Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why Should We Be Thankful?

God the Father 01
God the Father 01 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 136:26

English Standard Version (ESV)

         There are many reasons that we should be thankful for what we have while we are in this life.   Thankfulness is directly mentioned or alluded to many times in the Bible.  It's a predominant theme in fact.  

         My prayers to God are filled with praise and thanks.  I'm starting to feel better about asking God for things that I think I want.  His guidance is the most desired request.  What he gives me after that point is what I understand He wants me to have.  I am thankful for whatever he bestows upon me.  Blessings abound in my life.

         There is no thing or experience that this world has to offer me that is as important as what God is in my life.  If I have nothing in this world, I have everything in God.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:28-29

English Standard Version (ESV)

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Time for Giving on our Minds

Homeless beggar on a building window ledge
Homeless beggar on a building window ledge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

Psalm 12:5

English Standard Version (ESV)

        The time of the giving season is upon us.   Soon many will be sitting down to feasts with family and friends as they give thanks for all with which they are blessed.  Holiday sales will create shopping frenzies as some prepare for the gift giving that Christmas brings.  

        Other tables may be sparsely set if there are tables at all.  The poor, the homeless, and those beset by war and disaster might be merely hoping for a few scraps--forget the feast.   So many are struggling in the world and those numbers seem to be on the increase.  We hear the pleas for help, but some of us are hoping we are not heading in that same direction one day.  We pray for them as well as ourselves.

        The Lord God will arise in His time to give shelter to those who are lacking and feed those who are hungry.   In the meantime the duty falls to those of us who can do something.  Remember next time you encounter that scruffy man or woman with outstretched hand, that could be our neighbor, our brother, or our child.  It could even one day be you.

         Our mission should be to feed the hungry when their bellies are empty and not pass judgement on why they are hungry.   The beggar you see could be anybody.  Your blessing upon them will be a blessing upon you.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2

English Standard Version (ESV)

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Waiting Again for an Answer

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo.
Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalm 5:3

King James Version (KJV)

         I want something badly.  This thing that I want has been in my prayers a lot lately.  When I wake up in the morning and before I go to sleep at night I pray for this one thing among the many other things for which I pray.  I hope God is not getting upset with me for bugging Him about this one thing so much.

         We are told throughout the Bible to pray for our heart's desires. But our prayers must be within the will of God.  We can't just pray for any old thing and expect to get it.  Not all things are good for us to have and sometimes the time is not right for our prayer to be answered.   

          Maybe I won't always get what I want, but I'll get what I need.  God will bless me with the things He wants me to have.  That's more important than what I want.  All prayers are answered according to God's will.

           Next time you think that God hasn't heard your prayer, just remember that "No" is an answer.   God knows better than you what's best.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inner Turmoil Can Make Us Better

20100508 - camping - GEDC1958 - Road Closed si...
 - Road Closed sign riddled with bullets -
 (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Psalm 13:2

New International Version (NIV)

       How often do you wish life would be easier?  Sure, it sounds nice to never have a problem in the world.  If we could just rest easy knowing that we would never have any financial worries, that everyone would always think we were wonderful, and that sickness would never befall us.  It's a wonderful dream, but it is only a dream.  It's not gonna happen.

         Even the richest, the most powerful, and the most beautiful people have those times when their confidence falters.   Many of the greatest have eventually fallen.  After all we are all only human.   And blessings are relative.  We may envy the talents or possessions of another, but we may also not see what turmoil dwells within those who appear to be abundantly blessed.

         The truth is that we are each blessed in our own way and even our hardships may be viewed as blessings.    Real strength comes through surviving the ordeals that we encounter in our lives.  It is we ourselves who turn ant hills into mountains and stones in the road into insurmountable obstacles.  If we struggle with demons that we ourselves have created then we must conquer them or how can we expect to conquer the real demons of this world?

          We should not let sin, self-defeating thoughts, or internal conflict beat us into submission.  That's what Satan wants us to do.  We don't have to surrender to weakness or feelings of powerlessness.  We have an advocate in our Almighty Creator.  He wants us to succeed.  Troubles that we face may be unpleasant, but getting past them will make us bigger, stronger, and better in every way.

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

New King James Version (NKJV)

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