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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Minister of Reconciliation: Job Description

Reconciliation

I have been pondering 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. There is a lot in these three verses. Apart from being a new creation, there is a new job description. Through Christ God has entrusted me to be a minister of reconciliation. Let’s break these down into three parts.

Part One: New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ESV

Here, we have a therefore so I looked at verses 11-16 to understand what proceeds the, therefore. I conclude that it is for the love of Christ that controls me that I am a new creation and I am no longer the old me. He has made me new. Not anything that I have done.

Part Two: God Made This Happen

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” ESV

Alleluia! God made this happen and I had nothing to do with it. God reconciled me to Himself through Christ. But, it comes with a new job assignment. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation. That’s right! I am to tell others about how God has reconciled me to Himself and that He can do the same for them.

Part Three: Message of Reconciliation

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” ESV

The message is that God has reconciled the world through Christ to Himself. Christ paid the price for the sins of the world, therefore, God no longer counts their sins against them. As recipients of His grace, we have been entrusted with this message.

So the question is “How are we at getting the message of reconciliation out to the world?”

I leave you with a link to a favorite song. New Lease on Life.

Related link: Heavenly Adoption VS. Earthly Adoption

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A Psalm of Praise unto the Lord, My God!

A Psalm of Praise

Last Sunday, Pastor Crowe encouraged us to read Psalm 18 and then write one of our own. Here is mine that I have composed to tell of His goodness to me. This is my way of giving praise to my Lord and my God who sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.

My Psalm of Praise!

A Psalm about the Greatness of the Lord unto Me!

Lord, Your ways are above all others and You desire a heart that is devoted to You.

I praise Your Holy Name for You are slow to anger and filled with compassion to those who love You and are called by Your Name.

Lord, You have sustained me in my darkest hour and restored to me more than what was taken from me.

Your Word restores, guides, and brings hope to the weary and forsaken.

You alone have the power to reconcile broken relationships when all hope was lost.

You equipped me to serve in ways that I would never have imagined before.

Your faithfulness and mercy are beyond description.

Your steadfast love is my mighty fortress and tower of refuge to run to in time of need.

Great is Your compassion and faultless is Your love.

Your patience knows no limit, yet, You will not tolerate sin nor the proud forever.

You will exalt the humble and bring down the haughty for You are sovereign.

You are righteous and just against sin, yet You will not reject a broken and contrite heart.

There is nothing that can be hidden from You.

My finite mind cannot begin to comprehend Your infinite grace and mercy. I need only believe and trust in You. Amen!

 

Therefore, I want to challenge you to write your own psalm of praise. It is a wonderful way to chronicle all the great things He has done in your life.

For a Related Link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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5 Books Worth Reading and Why

5 Books Worth Reading

I thought that I would tell you about some of the books that I have read and why they are worth your reading. There are three that have helped me personally and two that were for leisure reading. I do hope that you will take the time to read at least one.

2 Books that Will bring about Positive Change.

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Here is a book that I do believe is worthy to be read by everyone. We all could use a refresher when it comes to personal boundaries. I know that I did when I first read it and then worked through the workbook that goes along.

One more important thing I learned was about personal responsibility. For example, I am responsible only for my reactions and interactions but not for others’. Yet I am responsible to others. This means I am to be forgiving and honest with people. This helped me not to try to “fix” others when they are unhappy or angry with me. I had to learn to let others have their own feelings and deal them for themselves.

There is so more I could say but I want you to explore this book for yourself.

Beyond Boundaries by Dr. John Townsend

This book was a great help to me following the previous book. In it, Townsend helped me to work on restoring relationships. Two key points from this book are how to reestablish appropriate connections in strained relationships and restore former relationships to a healthy dynamic.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this made a difference in my life. Just let me tell you that I have improved relationships with certain family members that I thought I had lost. I give Thanks to God for the relationships I now have with people I love.

I Can’t Say Enough About This Book.

Never Go Back (10 Things You Will Never Do Again) by Dr. Henry Cloud

Do you want a read that will make you think and bring about some much-needed change? Well, this is it!

