life insurance

Life Insurance 180

Life insurance is something that many people have. Its purpose is to help provide a degree of financial security to the loved ones of the person who has died. This way they are not burdened with funeral expenses and trying to pay bills with the loss of an income.

Life insurance is extremely important, but what about the life insurance for the person who has died, before they died? You might be raising your eye brow in confusion.

Recently my wife and I were watching TV and a life insurance commercial came on. We are expecting a little one soon, and my mind started thinking about them, if something was to happen to me. I told her life insurance is something we should look into. She then said something very profound, which I believe the Holy Spirit put upon her heart to remind me of. She said, “I do have life insurance, in Jesus. I have eternal life insurance.”

If you are reading this, do you have eternal life insurance in Jesus? Look over at your spouse, and then if you have, to your kids. Do they have eternal life insurance in Jesus? If the answer is no, you should be very concerned, for you and for them! First for yourself, as to not have this coverage means to have an eternity of darkness, anguish, and dispair in hell. Also for your loves ones, not concerned because you won’t see them in heaven, which is a selfish reason, but rather because they will spend an eternity a part from God in hell with the devil (Revelation 20:7-15). There is no worst fate in existence that an eternity a part from God. Scripture tells us that those covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus are in God’s hands, that He has a plan for us, a wonderful plan, for those who delight in Him, and though we may stumble, He will uphold us (Psalm 37:23-24). Being covered does not mean you will be a perfect person, but it does mean that you are secure.

What is eternal life insurance in Jesus? It is a sinful repenting heart, crying out for God’s mercy, being able to stand without shame or blame before Him, being forgiven of your sins by God’s love, through the person and voluntary work of Jesus on the cross, dying for your sins in your place (John 3:16-18). If you have this coverage, you are secure for all eternity.

How do you get coverage in Jesus? No you can not buy it, earn it, work for it, do good deeds, or even be a good person. This coverage is a gift from God, in His love and mercy to us, so that we may be redeemed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 2:38-40, Romans 5:8). You acknowledge and admit that you are a sinner, cry out for God’s mercy on your life, repent (2 Peter 3:9), say your sorry, turn toward God, and receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Believe that he died on the cross for your sins, and that on the third day He rose again, and is now alive (1 Corinthians 15:1-5, Mark 16:6-7), sitting at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-21, Mark 16:19). Believe that He will return again to collect His believers. You will then be filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), which is your deposit from God of eternal life insurance in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14). When a person receives Jesus, they will have the light of life, as He is life (John 8:12, John 14:6-7). Their sin has been crucified with Jesus (Romans 6:1-4), and they are now a new, born again life (1 Peter 1:23).

How will you know you are still covered later in life, should you still be alive? When a person has truly covered, truly received the Holy Spirit, they are renewed (Titus 3:3-8). This means there is a complete change in them, they are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit gives them the spiritual eyes (Ephesians 1:18) to see the darkness in their old life (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) that they were blinded to before (Isaiah 29:15). Scripture tells us that someone who is covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus, the evidence will be seen by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). The fruits meaning how is person acts, how they work, by their deeds, their intentions, their motivations, how they present themselves, what they are drawn toward, where they put their focus, how they pray, how they praise God, how the worship God, how they speak about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. As one covered under this insurance policy, having the deposit of the Holy Spirit within us, we are being changed that more and more of our old self is dying off (Galatians 2:19-21), and we are conforming more and more into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

You can test yourself if you are covered. If a person does not see their life changing from the point when they repented of their sin and professed Jesus to be their Savior, they need to pray, examine their heart, and ask God to reveal to them through His Word, and with a peace, if they are truly covered, truly redeemed, or not. This self examination is to check ourselves, to allow for correction in our lives. There are 4 points to the examination, which comes from 2 Corinthians 13:5 (Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?).

  1. Examine yourself (Galatians 6:3-4, 2 Corinthians 10:12, Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7): The Greek word for examine here is dokîmázô, which means, ‘to test, prove,’ with the expectation of approving.” It can also indicate “to discern” or “to distinguish,” suggesting proving whether a thing is worthy or not. In everything we do, words, actions, thoughts, intentions, motivations, are we doing it for the Lord, to point all eyes to Him, to lead others to the cross? Are our intensions to make God popular, or to make ourselves popular? We need to pray, asking God reveal to us the areas in which we are not pure of heart, so that we can repent, receive correction, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us more and more into the image of Jesus. Continuous repenting is a sign of a true believer, not just one time when a person received Jesus as Savior.
  2. Do you not know yourselves (I Corinthians 6:19-20, Proverbs 4:23, Ephesians 3:14-21, I John 1:9): Scripture tells us that we are not our own, that we were bought at a price, and that you are a child of God, bought by God, by the blood of Jesus. It is important to not only know and understand that relationship, but to also live within the relationship. This means putting forth effort to love and know the Father God, to know the person and work of Jesus, to know the Holy Spirit whom is within the child. A child of God needs to put forth effort in prayer, in praise, in worship, in reading God’s Word, in learning their Father’s attributes, in learning what it means to love others, in repenting, and in realizing who you are as a child of God.
  3. That Jesus Christ is in you (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1): A child of God has the Holy Spirit within. Scripture tells us, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” This means that when a person compares their life style, what they are drawn toward, what they enjoy, where they put their focus, the motivation behind their decisions, words, and actions, when compared to God’s love and His standards for us, how do those things rank? If a person has the Holy Spirit, it is like a magnet drawing them toward the things of God. A person with the Holy Spirit craves God’s Word, craves fellowship with other believers, craves for his/her spouse, children, family, friends to be saved. A person covered under the eternal insurance of Jesus desires more and more for good things, to go into them, and less and less for darkness to go in, for the mind to be pure, and the heart to be seeking that which is pure.
  4. unless, of course, you fail the test (disqualified) (Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16, Hebrews 6:7-8): The Greek word failed or disqualified is adokimos, means: not standing the test, not approved, that which does not prove itself such as it ought.  It is far better to know if you are not truly converted, not truly covered under the eternal insurance of Jesus, than to believe falsely that you are, and stand before Him at judgement, only to be cast into the Lake of Fire with the devil, and other non-believers (Revelation 20:7-15).

