He Reigns!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Be Thankful: 30 Days of Thankfulness Day 3

"And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you."
~Luke 22:19-20

Life isn't always easy, and sometimes we focus on what we don't have, rather than being thankful for what we do have.

I grew up poor and my parents didn't have a lot. They worked really hard for everything that we did have and we scraped by. My earliest memories are being dragged down the rows on my daddy's cotton sack, while he and mama worked for 50 cents a pound. Of course, I didn't realize then just how poor we really were because we ate every day, we had a clean house, we had clean clothes, and we were bathed. We never knew how hard mama and daddy had it. We were taught to be thankful for the things we had, and we were taught to pray for the food on the table before we ever put a bite in our mouth.

Today, the focus seems to be more on what we don't have, rather than being thankful for what we do have. We see people willing to steal and kill for the things they think they have a right to. Young people think its all right to beat up another person for their shoes, jacket, or electronics. The world seems to have twisted itself into a knot  over the want of things. And we see people who have so many things and still aren't happy, yet they continue to pursue more and more things.

I'm not going to say it's not nice to have the things that we want, because it is nice to have things. It's nice to have cars, a house, clothes and shoes, and all of those things that we see others have. But when those things become what is most important to us, they become anchors around our neck. Things will never have the capability to make us happy because things are just things. When we die, those things were gonna go to somebody else or they're just going to sit and rot.

Happiness can only be attained through a renewing of who we are on the inside, not from what we have on the outside (2 Corinthians 4:16). But who we are on the inside begins with being thankful for what we have on the outside, no matter how great or small.

I am thankful for being raised to appreciate what I have, knowing that satisfaction and happiness comes from a heart of gratitude and hard work.


Be Thankful: 30 Days of Thankfulness Day 2

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him."
~Psalm 28:7

Have you ever seen people who are always complaining or unhappy or whining? They walk around with their head down, "oh woe is me, everything is wrong, nothing ever goes right in my life." They have such a pity party going on they never even look up to see the things in life that they have to be thankful for. And we all have something to be thankful for!

Being thankful is not just what we say when someone does something for us. Thankfulness is an attitude of gratitude. Thankfulness is a state of being. Thankfulness is not looking at our circumstances and thinking 'oh woe is me', rather, thankfulness is looking at our circumstances and being grateful that we have what we have.

If nothing else we have life; we are thinking, living human beings and we should be grateful for that alone. But we have so much more than just the breath in our bodies. We have hope for a future when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He gives us the ability to rise above our earthly circumstances, and an attitude of gratitude for this life and the one to come.

When we are in a right relationship with the Lord, no matter our circumstance, we still live joyously. When we live in a right relationship with Jesus Christ, we can have the attitude that no matter how little we have, we always have enough to give to somebody else.

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)."

Having an attitude of gratitude also changes the way we think and feel about our own lives and the lives of others. No one who is truly grateful can hate others, the two are absolutely contrary! That's not to say we don't have things happen that make us upset or sad, but when we have an attitude of gratitude, those moments pass quickly because we realize that there is much more to be thankful for.

Practice being grateful and eventually, you will be thankful in all situations.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Be Thankful: 30 Days of Thankfulness Day1

"Come, let us sing for joy to Adonai. Let us shout for joy to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving. Let us shout to Him with song, for Adonai is a great God and King above all gods. In his hands are the depths of the earth, and mountain peaks are His also. The sea is His - He made it and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before our Maker. He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the flock of His hand."
~Psalm 95:1-7

Today marks the first day of November and the month of Thanksgiving, so for this month I am going to post verses on giving thanks, and reasons why we should be thankful every single day of the year.

We live in the greatest country in the world and we have much to be thankful for. If we look at other countries, we see oppression, lack of religious freedom, abject poverty, violence, and a host of other problems that here in America we kind of take for granted.

This country was built from people who wanted religious freedom. They wanted freedom from the church of England, they wanted the freedom to live the way they wanted to live and to worship the way they wanted to worship. They came to this new world and established the 13 colonies that later on spread and became the entire United States of America. But that freedom did not come without a price. It was built on the blood of patriots who fought for what they believed in to the death. Freedom isn't easy. Freedom is something that has to be fought for. And I think sometimes that here in America, we forget those men and women who fought and died for the freedoms that we have today.

So, I am thankful for my forefathers who stood up for what they believed in, who are willing to lay down their lives, who shed their blood, who left their families, who picked up arms against oppression and willingly died for what this country has today. I am thankful for all of those who have joined the battle, the men and women who continue in the fight today, and for those who have yet to join. God bless every man and woman who remain in the fight, for those who are living with the horrors that they have seen, and in spite of everything, would do it again.

God bless America.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Not Of This World

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."
~2 Timothy 3:2-5

There is a saying, 'the more things change, the more they remain the same,' and I think that is absolutely true in the world today. There is so much going on in the world, it's hard to wrap our minds around it. People are totally out of control. We see young people in the streets rioting, killing each other, reaking havoc over things that seem to have no consequence in everyday life. They have absolutely no regard for other people's feelings, no respect for themselves or for others, they have no self control, they are boastful, lovers of self, lovers of this world, lovers of the things of this world; they call what is good evil and what is evil, good. I actually have to turn off my phone, shut down the internet and not read social media feeds because it's overwhelming.

The Bible tells us that our deliverer is coming (Psalm 18:2, 2 Samuel 22:2). Our deliverer is Jesus Christ, and He's going to set things right. The Bible tells us that no matter what happens in life we are not to fear anything or anyone. Jesus Christ is returning for those who love the Lord and keep His commandments. For those who do not walk in the ways of this world, our reward will be heaven.

