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Showing posts from November 15, 2015

Thanks #2 - God's Creation

We have been placed on a world that is full of God's creations. The mountains and valleys, the streams, rivers and oceans are all His creation. The cycle of evaporation which leads to rain is His doing. The plants, animals, microscopic and  enormous, are all His handiwork. Jeremiah said, "This is what the Lord says he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it." (33:2) God should be listened to because He has shown His great power and diversity in creation. The Psalmist said, "How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." (104:24) "The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it." (89:11) To the Jews Paul said, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." (Hebrews 11:3) There is no credible evidence that the world was made by anything e…

Thanks #1 - God's Goodness

We have a tendency to accept things as though we deserve them; though we have worked for them and now have received them because they are due to us. It is a new way of thinking to be thankful. God understands that it takes a pure heart to be thankful. It takes a heart that has moved away from selfish desires and is seeing, maybe for the first time, clearly about themselves and God. The psalmist spends much time being thankful. He says, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 118:1, 29) This psalm begins and ends with this statement. It clarifies what we are to do, "give thanks;" to whom we are to give it, "to the Lord;" for the reason that "He is good…and His love" is everlasting. If God is your God then thankfulness should be regularly returned to Him for making you righteous through His Son's death and resurrection. You have been set free in answer to your requests. God is no longer just your creator b…

Discovering Holiness

There are some that seek holiness by living apart from the world. They believe that to be "holy" which is defined as "set apart" they must remove themselves from the world. But in doing so, does it not eliminate the opportunity to share their faith with others who have not yet heard the story? In the book of James, the apostle shares three tests for the believer's life. They are his/her speech, their care of those who legitimately need care, and holiness of personal life. James states of the last of the three that the world is prevalent "with moral filth and evil." (1:21) And then, challenges the believer "to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (1:27) If, as it were, we are slogging through mud, how do we keep ourselves clean? First, we must recognize that we cannot find purity in and of ourselves. To think that we can clean our garments is foolish while the sin nature lives within us. The Holy Spirit's influence and impact…

Attitude

It is refreshing to see a poor man stand tall and live life to its fullest and it is even more refreshing to see a rich man that is normal, humble and approachable. James writes in his book about faith and works, "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower." (James 1:9-10) Here we find a paradox of the two extremes of life positions and how they are linked together. The poor brother is seen with the high position of being made an heir of God the Father. The rich man is seen with a low position of God choosing him for salvation and not ignoring him because he was rich. Having a right attitude about your circumstances removes them from making you a victim of them. Salvation comes to both with equality. Grace is bestowed by faith not by works or standing. The present life experience, whether poor or rich, has no influence over life beyo…

Sacrifice

When was the last time you worshiped God? I'm not asking you when was the last time you went to church, I'm asking you when was the last time you focused yourself on responses to God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do? It's easy for life to become so cluttered with activities that seem to be a must and our sight so narrowed to our own selfishness that we fail to respond to the God who makes it all possible. As the writer of Hebrews brings his instructions to a close for the church at large, he pointedly speaks of three important sacrifices: "through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:15-16) When God is adequately praised, then those who do so naturally offer also the sacrifice of good works and the sacrifice of sharing. To praise God is to express honor and glo…