Always Thankful 3 Reasons To Be

Always thankful

There are 3 very good reasons to be thankful always and in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Reason #1 to be Always Thankful

The first reason is our Creator God who made the heavens and the earth and His purpose for the law. When was the last time you went out at night and looked up into the sky with any light pollution to see the vastness of the stars? It has been a long time for me but I am still amazed at the vast number of stars. God knows each of their by name and holds them in their places. Isaiah 40 speaks of God’s greatness. I particularly like verse 28,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.”

Not only did He create the heavens and earth, He also placed the earth in the right place for us to exist and to be able to look up into the heavens and see who created them. He went on to give us the law for a purpose which is to make us aware of sin. All have sinned and the wages of the sin is death. No one can say they are without sin for they are deceiving themselves.

Reason #2 is the Cross

The second reason for continued thankfulness is the cross. Yet, while we were sinners and because of God’s great love for us, He sent His one and only Son to pay the price that we ourselves could not.

For you see, Jesus came to be a ransom for many and a sacrifice once and for all. He without sin became the propitiation for our sins. He despised the shame of the cross so that by believing in Him we might have eternal life and be called the children of God.

Therefore, our debts have been paid in full. I don’t know about you but I like the sound of that. So in order to be always thankful, we ought to be “cross-eyed”- always keeping the cross before us.

Reason #3 is that Our Trials Serve a Purpose

The third reason for being thankful in all our circumstances is even though our trials are not easy they do serve a purpose and we are not alone in them. God works in all things for the good of those called according to His purpose. We can consider it joy because the testing of our faith is working out perseverance and steadfastness. Pardon the phrase, but it is building character. God will see us through it all to the other side where we come out stronger.

An attitude of gratitude will go along way and sustain you better than grumbling and complaining would. People will want to be around you because of it for who likes to be in the company of a disgruntled person.

Therefore, I challenge you to be a “cross-eyed” always thankful child of God. Go and tell of God’s wondrous deeds.

For an example of thankfulness read: David; A Man of Thanksgiving

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Beloved; What Does This Mean?

Beloved

Beloved as defined by dictionary .com as 1. Adj.- greatly loved; dear to the heart and 2. Noun – a person who is greatly loved. Paul, Peter, John, and Jude all referred to believers as beloved. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul told the Thessalonians that they were greatly loved by the Lord. We are, too, greatly loved by God for He sent His one and only Son to die for us. Therefore,

You are Beloved.

As beloved children of God, we are commanded to teach the ways of Christ to others. We are to flee from idolatry. Be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. We are called to be imitators of God. (1 Corinthians 4:17; 10:14; 15:58 ESV)

Paul’s Wisdom

I particularly like the instructions that Paul gave to the Colossians 3:12-13,

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

Peter’s Instructions

Peter also used this reference to those he loved. In 1 Peter, he encouraged those he greatly loved to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which waged war on the soul. Furthermore, he told them not be become discouraged when fiery trials came upon them to test them. (1 Peter 2:11; 4:12 ESV)

John’s Insight

In the first and third book of John, John told those he loved to love one another as God loved them. Thus, he went on to say that they should not be imitators of evil but imitate good. This goes for us as well. (1 John4:7; 4:11; 3 John 1:11 ESV)

Jude’s Directions

Let us not forget Jude. He told those he loved to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. Have you ever had to contend for your faith? (Jude 1:3 ESV)

Later, he told them what would cause division and then said,

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 20-21 ESV

Therefore, dearly loved by God, go and contend for your faith, love one another as Christ loved you, and do not give into the passions of the flesh. Teach others the ways of Christ. Do the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain.

Related link: Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me

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Come On Let’s Celebrate God’s Victories!

Celebrate God's Victories

Reason to Celebrate!

In the Bible study that I am currently in, we have been reading the book of Esther. Near the end of the book, the Jews were instructed to celebrate for two days following the second edict.

Before I go too far I would like to give you some backstory. The book of Esther is the story of the Jews while in exile. I don’t want to go into great detail so I would encourage you to read the book for yourself. But, you need to know that there was an edict written by Haman, second to the king, to have all the Jews killed in all the provinces (of which there were 127). Once the edict was sealed by the King it was not revocable. Therefore, the Jews were facing annihilation.