If you find yourself to have not passed the examination, and are not truly be covered under the eternal life insurance in Jesus, be honest with yourself the state you are in, do not be prideful and attempt to justify case, but rather be humble, and accept that you are an unregenerate sinner, not saved by the blood of Jesus, that you are not a true child of God, and that you are destined for hell. I pray that you would cry out for God’s mercy, profess that you are a sinner, profess that you want Jesus as your personal Savior, to be cleansed and forgiven of your sins. Understand what it is to repent, turn away from your old life through the power of the Holy Spirit within, receive God’s love, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform you into the image of Jesus.

Can you lose your coverage? Scripture tells us no, coverage cannot be lost (John 3:15-18, John 10:28-30). A person is either covered or they are not. We are still people, tempted into sin by our flesh. We can be distracted by the devil, and stray from our path (Ephesian 6:10-12, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20). However, in the power of the Holy Spirit within, we are given the power to overcome the devil (Romans 8:1-4). If you are covered, however, do not see much fruit coming from your life, you need to pray, asking God, through the Holy Spirit to help reveal what is in your life that is distracting you from producing fruit (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). In either of these situations, repent, turn back to God (2 Chronicles 7 14-15), allow the Holy Spirit to clean you, and return you to the relationship with your Father who loves you dearly.

Then there are those who those who did not truly believe, were not truly regenerate, and never were actually covered. This goes back to #4 in the above examination. These are people who said a prayer, but were never truly converted, and kept living their same life without change or desire for change. People who heard and believed a false or twisted version of the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and put their faith in something false. People who say they are a follower of Christ, yet do not follow Him. People who simply hold the title of Christian, but live, act, and do like the world (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). People who grew up in a Christian home, and believe they are Christian just by being under the same roof, yet profess no repentance, or belief in Jesus. People who say they are Christian, but put their faith in an organization, not their faith in Jesus.

Eternal life insurance in Jesus is the most important thing you can receive in this life. There is no financial obligation to obtain it, no good deeds that you can do (Isaiah 64:6), you can’t perform a service or trade anything material to get it, but rather it is a free gift from God (Romans 5:9). In God’s love and in His will, (Luke 22:42-44) Jesus gave His life willingly to save yours (John 10:17-18).

The best thing you can do for yourself and family, the only security you and your family in this world, going into eternity, is to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Don’t put it off! Jesus will be coming back to bring His believers to Him in heaven, the dead first and the living after them (Revelation 22). When He comes be ready (Matthew 24:42-44).

showyourbible

#ShowYourBible

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I use the NIV version

The #ShowYourBible is a social media challenge to do exactly that. Take a photo of your Bible, open and closed, and post it. Why do this?

Do you remember back in the 80’s-90’s when VHS tapes were what we all watched movies on? We all had our few movies that we would watch over and over, or my mother with her exercise tapes. What happened when watched the same VHS tape each day? It would begin to become worn.

Our Bible is no different. Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Romans 10:17, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Bible).”

My wife and I are in our Bibles all the time. When we are at church listening to the Pastor, we are writing notes, highlighting/underlining key points,  and adding important leaflets from the Sunday handout. When we do our own studies we are looking up the original language and writing notes on the pages. Our Bibles do not look brand new, but rather quite used, studied from.

The goal of this challenge is to encourage you to read your Bible more, to read all of the amazingness God has for you within the pages. The Bible has every topic, answers many questions, and teaches you what faith is all about. By reading the Gospel, you will read about the person and work of Jesus, and how you can be saved through Him. You will read about God’s love, as well as His wrath. You will learn about spiritual eyes through the Holy Spirit. There is so much within the pages of your Bible.

People verbalize a lot, whether it be accurate scripture, twisting scripture to fit their desire, or things that are not even in the Bible. This is a wonderful opportunity for you yourself, to read direct from the source, from God’s Word. We challenge you to take this challenge, a wear your begin or continue to wear your Bible out! :)

So take out that smartphone and snap a photo, hashtag #ShowYourBible . See you on Twitter and Facebook!

 

soldier guarding door

Is Your Gateway Guarded

Teenagers and adults, are surrounded by the influences of the world: bad language, alcohol, lust, hurtful comments, sensuality, peer pressure, impure images in magazines / internet / TV / movies / video games, etc.

We don’t always realize that our eyes and ears are the gateway (doors), into our mind. Our thoughts, words, and actions all come from the thoughts in our mind. If good stuff goes in, good stuff will come out. It’s really pretty simple. If you allow yucky stuff in, your mind will become polluted. If you let good stuff in, and run away from bad stuff, your mind will remain more clear, and you will be able to see God more in your life.

