Daily Word Archives



Daily word from Open Door - November 2011 

 

11/1/2011

 

It is hard to believe it is November already. Each year we note how fast time seems to go by, yet we comment on it like it passes faster than it used to. Perhaps it is our perception.

 

This rapid passage of time should remind us of the time that we do have on this earth. It again reminds us of the precious moments that we have with loved ones, to make the most of the opportunities we have, and to ask God what is the best He has for us to do each day.

 

As Christians we believe we are put here on this earth for a reason, and we are here at this particular point in time to fulfill a destiny God has ordained. This almost sounds too grand if we compare it to our lives which may seem mundane at times. This should get our attention however.

 

Though many things in our lives may be routine and just part of the daily grind, we should constantly be available to respond to God's prompting. There are so many ways to serve and so many opportunities to touch the lives of others. It is when we recognize that God has a plan for us in this area that the "destiny" of it can begin to take shape.

 

One way to begin is to think of someone (or ask God to show you someone) who you can particularly do something for today - someone to reach out to, show a kindness, or meet a need. This will open doors to share the love of God.

 

So let us put our time to good use and not just let it go by.

 

11/02/2011

 

The story of Asa is interesting beginning in II Chronicles 15. Please take the time to read the whole thing.

 

In the first few verses we read: "The LORD is with you, while ye be with him;..." That should get our attention. We know Jesus said He would never leave or nor forsake us and we are indeed grateful. But we should not intentionally push it either. We should be mindful of our relationship with God just like we are with our relationship with one another - it is worth maintaining!


It is interesting in the Biblical accounts of the kings of Israel and Judah to see how some of them are described. Concerning Asa for example in verse 17: "But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days."


If you read all of the accounts of Asa's reign, you will see things that were not good and that did not please the Lord. Yet he is accounted as good king in the Bible - likely because his heart was right.


This should be an encouragement to us. We do not want to miss it, but if we do we want to keep our hearts right. We will repent and change quickly when necessary, we will commit to doing that which is right, and we can remain confident that He is with us and for us.


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ I John 1:9


11/03/2011

 

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ Matthew 6:30


If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? ~ Matthew 7:11


If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? ~ Luke 11:13


Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? ~ Luke 12:24


Much more, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him ~ Romans 5:9


For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. ~ Romans 5:10


But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. ~ Romans 5:15


For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) ~ Romans 5:17


Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: ~ Romans 5:20


How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? ~ Hebrews 9:14


We will concluded here - how "much more" could we say?


11/4/2011


Most of us are familiar with the saying - Keep your strength up


Or - don't let yourself get run down


We know how important this is. We are not very effective if we do not have strength. But strength is more than just physical ability or muscle. It is the quality on the inside that gives courage, confidence, hope, and a desire to achieve


That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; ~ Ephesians 3:16

 

It is strength on the inside that can properly direct abilities we have in the natural. Think of the opposite - if you are depressed, in a hopeless state and discouraged (without courage), you will not be motivated to do much that will be beneficial. This shows how important it is to stay strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

 

We pray that your daily Bible time, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and coming together at church will bring you strength and encouragement.

 

11/5/2011

 

As we follow Christ's example

Can we meet another's need?

Help to ease another's burden

With a kind and helpful deed.

 

Anyone can have a ministry of helping others. If it is done Biblically, good results will follow.

 

11/6/2011

 

The word "grace" is found in the New Testament 122 times.

 

From the dictionary we find the word can mean as a noun: loveliness and beauty

As a verb it can mean: to adorn or enrich

 

We know what a "grace period" is and we like it.

 

From a Biblical standpoint many have used it as the acronym:

 

God's Riches At Christ's Expense

 

There are certainly many ways to describe "grace" particularly as we look at the many verses in the Bible.

 

But think for a moment of any type of scenario where you are called in to deal with matter. Perhaps something has gone wrong, you are being accused, you are being questioned, or perhaps you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless of the situation, the attention is on you and it is not good. Now consider that the person in charge who will make the decision turns to you and says: "I am going to extend grace to you". Regardless of exactly how that plays out, you likely breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever it is, you will benefit from it.

 

It is hard to picture anyone being upset by grace being shown to them. Can you picture anyone saying, "I would rather not receive any grace, thank you"?