So, this is where God interceded though His name is not mentioned. Esther was the queen and herself a Jew. Her uncle Mordecai had her intercede on behalf of her people to the King. She did and made known to the King Haman’s plot against her and her people. You will want to read the book of Esther because the irony in this story just call out that God had a hand in it.

To Make a Long Story Short.

Mordecai was given Haman’s position from which he was allowed to write an edict that permitted the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies, thus the cause for celebration.

In our discussion time, we had a question about what victories God has won in our lives. And how could we commemorate and celebrate these victories? For me, I thought of the day that marks the reconciliation between me and a dear family member. Therefore, I will mark this day with joy and share it with my family.

In the aforementioned Bible story, the Jews were to celebrate the feast of Purim. They did so by giving gifts of food not only to family members but also to the poor. I would like to do something similar to mark my special day.

Related Link: Share of God’s Grace in Your Life

What reason do you have to celebrate God’s goodness?

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Love Others as You Love Yourself

Love Yourself

How Do You Love Yourself?

For me, I started with reading about what God thinks of me. This leads me to love myself because I am created in His image (Genesis 1:27). I am His workmanship and created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). This means I am His work of art, unique and one of a kind. There is no one else like me.

Not only does He love me but He also gave His one only Son to die for my sins (John 3:16). Jesus did this while I was still a sinner. I did not deserve it.

Another thing, God rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). This is a comfort to know that God loves me so much that He rejoices over me with singing.

So, with this in mind, how does one go about loving oneself? First, you need to change the way you think about yourself. Know that you are loved by God. If God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, then you have no reason for not loving yourself. Any other thinking is from the devil who wants to rob you of that great love. So submit yourselves to God and resist the devil and he will flee.

Second, way to love yourself is to care for your body. For as a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, I have to admit that this is a struggle for me. Though, I do want to live a long life I am not good at eating the right foods and getting enough exercise.

Last but not least is remembering to whom you now belong. As a believer, you are a child of God. As a child of God, you are loved and cherished by your heavenly Father. Out of this great love you can now cherish others as you cherish yourself.

In what ways can you love yourself?

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The Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me.

Best advice

Some time back, a dear friend gave me some really good advice. She told me that it is not what you do that is important but what you be. In other words, it is not the doing that matters the most but how you BE. For example, be kind, forgiving, considerate, and compassionate, these are what really matters.

What Advice Does God’s Word Have for Us?

Therefore, I went looking into God’s Word as to how I am to be. I found several references in how I am to be and not to be. This really got me to thinking. What if we as believers thought more about the being rather than the doing, what a profound effect we would make in the world?

For instance, take Ephesians 4:32. We are to BE kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving as Christ forgave us. This alone could rock the society and it would draw others to Christ.

How does it make you feel when someone shows you kindness? You feel respected as a person, right? You matter!

What about tenderhearted or I like to think of it as compassion? We could all use a bit of compassion. Think how this might bring about a welcome change to those in your neighborhood and/or church when we show mercy and extend a helping hand.

Don’t forget about forgiveness! This is central to being a Christ follower. He forgave us while we were still sinners and He expects us to forgive others just the same. This is where true freedom lies because the unwillingness to forgive holds one captive.

Let’s not forget Colossians 3:15b. We are to BE thankful. Gratitude is a game changer. When I focus on God and give Him thanks for all the many blessings and for the trials that come my way, I am changed from the inside out. My countenance is brighter and my heart is full of joy.

How Do We Act on This Advice?

Now, this may sound easier said than done but we do not have to try this on our own. For this will not be possible. But through prayer and God’s Word, God will empower us through His Holy Spirit. This is a mystery, yet I know that with God all things are possible. I have experienced His help in my own life.

Just ask the Lord to help you BE kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. He is more than able to do far more than all we ask or think. This is just a glimpse at but a few of the ways are to BE.

Here is a few more scripture that you can read to find out more; Ephesians 5:1, 17-21; Philippians 2:1-7, 14-15; 4:6; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Romans 12:2; James 1:9.

Here is a related link: Put on the New Self

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3 Reasons to Read “This Dangerous Book”

This Dangerous Book

“This Dangerous Book”

by Steve and Jackie Green with Bill High

The first reason is their story behind the founding of the Museum of The Bible. You might ask why anyone would want to build a museum for the Bible. What makes the Bible dangerous? Steve and Jackie Green along with Bill High tell a most intriguing story has to how this journey began. They give you good reasons behind the claim that the Bible is a dangerous book yet it is also unifying one too.