As our standards are often times changing by the persuasion of others, the popular, “oh i’ll just watch/try a little”, or what is fair in peoples opinion today, our standard is not sufficient. So, by what standard can we measure what we should allow into our eyes and ears? God has blessed us with His Word (Bible), which is an unchanging standard of His perfection and love.

So when your friends ask you to go see that bad movie, compare it to God’s standards. When you are offered alcohol, compare it to God’s standards. When you are surfing the web, and that innapropriate image appears on the screen, compare it to God’s standards. When your friends are using bad language, compare your own talk to God’s standards. As a Christian, we are in this world, but belong to God’s eternal Kingdom (John 17:6-19). As you were at one time, under the hold of the devil, and acted as the world did. Now you are a child of God. Shine your light for all to see. The only way to shine your light is to be full of light, and not darkness.

eyes ears gateway - post

new year

10 Points for Preparing for the New Year

2014 is coming to a close, and 2015 is knocking at the door. As I look back at 2014, there are decisions I am pleased with, and others that I am not. Was I wise or foolish in this decision or that one? Should I have listened to my wife more on that decision, or sought the advice of a wise man, like my dad, for that other decision. In other words, there is a lot to look back on and learn from in 2014, that can be used to grow and mature in 2015.

So how do you prepare yourself for the coming new year?

1. Accept the past: 2014 is over and done with. Learn from the past and move forward. What is your intention for the new year? Are you still trying to strike it rich? Or are you ready to try life in a new direction?

2. All 365 Days: This may sound a bit morbid, but will you live to see December 31, 2015? We are not guaranteed to live until we are 100 years old, much less another second. It is vitally important that you think about life, and how you want to use the time God has given you.

3. Your Intentions: Are you intentions to be intentional? Meaning, are you thinking about 2015 changes just to have them so when someone asks you, you have an answer. Or, are you intending to actually be intentional with changes in your life for next year? It is very easy to say something out loud and not mean it. To actually change your life requires actual change.

4. The Why Question: The areas you are choosing to change, why do you want to make that change? Is your intention to become rich, so you are choosing to buy a new phone to get you there? Do you think about the cause and effect of the choices and changes? Or maybe, you know the direction of your life is not on the correct path, and you are seeking help to change things? In everything you are doing, you need to ask, “Why am I doing this? and How will this effect my life and others?”. I want to work out so he or she will love me more. News flash. If they don’t love you for who you are, a body change will only make them want what you are changing, but not you.

5. New Attitude: Don’t like what’s happening in your life? Having problems with money, your job, your marriage, your kids, etc? The first change in attitude comes with acknowledging that your way doesn’t work. Be open minded and ready to hear a new way.

6. Hear the Gospel: The Gospel is “God’s Good News”. Forget the negatives you have about Christians, or the negative opinions you have heard from others about God, and focus your lens in only on the Gospel. Are you not curious at all about why the Gospel translates into “God’s Good News”? There is a good chance that you have heard of John 3:16-18, but do you know what it says, and do you understand what it means in your life? Most people stop at verse 16, however, the good news keeps going for 2 more verses.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.- John 3:16-18

The Gospel is very simple. The Problem: Scripture tells us that God is perfect, He is perfect love, and that He is the Creator of all things, everything, including us. Scripture also tells us that in God there is no darkness, none at all. People, you and I, on the other hand are easily tempted by the devil, are not perfect, have thoughts of darkness, impure thoughts, selfish desires, thoughts of lust, and do impure things (thoughts into action). This is in our nature, and is called sin.  This sin is the impassible barrier that separates God’s perfection from our imperfection. Because of this separation, we are destined to spend an eternity apart from God, and instead with the devil in hell, who enticed us with our dark thoughts, which we chose instead of God’s love.  How is this solved? How can we return to God, and to His love? Can we earn our way? Scripture tells us no, this is impossible. The Gospel is the answer. Scripture tells us that God wants none to perish, but for all to come to repentance. This means that God does not want you to spend an eternity away from Him, but rather an eternity with Him. God not only created us, but also provided us with the way back to Him. The Answer: The answer is Jesus. God’s good news is the best news! Go reread John 3:16-18 real quick. Since we are imperfect, and God is perfect, we need a perfect person to redeem us. Scripture tells us that Jesus born of a virgin, and lived a perfect life. Scripture also tells us that Jesus lived a life without sin. Jesus, who knew no sin, took our sin upon Himself, was crucified on the cross, and died in our place. This is where the devil would think that he won. However, in God’s amazing plan, Jesus was risen from the dead after 3 days, defeating the devil, and making it possible for humanity to be redeemed back to God, through Jesus. What better news is there! Our Way Back to God: So if Jesus is the way, how do we take His path? Go back and reread John 3:16-18 again. If you hear the Gospel, and you believe by faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, and rose 3 days later. That acknowledge that you are a sinner, that you need a Savior from your sins, and you repent of your sins. The Bible tells us that you will be forgiven, and cleansed from your sins, from red and crimson, to white as snow. The scripture tells us that in Christ, you are forgiven, a new creation, a Child of God, and no longer under His wrath. From this point forward, your life will never be the same. The next step you take, will no longer have the purpose that it used to. You will now have a new purpose, one that will bring joy to each step taken from now on.

So why am I telling you to hear the Gospel as preparation for next year? So that you can start the new year in the best possible condition, with your salvation in Jesus secure. Nothing else will have you better prepared, even if you only live the first day of the year.