 

Just a few verse about the grace that has been extended to us:

 

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. ~ John 1:17


Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: ~ Romans 3:24


I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; ~ I Corinthians 1:4


For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16


These are just a few of the 122 verses that declare the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We invite you to partake of that grace today.


The final verse in the Bible:


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. ~ Revelation 22:21

 

11/7/2011

 

We encourage everyone (who is registered) to vote tomorrow. From the beginning of our history men and women have fought and died to secure and maintain this freedom in our land. Because of their sacrifice, voting is a duty, a privilege, and indeed a secured right.

 

We must realize that people who are put in office will have a say-so regarding what happens with us - what rules we will follow, the way we deal with so many ordinary things in life these days, and the direction our land is headed from one county to the whole country.

 

Many of us continually ask God to bless our land, to intervene in the affairs of our government, and to have mercy when our country gets off track - the least we can do is vote!

 

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. ~ Proverbs 14:34


11/8/2011

 

Many people grow up having heroes and role models. That sometimes continues into adulthood when we may have those we look up to for one reason or another. While we can admire others, acknowledge their contributions, and thank God for them; we know that everyone is susceptible to temptation.  "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" ~ I Corinthians 10:12


Paul admonishes us in II Corinthians 10:12 ~  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.


We all can learn from the example of others - good and bad. But hopefully we have had those who have taught us good things by word and deed. We should pray that these types of people be continually in our lives.


We see for example a number of people in Hebrews 11 that the Bible commends for their faith and encourages us to follow their example. But being human, we know that none of these folks were perfect - some had pretty big mess-ups. Thank God we do not have to be perfect for faith to do extraordinary things in our lives!


Simply put, we are to recognize the good and do likewise and also recognize the bad and stay away from it. That is just common sense in whatever situation you consider.


Bottom line: We are grateful for the good and Godly examples we see, and we should want to be one ourselves. Yet the scripture tells us where our focus should always be:


Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Does someone see something in us that they may want emulate? Let us make sure it is not a stumbling block but a stepping stone towards the things that please God.


11/9/2011

 

Many of us have developed routines that help us through the day - especially the things that are necessary in everyday living. We know that doing things quickly, efficiently, and correctly will be a blessing and allow more time for other things.

 

But no matter how routine we might consider our lives, we should recognize that each day is new and we can be confronted by the unexpected. Today is new in that we have never faced it before - a new challenge could face us that is different from anything we have seen. If we are not careful, we will usually consider the negative and what bad thing could happen to us. We should just as readily (or more so) anticipate what new good thing is coming our way. This is especially true for Christians who declare that God is with us, He leads us in paths of righteousness, and He is a very presence help when that time of trouble comes.

 

We know that we will deal with the good and the bad in this life. This should be a great reminder that we do not want to face any day on our own. We want to be right where God wants us, listening for His leading, and making sure our hearts are right and attentive to whatever He has for us. Lord help us to be prudent, foreseeing the evil that we may hide ourselves (Proverbs 22:3), Lord may I abide under the shadow of the Almighty this day (Psalm 91:1), and may my faith always bring me the victory (I John 5:4).

 

Because You are always with me Lord, may I face each day both humbly and fearlessly that I might honor You and bless others.

 

11/10/2011

 

Does it bother you that you cannot explain everything that is in the Bible? Does it frustrate you that you cannot figure out what some scriptures mean? It will comfort us all when we realize that nobody knows everything about anything. We are constantly learning both in the natural and spiritual.

 

Note these words from Peter about the beloved brother Paul: "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood,..." ~ II Peter 3:16


Even Peter, born again and filled with the Spirit, needed a dramatic illustration that God had made the gospel available to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Peter, like us, did not automatically know everything just because he was a Christian. He spent the rest of his life learning just like we do.


If you think about it, what kind of God would He be if human beings could figure Him out completely or know absolutely everything about Him. We know from scripture that there are secret things that belong to God and there are matters that are just beyond human comprehension. We are still contemplating the universe and wonder if it has physical boundaries.


On the other hand we rejoice, marvel and should be seeking after I Corinthians 2:12 ~ Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.


No person will ever have all the answers and explanations that will satisfy everyone. Our main goal as Christians is to be able to share effectively with people and show them that we care. We plant the seed but it is God who gives the increase.


