Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thank God Every Day

I thought I would publish this post about Thanksgiving today instead of waiting until Friday or Saturday when I normally post new blog posts. 

I know things are hectic with people cooking meals and getting things ready for family and/or friends for the big meal. I also acknowledge many will not be gathering together due to the coronavirus pandemic that we are in the midst of.

Then there is the big shopping day on Friday that tends to extend into the weekend. Then there is Cyber Monday. Things just take off from here through the end of the year. 

I did want to make a post on my blog about Thanksgiving. As I contemplate Thanksgiving Day I have seen posts on social media with people giving thanks in various ways. I have seen posts with people wishing their family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving. 

As we enter the thanksgiving season, we turn our thoughts toward being thankful to God for His many blessings upon our lives, and that of our family's, in so many varied ways. Too often we take for granted things in our lives that are there daily and consistently. We don't often stop to give God the praise and thanks He deserves.

For example, how many of us really take time out to thank God for our families, the opportunity to worship with others, our jobs, our homes as well as all the other material blessings that God has so graciously blessed us with? Too often we take these things for granted, just knowing they will always be there when we want or need them. We often get to the point in our lives where we think we are self-sufficient. We have the things we have because we have earned them or we have worked hard for them. Who gave us the good health or the ability to achieve our goals and dreams?

If we neglect to give thanks for the tangible things in our lives, how much more do we neglect to give thanks for our spiritual heritage? If we're not careful, we will find ourselves making a mockery of thanksgiving and what its all about. 

Celebrating thanksgiving and giving thanks to God is more than a once a year ritual. It should be to the Christian, especially, a very vital and normal part of our lives - something we do on a daily basis. Attempting to exhaust our thanks only on Thanksgiving Day makes giving God thanks a mockery. We are admonished in Scripture, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:18). Notice he said everything - not just the good things, but everything! That can be a bit difficult to do from time to time. 

Another thing that comes to mind that would make giving thanks to God a mockery is thanks-giving without thank-living. Are we being pious for just one day of the year? Are we putting on a front so as to show others how "spiritual" we are? Are we just playing a role or are we living what we are saying? Think about it. 

The true thanksgiving spirit may be found in these words, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:12-13). Let's make giving thanks to God a way of life. 

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, November 20, 2020

Where Is Your Faith?

Here in Illinois it looks as though we are heading for another stay at home order and non-essential business shut down in the near future. People are beginning to panic. Toilet paper and paper towels are, once again, beginning to disappear from the shelves of the stores. 

Many are stressed about how they will make it. I can, perhaps, understand why an unbeliever would be stressed, worried and full of anxiety regarding how they will pay the bills, put food on the table and otherwise provide for their family. 

I do not understand how a believer can be so stressed and worried about these things. I say this with all sincerity. It's not my intent to put anyone down so please don't take me wrong. It's simply that I don't understand. 

For the Christian, it's a faith walk. We know if we are going to please God we will need to have faith. The writer of the Book of Hebrews stated in Hebrews 11:6 (CSB) "Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him."

I guess a good question to ask is, "What is faith?" To get a good definition of faith let's go back to the Bible. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the reality (assurance) of what is hoped for, the proof (conviction) of what is not seen."  Faith says, I know it's a done deal even though I don't know how. I believe God for it. 

I can personally attest to how God is meeting our needs during this time. We have lost literally thousands of dollars of income the past eight months since we are not able to sing as we were. Yet God has met every need we have had. All bills are paid. To be certain, we had to do our part and make some adjustments on our end, but what we did was certainly not enough to meet the bills we have. I give all thanks and praise to God for meeting these needs. I have faith that He will continue to meet the needs we have. He hasn't failed us yet why should I think He will now?

Here is a passage of Scripture that will be a help to those who find themselves worrying during these times. These are the red words - the words of Jesus. 

Matthew 6:25-34 CSB

[25] "Therefore I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? [26] Consider the birds of the sky: They don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? [27] Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? [28] And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don't labor or spin thread. [29] Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. [30] If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won't he do much more for you-you of little faith? [31] So don't worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' [32] For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. [34] Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I pray these words will be a blessing and and encouragement to you. I encourage you to activate your faith and believe God!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, November 13, 2020

Everything Is Better With Bacon

Given how picky of an eater I am it may or may not surprise you that I like bacon. I not only like bacon, I like bacon real well. It's my opinion that everything is better with bacon.