7. Read the Holy Bible: If you are on board with 1-6 to this point, this one should put a smile on your face. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This means that God’s Word is sufficient, good, and useful for everything. Reading the Bible daily, even a little bit, creates a life style of learning and living. Reading the Bible helps you to learn God’s character, His love, the person and word or Jesus, and your purpose for each day on this Earth. The Bible helps you with all aspects of life. The more you read, the more you will fall in love with God and others.

8. Attend a Bible Preaching Church: Yeah I know, you stay up late on Saturday and want to sleep in. Or football is on, and you can’t not watch and let your team down. A Bible preaching church is essential. Yes, not all churches are created equal, as not all preach the Bible. Many churches just want to pack people in and make them feel good so they will come back and buy their books. A church is to preach the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, so help you God. Motivational speaking about how you’re such a wonderful person and you can have your best life now is not going to help you, rather will actually hurt you. A Pastor who preaches/teaches from the Bible will help you to better understand what the Bible says. You will begin to better understand the areas of your life that are good for you, and the areas that are not. At church there are other Christians who can pray with and for you, to help support you in challenging times, and there is a good chance that at least one of them has gone through what you have. I have heard many say that they don’t need to attend church to be a Christian. My question  to them would be. How can you claim to be Christian, and not want to hear God’s Word or be around other Christians? I’m pretty sure you hang out with your non-Christian friends pretty regularly.

9. 2015 Financial Budget: First off, God owns all of the money, it’s His. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” – Psalm 24:1-2. Every penny you receive from God is to be managed well, as you are its steward. Why should you believe this? Money comes from the Earth, which God created. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – 1 Timothy 6:7- 8. If money comes from God, He will provide to you what you need. Don’t fall in love with it or crave it. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5. Create a budget where every dollar has a name. Purchase what you need for food, clothing, and shelter. In your abundance, give to those who are in need. I recommend looking at Financial Peace University by Dave Damsey. He is a Christian who puts in place what the Bible says about managing the money God provides you.

10. Sharing is Caring: Scripture tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all of our heart, mind, and body, and to love others as we would ourselves. If you heard the Gospel, believes, repented, and received Jesus as Savior. Why would you not want to share this same gift with others? You share movies you see and like with others. Make it a point to share the Gospel with others. Your life was changed. Why would you not share the Gospel with your friends and family? If you share the Gospel with someone, and they don’t want to accept it, simply thank them for listening, pray for them, and go share with someone else.

If these 10 points of preparation are received well by you, I pray that 2015 will be one for the record books. I pray that you will see and live life in a new way, for the intention in which you were created. I pray that if heard the Gospel and are now saved in Christ, that you will make the effort to grow and mature, just as a little kid does showing up. I pray that you will take each of these points to help you grow and mature, and come to know the love of God, and be conformed more and more into the image of Jesus.

From my family to yours, a very Happy New Year in Jesus name!

 

kingsizedbed

Jesus, humanities Savior.. A little baby?

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:8-12

Can you imagine, being led to see this new born baby Jesus by a star. You arrive to see a baby wrapped in rags, laying in straw, Mary and Joseph trying to keep Him warm, and some animals starring in curiosity. You walk up to baby Jesus, knowing that He is different, that He is Immanuel (God with us), that He is the King of kings, that He is the Savior of all of man kind. How does this not make you fall to your knees.. To have been so overwhelmed, the only desire would be to worship this little baby. Even more overwhelming, to know, as prophecy has foretold, that He is destined, His purpose, is to die on a tree (cross), to save humanity. How wonderful and so sad at the same time. Why should this little innocent baby die for you and me?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus was born, came to us as a baby, and not just appeared as a man? He was foretold to be the Savior of His people (those who hear, believe by faith, and repent). The people were expecting a warrior, a soldier, a fighter.  The people were expecting the Messiah, the deliverer, not a baby.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14.  Immanuel means: God with us. This was a prophecy (something told about the future that would happen) that God spoke through Isaiah. This shows Jesus’s divinity, as He was to be born of a virgin, by the Holy Spirit.

This prophecy came to pass, written about in Matthew 1:20-23, “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

The Magi knew who Jesus was when He was born. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. – Matthew 2:1-2

In order for Jesus to save us, He had to be us, fully man and fully God. So He was born of a virgin, fulfilling the prophecy. He lived among us a perfect life, grew up as a boy, and into a man. He preached the Gospel, telling people to repent of their sins, that He was the way, and that their faith would save them. His final act, was to bare our sins, to become sin, in order to save us from our sin.

Christmas is a “holiday” that we celebrate once a year, where we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is one of two times in the year where many go to church. The scripture does not tell us that God sent His only Son into the world to only be celebrated 1 day a year. We should be celebrating life in Jesus, God’s love and mercy for humanity, each and every day.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. – John 3:16-18

I read a great quote from Thomas Aquinas, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible

Jesus is the best gift of all. Why? God created Adam and Eve, beginning the human race. Adam and Eve were also the first to sin, and because of this, the rest of humanity is born into sin. Jesus said in John 14:6-7, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

In closing, as you are around the Christmas tree opening presents, remember that the gift of Jesus, the Savior of humanity, God’s love and mercy, is not something you can buy, earn, or unwrap. Once Adam and Eve turned against God when the devil tempted them, He could have easily discontinued humanity, but He didn’t. God is the Creator, it’s His story, and He chose to not only allow humanity to fill the world, but also to provide a way back to Him. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14. On December 25th, we celebrate the narrow gate that few find, Jesus. And guess what, we will celebrate salvation is Jesus again on the 26th, 27th, and everyday. Jesus name means, “Lord is salvation”.

