“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever,” declares Psalm 136:1. A common refrain in the psalms, this passage encourages us to be grateful to God for his forgiveness and understanding.
Some preachers make it sound like the Almighty owes us blessing. He is a debtor to no one, but we all have an obligation to him we cannot fulfill. Jesus paid it all, as the old hymn goes, and I am glad to thank God and his Son for this.
This gift to us is great and valuable. “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,” reminds Ephesians 1:7.
Jesus didn't deserve to die for us. He came so we could be set free from the shackles of a world of sin. We must always remember we are not owed anything but have all because of the gracious blessing of the Lord.
Have a blessed new year! Click here for ways to weave God into your New Year's resolutions.
If 2019 was tough for you, resolve to go forward, using God's faithfulness and promises as your starting point. If it was a good annum, praise the Almighty for his help and decide to visit that good upon other people. Whether the former or latter, don't stand still; "the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).
Remember, “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him,” per Psalm 25:14. God will trust you with his hidden manna as you pursue him. As with other relationships, closeness begets openness, and openness begets understanding. Seek after the Lord while he may be found, and he will reward you for it.
Simply quoting the Bible isn't enough. “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life,” says 2 Corinthians 3:6. Proclaiming the gospel without the Holy Ghost leads to condemning the hearer rather than bringing hope.
The Spirit brings peace, joy, kindness, gentleness and a host of other good fruit. The letter on its own, on the other hand, yields sleepless nights and sweaty palms. Grace without holiness is license, whereas holiness without grace is legalism.
The Spirit understands how to balance these concerns and bring life with truth. Stay in his flow of wisdom and you will bless many.
Today we celebrate God becoming flesh, the Savior of all humanity. “Call him 'Jesus,' for he will save his people from their sins,” says Matthew 1:21.
"Jesus" in Hebrew means "Yahweh (God) is salvation." This child changed the direction and fate of the human race. Without him, people would be condemned to an eternity without the Lord, but with him, they could not only go to heaven but have an anointing to overcome sin, the flesh and the devil in this life.
Some may say Christ likely was not born at this time of year, but that matters not; the fact is that he was born, lived, died and rose again forevermore. Because he lives, we shall live, too.
See more about this Christ of Christmas in a recent sermon of mine.
We need to hear this at one of the busiest times of year: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light," Jesus says in Matthew 11:30.
Don't worry; rest in him. We have much to do, but letting our minds be free of care is the key. God will sort out our hours and minutes as long as we give them to him.
In the front of our minds should be Psalm 121:2, "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." He fights for us!
God is the strength at our right hand. His power, might and glory are going for us as we execute his will his way. Count on Jehovah!
Afraid of Friday the 13th? Pishaw. “He who overcomes, … I will give power over the nations,” Jesus says in Revelation 2:26.
Committed Christians will encounter difficulty; Jesus said as much several times in the Gospels. Believers are beginning to feel the heat of the final season of the age as persecution escalates ahead of the Tribulation.
The obstacles and brickbats are very real, but God's power is, too. We must not let the enemy's campaign drive us into fear – the Lord has promised us love, power and a sound mind. The last enables us to pray and think clearly and sense God's leading in the toughest circumstances.
If we occupy till Christ comes, we will rule a Holy Ghost-led world with him. Eternity with Jesus and all wrong made right are worth the effort.
Because Jesus lives, we shall live, too. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive,” teaches 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Jesus is the second Adam. Just as the Lord brings the second birth in our lives, so he reforms the spiritual order with the second covenant.
We cannot do enough good works, fully use our will power to get rid of bad habits or otherwise save ourselves. God must do this.
If you're still trying to make life work on your own strength, stop, drop and roll: Stop what you're doing, drop to your knees and roll into prayer. Ask Jehovah to forgive your sins, confess faith in Christ and declare him Lord and Savior, and you will be saved eternally as well as delivered in this life from fruitless effort.
Being straightforward, not seditious, is God's way. “Don’t grumble against another, lest you be condemned,” says James 5:9. We need to let our yes be yes, no be no and not mutter the rest under our breath. So many troubles come our way because we secretly or at least privately curry resentment of others.
Matthew 18 gives a process for confronting. If we aren't willing to take care of problems this way, we need to keep quiet and pray away our difficulties. If we are ready for this methodology, then we must go through it as written. When we live by what the Bible says, existence becomes simpler as well as more transparent and positive.
We're in a fight, but God's in it to win it with us. “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise,” says Micah 7:8.
The Christian will not be perfect, as sins of omission and commission dot the landscape of our lives. However, a believer will not remain in that state if truly with the Lord. The Spirit of God will rise within and overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony.
Believe that the Almighty can, will and is setting you back on your feet after a fall.
As we begin to turn our attention from Thanksgiving to Christmas, a more specifically Christian holiday, we ought to consider how we're doing in coming closer to the character of Jesus. “By doing good, you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,” says 1 Peter 2:15.
I've noticed a dramatic rise in arrogance, even in the Christian community, over the last couple of years. People seem to think they know it all when they haven't done the least bit of research. They assume they understand everything an expert does without any of the experience or know-how of one.
When we do the Lord's will by going about our tasks with Christlike humility, diligence and excellence, we silence these ne'er-do-wells in our midst.
He is the Lord, and we are not. “’My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways,’ says the Lord,” states Isaiah 55:8.
God has a greater purpose, scope and power than we can imagine. Rest in the knowledge that if you know him personally, he is doing all he can to help you.
On Black Friday, with its consumer shopping frenzy and materialism run rampant, let's focus on relationship. "The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved," recounts Acts 2:47. A healthy church is always looking to reach new people.
Now, fewer and fewer individuals seem to be responding to Christians' witness as culture becomes less friendly toward the faith, but believers still have the responsibility to spread the Gospel, no matter the reception. There's nothing like leading a person to the Lord - it's as if you were born again a second time!
It's "getaway day" across the USA as people hit the road to get to Thanksgiving destinations. If you're driving, flying or otherwise en route today, take a moment to express gratitude to God for his multitudinous blessings.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:15, "Be thankful," and there’s plenty of reasons why we should show such gratefulness to God. Since every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17), we must give the Lord his due.
Going through a trial right now? It's likely a result of a spiritual fight between Satan and the Almighty. Stay faithful, and you'll see God move. Bless the Lord – it's good, right and perfect!
So why do so many people pray to receive the Lord at an altar call and soon – or sometimes later – stop coming to church?
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23) teaches when the Gospel goes out, some do not grasp it, portrayed as seeds falling by the wayside. Others at first accept it, but it doesn’t go deeply, and persecution and trials scorch it. Seeds among thorns are those receiving the Good News but who have it fail due to love of money or issues in life. Those in the last group accept The Word, it sinks down roots and grows abundantly.
These reasons for spiritual crop failure are very common today. Generally, those people stop following Christ shortly after praying to receive him, but it may take somewhat longer in others. Everyone pursues Jesus in a little different way and on a unique timetable.
We have a promise about the Bible that's mighty. “The Word of God … effectively works in you who believe,” states 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
God's Word is truth, and when we are saved, the Holy Spirit is constantly working in us to make the Scripture come alive in our lives. Some differences in our walk we need to focus on in order to overcome, while others slip away with our hardly noticing.
We must keep reading, praying and speaking the Word, which is powerful.
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