I remember my grandmother would have a container she saved bacon grease in. When she was cooking a meal she would often add some bacon grease to it. Why? Because everything is better with bacon. Grandma knew best!

I remember cooking myself breakfast many times while Cindy was working. I fried some bacon and left all the grease in the skillet. Then I scrambled some eggs and dumped them into the skillet - bacon grease and all. I'm not saying it was healthy, but it sure was good! Why? Because everything is better with bacon - even bacon grease. 

There is a recipe I would like to try that includes bacon. I like the food I would be cooking just like it is. But everything is better with bacon so I can't wait to try it with bacon grease cooked into the meal. It sounds scrumptious to me. 

Now, let's consider our journey through life. Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns - good times as well as bad times. Let me say everything is better with Jesus! 

Perhaps your life has been relatively good. Things have gone well for you overall. I want to assure you your life will be even better with Jesus. In fact, I guarantee it.

Maybe your life has been filled with struggle after struggle. About the time you think things are looking up something happens that brings you down. Life seems unfair to you. I want you to know with full assurance that life is better with Jesus. No doubt about it. 

Let me say that just because you have believed on Jesus and are a Christian that you will never have another issue. In all reality nothing could be further from the truth. Read the New Testament and you will see the struggles some of the early Christians had. Their struggles were real. The pain was real. Many were deserted by other Christians. The loneliness must have been extreme at times. If they could speak to us today on this topic, they would tell us everything is better with Jesus. 

Following Jesus is tough at times. Serving and following Jesus really is like a beautiful rose garden though. Keep in mind in that rose garden are lots of thorns that can scratch you to the point of drawing blood. Even in those tough times, everything is better with Jesus.  

I've had many ups and downs in my own journey. I've drifted away from Jesus in my younger years. I've had my share of sorrows and heartaches. I've been betrayed by brothers and sisters in the Lord I truly loved. I truly understand these things. That is why I can loudly proclaim everything is better with Jesus!

If, on your journey, you are finding things are not the way they used to be between you and Jesus it's time to do some self examination. If Jesus seems far from you take a wild guess at who moved. The Bible tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us. Be honest and ask yourself how much time you spend reading the Bible and praying. Have you allowed Him to permeate your spirit. Are you growing spiritually? Are the Fruits of the Spirit being produced in your life? If you are lacking in one or more of these areas then take the necessary corrective actions and you, too, will find everything is better with Jesus. 

I'm going to continue to enjoy my journey with Jesus...and eat bacon.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, November 6, 2020

Consider The Possibilities

 I have a friend who recently made the following statement, "Consider the possibilities!" While she was speaking of something else, I thought what a great subject for a blog post. Thanks Deanna!

Without a doubt this has been a very different year for everyone due to the COVID-19 coronavirus and all the health issues and restrictions that came with it. 2020 has been a year of disruption. It has been a year of great challenges for most. Many are out of work. Businesses have had to adapt to doing things a new way in order to survive. Some businesses didn't survive. Churches were closed for a period of time. When they did reopen things were different - and still are in most cases. Other ministries and non-profits have struggled to remain operational.

Yet through it all there remains exciting possibilities. It is when things look bleak that God works best. Once we get out of the way and quit trying to do things on our own God comes on the scene and works. I have seen Him work things out for us. I have personally seen how He meets needs. He does things in ways we cannot see nor comprehend. 

You see, God was not affected by COVID-19. He is still on the throne! He is still answering prayers. He is still saving sinners. He is still changing lives. He is still meeting needs. He is still God!

Consider the possibilities! Many have been forced to think outside the box in regards to ministry. We have modified how we do ministry ourselves. This has opened up new avenues of ministry. Those who have jumped on the bandwagon have seen the possibilities.

God is doing the same things but in new ways. Consider the possibilities!

When we get out of our rut of how we have always done things and allow God to do things a different way - allow Him to use us in a different way - to accomplish what He desires to accomplish we will see great things happen. Consider the possibilities!

When we think outside and actually get outside the box of our "norm" exciting things will happen. 

I encourage you to consider the possibilities! 

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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