 

love

The One thing we All Want

This devotional is inspired by a friend of ours at church, whom I had  conversation with today about how so many people just really want love, but don’t know how to obtain it, and often times come off annoying, really bad, or even violent. Love is one thing that all of humanity wants, desires, craves, and will do a lot to get.

The definition of the world is: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person; attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship. You will see that this is not what the Bible describes love to be.

The world sees love as someone fulfilling another persons selfish needs. The world sees love as a sensual force or being physical with another person. The world sees love as an uncontrollable, the heart wants what it wants, and an excuse for fulfilling selfish needs by multiple partners. The word sees love by demanding respect from others, through force, harm, or violence. All in all, the worlds view of love is fulfilling self selfishness. When someone does not meet the world’s view of love, it’s time to move onto someone else who will. This is what a parasite does. Move from host to host to satisfy ones own needs.

There are three questions:

  1. What is real love?
  2. How do you obtain real love?
  3. How do we love others?

These are key questions, because if we don’t know what real love is we either try and get something that we think is love, or we rely on what other people tell us, which is often not correct. Also, if most people don’t know what real love is, and we rely on those people to learn, how can we obtain it?

Have you ever thought that people try to get love through demanding respect? Other times people try and get love by demanding it through force, by screaming, or being mean. Every person wants love, and they will do anything to get their version of it.

What is real love?

The Greek word for Love is ἀγάπη (agapē), means: affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.  Scripture provides us with the  characteristics of real and true love: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As you can see, love is very intentional!

Scripture also tells us where love comes from, its inventor.. and no it is not cupid. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:7-9

Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us, came from God, and demonstrated Gods character and love while He was here on Earth. So when you say you love someone, compare your definition and intention of love against God’s definition.

How do we obtain real love?

If love comes from God, then to obtain love, God must love us. How do we obtain God’s love?  Scripture answers this for us too. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:9-10

To obtain God’s love, we simply need to receive it, it is a gift from God. How do you receive it? Scripture tells us that if we repent of our sins, and receive Jesus as our Savior, believing that He died on the cross in our place, taking our sins upon Himself, and raising from the dead 3 days later defeating death, that we too will risen when He returns, then we will live with God for eternity. Remember, a gift is not something you have to work for, so no work is required to receive God’s love.

We don’t have to do “good deeds” to obtain love. In reality, “good deeds” as an outward action, to receive an inward feeling, is selfishness. By receiving Jesus as Savior, we receive God’s love in us, the Holy Spirit, which creates outward love, such as deeds of love. Outward love is allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us, more and more, into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

How do we Love others?

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:11-12

Love is also having joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit. This means that when we receive Jesus as Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit changes us. Where we used to be temporarily happy by satisfying our own desires. The Holy Spirit changes us to become content with God’s love, that He is all we need. Our desires become less for what we want, more joy to love others, and to lead them to the cross through the Gospel (salvation in Jesus).

How do we love others?

  • We share the Gospel with them.
  • Where God has provided you with an abundance, you share in your abundance to those who are in need. Sharing not to receive gratitude, but to share that it is a blessing from God, in the name of Jesus. This draws them not to you, but to the cross, to God’s love.
  • When we are driving toward a parking spot, and someone takes the spot before us. We keep our cool, we don’t get angry, we resist the want to get back at them, we don’t say something back at them, and we don’t go steal someone else’s spot. Instead, we show love, by turning the other cheek, and just go find another spot.
  • When you are at work, and you get a phone call from someone who drives you crazy, and you just don’t want to talk to. As my friend today at church said, often times this person is simply craving love, and their approach is asking for is is annoying. What if you picked up the phone and said that it is so nice to hear from them, and you would love to help them with their request? That might really surprise them.

Remember, love is a free gift from God. To have love is to know God in Jesus. To truly love others is to share the Gospel. To truly love others is to love them the way Jesus loved people. To love others is to be humble, putting others first ahead of yourself. To love others is to recognize the needs of others, and in your abundance, share. To love others is to use the talents and skills God has given you, and help others in their need. To love others, is when another is oppressed,  in your ability, whether by prayer or action, stand up for what is right.

Love is very simple, not intended to be complicated. Love is God, from God, and to be freely received to those who believe in Jesus. Everyone craves and desires love. To be loved by God in Jesus changes you. When you know you have the love of God, the Holy Spirit helps you to crave human love less, and enjoy God’s love more. Why? Because the craving of human love means that you don’t feel enough love from God. Scripture tells us that God’s love is sufficient for His children.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

prayer

Is Prayer a Waste of Time?

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and you mention prayer, and they reply, “Pssshh prayer doesn’t do anything..”? I have..

What is the definition of prayer: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.

You may recognize this scripture, as it is on t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc, “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

I want to first share an illustration I heard listening to Pastor Voddie Baucham, of how to see prayer. Image a boat and a dock. A boat is tied to the dock to keep it secured. God is the dock, and we are the dock. Prayer is the rope that we the boat, pulls on to be closer to God. So now the question, how often do you pray? Is the distance between God the dock, and you the boat, becoming really far? Or, are you rejoicing always, and praying continually, growing closer and closer to God? To expend this illustration. What happens when the boat is further and further from the dock, and into more open waters? The water becomes extremely choppy, and you the boat can easily capsize and go under. .. Now let’s break this puzzle down into its pieces.