The second reason is the history and the collecting of Bible artifacts. The Greens also weave in their own faith story which adds to this great read. Their travels and challenges that they faced as they gathered artifacts will keep you reading. The numbers of Bible artifacts are astounding. The more I read the more I want to go to visit the Museum of the Bible.

The third reason is their idea that the Bible should be studied and taught in schools. This is what I found to be the fascinating part of the book. The history of the Bible and its impact not only in America but in the world is dynamic and a reason for the study of the Bible. The evidence they give you of the number of people who have read and studied “this dangerous book” will draw in those who love history.

Furthermore, they give you the 5 Biblical ideas that our founding fathers established our government. A couple of these ideas are “human sinfulness posed a threat to our civil government” and “a republic needed to be sustained by virtue.” Therefore, power was divided into three branches of government and laws needed to be in place to maintain order.

Though they are people of the Book, the Greens strongly believe that the Bible can and should be studied as literature and the conclusions are for each individual reader to make for themselves.

Final Thoughts

I would highly recommend reading this book and if you get the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., go visit the Museum of the Bible. Click this link to order your copy, “This Dangerous Book.”

 

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The Word for the Year is JOY!

The Word for the Year is Joy!

The word JOY is found 242 times in the Bible including 57 times in the Psalms in the NIV. The word is defined as a noun to mean a state of happiness or felicity; expression of glad feeling. As a verb, it is to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.

What Comes to Mind When You Think of the Word Joy?

I can tell you what comes to my mind. The love of my family and making my niece giggle brings me great joy. My heart is glad because of renewed relationships. But this is all temporary. So what does the Bible say about lasting joy?

Well, there are quite a few things that the Bible says about joy. For instance, what gives joy to heart? The Word of the Lord does! It is radiant and gives light to the eyes. The precepts of the Lord are right and rejoicing to the heart. (Psalm19:8)

You will find Joy in God’s Presence!

And joy can be found in the presence of the LORD. When the world is troubling, one can turn to the LORD to rejoice and be glad. He will make known the path of life and fill you with great gladness in His presence. (Psalm 16:1; 21:6) Therefore, seek His presence and be filled to overflowing.

Those who take refuge in Him will find it!

Not only can it be found in His Presence but also when one takes refuge in Him and in the strength of the LORD. God will spread his protection over them that love His name that they may rejoice in Him. (Psalm 5:11) Thus, God is to be our refuge and strength in times of trouble.

Find Joy in the Proverbs.

There is much to be found about it in the Proverbs. Those who promote peace will find it (12:20). A wise son brings it to his father (15:20). One will find it when one gives an apt reply. (15:23). When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous (21:15). A man who loves wisdom brings it to his father (29:3). These are just a few. Therefore, seek to be wise and give a timely response.

New Testament Joy.

Furthermore, joy is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and in James, we are to rejoice and be glad when we come into various trials (James 1:2). We are to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). The Kingdom of God is of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Hence, one can find great joy in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and in perseverance.

In conclusion, I say to you as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 15:32, May the God of hope fill you with all gladness and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (References)

Here are some related links: Joy Can Be Found in Serving Others

Count It All Joy

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David; A Man of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday comes but once a year, yet, we should make the giving of thanks to our God a daily occurrence. David is a perfect example for us to follow. Not only did he write many times in the Psalms but also sang a song of thanks to God in 1 Chronicle 16:8-36.

Why the Thanksgiving?

There are numerous reasons for the thanksgiving to our God. He created the heavens and the earth is the first reason. We are here because of His making it happen. We live and move and have our being because of Him.

In our thanks, we make known His wondrous deeds. It is in remembering that we are encouraged to keep on going and moving forward in life. When we forget, we fall into despair and let the current events way us down.

David had a lot to remind Israel of to be thankful to God. In his song, he reminds them of the great miracles that God had done. They were told to remember God’s covenant. The Lord is great and greatly to be praised is what David spoke to them. Read this song and see how David encouraged the people to tell, ascribe, and declare the great deeds God had done.

Most of all as believers, we are to give thanks to our God for sending us His son. Salvation in Jesus Christ is indeed worthy of thanksgiving. Without Him, we were facing eternal death and an eternity in hell.

