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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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?

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Gift of faith

What is the greatest gift you ever received?

If you were asked what is the greatest gift that you ever received, what would be your answer? I am sure that there are a number of things that come to mind. Such as a car or maybe a baby would be your answer. How did you respond to the person who gave you that special present?

Well, we have been given the greatest gift ever given. It is a freely given. There are no strings attached. You can’t earn nor can you pay for it. Once received you cannot lose it. This special freely given treasure is referenced several times in the New Testament.Gift

What is it? You Ask.

It is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

How do I know that it is Freely Given?

I find that answer in Romans.

Romans 3:23-25 ESV, 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Romans 5:15 ESV, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Don’t you appreciate a free gift? We all do. But yet, this one is often rejected. This is sad but true.

Nevertheless, when someone receives something of great value as a present there is much excitement and they want to tell everyone about it.

So What are We to do About the Gift that We have Received?

We are to go tell others about it. After all, if you were forgiven a large debt, would you not want to shout it out from the mountaintop? This is what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did.

2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”[i]

 

 

[i] Scripture references: English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Share of God’s Grace in Your Life!

Share

I Am Called to Share of His Grace.

Well, Community Bible Study has come to an end of another great study in God’s word. Though I missed out on almost two months, God did not leave me void of something to take from it. My take home is His amazing grace and the need to share it with others. We closed out with Share day where we were invited to tell our story of God’s grace.

I was blessed by each woman’s story but especially by the young mothers who stepped up with their babies wrapped close to them. They, too, shared of God’s grace. One told of how she did not grow up with a mother or grandmother and was blessed by the older women in her core group. Another mother told of her 2 year old who was in the children’s program. Her two year old knows of Jesus and encourages her family to prayer before meals. Therefore, this blesses my heart to see young mother’s coming and bringing their children with them so that they will grow up knowing that Jesus is Lord.

Then the Lord inspired me to climb the mountain of stairs to the podium to share of His grace in my life. Our study in Titus has been so encouraging. The last lesson was titled Amazing Grace. I read our memory verses Titus 2:11-12. I spoke of how I was there by the grace of God following the injury to my back. However, the story of His grace in my life was how He transformed me to be able to have an improved relationship with my sister who was blessed with a beautiful little girl, Joanna, almost two years ago.

There is a lot to a Name.

Her name means God is gracious. Two years ago, I feared that I would not be able to connect with her. Yet, God is greater and has blessed me by helping me to reconnect me with my sister. Not only do I have a better relationship with her but my niece has stolen my heart. I am not sure when I will get my heart back. But that’s okay with me.

Yet, there is something more to this last lesson for me. God wants me to share of His grace in my life with others in a tangible way. I am not sure of how just yet but I pray that He will reveal it to me before CBS starts up again in the fall.

Is God calling you to share of His Grace with others?

Continue Reading

How, Lord, Am I to Be Patient in Affliction?

Affliction

What Does It Mean to be Patient in Affliction?

While reading Finding Purpose, Kelsey used Romans 12:11-13 as her verses for reference. What stuck out to me in verse 12 is the patient in affliction, which is defined as a state of pain, distress, or grief: misery. It can also be a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.[2]

Therefore, I pose the question as to how can I be patient in my affliction? First, let’s define patient. Patient as an adjective is defined as bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.[3] Thus I am to endure my state of pain, distress or persecution with fortitude, calm, and without complaining, anger or the like.

However, I am a contradiction to this. I have not endured my pain and discomfort without complaint or anger. As time has progressed, I have gotten accustomed to my pain. Yet, last night, I sadly mistreated my family and I attributed it to my pain. So I want to know how I can refrain from using my pain as an excuse to be unkind and impatient with my family?

Be that as it may, there is hope because with Christ all things are possible. The key is being faithful in prayer. On my own, I am not able to bear my pain and misery with fortitude and calm. Yet, I am enabled to do so through fervent prayer. I don’t know how it happens but God is faithful and will hear me when I pray. Hence, He alone has the power to help me.

Here is My Prayer.

Dear Lord God, I come to You to ask for help in my affliction. On my own, I am not patient and I have been unkind to my family. Please forgive me and help me to be patient and to refrain from using my pain as an excuse. Lord have mercy. Hear my Prayer. Amen.

 

 

 

[2] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/affliction?s=t

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patient?s=t

Continue Reading