Rejoice always.. Rejoice (verb): Greek word “χαίρω” (chairō), means: that no matter the situation, we will be actively praising God, because we know His plans for us are for our good, even though we may not like it. Why does rejoicing come before prayer?

The only way to be rejoicing is to have joy and peace. This is received from by God, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, salvation in Jesus. Romans 15:13 tells us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  

And why is being filled with joy, and to be rejoicing so important? “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:11-13.

God fills the Christian with the Holy Spirit, which helps us to get to know His character, that we can trust Him, that He has plans for us, good plans, great plans, because He wants the best for us. As we seek Him will all of our heart, our joy and peace grow, and we rejoice, knowing Him more, being in His presence in prayer, and experiencing His love, as a parents loves their child. This is how we come before our God, our Father in prayer. Like a little child, climbing up in their Fathers lap, to love Him, because He loved us first (1 John 4:19).

Why is all of this important? Because without Jesus, a person is not a child of God, but rather an object of His wrath, because of their sinful nature, living in their fleshy and selfish desires, which is against God. A person who seeks after their own desires, wants their own desires. When a person only wants what they want, the list of wants never ends, they are never content, and can only feel happy for the moment, because they are temporarily satisfied.

God does not make us guess, but tells us what the acts of the flesh are, so we can identify them in our lives. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:16-21.

“Lives like this” means a consistent lifestyle without repentance. This makes perfect sense as we look at the world around us. For example, look at the media. When a situation arises, how often do we see the masses praying together for God’s hand to come over what is going on, or for peace? Instead, we respond by our flesh, with anger, by yelling, with rioting, hating, etc. When a person reacts to life like this, over and over, it grows in them, becoming more and more of their “what is normal” lifestyle. When more and more people live like this, it becomes the “standard”, and prayer is either left out completely and forgotten, or twisted into something false.

Matthew 5:11-12 below tells us, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Being a Christian is not easy! When a true Christian shares the Gospel, lives their life to love and honor God, to love others, to be Jesus in the flesh (Matthew 22:37-40), to mature in their faith walking with Jesus, to be molded more and more into the image of Jesus.. Do you think the strength it takes to face this world, that opposes God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word, comes from the Christian person themselves..? No way! A true Christian is completely dependent upon God’s strength. One of my prayers, is to receive God’s strength, peace, wisdom each day, as some days can be very challenging. It is not blind faith.. rather having seen God’s amazingness, because the Holy Spirit gives me the eyes to see, and to share.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:19-21

When a non-believer faces challenges, they often fall and crumble, because they have only themselves to hold onto when their world shakes. They go to people with their challenges, who have no ability to help them, only hear them, and are left with the same challenges with no resolution. As this keeps happening, they slip deeper an deeper into sinful habits, and grab at anything that will provide a temporary rest, which is something that usually causes them more harm, creating an infinite loop that never ends. Jesus is their only solution, which is usually the last anything on their mind.

Now what about praying continually?

First off the Greek word for Pray (verb) is “προσεύχομαι” (proseuchomai). Proseuchomai is from two Greek words. The first being πρὸς (pros), meaning: to, towards, with, with regard to. The second being εὔχομαι (euchomai) (verb) meaning: to wish, to pray, to pray for.

It is very important to understand the meaning of euchomai because this tells us what to pray, what to approach God with. More often than not, when we pray, we are praying for our own selfish desires, what we want, what will make us happy, what will satisfy us, what God can do for us to make us happy, or what God can do to make us love Him more. God is not a magic genie or a puppy desiring to make us happy so we love on Him more.

A popular question people have is does God hear the prayers of the nonbeliever? This we will answer further down.

1 John 5:13-15, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we askwe know that we have what we asked of him.

See the part that says, “IF we ask ACCORDING to HIS WILL.. HE WILL hear us”. This means that when we come before God in prayer and “asking” (euchomai) in accordance with His will, it is guaranteed that He will hear us. So you know He is not ignoring you. So the question comes, “what is God’s will, and how do we pray according to it“? The answer to the first question is, “we don’t know God’s plan, only God does” So if we don’t know God’s plan, how can we pray according to it? Great question!

Where our prayers used to be to satisfy our own desires, for our own wants, for our own plans for our life. Now we know that God hears our prayers when we pray according to His will, and His plan. Our prayer should now be “to pray for God’s will to be done”, in our lives and in others. Why? Because God’s will is perfect. Psalm 18:30 tells us, “As for God, his way is perfectThe Lord’s word is flawlesshe shields all who take refuge in him.” When we trust in and remain in God’s will, we can have peace in it, even if the outcome does not result the way we wanted. As we trust in His will, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes, and we receive peace, confirmations, to see doors opening, and we trust Him to take steps by faith.

When we pray, it should be without ceasing, continually, over and over. To pray continually does not mean to quit your job, and lock yourself in your room and pray non-stop, and do nothing else. It means that when we pray on something, we continue to pray upon it, over and over.

As an example, if you are unemployed and searching. If the end result of God’s will is that you will be blessed with a new job in 1 month, until that day comes, which you don’t know before hand, keep praying, each day, multiple times a day, that God will lead you, bring you to the place where you can extend the Kingdom in the name of Jesus, that the lost will be found. In the mean time, pray for God’s provision, with anticipation and expectation of God’s blessing. Pray also that through all of this, you will grow closer to God, and experience His love in a new way, that will deepen your love for Him, and share your testimony with others, which will draw their eyes to Him as well.