We can do the following as we proceed in this journey: Study to show ourselves approved...So that we can always give an answer to the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.

 

11/11/2011

 

The word "thank" and its various forms are in the New Testament 131 times. Did your parents insist you learn and practice such terms as: please, thank you, yes ma'am/sir and no ma'am/sir? If so, it is likely that you continue it today regardless of your age. It is also likely you have found this aspect of your behavior to be blessing and helpful in relationships with others.

 

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, there is an interesting verse in the Bible. In II Timothy 3:2, a list is given of how people will behave in the last days. It says that men will be "unthankful". You may wonder immediately "How hard is it to say Thank You?" It is not hard to say the words, yet to be thankful indicates a characteristic, a lifestyle, or basic attribute of who we are. Sadly, we see groups of people worldwide whose behavior demonstrates a severe lack of thankfulness.

 

If we truly are thankful people, we should exhibit this trait regularly and not wait until Thursday, November 24, 2011 to show forth any thankfulness. We thank God that our country still recognizes this day, still has it as a holiday, and we will celebrate and thank our Heavenly Father along with millions of others.

 

But never let us be accused of being unthankful. We should readily demonstrate our thanksgiving on a daily basis.

 

11/12/2011

 

Two days ago our topic revolved around the fact that some things about God will not be figured out by the human mind. One thing in particular we note as we come down to Thanksgiving day with all the feasting: The Bible notes in particular that the first miracle Jesus did was turn the water into wine (see the gospel of John chapter 2).

 

Can you imagine what would happen today if a minister were to do something like that and it ever got to the news media? You might have to meditate on such a scenario for awhile. One would speculate that such a minister would likely get national recognition - one way or the other.

 

There have been many sermons preached on this miracle: why did He do it?, was Jesus put on the spot by His mother?, Jesus had no problem with people drinking wine, Jesus certainly would not make wine that was alcoholic, it had to be alcoholic because the people said it was the best, Moses turned water into blood which was judgment - Jesus turned water into wine which is grace and joy, Jesus was cool and not stuck up, etc. - you probably have heard other ideas.

 

Regardless of your particular take on it, the Bible calls it a miracle. You have to admit that it is one that is outside the box. A miracle took place in regards to something that we might consider trivial in the whole scheme of things. One minister in particular noted this demonstrates how interesting and awesome it is to be a part of Jesus' kingdom and then gave an altar call!

 

It does give us pause to both laugh and realize how mind-blowing and all-encompassing our God really is. We should all be really looking forward to the fulfillment of Ephesians 2:7 ~ That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


It really would have been interesting to hear Jesus explain this miracle. Perhaps He is enjoying listening to us try to explain it.

 

11/13/2011

 

Have you ever given much consideration to the concept of "time"? The word "time" or forms of the word (like "times") has 750 occurrences in the Bible - 542 in the Old Testament and 208 in the New Testament. We could discuss time from the simplicity of a Mickey Mouse watch, to the intensity of the last seconds of the NCAA basketball championship, or Albert Einstein's E=mc².

From the dictionary it is defined: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. This almost seems too complicated for something that is so "every-day" yet, its existence and complexities are perhaps beyond our comprehension.


There seems to be two practical reasons for time:


1. To coordinate events and schedules so that things can be done in an orderly fashion. Worship service will begin at 11; I am to be at work at 8; the game starts at 7; my alarm is set for 5, etc. This seems to be very necessary and we can see how chaotic things would be without such a system.


2. Time is essential because we all die. Because we have a limited time on this earth, we are pressured in some sense to make the most of it, to do all we can, and to recognize its reality.

The fact that we die tends to elevate the time factor to critical.


If this earthly existence that we have now was eternal, there would be little or no pressure to get anything done beyond convenience or necessity for something. All we would really have to do is just coordinate things we do with others at particular points in our existence.


This is probably plenty to chew on and likely makes the point. The Bible tells us to:  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:15-16. We are called wise if we are redeeming the time. We might say it this way: We should secure the time. We should realize that it is important - that for each of us time will run out in this earthly existence we have now.


Not to paint a bleak picture, but can you visualize an hour glass that is representing your life as the grains of sand go down? This should remind us that the time we have is precious.


