Peace On Earth

I read this statement this morning: “The New Testament does not say that the angels prophesied peace: they proclaimed peace—peace to men of goodwill toward God.” (Emphasis mine) It’s funny how you can know a thing, and yet read it again and suddenly it hits you. The angels weren’t saying that peace would come to the world, but that peace would be among those with whom He is well pleased. Compare these two versions of Luke 2:14.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”
Ephesians 5:15‭-‬20 NASB1995

“From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:13‭-‬15 NLT

I want to be among those people with whom He is pleased, careful of how I walk, filled with the Spirit, and always giving thanks for all things in the name of the LORD. I don’t like being ruled by greed, and it’s easy to fall into it with the materialism of the world so loud and pushy around us. I see so much of it around me, and the longing of wanting what I perceive as my right…. but is it, really? If I should receive what I truly deserve – if anyone got what they truly deserve, I don’t think we would like it very much!

Give thanks for all things. That’s the ticket to a true and happy, full, and rewarding life.

Thank God!

A Psalm of David:

I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods. I will bow down toward Your holy temple. And give thanks to Your name for Your Lovingkindness and Your Truth; For You have magnified Your Word according to all Your Name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

“All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD. When they have heard the words of Your Mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the Glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your Hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your Right Hand will save me. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your Lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your Hands.” Psalms 138:1‭-‬8 NASB1995

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Everything is a gift. Be thankful for His Mercy, Pardon, Patience, Lovingkindness, Truth. “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,….” Psalms 92:1‭-‬2 NIV

Pray. God delivers His promises in fulfillment of His Word. Don’t forget to say Thank You, Jesus! “….. to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,….” Ephesians 3:19‭-‬20 NIV

Remember God’s Pre-eminence. Eventually, EVERYONE will give thanks and praise the LORD. ALL of Creation will praise Him. He is our protection. Be thankful for all the troubles that have MISSED us. God’s Grace and Mercy will sustain us. He gives us Purpose. He will complete and accomplish His plans for me. God made me and He has a purpose for me!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

“….. being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Thank God for His fulfillment!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NIV

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

Motivated

Motivations can be positive things or negative things…. These are some motivations for us; the benefits of a robust spiritual life:

“For if these qualities (moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love) are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8‭-‬9a NASB

Spiritual growth is spiritual productivity; to be fruitful you must be growing and prgressing. Failure to grow leads to spiritual amnesia.

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; FOR AS LONG AS YOU PRACTICE THESE THINGS, YOU WILL NEVER STUMBLE [into doubt of your salvation]; …. 2 Peter 1:10 NASB

Do you need reassurance of your salvation? How do we make sure we are saved? God has called us and chosen us, He has elected us. HE chose US, but WE have to choose HIM. If we are not growing and moving forward, we are slipping backwards. We cannot lose our security in Christ, but we can lose our assurance when we stop growing in Him.

God’s Word to us – “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, …..” Romans 8:15‭-‬16 NASB

Along with the fruits of the Spirit that we read about in 2 Peter, our growth is shown by our prayer life.

“…… and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.” Matthew 15:36‭-‬37 NASB

Wow. I fail miserably at this…. how many times have I sat down to eat something and skipped thanking God for the fact that I have food? What about the blessings of my life, and the challenges, too. Am I thanking God daily for them? I’m not concerned about where I will spend eternity, but I wonder sometimes how I will spend eternity…. Is my life, my example, enough to show the people around me that I am sure of my future? Our “glorious entry” to heaven is the evidence that we lived to please Christ, not to boast for ourselves. The kingdom is Eternal, it is the Future, and it belongs to Jesus Christ.

Conclusion: “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.” 2 Peter 1:12-‬15

In His Word I Do Hope

“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD. LORD, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His Word do I hope.” Psalms 130:1‭-‬5 NASB

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER of Lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NASB

I accompanied my Mom to a banquet Sunday night. When I took her home, she was thanking me for taking her. Why should she thank me? Considering all of the things she has done for me, places she has taken me, sacrifices she has made for me and my siblings, everytime I see her I should be thanking her. Likewise, every single good thing that has ever happened to me, I should be thanking my LORD. My bad decisions are all mine, and my good decisions are all His.