There will also be times when you are praying for something specific, for someone’s health, for someone to get a job, for the church, for the country, or for your children. Since we are to pray according to God’s will, and you don’t know if what you are praying for is God’s will, your prayer does not change, “this is my desire, but your will be done”. This is the same thing Jesus prayed before they arrested Him to be crucified. “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:41-42. Jesus did not want to go to the cross, as He knew what He was going to face, but He also knew it was His Fathers will, and that was what He lived for, and was His purpose. Jesus prayed for strength to take the next step according to His Fathers will.

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heartCommit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. – Psalm 37:1-7 I encourage you to read the entire Psalm 37 as it is a great expression of prayer and thanksgiving from David.

Please see a few things here, “trust in the Lord“, “take delight in the Lord“, “commit your way to the Lord“, and again, “trust in Him“, “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him“. Now look at the last part, “and He will do this“. This means, do this and this and this, AND this will happen.

This is the biggest challenge that Christian have and also why nonbelievers don’t like or think prayer is ineffective.

First off those who reject God and His Son Jesus (agnostics or atheists). They are not filled with the Holy Spirit, and therefore do not seek or desire for the will of God in their lives, rather their own desires. Therefore they not praying for God’s will in their lives, rather their desires of what will make them happy and satisfied. So therefore, if they are not praying for God’s will, according to scripture, their prayers are not heard. This is what nonbelievers do not like and do not understand. They want God to answer their selfish prayers, but do not want God in their lives. So because they “pray”, and do not get what they want, they choose to believe that God does not exist, that God does not love them, that God is being mean, that God does not care about them, that God is not real, and they reject God and His Son. So because of this, they choose to live a lifestyle against God, and do the things that His Word says not to, because they think God is just being mean. This is called living a defiant life. Defiant means: to be boldly resistant or challenging. This is very sad! Sad because as an nonbeliever, they are an object of God’s wrath, in their current state, destined for an eternity without God, in hell.

You also from nonbelievers, “there is so much bad happening in the world, why does God not do anything about it?” Remember the illustration of the dock and boat? If you are not close with God, how will you see when He does something that is not as obvious to your eyes as let’s say fireworks. If my eyes are fixed on God, I am getting to know Him, and the Holy Spirit gives me spiritual eyes to see little details, then I will see more than someone who does not have the Holy Spirit. Is God doing something in these bad situation.. most definitely! God’s will is perfect.

I heard a story of a tornado that hit a city. A mom and her 10 month old baby were in a house, and the walls fell down because of the winds. When this happened the mom slipped, and the winds grabbed the baby, taking her 15 miles away, and landing her in a wet mud. The baby survived, and is alive many years later to tell tell the story. Many might have said, “how could God allow that to happen?” God’s will is perfect, and the baby may have died from the house falling down had God not relocated her. This is called faith in God’s perfect plan. Do you think the mom began praying right away for her child? I’m sure yes. Do you think this brought both mom, child, and many who heard this story closer to God in Jesus? I’m sure yes.

For Christians, where prayer could be our strongest weapon, next to the Bible, for showing the world God’s amazingness, our human nature often kicks in. We often allow the devil to mess with us, in the same way he messed with Adam and Eve, making us think that God did not hear us, does not love or care about us, and other lies. These lies can make us doubt God’s answers to our prayers. These doubts make us loose our patience for waiting on God’s timing, that He forgot about us, or that He wants us to suffer without His help. These lies can make us believe that God has kicked us out of His safe pasture. These lies can move us to trust less in God’s promises to us. When a Christian begins to believe these lies, is a sign that they are drifting from God. In the illustration I started with, that the boat is drifting away from the peaceful water nearer to the dock, and  away into  the choppy waters.

The hope here is that another Christian brother or sister will notice this and  pray for them, with them, and ask God for guidance, wisdom, and mercy to bring them back toward the dock, and into repentance.

Prayer is not a waste of time, but rather, next to God’s Word, our strongest weapon against the devil and his stronghold on our friends, family, and those whom we come across who are nonbelievers.

2 Corinthians 10:2-4, “I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

An illustration for God’s answer to prayer is a phone. When you are expecting it to ring, you are alert, listening for it, expecting it to ring. When we pray, it may take time, along time, but when we stay alert, keep our spiritual eyes and ears open, we can be blessed to witness God’s answer, and that is a wow experience.

For the true Christians, I beg that we would see the bigger picture. That we would use this most valuable weapon, that never wears out, that is available to us 24/7/365, and that God’s ears are always open for.  It is so important that we the boat, keep pulling the rope that will bring us closer to the dock. The dock never moves, we do.

The problem with this world is us, people. We have allowed the devil to destroy, lie, and kill humanity. Because of our human nature, our sinful nature, our desire for self, the devil has used it, without much effort, to turn us against God, His Son, and each other. Our guns, our anger, our opinions, our self desires have broken this world. Sin has broken this world. Jesus is the only solution to the problems in this world.

I go to God in prayer, that in accordance with His will, according to scripture, that those who are under the devils lies, who be broken free by your mercy of the Gospel, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. I go before God in prayer, that the body of Christ, the Kingdom of God, that more souls would be won for Jesus, and that we would all be in prayer together, as the Body is supposed to, according to scripture. I pray for God’s mercy on those who are living a life of defiant sin, defined by scripture, that they would see this sin, acknowledge it, repent of it, receive Jesus’s death as payment of their sins, God’s mercy,  and be wiped clean, their sins forgiven, and to be white as snow, a new creation, a child of God.