Thank God for eternal life where time is not against us so to speak and it will have no relevance as far as our existence is concerned. We pray that all who read our daily posts will sense an urgency to come to the Lord Jesus Christ if they have not already.


It would behoove each one of us to seek the Lord regarding the time that we have, how to make the most of it, and how to best fulfill the calling that He has for each one of us.


11/14/2011


The message of the gospel is for children and adults.

Believed and confessed in simple faith - new life is the results.

The sacrifice of God's Son was for everyone to meet salvation's need.

So that by grace the promise might be sure to all the seed. ~ Romans 4:16


And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 ~ Galatians 3:29


11/15/2011

 

If you have read the book of Jude you know it is one chapter of intensity. It is interesting that it was placed right before the book of Revelation in the Bible. The book deals with our faith being challenged, the end of those who oppose the gospel of Christ, what Christians should look out for, how to keep ourselves built up in prayer, in the Holy Ghost, in our love walk, and what we should joyfully expect as we stay true ~ verses 24 & 25


The chapter could be called a quick-reference, how-to manual. This book reminds us that there is right and wrong, good and evil, a blessed end and a cursed end - any clear thinking person can see this in the natural from what we deal with every day. This chapter reminds us of this from God's standpoint.


Finally, this chapter admonishes us on the right way we should choose. We will not do everything perfectly, but we want to show Jesus that we are always on His side. If we do, we will be blessed in our deed. ~ James 1:25


11/16/2011


Most people have heard the words: Give us this day our daily bread. Of course those who know the Bible recognize where it comes from, the context and meaning, etc.


Today we focus on the word "daily". If you remember the circumstances regarding the manna in the Old Testament, you know that the people gathered it each day (except in regards to the Sabbath). On a regular day the manna would not last until the next day - they indeed had to secure their "daily bread"


This truth carries over for us as we ask God for our daily bread. We are thankful for what we received yesterday. It was a blessing that sustained us and met our needs. But we face a new day, we new challenges, things that only God knows are coming.


We need "fresh manna" each day so to speak. As in the Old Testament, God provided it but the people had to get it, prepare it, etc. - God did not drop it in their mouths. This speaks to us today in that there is a seeking we need to do. God will provide our daily bread, but we have a responsibility as well.


It is our job to take the time to seek it out, to ask how best to use what God gives us this day, and demonstrate to God that we desire to walk in wisdom with what He gives us. We know from the natural standpoint what food does for us. We should also recognize that we need the things of God in our lives to be successful, to resist temptation, and to know the right way to go.


According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: ~ II Peter 1:3

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: ~ Ephesians 1:3


As these and other words from our heavenly Father develop in our thinking and guide our actions, we can expect to prosper and have good success ~ Joshua 1:8


Remember, the purpose of the "daily bread" is to help us that we may go and do.


11/17/2011


Does God forget things? Note the following verses:

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. ~ Isaiah 43:25


And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. ~ Hebrews 10:17


It has been said that God does not really forget things, He just chooses not to remember. Some have contended that this is just semantics and you are using wordplay just to make a point. That can be argued, but it is also hard to conclude that something can slip God's mind. If He does indeed forget things, we would have to conclude that it is intentional.


On the other hand consider the concept of "not remembering" We have all heard the admonition "forgive and forget". We all know that the forgetting part is often very difficult even after we have chosen to forgive. Perhaps we would be better served to "not remember".


When the thought comes up about what someone did to us, we can choose to "not remember". That means that what they did has no bearing on the way I respond. I choose to walk and respond in love, and the remembrance of what they did has no bearing on what I choose to do.


This in essence is what God did for us through Jesus Christ. His chose to remember love over and above remembering our sin.


Lord help us to do the same - to remember love over and above remembering someone's sin! We freely forgive because we have been freely forgiven.


11/18/2011

 

Billy Graham used to make the statement: "You cannot unscramble an egg".


He would use it as an illustration that there are some things in our lives or in our past that are just there and you cannot "undo" them. He went on to say: That does not mean you just let it lay around, mold, rot, and draw flies.


In other words, clean up the mess if you can. Sometimes you just cannot fix everything - especially to everyone else's satisfaction. But we should do everything we can to right wrongs, ask forgiveness, and make amends.


