On fasting…

Recently, there has been a nationwide call to fast and pray for our country. Many people, however, don’t know what it means to fast or how to fast. First of all, Scripture tells us not to be boastful about our fast:

16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:16-18

Secondly, we must remember, that fasting alone cannot “fix” anything. Fasting is done in an effort to rid ourselves of worldly things. We are to fast from that which is distracting us and keeping us from God. When many people think of fasting, they automatically think “food” fast. For many of us, it may be unhealthly to fast from food for a day or especially three days.

So please remember that NO ONE is asking you to fast from food. We are calling out to everyone, however, to fast from that which separates you from God. And while you fast, we are asking that you pray. Remember also, that fasting should be done in conjunction with prayer. And prayer should be according to God’s Will:

14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1 John 14:-15

As we enter the first 3 days of December, please reflect on the nationwide request to pray for our country.  More information is available at: http://estherfast.net/

Through our commitment to God in the coming days, “May God Bless the USA!”

An after Thanksgiving reminder:

Isaiah 12:2
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

God is not just a God of creation. He is the God of Salvation. He created and sent Jesus Christ to earth not just so that we could see Him personally, not just to give us an example of how we are to live, but to die for us. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, lived a life free of sin, and full of sacrificial giving that allowed us to become free from sin. His death on the cross, and propitiation (payment) for all of our sins, allowed us to be set free from the shackles of sin and death, in order to become righteous in the eyes of God.

God isn’t just our Father; He isn’t just someone we can turn to in times of distress; He is someone that died as Jesus Christ, so that we could have eternal Salvation.

What better gift can someone give than the gift of Salvation? God loves us so much that His gift keeps giving and giving. We can eternally enjoy His gift of Salvation as we spend forever with Him in Heaven.

As we enter the Christmas season, please remember that Christmas is NOT about giving gifts to others. It is solely about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We traditionally give gifts during this time in remembrance of Christ’s birth and the gifts that the Wise Men gave Jesus after his birth. As you give and receive gifts, take time to tell others about your Savior, Jesus Christ, and the real reason we have this season.

in everything…

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Some quick highlights for today:

  • Not just “sometimes”
  • but in EVERYTHING
  • by prayer
  • with thanksgiving
  • make your requests known to God
  • so that…

…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!


Remembering the good times

Psalm 105:1-2
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works.”

Today, we are reminded to “tell of all His wondrous works.” I think back to my first semester in Seminary, when I was tasked with an assignment that I had a lot of trouble completing. I was instructed to maintain a diary of sorts (a journal they called it), to log my thoughts 5 days a week. I struggled weekly to maintain enough entries each week to meet the requirement. I even told a close friend of mine how I felt I had failed God because of my poor “entries” and I informed him that a journal was not my “cup of tea.” I just couldn’t seem to get any help out of journaling my thoughts. Then, this past summer, I felt God leading me to start this blog (a journal – sort of) where I log my thoughts from daily devotions and interactions with the world and with God.

Since that time, I have discovered the reason and purpose behind the school assignment. There are days, many in fact, when we are depressed, down, or just not feeling good. When these days happen, it’s hard to pull out of the slump. It’s hard to remember the days of joy that we have spent with our mighty God. That’s why we need to journal – when we record the good days (which are more frequently forgotten than the bad days which are remembered) it reminds us even in times of great sorrow that the Lord is still there, just as much as ever before, holding us in His loving hands.

At all times, God is in control. In the good and in the bad, God never loses sight of us or our situation. In fact, during the bad days, I believe God is closer to us – and much closer than we think. We just can’t see Him well. But His wondrous works are all around us, ALL THE TIME. We just fail to open our eyes to see them. Therefore, when you have the good days, don’t just tell others about them, journal them down, store them for safe keeping, and then remind yourself of His wondrous works!

Holy…Holy…Holy…

Psalm 97:12
“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His Holy name.”

Recently, I found a song titled “What do we know of Holy” by Addison Road.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6J5TzSE_18

This song pretty much signifies the essence of who God is. He is someone that we can’t even understand. His Holiness is beyond our comprehension. When we talk about “being good,” we generally mean that we haven’t got into any serious trouble and have “behaved.” We might have done some “minor” things that appear, in what we refer to as a “gray” area – something that isn’t bad, but isn’t necessarily good either – it’s neither black nor white, but gray.

But when we use the word “Holy,” we are describing something that is totally void of ANY and all sin. It is absent of even the slightest bit of gray area. There is NO body and NO thing anywhere that can associate any type of even the slightest bit of wrong with anything “Holy.”

Thus, when we “give thanks to His Holy name,” we are recognizing God’s goodness, but more than goodness, it’s a Holiness that we can’t even understand. We might say that we can imagine a life absent of sin and immoral conduct, but unfortunately as mere mortal human beings, we constantly have immoral thoughts and/or ideas that race across our minds on a weekly, daily, or maybe hourly basis.

Thankfully, God’s love and Holiness will not allow Him to think like we think. He is far superior and greater than that. And because of that, He will always faithfully fulfill His promises to us, without even the slightest thought to not fulfill them. His Holiness is greatly to be praised!

How do you give thanks?

