As I awake this Thanksgiving morning and I consider the blessings I have to be so thankful for, I lift up my eyes and thank Jesus who took me from where I was and brought me to where I am. Jesus took me from excuses and brought me to opportunity. Jesus took me from shifting sands to solid ground! Jesus took me from being about me to being about others! Jesus proved to me that I can’t out give Him! It may not come back as money, but it will come back as blessings, more blessings than I can contain or hold onto! Blessed with an incredible wife! Blessed with incredible children! Blessed with an incredible family! Blessed with a beautiful house! Blessed with great leadership at church and at work! Blessed with a great church family! Blessed with a great workplace! Blessed with directions and instructions! More blessed than I can even count! Blessed that He called me into His family back in 2000. Blessed that He called my wife into His family at the same time! Blessed that He filled us up and brought us forward through baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit, Cleansing Stream, membership classes, serving and being part of leadership teams! More blessed than I can even count! Too blessed to be stressed! I am thankful for His calling to start this blog! Thankful for taking the focus off of me which had been my idea for starting to blog and putting the focus on Him and eternity spent with Him! This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!
20Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. –Ephesians 3
10″Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. –Malachi 3
All things are possible for those who believe! Believe and be saved! Why not today, a day we are to be sharing how thankful we are! Why not today, a day to reflect on all the blessings! Will today be your day to get started?
Ever been in a situation where you could use if or when? We find in the Bible there are times which means we need to make a choice and not everyone will choose to make that choice. Let’s consider the following “If” statements found in the Bible and consider how we responded. Did we respond which makes it a “when” or are we still out there somewhere…
1″Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2″All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: 3″Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. 4″Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock… –Deuteronomy 28
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. –2 Chronicles 7:14
We each have to make a decision for ourselves! We each have to make a choice about how we will live! We each get to decide how we will live! We don’t have to do anything because of the freewill we have been given, but we get to if we want to!
We each get to choose for ourselves! It’s not that we need to be responsible for our parents nor our parents responsible for us! We each get to choose for ourselves and the way we will live sits on our own shoulders! If a man lives a good life and then his child doesn’t they will each get their respective judgment be it life or death. Or vice versa the parent’s judgment won’t fall on the child and the child’s judgment won’t fall on the parent.
We get to choose and until we die we still have time to make the choice…Today’s reading contains the following nuggets of wisdom…
19“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
21“But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24“But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.
25“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
30“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
–from Ezekiel 18
We all will get judged according to our own ways! Will you repent and turn back to God before it is too late? Will you invite Jesus into your heart and allow God to create a new heart in you? Will you invite Jesus in and allow God to transform you from the inside out? Will you invite Jesus in and allow God to adopt you into His family?
Let’s consider the Psalm of David from today’s reading…
1May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
It’s not Jesus plus something, it’s Jesus! Let’s consider Paul’s experience told in Galatians 2…
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
1Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
6As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
Paul Opposes Cephas
11When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17“But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesnʼt that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”