The first four chapters struck a chord with me. Each chapter begins with Never Again…. For instance, this first chapter is “Never Again…Return to What doesn’t Work”. This chapter talks about not repeating old habits that failed like relationships with unhealthy people. One must break the cycle in order to improve.

In chapter four, you are to Never Again…Believe that You Can Please Everyone. Yet again, this struck a chord with me. I grew up wanting to please people. Dr. Townsend gives good reasons not to please everyone.

Don’t take my word for it! Read it for yourself

2 Books that You Won’t Want to Put Down.

Not By My Own by Whit Devereaux

Once you start reading it you will not want to put it down. She tells her own story in the third person which makes for an intriguing read. Yet, this is not a read for the light of heart. Whit went through some really tough times, however, she brings it to a beautiful ending.

I still highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to be inspired by someone else’s life story. You can find it by following this link; Not By My Own.

Emily 1873 by Marie Bockman Cariker

Do you love a good mystery?

Well here is just the book for you. I had a hard time putting down. Marie writes a wonderful story of mystery and faith. There was just the right amount of the gospel in this well-written tale. I was moved to tears at one point. Marie takes you back in time.

You can find her book at Xulon Press; Emily: 1873.

Other Books I have read: The Truth About Happiness and Finders Keepers Losers Winners.

 

 

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Are You Ready to Contend for the Faith?

Contend for your faith

Have you ever had to contend for your faith in Christ Jesus? In Jude 3-4, the author appealed to believers to contend for the faith against certain people who are ungodly and perverted the grace of our God and denied the Lord Jesus.

So what does it mean to contend? When used with a subject it means to assert or maintain earnestly. Therefore, one is to be ready to assert and maintain the reason for the hope that is in them.

Why? You Ask.

Because times are upon us that our faith will be challenged. There are several places in the Bible that we are urged to stand firm in our faith. I particularly like where the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be “watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV.”

The Apostle Paul was very good at exhorting believers to stand firm in the faith. One fine example of this is in Philippians 3:17-4:1. He told those in Philippi to imitate him and keep their eyes on those who walked according to the example that he had set. Times were tough because there were enemies of the cross, however, Paul reminded the believers of their citizenship in heaven. Therefore, they were encouraged to stand firm in the Lord.

Likewise, there are enemies of the cross still today and we, too, are to stand firm.

Count It as Joy to Contend for the Faith.

In James 1:2-4, we are to count it joy when we meet various trails. Contending for our faith is definitely a trail. This is a testing of our faith which produces steadfastness. In turn, if we let the steadfastness have its full effect in us we will be complete and lack nothing.

Another thing to consider is that we are not left helpless. According to Luke 12:11-13, we don’t need to be anxious in defending ourselves or worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will teach us what we ought to say.

Nor are we to turn away for Jesus said that if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Turning away can be seen as denying Him because one is not standing firm in the faith and acknowledging Jesus before others.

How We Ought to Answer.

Just tell your story! No one can refute it because it is your testimony. In gentleness, love, and truth, give the reason for the hope that is in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have an opportunity to plant a seed in someone else’s heart that only the Holy Spirit can cause to grow and hopefully take root.

Therefore, do not be afraid to speak, for God is with you wherever you go!

How have you had to contend for your faith? Please leave me a comment.

Related link: Be Ready to Give a Reason

If you want to read more on the subject, check out Kate’s link, 15 tips to help win arguments re Christian Faith on social media.

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Adoption: Earthly Compared to Heavenly

Adoption

Earthly Adoption

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful experience for both the adoptive parents and child or children. For the child, it is heartwarming to be chosen. For the parents who are looking, I can only begin to imagine what the feelings might be when they have found the child or children they desire.

My two brothers and I were adopted by our step-dad when I was 12. My youngest brother was most especially excited about it. Not too long ago my adopted-dad, to whom I now call Dad, reminded me that he chose me for his daughter. It felt good to know that at the time.

Chosen is a very good feeling. Remember, how you felt when you were chosen to be on someone’s team in school? I remember standing and waiting to be chosen but was often the last one chosen.