God will show us how to do this and open doors to help us clean up any messes. After we have done all we are able, we can forget what lies behind and press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ~ Philippians 3:14


This is the beauty of a new life in Christ.


11/19/2011

 

Many are familiar with these words from Psalm 100: Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. We note particularly that we are to serve the Lord with gladness - not sadness.


We certainly know that each day is not a barrel of laughs and sometimes we have to remember the words of our parents and just "buck up a little". We have to practice gladness at times just like other aspects of our lives. Often it is the way we approach a problem that really helps determine its solution.


Think about going to work. We understand that the boss or the company expects our attention to be on our work - we have to put on a "work" mindset. Perhaps we cannot completely forget all of our personal problems, but we know that we need to put all of that aside for awhile so we an do the best job possible. If we can do this, it shows that problems do not have to rule our minds.


In like manner, we can determine to concentrate on finding solutions rather than continually mulling over the problem. One difficulty in particular is the pressure we often feel in confronting the matter. Once again, do not let the pressure rule you - concentrating on the pressure keeps us from concentrating on the solution. We can work to develop this in our lives just like any other skill.


Talk with others who you know have been through problems. How did they get through them and not just stay in them? Meditate on the Word of God and seek Him in prayer regarding what you are going through.


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. ~ Isaiah 26:3


There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. ~ I Corinthians 10:13


God has given us His Word, His Holy Spirit, and brothers and sisters in Christ. We should realize that all of these have been placed in our lives to help us in the difficult times. We pray God help us all to have the right mindset and outlook when problems come, and help us to rightly partake of all He has given to solve problems and give Him glory.


11/20/2011


Historical trivia question: General Lee surrendered to General Grant in April of 1865 in Appomattox Virginia ending the Civil War. What was the name of the house where the signing took place?


The answer is below.


The question posed is in relation to the Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863. This proclamation was given essentially at the height of the Civil War.


From the natural standpoint, it is difficult to really get enthusiastic about praise and thanksgiving when you are surrounded by fear, depression and death. Yet we know from scripture that this is the exact time we need it, and it gets us into the realm of seeking God and crying unto Him for help.


Divine intervention in the affairs of our country seems obvious here. Oh that we would so implore and beseech our God to intervene in these United States today, and that we as Christians would demonstrate that we are serious.


When we ask God to intervene, we realize that we open ourselves up for Him to fix that which is wrong, to get us straight, and even kick us in the seat of our pants if necessary. Sometimes the fixing of things is not very pleasant. But God's chastening will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness ~ Hebrews 12:11.


We pray that the people of our land would not just recognize and celebrate the day of Thanksgiving, but that we would humble ourselves, repent, and seek God regarding ourselves and our country counting on His promise:


If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ~ II Chronicles 7:14


Tomorrow we will post the proclamation from Abraham Lincoln regarding Thanksgiving.


The answer to the trivia question: The McLean House


11/21/2011

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

11/22/2011

As we prepare for Thanksgiving day, do you know anyone who readily expresses thankfulness for anything done for them? If you have such friends, you should be very grateful and blessed to have them in your life.

These people are just appreciative of whatever someone does for them and they show it. They likely are ones that readily show kindness to others and desire to be a blessing.

The point of this especially is to ask if anyone thinks this of us?  Do we readily show thankfulness (both to God and others) in such a way that if the above question was asked, would someone name us as one who is indeed thankful and appreciative? This is a good checkup for each of us.

As Christians perhaps the thrust of the concept of Thanksgiving is toward God and making our thanks known. Certainly this is first and foremost. Yet, thanksgiving has also been called thanks-living for the Christian. It is a lifestyle we should exhibit.

Do we live it in such a way that we would be labeled as such by those around us?

11/23/2011

Last Sunday our opening hymn was "Come Ye Thankful People Come" in light of Thanksgiving time. If you have never paid attention to the words, the 4 verses of the song do a pretty good job of painting the picture of the gospel from a harvest standpoint. For prelude music, we played the hymn "Count Your Blessings". It is hard to think about Thanksgiving time without this hymn in there somewhere.

