport after being united with his family?   True Christian love shown by those who took in his pregnant wife and young children and cared deeply for them while they awaited his arrival years later.   

    1. Beautiful, Wanda, so glad the Lord brought them together again.  (and I love that Keith Green song!)

    2. Thanks for sharing. I saw this video in my FB feed but did not watch it. Thanks for the prompt!

    3. that is so amazing! I just shared this on my fb page two days ago!!!!!

  9. 13. What stood out to you and why?  Wow, her message is very powerful.  I guess what stands out most to me is just the giving of thanks (in and of itself) really being our “job” as she put it.  I’m not responsible to constantly be scheming to work through my problems in a way that brings about a pleasing result for myself (sadly, I can spend shameful amounts of time in that endeavor.)  My main work/responsibility is to give thanks, praise, honor, and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and leave the battle-fighting to Him.  I live a transformed life, because of Him, but how much more transformed (and set apart from the world) could my life be if I were to constantly remain in this place of thanksgiving?

  10. Belated happy thanksgiving to all! All of you are gifts to me from the Father! About 2 years ago, I “stumbled” upon this blog and I am so grateful to God for giving me cyberspace friends who encourage and support me. Your prayers as I went through 2 deaths in the family(sister and mother-in-law) kept me from going under the grief and loss. And you all continue to be used by God to “speak” to my heart. Sometimes when I read all your struggles and how you keep your eyes (fovea centralis-the part of the eye that has the most intense focus as we learned last week in class) focused on God, my heart sings. It sings almost to the point of hurting. The hurt must be a little glimpse of that longing we can have for God and His Kingdom to come.

    1. Bing–this is beautiful–yes, a glimpse of that longing we have for God and His Kingdom to come. I love your tender heart. 

    2. Oh YES, Bing!  Amen, and “Come Lord Jesus!”

  11. 4. According to verses 1-4, what was the problem and how did Jehosphaphat approach it?
    5. According to verses 5-12, how did Jehosphaphat interwine petition and praise?
    This passage from Chronicles has been a great encouragement to me in times past. Verse 12 particularly. I have not really look intently at the praise aspect and so this study added a new dimension to my understanding of the passage.
    An acknowledgment of who God is vs. 5-9 “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you…”
    An acknowledgment of our dire situation 10-11 “see how they are repaying us…”
    An acknowledgment of our helplessness v. 12 “we do not know what to do…”
    An acknowledgment of the only place to put our focus v.12b “but our eyes are on you”

  12. I LOVE my big kids but I HATE that they don’t clean up after themselves!!!! IM SO OCD! the mess makes me CRAZY AND CRANKY! I NEED to let it go but find it so very hard! I want a full house with all my heart when its empty but then when its full all I do is run around cleaning up messes….I HAVE A PROBLEM! 🙂 I Sat and played games for 3 hours today but as soon as I was done I started slamming around the kitchen making it very clear I was unhappy with all their messes. My new moto…..”be thankful for the mess, because your thankful the people who are making it are in your house” I’m such a grumpy pants! with so many blessings! If I was God I would NOT be amused with me today.
    find it all joy my sister when you find 10 half full cups scattered all over your house, for picking them up will help you develop perseverence so that when you pick up the 7 mugs with cold coffee you will become complete not lacking in anything……and the load of laundry left in your washer will bring your beloved children back to your home soon.

    1. oh cyndi, even with my much smaller household, I relate! But I do CONSTANTLY remind myself I would rather have a houseful that I have to clean up after than be alone with a spotless house and “knowing” you–I just can’t imagine you without your house FULL to share all that joy within you : )

      1. You make me blush 🙂 but to be honest I think a lot of my problem is that it really has not been that full lately. I have gotten spoiled and used to the calm with only two kids in the house most days. My senior in high school work 20 to 30 hours a week on top of school so I don’t see much of her.

    2. =)  That is a very creative application of the Scripture, Cyndi!! =)  Like!

  13. Looking forward to this Advent study.

    1. Gayle–so glad you’ll be joining us!

  14. Can’t wait to read the Advent study!

  15. Can’t wait to read Advent study!

  16. Advent…yes…