Giving Thanks–Day 6

It’s Thanksgiving Day about noon and the football game is about to begin. You walk into the house from smoking your turkey (if the truth were told you are pretty proud of yourself), and ask your wife, “where do you want me to put this?”

Her answer, “wherever.” She is just a little short with you because she has been busy cooking and baking the rest of the meal-, while you have been busy WATCHING the turkey smoke.

Thanksgiving stress: cooking, traveling, food issues. Tips to deal with  each of these! | Holiday illustrations, Illustration, Cute art

The house is her domain. She does things the way she has planned them, and I have learned to not interfere. If your wife is like mine, she doesn’t do it because she wants to be recognized, but because she loves and cares for me, our guests, and the meal. She doesn’t do it for thanks, but she sure deserves it. That’s who she is. Guys, do we really thank her enough for all she does?

I think David had that principle in mind in Psalm 100:4. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

David was NOT going to forget to praise and be thankful to God! This world is His kingdom, His court, the place where He reigns–wherever you go. He created us, takes care of us, gives us things we don’t deserve and graciously deals with our quirks because He loves his family.

In His domain, we should always be thankful and bless His name. Praising Him for all that He does and is.

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Giving Thanks–Day 5

A reporter once asked Yogi Berra what he would do if he found a million dollars? He replied, “I’d see if I could find the guy that lost it, and if he was poor, I’d give it back.” (the Yogi Book, Workman Publishing, p.59)

One of the hardest things to do is remember to be thankful when you have more than you need. God is faithful, but we are forgetful. Often, having so much “stuff and things,” we set our minds on something else, because we are dissatisfied with what we have.

David was forced to deal with that possibility when he determined he would build a temple for the Lord and found out he wouldn’t. David didn’t wallow in discouragement. At that point, David sat before the Lord and prayed, ““Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? 20 Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord God, know Your servant.”

Lord, who am I? You didn’t have to bless me with all that you have! What if. . . . ?

That came home to me so clearly as Jenna Haynes has described the plight of the people in Guatemala. They have been battered by hurricanes and torrential rains. Mountains are sliding and rivers are rising. Many people have lost everything, right down to their families.

Who am I, Lord, that you have blessed me with all that I have. I am thankful! How can I serve you?

(if you would like to contribute to helping those in Guatemala, you can give at https://www.gofundme.com/f/2e92zks )

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Giving Thanks–Day 4

Today, you will come back to work, and there will be talk around the water cooler. Guys will talk about the football games that were and were not played this last weekend. Ladies may talk about what they will be preparing for Thanksgiving. There are a million topics.

But we all know that the initial topic of conversation will slide into other conversations. Soon, there will be silliness, dirty jokes you heard, gossip, and worse yet, political talk, and all those topics, though inappropriate, are easily discussed.

The reason it is so easy to talk like that is because they indicate where our hearts are. Silliness indicates that life is all about having fun–eating, drinking, and being merry. Dirty Jokes reveal that fulfillment may be found in empty relationships. Gossip shows that knowledge is power, even if the knowledge is third or fourth hand! And Politics would tell me that you think that a man or a woman is the only hope for saving our country.

Paul told the Ephesians, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4)

Rather than those topics, we must intentionally turn our thoughts and our hearts toward Thanksgiving. Because God is the source of joy, fulfillment, purpose, and salvation. We turn to Him, because only He can rescue us from the cares of this world. And I would a whole lot rather have Him as my hope, than anything else. Because He will never let us down.

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Giving Thanks–Day 3

I guess it is the job of a politician to ride fences. But that isn’t leadership. Compromise is part of our government’s character, but there can be no compromise on standards, both constitutionally and biblically.

Let me quote from the Dennison Forum, which I highly recommend you subscribe to!

Habakkuk was God’s prophet in a day when “the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted” (Habakkuk 1:4). Nonetheless, he foresaw a day when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). 

And he could close his book with one of my favorite faith statements: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (3:17–18). 

As a result, Habakkuk could testify, “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (v. 19). 

He makes me tread on high places. When our world is increasingly “gray” you and I can speak truth loudly, without shame, on the high places because the Lord will make it happen. The Holy Spirit speaks truth and points to Jesus.