 

It has been said that "Count Your Blessings" is one of the hymns that is sung with the most gusto. It is just one of those that we turn loose on. It is a song that both reminds us of the goodness of God and helps bring us out of the "molligrubs" (also known as the "grumpies") if we are going through a trial.

Have you ever tried to picture a person actually "counting their blessings"? Are they just trying to come up with a number, are they writing them out, are they making sure they can list more good things than bad, etc. We are not making fun as we love the song and the message it brings. But actually doing it can bring some humor as we try to picture it.

Bottom line: Let us make sure we do it in some fashion - and not just during Thanksgiving.

11/24/2011

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone! As we have mentioned before, thanksgiving should be a regular part of a Christian's lifestyle each day. We should practice Thanks- Living.


But we are grateful for the day itself as it gives opportunity to show thankfulness to God - in our individual families and all the way to a testimony to the world. It still demonstrates an importance to our country in that it is still a national holiday. It can be used as an excellent teaching tool especially to our children. In other words let's make the most of it to honor God and be an example to others.


As more and more attacks come at Christianity in the public sector, let us take the opportunity we still have to honor God this way in the public realm.


Blessings again to you during this Thanksgiving season, and we pray God in His mercy to bless America.


11/25/2011

 

It seems that we are officially in holiday mode. Many people know that the word "holiday" is derived from "Holy Day". In the Bible, the Hebrews had essentially 7 feasts that are quite interesting. We will not study them here but we list them to refresh our memories:


Passover

Feast of Unleavened Bread

Feast of First Fruits

Pentecost

Feast of Trumpets

Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement

Feasts of Tabernacles


All of these feasts are associated with Holy Days or Holy Events in some way. Extensive studies have been done regarding these feasts, how they relate to Christ Jesus, etc. But that is not our purpose here.


It is just interesting that God would put such emphasis on events and remembering them - essentially creating what we would call holidays.


Now if there ever was a religious people, it was the Jews. They had their tabernacle, the temple, the law, the sacrifices, all of the ordinances ... Yet God had them observe and participate in these "days" to remind them of their heritage, of the meanings of the things they believed, of their relationship with Him, to teach the next generation, etc. It was a constant reminder of who they were and what they were to be about.


We could relate this to these United States: We have more churches and services than you can count, Christian TV, Christian Radio, web pages, seminars, retreats, CD's, DVD's, week-long meetings, evangelistic campaigns, more music than we could possible categorize, blogs, and yes Facebook! In addition we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and what we call Easter (the celebration of Jesus' resurrection) that has the potential of impacting the whole nation for the cause of Christianity - reminding us of what we as Christians should be about.


For the Jews, the meanings behind the feasts were far-reaching and represented God's covenant with them and all He desired for them. But they could just "brush that off" and use it as a time to party and revel. We too can look into, rejoice in, participate in, take very seriously, grow in, thank God for, and yes enjoy these special times (holidays) that remind us of God's love and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ - or we can just party and revel.  


We should make the most of these celebrations that God has blessed us to have and be mindful to keep the true meaning before us always. Thus we have many ways to incorporate the things of God into our daily lives.


11/26/2011

 

Numbers 21 contains the account of the fiery serpents biting the children of Israel. God instructs Moses to make a fiery serpent (which he did out of brass) and put it on a pole. Brass is used in the Old Testament as a symbol of judgment.


And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:9


In the midst of the serpents biting the people (which in the natural would take all of a person's attention), they are told to look at the serpent on the pole. Look at the serpent being judged. God told the people to look at the solution - not the problem. That speaks volumes to us today. Remember these New Testament verses right before John 3:16:


And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. ~ John 3:14-15


Now read John 3:16 and following in light of that.


We mentioned yesterday that we are in holiday mode. It has been noted that it can be a very depressing time for many. This is likely due to the fact that the good news of Jesus flies right in the face of the problems many are facing in this life. Like the children of Israel were told in the Old Testament and as Jesus stated in the New, we are reminded of the hymn:



Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.


We pray that we all keep Jesus Christ as our main focus particularly as we are in this season that honors His birth for us.


11/27/2011


With your cup of coffee or tea, relax for 5 minutes and view this video that testifies of our God the creator. There are many as you will see to the side but we wanted to share one:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJYaAbrWsvA&feature=related


May we worship our Lord God this day in spirit and in truth.


