Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why We Should Give Thanks

The bible has a lot to say about giving thanks. During this Thanksgiving season, I want to offer four reasons why we should give thanks.

1. God commands us to give thanks. "In all thing, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18). We often hear people ask, "How do I know God's will?" Well, we know God's will on this issue - it is His will that we give thanks. Therefore, when we are thankful we can know we are doing God's will.

2. God is deserving of our thanks. The Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (Jas. 1:17). Every good thing in our life is ultimately a gift from God. Therefore, He deserves our thanks for all He has done for us.

3. Thanks does us good. We all know how giving thanks helps to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto what is important. It is too easy to focus on things in our life that we do not like, circumstances that are difficult, or other struggles we are having. However, when we make the choice to rejoice and assume the attitude of gratitude, it actually serves to change our emotions for the better.

4. Giving thanks is contagious. When we have a thankful attitude, it spreads to others and can sometimes cause the complainer around us to stop! Wouldn't that be something! Better yet, people like to be around others who are positive.

So, this Thanksgiving (and every day for that matter), let's be a thankful people. For those who are followers of Christ, the most important thing to be thankful for is salvation in Jesus!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Facing Disappointments in Life

Life is full of disappointments. We all have expectations that are not met, whether it be in our jobs, health, churches, marriage, finances, or even relationship with God.

Jesus experienced disappointment. He was certainly disappointed with the religious leaders of the day for how they were leading people astray. In addition, we see Jesus on numerous occasions being disappointed with His disciples ("how long shall I put up with you?").

Perhaps one of the reasons Jesus often got away to spend time with His Father was to release those disappointments and to get His Father's perspective.

One of the greatest challenges of disappointment is how it often leads to anger and potential bitterness toward others. Now the Bible says to be angry ... but to sin not. Jesus was angry in the temple because of His disappointment over how they were using the temple for financial gain instead of worship. His anger was righteous anger; however, most of ours is not. Most of our anger is due to selfishness.

Another challenging component of disappointment is whether or not to tell the person toward whom we are disappointed. Will this help this situation or make it worse? Is the disappointment justified or due to pride and selfishness? Are we the vessel to confront the other or is God wanting to teach us a deeper level of dependence on Him or 1 Cor. 13 love? These are all very difficult questions to answer and take a deep work of the Holy Spirit to show us the true answer.

Most of my blogs I try to give answers. On this one I am simply posing the dilemma and challenging us all to seek the Lord for answers. Feel free to share with me in the comments section below your thoughts on this and what God has taught you.

"Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and besides Thee I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalms 73).

"My soul finds rest in God alone ... Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge" (Psalms 62:1, 8).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is 100% Required?

Does God really expect us to commit 100% to Him? Isn’t it good enough to just go to church faithfully and try hard to live a good life? Cannot God be an important part of our life without actually being the center of everything? Isn’t it a bit extreme to think about God in all we do? These are great questions, and the Bible has answers.

Let’s examine God’s Word and discover whether or not God wants us to be 100% committed to Him.

“He is the image of the invisible God … He is before all things and in Him all things hold together … He is the beginning, and firstborn from among the dead so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:17; NASB)

“And you shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mark 12:30)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart … in all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Trust in Him at all times” (Psalms 62:8).

“I wish you were either hot or cold … because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15).

I think you can see from these passages that God does expect us to give 100% to Him. Being a follower of Jesus means that we seek to grow in our commitment and loyalty to Him. It means we put Jesus at the center and have everything revolve around Him.

Obviously maturity takes time. Certainly we never feel as though we are giving God 100% of our life. But this does not change the fact that total allegiance to Christ is what we should go after – 100% commitment, 100% heart devotion, lordship of thoughts, surrender of all our possessions, etc., etc.

100% only seems radical when you don’t understand who God is and all that Christ has done for us.

In conclusion, here are 6 reasons why God deserves our 100%:
1. He is God and has a divine right over our lives.
2. He created us and knows what is best for us.
3. Without Him we would be nothing.
4. Jesus gave His all for us.
5. In giving God 100%, we find the greatest fulfillment and joy in life.
6. Living all out for God is the most eternal thing we can do.

May God bless you as you seek to live totally devoted to Him! Let’s not settle for anything less than 100%!