I am thankful to the Lord for giving me courage and strength to speak truth. You can be, too!

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Seven Days of Thanksgiving–Day 2

Isn’t it hard to believe it’s only 6 days til Thanksgiving? But every day should be a day of thanksgiving.

2 Corinthians 9:11 – You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Of course Christmas is coming right up. I believe it’s on the 25th this year. It is a time of year when our thoughts turn in one direction or the other. To giving or receiving. That idea is built on the idea that things are either mine or I want them to be.

I look forward to giving something to my new great-grandson, Elisha. He will only be 3 months old, and will not have a clue that our gift came from his great grandma and grandpa. But it is our joy to be able to see him and give him a gift.

But the Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift come from above, not from Santa Claus. God give us those gifts, not to hoard, but to put into circulation. I couldn’t give, unless I had it to give, and God gave it to me. Therefore, I am thankful to have something to share.

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Seven Verses to Remind us to Give Thanks

It has been too long since I recorded any thoughts. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking, but I just haven’t recorded them.

Of course there are more than 7, but I picked some verses from Holy Scripture, one a day, leading up to Thanksgiving, to help us remember God’s gracious gifts.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

This has been a tumultuous year! Things seemed to be going along fairly peacefully, or at least as peacefully as we could expect, and things began to bubble in February. By the middle of March, as the NCAA Basketball tournament began day one, things came to an abrupt halt. I was fully expecting my team to make a run as they did the previous year, but it was not to be. Things STOPPED.

Businesses turned to working from home. Traffic was extremely light. You couldn’t find toilet paper or cleaning supplies, because people were hoarding. People were telling you not to go to the doctor if you were sick! WHAT?

Today, things have changed, or have they?

Many people are tired of quarantining.

Medicine is learning to deal with the virus, and they tell us a vaccine is dawning.

Some people say, “WEAR YOUR MASK!” and others say, “I AIN’T GONNA DO IT!”

More and more people are “testing positive” than ever before.

Some people are pessimistic and some are optimistic.

IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU FRET!!

But Holy Scripture tells us to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Too often Christians forget that when God saved us, we have His presence in our hearts personally. Since He is walking with us, we have nothing to fear.

empty-pockets | Payment Week
Your are checking the wrong pocket!

If we let the world and ole Satan have a voice, it becomes very loud, and we forget that the Holy Spirit is there. It’s like having a $100 bill in my left pocket, sticking my hand in my right pocket and finding it empty and panicking without checking any other pockets! Where did it go? Nowhere, you just forgot it was there. And peace returns.

Christian, quit checking your mind and finding turmoil. Check your heart and find peace. They are both part of you.

Now, be thankful today. And stop fretting.

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Elohim, God the Creator, is in Control

I have been considering how God has revealed Himself to me through His Names over the last couple of weeks.  One of His Names is Elohim.  It is the name He used in Genesis 1 to Genesis 2.  God created the heavens and the earth, and light, and everything, including you and me.  And everything he created, He noted was good, except mankind, and that was VERY GOOD.  Consider some implications.

God, in creating, takes responsibility for all He has created.  That takes a great deal of pressure off me, if I will believe it.  My tendency is to fret a bit.  Well, maybe a LOT.  Fear often leads to frozen inaction.  And inaction is a terrible manifestation of faith.

If I do nothing, then I can’t do it wrong.  Right?  Not exactly.  Faith will always lead to action.  Victories are rarely won playing defense.

Too many football games are played that way!  Teams play “not to lose” rather than “play to win.”  So, If God’s purpose is goodness (everything He created was good), don’t you think He wants us to live sharing and doing His will-which He has already purposed and creates, and not protecting the victory He has already determined?

God also restores what has been laid waste.  In Genesis 1:2, we read of the “formless and void” actually basically means “the waste or garbage dump.”  I doubt you could live at the garbage dump.  This earth was uninhabitable.

Tony Evans points out that somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, the earth became a waste dump.  Perhaps it was when Satan was cast out of heaven.  The earth was a wasteland, and God brought order to it.

Maybe your life, like mine, gets chaotic and directionless, because Satan has taken hold.  The wonderful thing about God is that He wants to take our wasted lives and make us useful.  His glory becomes unmistakable.  And joy fills our souls.