11/28/2011

 

Jesus, Paul and James all said that the law and the prophets are summed up in the commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

 

This is a challenge each day and a good prayer to pray

May love be my guide  - in the Holy Spirit abide

May my talk be the truth - may my walk be the proof

That love never fails  -  it always prevails

May someone be thankful that they spoke with us today.

Because the light of Christ within us helped them along their way.

 

11/29/2011

 

Have you ever heard the expression, "You cannot legislate morality"?

 

It is often used when debating laws and rules and the impact that they have on society. The argument is that any rule does not change a person's morality or in other words, it does not change what he believes or what he is on the inside.

 

But when you think about it, laws do legislate morality. It is taking someone's (or a group's) moral or ethical belief of what they consider right and wrong and making a rule out of it. Now the rule itself may not particularly change anyone's belief or inner character; it is designed to change or regulate behavior. I am to obey the law regardless of whether I believe in it or not so that I will not be punished.

 

We know that situations can arise when a people would ask: do I just blindly follow all laws if it seriously violates accepted morality and particularly if it is right in the face of what the Bible says I should do as a Christian? Debates along these lines will likely continue until Jesus comes, but this is not our point here.

 

Our aim in this writing is to point out how true the Bible is regarding this subject and that Jesus addressed it no holds barred. The Bible and Jesus continually point out that man's nature is corrupt and that he needs the new birth. The corrupt nature in man leads society to pass and enforce more and more laws to combat the new ways this corrupt nature comes up with to manifest evil and lawlessness. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9

 

Note I Timothy 1:9-10:  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

 

This is an eye opener - indeed the law is not made to deal with someone who does right but who does wrong. This is obvious when thinking of our children. We set rules and consequences to deal with their disobedience. We pray earnestly through these measures, teaching them right from wrong, developing Godly character and so forth that they will embrace the good and choose to do what is right. We know if the right is not developed in them, they will likely deal with law enforcement and courts when they become adults.

 

The picture is convincing whether we are talking about our homes or our country. If people are free to act any way they want, we know it is best if they have a good moral compass and character to guide them. Across the world we see the results of people using freedom to engage in all types of bad behavior.

 

Many know these words from John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." It has further been said if we do not rightly govern ourselves in freedom, we are destined to be ruled by tyrants.

 

Jesus went right to the heart of the issue - the heart of man, the core of his being where we need this new birth. The goal of the Christian is to "police" himself. After the new birth, we still deal with the flesh and the carnal mind. But our new nature longs to put those things under and as Paul stated in Galatians 5: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.(v.16) ... But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.(v.18)

 

Thus we fight the good fight of faith, desiring to walk worthy of His calling, repenting and asking forgiveness when we need it, and " Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" ~ Philippians 1:6

 

 

11/30/2011

 

Romans chapter 14 is quite interesting. In it Paul addresses issues that people were having in the church - they were having issues way back then. He tackles such things as food offered to idols, esteeming one day as more important than another, etc. While it may be difficult for us to relate to these particular things, we have such things that we debate, different ideas than others, personal preferences, etc. They are not necessarily about the main doctrines of the gospel, yet they may be things that are just part of daily living and we want to know what is right.

 

To go into it deeply would take a number of pages but Paul address them and gave them a good explanation on walking in love regarding these issues. Though it was worthwhile to deal with them, Paul goes on to say that these things are not really what the kingdom of God is all about. Yes deal with them but don't live there.

 

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. ~ Romans 14:17

 

The listing of the aspects of the kingdom of God is no accident. Righteousness must come first - we must be made the righteousness of God in Christ through being born again. After we receive this gift of righteousness, we then can enjoy the peace of God in our lives (because we now have fellowship with Him). Once a person has righteousness and peace, he will indeed be joyful. When we have these in our lives, we have a great foundation in place to face what comes at us each day.

 

This is what the Holy Ghost desires to bring into the lives of the people of God. It is difficult though when people want to continually live in the "what can I eat, what can I drink, what clothes should I wear, I do not like the color of the church carpet..." - you know all the things that can come up.

 

We will end this here but we encourage everyone to read Romans 14 and ask God what each of us needs to do to experience and walk in the righteousness, peace and joy part of the kingdom of God on a daily basis.

 

 




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