Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2009 |

In a few hours, it will be Thanksgiving. Let us offer thanks to the King of Kings for His graciousness and mercy. With these turbulent times, it may seem there is little to be thankful for, but if you are in Christ, you have everything to thank Him for. As it is written, if a man gains the whole world and loses his soul, what has he profited?

For those who know Jesus Christ and trust in Him, we know He supplies every need. We may have lost a job or have loved ones fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, but we are still heirs to the Kingdom when this world passes away.

For those who have not yet discovered the good news of Christ’s coming, I encourage you to look at the blessings in your life. Even if everything seems grim, there is hope. For starters, you have a God who loves you. He loved you enough to carry all your sins to the cross. That you’re alive means there is still time to find salvation. On top of that, here are some things for which you might be thankful:

a job, loved ones, pets, a car that works, gas money, a roof over your head, food on your table, a bed to sleep in, friends.

We all have so much to be thankful for every day, but oft times, we forget. We take every little thing for granted–expecting it will always be there. But nothing lasts forever except heaven, our souls, and hell. So give thanks, not just today, but every day, for the blessings Jesus Christ has bestowed upon you.

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Stay Faithful: God is Watching

November 24th, 2009 |

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 

7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

 8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

 9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9

We all face trials and temptations. The key is trying to hold on to our faith in the midst of such turbulence. I wish I could say I am an expert. I wish I could say I am as faithful as a mustard seed. But I confess, like everyone else, I am not. Even Peter had his moment of weakness, denying Christ three times before the cock crowed. But that was the end of Peter’s faltering faith. Once Peter received the gift of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, his faith never waivered again.

Oh, that we could all be so bold in our commitment to Christ. That we, as Christians, could take up our crosses and carry them, never questioning Jesus Christ in our moments of strife.

If I can offer you anything today, let it be this: God is faithful. Hold on to your faith. He will see you through your times of struggle and you will emerge victorious. Through Christ, we are more than conquerors. We are heirs to the Kingdom of God. Hold true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and no matter what happens, you can rest assured a better day is coming. If not in this life, then in the next.

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God is Great

November 16th, 2009 |

… and greatly to be praised. (Psalm 96:4)

Yes, I paraphrased a bit, but the thought is the same.

In the past seven years, many things have happened in my life. My wife miscarried a couple of times. After the first time, I told myself it was God’s will. That when He was ready, we would have a child. Each time after that, when the pregnancy test came back positive, I thought God figured I was ready. Then a few weeks later, that hope was always gone. Three years ago, my wife had an ectopic pregnancy and the doctors went in to look for it. They ended up removing both of her fallopian tubes due to endometriosis. I admit I didn’t understand. I trusted God would let it happen at the perfect time and then it became a physical impossibility for us to have a normal pregnancy. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is now the only possible way for us to have a child of our own. Unfortunately, the company I worked for had insurance that refused to cover any portion of IVF. Yes, I was broken hearted, but I continued to believe God would make a way for us to save the $12,000 required for IVF.

Just over a year ago, I lost my job. I spent a year looking and praying for a new one. I exhausted all of my savings in that year. Last week, God came through for me, letting me finally start a new job. While it’s a commission-only job, I believe God placed me here to be successful. I’m in sales and already have at least one or two deals coming down the pike. More than that, the insurance with this company covers IVF and–I believe–the expensive medications required for it.

God is faithful if we remain faithful. I could not see where He was taking me. It looked like I was on a black road spiraling down into the abyss all alone, but He has remained by my side. As David said, in Psalm 18:33, “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet and setteth me upon my high places.”

If you are going through tough times, if this portion of your life seems black and empty, I encourage you to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior. You may feel abandoned, but He promised us, “I will never leave thee nor foresake thee.” To paraphrase Paul, we see things through a dark glass right now. We don’t know the future and what God holds in store for us. We can, however, rest assured that He will make every trial a blessing if we will just refuse to listen to that voice of despair. If we will continue to praise Him even in hard times, God will make Himself manifest in our lives and carry us through the valley, setting us high upon the mountain on the other side.

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Bless them that curse you

November 10th, 2009 |

One of the things Jesus told us was

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt 5:44)

It isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Often times, our flesh gets in the way. We feel someone wronged us, perhaps they actually did, and we want God to punish that person, not bless them. After all, why should we want to see good things happen to someone who just harmed us?

I would like to give you a real world example I am wrestling with. I lost my job over a year ago. I didn’t get unemployment. I blew through my entire savings. I am struggling to make ends meet. A couple of days ago, I stepped out on my back porch and realized someone stole my pressure washer. It was a Huskie 1550 PSI electric washer I bought just before losing my job. I only got to use it 2 or 3 times.

As a side note: earlier this year, someone came into my back yard and stole a rose bush. Yes, they acually took the time to dig up a small bush I bought for $5 or $10 at Wal-mart. So, this theft made me feel doubly betrayed in my small town of Decatur, Alabama.

When I realized someone stole my pressure washer, I sat down. I admit I felt hurt, violated. I wanted to cry. No, I wanted to curse. But I prayed, “God, please get me to the place where I can forgive this person and ask that you bless them.” Then the thought came to me. As we forgive, so are we forgiven. I admit it, I didn’t feel it right then, but I continued my prayer and asked God, “Please, LORD, let me forgive this person. Please bless them.” Over the past couple of days, I have continued to ask for God’s blessing upon this person. It is my sincere hope that God will bless this person with a job or money so they do not have to go around stealing from people who are also facing hard times. I hope God will forgive the person. Hell is a horrible place and going there because you didn’t want to work to buy a  pressure washer that was only $100-$150 would be a shame. So, I pray God forgives him. And I pray God blesses this person with a conscience. And that God will bless the person with salvation.

Praying this way not only helps me to forgive the person–so I feel better–but it also blesses others I do not know.

If God should bless this person as I have asked, it means other people will not have things stolen from them. So, they are blessed. It may also save the thief’s life. Recently, a teen was shot and killed when he broke into a man’s house. As this thief goes around stealing, he might try to steal from the wrong person and get shot. This blessing would not only keep the homeowner’s conscience clear from having killed someone over something small, but it would also save the thief’s family the grief and expense of burying a loved one. Perhaps this person will even father a great man of God if he lives long enough. I don’t know.

I do know that when we pray for those who despitefully use us, when we bless those that curse us, we are also asking God’s blessing upon many others we do not know. We may never see God’s blessings in these lives, but we can rest assured they are there.

If you’ve been wronged, if someone has injured you, I encourage you to pray for that person. Don’t pray that God will punish or hurt them. Pray that God will bless them. You’ll feel better and you’ll be helping more people than you know.

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