The world seems to spin out of control from time to time, but the thing we have to remember is that God is always in control. God is not sitting on a recliner with His feet up, with the doors and windows closed ignoring everything that's going on. He's an active part of the design of the world and everything going on in it. We have to keep that in mind and not let the things of the world come between us and doing right. We have to keep in mind that we are in this world, but we are not of this world (John 17:14-16). We are children of the Most High and no matter what other people do, we have to depend on God and what we know to be true of God. And what we know to be true of God is that He is never changing. He is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

So, while we have to live in this world, we don't have to concentrate on it, we don't have to be a part of it (John 15:19) and we don't have to let it bring us down. Our God is higher than any other and so are we. That is not to say we are better than other people, but we are in a better place, and our hope remains strong. Our hope remains firm (Romans 5:1-3). We do not have the same kind of hope that other people do, we have a heavenly hope. We have a strong hope. We have an unfailing hope. And that is what separates us from this world.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4)."

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Don't Be Worthless

'This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves." (Jeremiah 2:5).'

Have you ever noticed how people tend to follow familial patterns? Alcoholic parents produce alcoholic children; drug addicted parents produce drug addicted children; criminals produce children who also commit crimes; and the list goes on. Conversely, we often see successful parents producing successful children. Sometimes the opposite is true and successful parents may have a child who becomes a drug addict or criminal; and criminals can produce children who become successful, but generally,  children follow the path of their parents.

We see throughout the Bible how people who knew God rejected righteousness and turned to worshipping idols instead. Generation after generation, no matter how many times God intervened in their lives, the people were quick to forget God's goodness and turn to pagan practices.

Today's generations haven't changed much. Even with the abundance of God's word available to us through books, TV, computers, churches, radio, and the Bible produced in nearly every language known to man, we are still much like our Old Testament ancestors.

"Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets." However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. (2 Kings 17:13-14)."

The consequences of following our own ways instead of God's leads not only to destruction in this life, but have dire eternal consequences as well. We see society running rampant, calling what is evil, good and what is good, evil. We have sacrificed our very souls to the gods of this world in the name of freedom. However, that type of freedom is actually slavery that wraps itself around our throats and chokes the life from us.

True freedom comes from a relationshipwith Jesus Christ. It is only through a right relationship with our Lord and Savior that we can know freedom from sin and death.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)."

Christ died so each of us can be absolutely free from the darkness of this world. When I think of the sacrifice He made on the Cross, I feel so blessed to live in a time where no matter what is going on around the world, I am free sin and death.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Don't Be A Fool

Don't Be A Fool

"The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior."
~Jeremiah 23:5-6

The land of Israel was sinful and no matter what God did for the people, they continually fell into sin. This went on generation after generation until finally, the time was right and this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yet Israel refused to accept that Christ was the Messiah they had been waiting for. And so it goes today.

For generations, the Bible has been available to everyone, yet there is only a remnant who believe it is the word of God and follow Jesus Christ because of it. The world today is no different than it was in the days of the Old Testament. Lawlessness, poverty, war, pain and sorrow continues to this day. Our technology has improved but our hearts are as sinful and destructive as they were in Jeremiah's day.

We bow before the gods of this world, we follow our own lusts and desires, we sacrifice our children through abortion, the foster care system, and abandon them to the streets. We ignore the poor and homeless, we do not tend the widows and orphans, the sick and the dying. We call good evil, and praise evil as good. We are a sinful, godless people.

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3)."

It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing the answer to all of our woes is at our fingertips. It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing what Christ went through on the Cross for each one of us. We certainly don't deserve His mercy and grace, yet He freely gives us both out of His unending, undying love for us.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

It is not God's desire that we should live this way. He does not want us living in sorrow and shame but rather in fullness and joy through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). In Christ is life, joy, peace, happiness  and love (John 17:3, Colossians  3:4).

Don't let the devil rob you, know Jesus as your Savior and know what living life really is.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pray For Our Nation

"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."
~Jeremiah 18:7-8

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most contentious that I can remember, and the outcome was one of the biggest upsets the Democratic party has ever seen. I believe the reason was prayer. The previous eight years had divided this country on many levels and set race relations back at least five decades. Many were preparing for civil war in the event of Hillary Clinton's victory. It turned into such a mess, I doubt I'll live to see it straightened out - if indeed it can be straightened out.

However, one bright spot emerged during the presidential campaign...more people than ever before were on their knees praying for God to take control. And more Christians than ever before got out and voted. Prayer changed the direction we were headed. Prayer moved the heart of God.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)."

We cannot stop praying for America. We cannot stop seeking God on behalf of our nation or our leaders. No matter how anyone feels about the current administration, we must continue to pray. America has had a rough go since 9/11, and the past year has been fraught with disasters on every level - racial tension, riots, protests, police killings, mass murder, hurricanes, drought, fires...and the list goes on. But the answer to those problems, and to all our personal problems, remains the same - prayer.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)."

The promises of God are the same now as they were yesterday, last week, or a million years ago. God can be moved to change through our prayers. Often throughout the Bible we see countries in dire circumstances because the people turned from God to follow their own desires. After disasters befall them and they realize God has left them to fend for themselves,  they returned to God. They prayed and God answered.

We are no different. America, founded on biblical principles has fallen far from the plans of our forefathers. We have turned our backs on God and He has left us to our own perverse desires. But it's not too late. There is still time to change our country and our lives through prayer.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

"...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective  (James 5:16)."

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you (Jeremiah 29:12)."