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12‭-‬13 NASB

I’ve had abundance, and I’ve had hardship. Sometimes it feels like it’s ALL hardship. A friend used to tell me “You have 5 minutes for your pity party, then get over it and MOVE ON.” Throughout my life, even at my lowest, there was something to be grateful for, even if it was having my family mad at me – because it meant they still cared. If there is absolutely NOTHING you can think of to be thankful for, be thankful for toilets and toilet paper!

What are you grateful for today? Where do you find your hope?

A Sacrificial Thanks

A sacrificial thanksgiving. That’s a different attitude!

I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.” Psalms 116:14‭-‬15 NASB (Read verses 1-19)

Are we thankful for the people who have sacrificed their lives for us? Today, I’m reminded of the men and women who have unselfishly volunteered to dedicate their lives to keeping our nation free. They serve in our Armed Forces as Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force personnel. They serve in our Border Patrol, and they serve in the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. These men and women don’t know me, yet they are putting their very lives on the line to provide me with freedom and safety from other nations who want to destroy us.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6‭-‬7 NASB

You know the truly astonishing thing about those people serving us? Many of them aren’t even Christians! They don’t know our LORD; they don’t have a personal relationship with Him, and yet they are ready to give their very life to save mine.

A humbling thought.

Am I prepared to offer my life as a sacrifice – a joyful sacrifice at that, overflowing with gratitude that I could offer my life for my LORD? Not even for a stranger, but for my Saviour, Who died for me? Am I thankful for the uncomfortable things that are happening in my life?

Thanksgiving 2019

“Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord , for he is coming to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16:31‭-‬34 NLT

Are You Thankful?

“The old advice of always spending less than you earn is kind of worthless when you hardly have an income….”

I don’t know who said this, but they have a valid point. It’s a problem I have struggled with, and the interesting thing I have realized is that it has been true regardless of my income. Americans are spoiled. We live in a country where poverty level is higher than many countries highest earners. I don’t deny that there are thousands here who really are living in horrible conditions. It would be amazing to be able to change, but the reality is just as Jesus said.

“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Matthew 26:11 NLT

Search for the words “the poor” in scripture. They are referred to dozens of times. There are many people who believe that we should divide everything up among the entire population – I disagree, because it only encourages the lazy to become,more so, and it discourages those with ambition. Why should I work so that someone else can sit around?

My point is this: we should help those we can, especially family, the orphans and widows, and I have to add, our veterans. Give thanks for what you have, be it a little or a lot. Thank God for your blessings. A roof over your head, food to eat, transportation…. indoor toilets, heat when it’s cold. Family, friends, FAITH.

To me, this describes how Thanksgiving should be:

“This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns.” Deuteronomy 16:14 NLT

Waiting. Not My Strong Suit!

I don’t like to wait!

“Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the LORD our GOD be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” – Psalms 90:13‭-‬17 NASB

I’m ready. SO ready for Jesus to show up! I mean, sure, there are unchecked boxes on my bucket list, and someone I really want to meet; things to do, foods to eat, places to go….. but, I’m ready. The absolute evil and insanity that is pervading our world makes me cringe and want to run away from it all, straight into heaven. Even the Psalmist asked God to hurry! And check out the wording here: Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Yikes. Make us glad for our afflictions. Make us glad for the years of evil!

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NASB

Today, this is how this reads to me: Rejoice in the waiting. Give thanks for the opportunity to wait. I won’t pray for patience. God in His infinite wisdom already gives me plenty of opportunities to learn it and practice it. What I will do is pray. Thank You, LORD, for the waiting; for all of the opportunities to rejoice in the anticipation of what is to come, both here on earth and later, with You, in Paradise.