Thank you Lord, for creating in me a clean heart.

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I’m Going To Bed!

I have a wife yelling “Roll Tide” and a son growling “sic ’em Dawgs. (woof, woof)” So I went to bed at halftime, and missed a great finish. Couldn’t stand the pressure and so I just dropped off to sleep. I understand I missed an exciting finish to the 2018 National Championship college football game.

Paul was speaking EXACTLY of this in 1 Timothy 4:6-8

We are all participants in the game of life.  Can any of us say that we went to bed at halftime? Not saying that either team is equated with God, or that any of us can effect our own salvation, but I am saying that we if we go to sleep at halftime, we will miss the abundant life to which God calls us. Whatever God calls us to do, we should not drop out at halftime and miss the excitement that lies ahead.

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The Grace of God (part 2)

Yesterday, as I waited for new tires and drove around, I asked myself, “why.”  Why was God so gracious? Why was He so merciful?

I can only say, I was NOT entitled to salvation from those catastrophes.  How many times in the past have I escaped calamity?  Maybe looking up a phone number at 70 mph.  Maybe searching for a sermon on YouTube while in stop and go traffic.  Maybe wondering how the Braves did last night on the ESPN app.  Maybe just rebelling against God’s demand for my surrender.

Grace in this life is one thing.  But grace for eternity is God’s nature, too.

Why am I able to tell you about God’s working in my life?  Because somehow, I was born into a family that loved the Lord.  Somehow, I heard about the Love of Christ above the noise of the 60’s.  Somehow, when our daughter died, my faith was buoyed.  Somehow, the heart attack did not end my life.  Somehow.  Somehow.  Somehow.

That somehow is the Love of Jesus Christ.  He called and I answered.  He alone gloriously wove circumstances together, and I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed Him as Lord of my life.  And He will hold me-never let me go.

I gotta tell you, deserving no blessing, He graciously spoke to my heart and I reached out to Him.  He loved me first, but I responded to His love.

What does the future hold?  Only God knows.  But my assurance is that when this life is over, He will call me to be with Him. Everything I have done during this lifetime does have eternal consequences.

Forgive me, Lord, if I haven’t made that clear enough to the world and You.  Friend, you will find Him gracious if you will believe in Jesus and confess Him as Lord of your life.

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The Grace of God

I drive quite a bit.  I like to drive-even in Atlanta.  Since Pam and I returned to Atlanta 14 years ago, roughly 3/4 million miles have passed under my vehicle.  I have had precious few incidents come close to me, and never three happen to me.

So, the last 5 days have been interesting.  First, a “large” rock flew from under an 18 wheeler, I was sure, headed toward my windshield.  I flinched, and it hit above me with a thud.  I THOUGHT it was a clump of dirt.  But the whistling wind and rattling glass revealed a hole in the glass sunroof.  It must have been a boulder.  No injury. But certainly a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.

First–The Rock

Two days later, in Friday afternoon stop and go traffic on the freeway, I came to a stop, looked in the rear view mirror and watched a young lady plow into my vehicle.  No injuries, but certainly a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.

Three days later, driving though the country, miles from anywhere, I had a blowout.  Blam!  What a helpless feeling.  NOTHING I COULD DO.  I have AAA, but I was so far from anywhere, I decided to pull out the jack for the first time and change the tire myself.

Obviously I couldn’t visit with Ms. Alison on the side of I-575 in rush hour.  But I got to meet Mr. Greg Strickland.  What a gracious Christian.  I was getting ready to make a mess, and he jumped in and changed my tire, went home to get air, and aired it up so I would be good to go!  And an unashamed Christian.  With, “God Bless you,” from both of us, we parted.  A gift of God.

3 times God spared me!  NOTHING I COULD DO.  The rock could have hit the windshield and caused a major incident.  The rear end collision could have been at 70 and not at 15 or so.  And rear tire blowouts have caused vehicles to flip.  Today, I am thanking God for his mercy and grace.  He spared me 3 times, and sent Greg to aid an old road warrior.  Thank you, Lord!  Every day, Your mercies are new!

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