Tuesday, November 20, 2018

RECOGNIZING GOD’S HAND

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

To give thanksgiving unto God we must recognize His hand in our lives. What blessings has He given to you? A great idea is to get out a piece of paper (or open a new document) and number your blessings one by one.

As you count your blessings, be specific. Name individual family members and friends. Think of your life, health, home, city, and country. Ask yourself what, exactly, about your home or country is a blessing? How about your skills, talents, education, and job? Think about those times that seemed like a coincidence; did you overlook God's hand in your life? Did you think of God's greatest gift, His Son, ​Jesus Christ?

You will be amazed at how many blessings you truly have. Now you can show thanksgiving to God for them.

-- Rachel Bruner in an article entitled “11 Ways to Show Thanksgiving to Heavenly Father”


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Monday, November 19, 2018

GIVING IN RESPONSE TO GOD

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

Our God is a giving God. He is a God of abundance, and He loves to give. In Christ He sacrificed willingly on the cross and then invited us into fullness of life. As His children, we are called to imitate Him. Our generosity in giving is a demonstration of God’s character and a response to what He has done for us.

As we become more and more who God has called us to be – more like Him – through the process of sanctification, we reflect God more and more. We become more loving, more gracious, and, yes, more giving. Because God is generous, we are also called to be generous. Generosity not only points others to God, it is an appropriate response to what God has done for us. 

-- from an article entitled "Why is giving so emphasized in the Christian faith?" on the gotquestions.org website


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Friday, November 16, 2018

THE ANCHOR OF HOPE

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  (Hebrews 6:19a NIV)

Hope is called the anchor for the soul because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made. 

-- R.C. Sproul


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

THE ESSENCE OF OUR FAITH

“Jesus is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.”  (Colossians 1:18-20 NRSV)

When Henry David Thoreau withdrew from the world for two years to live on Walden Pond, he did so to simplify life and reduce it to its lowest common denominator.  Ponder his words:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living it so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms."

When a Christian reduces life to its [essence], it's Christ.  He is the kernel.  Everything else is husk.  He, and He alone, is our basis for contentment.

-- Charles R. Swindoll in “The Practical Life of Faith” 


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

The Christian life begins as our hearts are drawn to God through God’s prevenient grace. It progresses as we hear the good news and choose to trust in Jesus Christ and receive His justifying grace and a new birth. However, this birth is not the end of our faith; it is when the real journey begins. As we experience the means of grace, we’re restored by the Spirit to become what God has made us to be: created in God’s image, loving God with all that is within us, and blessing our neighbor with a love not merely of words or affection but also of deeds expressing compassion, mercy, and justice. 

-- Adam Hamilton in “Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It”


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