Adoption gives a child that special feeling, too.

Adoption by Our Heavenly Father Through Faith

Romans 8:15-17 talks about a spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba means daddy. Have you ever called out to God, “Daddy?”

In the sermon on Sunday, Pastor Pohland spoke on Fatherly Adoption. It is from the heart of the one adopting, thus God chose me and other Christians. Our inheritance in the kingdom of God will not decrease as the number of those adopted in increases because heaven nor eternal life can be subdivided. This is unlike earthly inheritance which decreases with the number of descendants.

In sending His son to die for our sins, He gave us the right to become children of God to all who receive and believe in Jesus name (John 1:12-13).

You can find this theme in more places than one. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says that He will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Him. In Galatians 3:26, in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 4:5-6 repeats the same idea as in Romans 8:15-17.

Isn’t it good to know that you are wanted by your heavenly Father?

If you liked this you might also like: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

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Where I Serve the Lord in My Church.

Please allow me to tell you about the ways I serve in my church. There are a few ways that I am blessed in serving. The one thing that I have come to appreciate is how God calls me out of my comfort zone to do so.

Serve the Lord

Serving Individuals with Unique Challenges.

First and probably the biggest blessing is God’s calling to serve the Rock House Bible class. The Rock House is a separate organization that provides homes and work for unique individuals with differing challenges. They arrive by vans and escorted by their drivers.

We have 25-30 class members who have mobility issues, learning disabilities, and a couple who are blind. They are a very loving group to those who serve them yet they do have their challenges often with each other. Some are not able to communicate clearly.

Even though they all have their own challenges, each one is created in God’s own image. Therefore, they are to be treated with love and respect as much as the neuro-typical person is. I believe that they each fit the least of these that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25:31-46. I am blessed by each one and grateful for the opportunity to teach them about Jesus and God’s Word.

We are currently working on confirmation teaching. This month we are on the unit about the Apostles’ Creed. I love this unit because it is our statement of faith and what we believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

I Serve the Lord with Gladness.Ways I Serve the Lord

The second area where I serve the Lord is in Joy Mission Circle. This is a group of women who meet once a month to support various missions and for Bible study. It is a small part of a larger organization, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. We provide meals for VBS, Lenten Suppers, and Advent Devotions. We support missions through our mite boxes where we collect our change. I am amazed at how far reaching pour mites go to support both state and national missions.

Last but not least, I am further blessed to serve on the Capital Zone as Vice President of Christian Life. My duties are to encourage other societies to utilize the LWML website, organize rallies which there are 2 every year, and the Capital Zone retreat. Furthermore, I have had opportunities to attend 3 Texas District conventions since 2010, and my first National Convention just this year.

Thank the Lord!

I rejoice in the Lord, my God. By no means, do I mean to boast of myself. For God has made all of this possible. Apart from God, I can do nothing. He works in me and through me. All glory belongs to Him.

Related link: 5 Things that I Love About my Church

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Three Key Points About the Name of Jesus!

Three Key Points

At the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) National Convention in Albuquerque, NM, our scripture verses was Philippians 2:9 This verse begins with a, therefore, thus, what comes before it is important. Hence, we will key on the following verses.

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

The Three Key Points Are!

One, Jesus didn’t hold His equality with God over people. Thus, He didn’t use it to his advantage. Think about this for a moment. Here, He was with great power at his disposal, yet, He set that aside to do the will of His Father.

Second, He humbly took on the likeness of man. Therefore, He knows what it is like to be human and suffered many things while on earth. He was tempted yet without sin. He fulfilled the law whereas we could not.

The third and most important is that He was obedient to the point of death. This was no ordinary death like a heart attack or from old age. It was an excruciating and shameful death on a cross, though Jesus scorned the shame that came with it. There was a purpose in His death.

This is why God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above all names and that every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!(Philippians 2:9) Indeed, Jesus is the name above all names! He is the key to eternal life.


Related link: Excruciating Means Out of the Cross or Crucifixion3 Key Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus
  2. Philippians 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
  3. Philippians 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

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