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield, in him my heart trusts, and I am helped,; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”

How often do you give thanks to God with songs? Do you do it just on Sundays? Or are you there on Wednesdays too? What about the other 5 days of the week? Do you just sit idly by and not sing to the Lord? Ok, so you say you don’t have a “singing” voice. Well, God didn’t give me one either, and I’ll promise you that you don’t want to hear it! However, isn’t the voice of your child pleasant to your ears when he/she shows you their love? So is your voice to the Lord, as you praise His name!

How many of you listen to the radio on the way to work or school? And what station or type of music do you listen to? With technology such as satellite radio, CDs, MP3s, and even just FM radio – it’s possible to listen to “praise music” to, and from your destination. Kimberly and I both listen to a local FM station and constantly praise the Lord when we are driving around town. In fact, we are disappointed when we travel outside of FM signals and lose reception to our Christian music.

If you listen to music today during your travels, try a change and scan the dial for some praise and worship music. I think you’ll find an amazing difference in attitude that you will have, after praising the Lord instead of listening to “worldly” music or the talk-show of the day. Give thanks to the Lord through songs today.


Psalm 9:1

 

Psalm 9:1

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”

Giving thanks to the Lord can not be a partial undertaking. To be true and honest, sincere and authentic, it takes the whole heart.

Sometimes we do things with a half-hearted attempt just to say, “It’s done” or “I did it.” But with giving thanks to God, we have to be sincere. God knows the thoughts and intentions in our minds before we ever say a word. So when you give thanks to the Lord, do it with your whole heart.

Thanks continued…

As we continue the theme of giving thanks this week:

2 Chronicles 20:21

“Give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Another item we have to give thanks for is God’s “enduring love.” As I think about being a child of God, I can reflect upon being a father to my child. I am willing to give everything and anything for my child. I don’t want to see my child come to harm or to be deprived of anything. To attempt to measure this kind of human love of a child to the type of “agape” love that God shows I believe is not even comparable. God’s capability to love is far beyond human comprehension. Why do I say that?

As God formed Jesus as a human baby in Mary’s womb, He knew at that very moment that He would have to lose His child in order to pay for our sins. Yet, He still did it. He was willing to sacrifice His own son, His ONLY Son, so that we would not have to suffer.

How many people would want to raise a son, knowing full well, that during his entire life he would be mocked, ridiculed, and someday would have to suffer on a cross – at no fault of his own, only to spare the life of others?

God’s desire to allow this to happen to His only Son, shows a kind of love that many or possibly none of us can fathom. It is an “enduring love” that lasts forever. God has known since all time that this would happen, and yet still allowed it. It was God’s plan from the beginning – a way to show us the kind of love that is pure and will last forever.

“Give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever.”


Give Thanks!

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is only appropriate that we give Thanks.

1 Chronicles 16:8-9 (New International Version)

  8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
       make known among the nations what he has done.

 9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
       tell of all his wonderful acts. 

This delightful passage of Scripture reminds us of 2 key points.

The first – is that when we give thanks, it should be “to the Lord.” Sure, we are thankful for our mighty nation, our government, our soldiers, our family, and our friends. But, the ultimate authority is God, and we should Thank Him for everything. As we thank Him, it is only appropriate to do so with joy in our heart and we should sing praises to Him as we honor and glorify Him for His mighty works.

The second – is that we need to “share God.” The passage says “make known his deeds among the peoples” and “tell of all His wondrous works.” This is yet another reminder that we aren’t to keep quiet about our faith. Instead, we are not only to share our faith, but to share it in “all nations” as commanded by the Great Commission. We are appointed as His children so that we may go into the world and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Thus, as we move into Thanksgiving – give Thanks…but Give Thanks to our Lord Almighty, and then share the great and mighty blessing of Salvation that He gave to you, with others so that they too, can become children of God. Explain to others how to start a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior today!

http://whativaluemost.com/Gospel_main.aspx

Choose this day…

Right now, before anything else happens, you have a choice what you will do for the remainder of the day (assuming the Lord does not come). You had a choice when you woke up what you would spend the day doing. And tomorrow, you have a choice. Isn’t America great? The freedom to choose….
Now, with all the freedom we have, I would like to remind us of a famous quote I heard one time “you can do ANYTHING….once.” That means exactly what it says – practically anything can be done one time, but you will have to pay the consequences, and therefore, might not get to do it again, the right way.
The same is true with trusting in God. Right now, you have a choice to make. Will you believe in God and trust Him with your life and serve him? Or will you abandon God? Remember – “you can do ANYTHING…once.” If you get it wrong, you will not have the opportunity to correct it later.

Joshua 24:14-17

 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! 17 It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.

14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

We are to put away any little “g” gods that may be in our lives, and “Serve the Lord!” But today, you must make that decision. It’s not a decision to take lightly. It’s a life changing decision. It will not only direct your paths for the next 10 years, but it will direct your eternity forever. Through history, God saved us numerous times from our enemies and continues to protect us from evil. However, only by choosing to serve Him will He protect you from the ultimate outcome at the end of our days.
 
 

 

Believe in God today
Trust Him to lead you, and
Serve Him in a manner that glorifies God