What can you give thanks to God for on a daily basis?

How to Give Thanks.

In Psalm 26:7, David proclaimed his thanksgiving aloud and told of God’s wondrous deeds. So we, too, should proclaim God’s great deeds. In eight different Psalms, you can find David giving thanks.

Another way of giving thanks to God is one of sacrifice. It glorifies God when we give Him thanks, this way. So what does it mean to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving? I believe that it is giving Him thanks when we are facing trials and tribulations or even when we don’t feel so thankful. We are to give thanks in all situations.

In addition to this, we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. This would mean coming to church with thanks and praise on our lips and in our hearts. We can add music to our giving of thanks unto the Lord as David did.

How might you find a new way to give thanks to God? Relate link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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Sweet as Honey is God’s Word!

Sweet as honey.

Sweet as Honey & Other Word Pictures of God’s Word

I am sure that you are familiar with the phrase sweet as honey but have you heard it in reference to God’s Word? What other word pictures do we find in the Bible when it comes to God’s Word?

Sweet as Honey!

There are two places in God’s Word that describe His Words as sweet as honey. First is in Ezekiel 3:3 when the prophet was instructed to eat a scroll. He was told that it would fill his stomach. Ezekiel ate the scroll and he said that it was sweet as honey. He then was told to go to the house of Israel and speak the Words that God had given him.Sweet as Honey

Second place is in Revelation 10:9-10. The apostle John was told to eat a scroll much like Ezekiel. The Angel told him that it would be bitter on his stomach but in his mouth, it would be sweet as honey. John ate and it was as he had been told. He was told to prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.

Sharper than any Two-edged Sword!

God’s Word is described as living and active in Hebrews 4:12. It is not static nor is it asleep. His Word has the power to change lives. It is also sharper than any two-edged sword. The verse goes on to say that His Word will pierce and divide the soul and spirit as well as discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This is some serious surgery of the heart, soul, spirit, and mind. It will get down to the matter of the heart.

Lamp/Light

One of the descriptors that are often used for God’s Word is a light or lamp. We find this in Psalm 119 verses 105 and 13Sweet as Honey0. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a lamp unto my path. Thus His Word will give us light for direction and a lamp to light our path for guidance. When we are troubled or confused all we need to do is look to His Word for guidance.

In addition to these Proverbs 6:23 the commandment is a lamp and a teaching light. 2 Peter 1:19-20 the prophetic word is as a lamp shining in a dark place and no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

Furthermore, Jesus is said to be the light of the world and the living Word of God.

Breathed Out by God/ Nor Shall It Return Empty!

Last but not least are references to the scriptures being breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This is an example of how His Word is living and active. In Isaiah 55:11, God says that the Words from His mouth will not return empty but will accomplish that which He purposed it to do.

In conclusion, God’s Word is sweet as honey, has a purpose and will affect those who hear and receive it. It will provide light to those in the dark and provide a lamp to lead them out. Thus, it would be wise to meditate on His Word day and night.

Here is one of my favorite songs, Thy Word is Lamp Unto My Feet.

A Related Link: God’s Word Can Be a Feast!

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Now Comes the Challenge!

Challenge to Reconcile

Being ministers of reconciliation in today’s social environment is not going to be easy. I agree. It will be a challenge but nevertheless, we are called to it. How is the question?

There are several good books that offer help. But first, I think that we can do so especially in these tough times by extending a helping hand or just being with someone in their time of need. God is giving us an opportunity to share His love and grace to a hurting world. We can plant seeds of faith or water where seeds have been sown.

Now, remember that you are not alone in this endeavor. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things and bring to remembrance all that He said to them This is true for us as well. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the words to say to those around you.

Books to Help You with the Challenge.

I am currently studying C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. In his day, he was speaking to the people of Britain during World War 2. He approached the topic from a very basic level which is what we will need to do in this time. Because people are resistant to hearing the Bible, preached at them. It might be helpful to hear this book on audio.

In addition to this book is one I highly recommend, Joining Jesus on His Mission, by Greg Finke. He gives great ideas and guidance as to how to be an everyday missionary. In this book, you will learn how to see what Jesus is doing in the lives of others and ways to reach others in a nonthreatening manner. This makes for a great study for any group. Go and make disciples!

Related Link: Minister of Reconciliation

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