Monday, November 25, 2013

Be That One

Luke 17:11-19 (NLT)  As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.  As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
At this time of year, a lot of people are caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing big meals, buying wonderful gifts for loved ones, and generally being caught up in our many blessings. We need to take some time to stop and just tell the Lord, “thank you.” We spend so much of our energy on our blessings that we have little left over for the Blessor. We utter a quick prayer of thanksgiving around the dinner table, as we plan our black Friday shopping excursions.
As we see from our text today, a little bit of gratitude goes a long way. Ten lepers were healed, but only one stopped to see what the Lord had done and turned back. He didn’t lose anything by taking a few moments to thank the Healer and praise God. Sometimes we have to stop and see what the Lord has already done, instead of scrambling ahead to the next blessing. The nine were doing exactly as they were told, which was to go show themselves to the priests. But that one was overcome with gratefulness as he witnessed his healing. He turned back to express his thankfulness to the Lord.
If we would take the time to thank God for what we have and for what He has already done, we will find ourselves happier and much more content. Thanksgiving will mean so much more to us, if we aren’t constantly planning what’s coming next. Enjoy the blessings of the Lord, fall at His feet, and thank Him for a while. When we focus on everything God has done for us, we have no room to complain about what we don’t have.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Who God Is

Revelation 1:8 (NASB) “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Sometimes I think we need a reminder of who God is. He loves us, and He wants His best for us. He cares about every detail of our lives, and He allows us to come to Him through Christ Jesus.  HOWEVER, we must never forget that He is also the God that touches the hills, and they smoke (Ps. 104:32). We should be careful that we don’t try and shrink the Sovereign God to fit in our little world.
The God who some call ‘the man upstairs’ is the same God who sent judgment by death for strange fire brought before Him in the Old Testament. He is greater than we can even fathom with our finite minds. He is so much more than our vocabulary will ever allow us to speak, and yet, we treat Him as our colleague, rather than OUR FATHER. He wants a personal relationship with us, but we can’t confuse that with a human relationship. He is an awesome wonder, not our buddy.
He always was, is, and will be the Almighty. That He would take the time to be mindful of us at all is a daily miracle. He speaks, and things become. With the same voice He speaks, and things cease to be. He wants our worship, not our fist bumps and pep rallies. It’s time we acknowledge God in His proper place in our universe: the Creator of all. He gives wondrous grace to reconcile us to Himself. That grace is not to be confused with human merit. Let’s stop playing with Him, and really get to know Him. He tells us who He is through His Word. Get in it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trust God's Timing

God had established my ending well before my beginning. God knew everything that would occur in my life and when well before the foundation of the earth. There are times when we want something to happen right away, and times when we want something NOT to happen at all. The truth, as the writer pens in Ecclesiastes, is that there are times and seasons for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NASB)  He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

God makes things appropriate for the times He chooses. We, as human beings, don’t want to suffer. We don’t want to face loss. We want ourselves and our families to be happy and healthy. We don’t always understand why God does the things He does, but we must trust in the truth that He established the ending of things before they ever began. He knew before the foundation of the earth where you would be this very second, and what would be going on in your life. Everything is not comfortable, but it is appropriate according to God’s plan.

We, who are His, can be confident that God knows the plans He has for us, and they are for our good (Jer. 29:11). Even those unfortunate circumstances will work in the grand scheme of God’s plan for our good (Rom. 8:28). Nothing that has happened to you, or will happen to you is a shock to God. He doesn’t have to scramble to come up with a back-up plan for anything EVER.  This is of great comfort to me, as a believer in the one true God – the creator of heaven and earth. He made it all, and He controls it all.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart

Welcome to November, the month that contains Thanksgiving Day. I have noticed on social media sites that people are trying to post an “I’m grateful for” message every day during the month. It’s a wonderful reminder of how blessed we are. Seeing so many people being very intentional about giving GOD thanks for His goodness and mercy toward us is refreshing. This is in addition to giving thanks every morning, as I’m sure a lot of these people do already.
Having a grateful heart makes the rough times easier to bear. When I just start thanking God for what I have, it puts less emphasis on what I don’t have. When I thank God for who He is, I can appreciate His grace and his mercy all the more. If we all spent more time thanking God on a regular basis, instead of asking for things, I believe we (as Christian people) will be more content with whatever situation we happen to find ourselves in.
There is nothing wrong with asking God for what we need and desire; He told us in His Word to come to Him and ask. The point I am making is that more time should be spent giving thanks and praise to God. It has been my experience that if I spend more time asking for things, the more I focus on what I don’t have. When I do that, I am unable to be content with the many blessings that I already have. I am much happier focusing on the goodness of the LORD, counting all my blessings, and marveling at the mercy of our loving, heavenly Father.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.