I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”” – Luke 15:9

Greek: Jesus

Have you ever looked up your name to know what it means? Did you know that the name Jesus has a meaning too?

The Greek word for Jesus is “Ἰησοῦς: (Iésous)… Which comes from the Hebrew word “יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ” (Yehoshua), means: the LORD is salvation.

The Greek word for salvation is “σωτηρία” (sótéria), means: God’s rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety. Another word “to save” in the Greek is “σῴζω” (sózó), means: I save, rescue. Look at Matthew 1:21, “Jesus, for He will save His people“. The root of sózó is σωτήρ (sótér), means: a savior, deliverer, preserver. The Savior, Jesus Christ who saves believers from their sins and delivers them into His safety.

Many think that Jesus’s name is Jesus Christ, first and last name.. not so. The proper name address should be Jesus the Christ. Christ is His title, means: Messiah or anointed One.

Now that you know what His name means, might you still think of Him as just a nice man and good teacher… or … more?

thanksgiving

Restoring Thanks Giving

This devotional was inspired by a message our Pastor delivered last Sunday. As I was listening, I felt that it would be a great Thanksgiving devotional.

What does it mean to be “Thanks Giving”? Thanks (is a noun) Giving (is a verb).  Thanks giving means to be giving praise to someone for something.

The word “Thanks” in the Greek is “יָדָה” (yadah), means: to give thanks, laud, praise. Praise as a result of blessing.

So the question comes, what are we thankful for, and to whom are we thankful for it? When we give thanks, we are praising the One whom all good things come from, God. James 1:16-17, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

There are people who love to praise God, dropping to their knees in the name of Jesus, and His sacrifice for them on the cross. These people are called the children of God, and love their Father.

Then there are others who say they don’t experience good things from God, that life is unfair, that they don’t feel His love, they do not like God, and are angry at Him.. so why should they be thankful to Him?

The reason why a person doesn’t feel thankfulness or love toward God is because they are out of fellowship with God. In order to give thanks, you have to have fellowship with that someone. The Greek word for “fellowship” is “κοινωνία“, meaning: what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship.

The common basis is love.  If you lack love, you lack fellowship. Look back at Genesis chapter 1. In each of the 6 days of creation God says the same thing after He creates, “and God saw that it was good.” Why? Because God takes pleasure in what He creates. Look also at verse 27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Why would God created us in His own image if He did not love us? 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love“. 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.

And if this wasn’t enough, we didn’t even get 3 chapters into the first book of the Bible and we sin, choosing, power, selfishness, and trusting the devil (serpent), over God’s love. Sin in Greek is “ἁμαρτία” (hamartia), means: missing the mark, to be without a share in, wander from the path of uprightness and honour, an offense to God. Romans 3:23 says it well, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Have fallen short of what? God’s standard. God is perfect, so His standard is perfect. Perfection is not something we are capable of. Jesus is the only man who did not sin, lived a perfect life. How? Because He is God (incarnate – God in the flesh). John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” God is perfect, cannot sin. This is why Jesus was the only and perfect sacrifice in our place, to defeat death, raising from the grave. For those who repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, they are reconciled (restore friendly relations between) to God in/through Jesus.

So now tell me that God has no love for you. So not tell me that you don’t owe Him thanks, praise, and worship. How can you not love Him back? How can you not desire to be in fellowship with Him?

By the way, many people have a big issue with the word worship. For many it might sound scary, strange, does not sit right in their ears. The Greek word for “worship” is “σέβομαι” (sebó), means: to show reverence, personally esteem, to hold in the highest respect. To worship God means that He is first in your life, that you want to show Him your love and devotion, and how much He means to you. (Luke 10:27)

If you are not in fellowship with God, if you have no joy in God, if you are not thankful to Him, I pray you will have the desire to restore this relationship. To restore fellowship requires 3 parts: commemorate, thank, and praise. (1 Chronicles 16:4)

Commemorate: Greek “זָכַר” (zakar), means: to remember, recall, call to mind. This is what we did earlier in this post. We remembered 2 out of i’m sure many many many amazing things God has done in your life, your family, friends, stories you have heard. God created us, provides a way back to Him through Jesus, and does so much in between.

Thanks: Greek “יָדָה” (yadah), means: to give thanks. Giving thanks is to be grateful.

Praise: Greek “הָלַל” (halal), means: to praise, to boast. This means to make God popular. When you remember something God did, you share the story, you are bragging about what God did, making Him popular.

If you do not have fellowship with God, you have no joy, and you have no thanksgiving. This year when you celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving with family and friends, please remember that it is not about the food, nor the football, and especially not about the black Friday deals at the store the next day. Thanksgiving is to remember all God has done in your life, being thankful to Him for everything He has done, and praising Him in the name of Jesus. Thanksgiving is being in fellowship with the one who created you, loves you, and desires that none would perish, but all come to repentance. This Thanksgiving, if you are believer, restore your fellowship with God. If you have never trusted in Jesus, and Jesus alone for your salvation, I pray you would believe, repent, and begin your fellowship with God in the living Jesus.

A very Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Reaching the Lost, Equipping the Saved, and Daily Steps by Faith that bring you Closer to God