Thankfulness

November 26, 2015

 

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. 

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving?  If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude.  We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving.   Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord.  It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it.  Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?

It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart.  Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, “ Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.”  The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:   

Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. 

Psalms 79:13  So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. 

Psalms 92:1  [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 

Psalms 97:12  Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 

Psalms 105:1  O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. 

Psalms 106:1  Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 

Psalms 106:47  Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise. 

Psalms 107:1  O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 

These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.

Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude.  Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.  

Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.  

The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives?  Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions?  Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?  

Hebrews 13:15 continues this thought, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”  1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;” 

The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well as one that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God.  Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” 

On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.   And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”  Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart.  It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement.  That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.

As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us.  Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us.  While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process.  Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” 

Blessings,

#kent

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Appreciation

October 8, 2015

Appreciation

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

One thing that is common in both God and man is that everybody likes to be appreciated. We will go to great lengths sometimes for others if they have a grateful heart and are appreciative of our efforts. It is important that we always appreciate the Lord. It is this appreciation that keeps us mindful of Him and all of His wonderful attributes and the blessings we so richly enjoy from Him. It is a dangerous thing for us to develop an ungrateful spirit. That spirit shuts us off from people and causes us to only be caught up with ourselves.
We see that thankfulness and appreciation to the Lord are basic steps of etiquette to entering into His presence and fellowship. Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.” We can never appreciate the Lord too much and that heart of thankfulness and praise should be resident in us continually. Appreciation gives value to the one receiving it and it is an act of humility and respectfulness on the part of the one delivering it.
The lack of appreciation has far different results. As many in the world were caught up in sin, it caused their hearts to become hardened toward God, as it can ours. What was the result of their ungratefulness and lack of appreciation to the glorious God and Creator who authored our lives and gave us life? Romans 1:18-32 gives the account of man’s ungratefulness and what results. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation causes a perverted and arrogant way of thinking and leads us to God’s wrath and judgement. On the other hand, a truly grateful, thankful and appreciative heart can lead us into God’s very presence and the fullness of joy. What does God command us to do? Love Him with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. That means we truly need to appreciate the Lord and appreciate those that God places in our lives. We might be amazed at the difference we would have in our relationships if we really became sensitive and attentive to appreciating those around us. We all want to feel that the things we do are worthwhile and that we are valued. We all want to be appreciated, even God.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Blessing of Giving

The greatest blessing we can give and gift that we can receive is in giving something of substance and ourselves that is life changing and life giving to someone else. There are few things more rewarding than the joy we feel when we have made a difference for someone else. Some of us struggle with that. We have become so focused on how to sell ourselves, our goods and services trying to provide for our own that we have missed the joy of caring and blessing another. There is always a constant barrage of mail, phone calls, pleas over the television and radio all asking for our contributions. We often begin to build walls that automatically shut out any plea for help. Realistically we can’t give to everything. Few of us have the financial resources to do that, but at the same time we don’t want to harden our hearts to become insensitive to every need that passes before us. This is where we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and where He would have us to extend ourselves in our time and our finances. We each have different gifts and abilities, but all of us have something we can give. It is wonderful that we give our tithes, but what can we offer of ourselves as a tithe. It isn’t really our money that God wants from us, He wants our hearts. Our tithe is an expression of obedience, worship, thanks and giving back in a small portion what He has provided abundantly toward us.
Our lives will be so much richer when they are filled with random acts of kindness and giving. We are the hands, the feet, the mouthpiece and the body of Christ to carry out His works. Acts 10:38 speaks of the works of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” God has anointed us with the same Spirit that indwells Jesus. He has given us power and authority to act in His Name. Let us be sensitive in our every day lives to not pass by the opportunities to express the love of God in the lives of others. May we let our words and our deeds carry with them this anointing that was in Jesus, so that we are life givers and a blessing in the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blood of the Lamb

April 18, 2014

The Blood of the Lamb

Revelations 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The Word of God makes the analogy that the life of flesh is in the blood. The Word makes very clear and specific statements concerning the blood of beast in Leviticus 17:13-14, “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ “ We see that much symbolism is given to the blood with regards to the law and the sacrifices. The blood is used to cover, to seal, to protect, to sanctify, to dedicate and redeem. What is more, Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” The blood became the vehicle and the bridge by which we were redeemed and reconnected to Father God, because our sins were washed and blotted out by His blood. The blood remains the fountain of life and cleansing whereby we are partakers of the righteousness of Christ through faith.
Sin carries with it a great price and certain fearful expectation of punishment. It requires a perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish and it requires the blood or the life of the sacrifice be offered for the remission and the forgiveness of those sins. That is why every day each one of us as the children of God should be giving thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because He was our lamb and perfect sacrifice. He paid the price with His perfect blood was shed and poured out for us for the remission of our sins.
Just as blood had to be shed to establish the first covenant under the law, Jesus became the high priest and mediator of a new and better covenant sealed with His own blood. Hebrew 9:16-28 tells us, “16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation”. Thus we see the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, as our lifeline to God. Jesus states this, much to the dismay of many of Jewish listeners in John 6:53-58, “Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” “
While we have a commandment in Leviticus 17 not to partake of the blood of any beast, here we have Jesus telling us that unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my life you have no life in you. Obviously Jesus is speaking on a higher dimension than just the natural application. He is the “bread of life” and His blood is the means for us to partake of that life. That is why there is so much power in the blood of Jesus. It is the power of God’s life in us. We know that the way that we drink and partake is through faith in Him and the finished work of Calvary. As we partake of God’s Word, instilling and implementing it into our daily lives through faith and obedience, we are literally partaking of spiritual manna and the bread of eternal God life. As we become identified with both His death, which is represented in our death to self and His life is our partaking of His resurrection life, we are overcoming by the blood of the lamb. What is taking place is that we are speaking into being, LIFE, by the word of our testimony and the confession of our faith. It is in the essence of this Life that satan is defeated. This is what makes you an overcomer today. It is the word of your testimony and the blood of the Lamb. Drink deeply of the fullness of the life and blood that Christ has imparted to us.

Blessings,
#kent

Confusion

February 15, 2013

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Confusion

When the centrifugal forces of life’s unsettling circumstances pulls you away from your center and secure place. When you are standing in confusion with your head still spinning.
When life has ceased to make sense, your landmarks have shifted, and the world offers no true answers or solace. There is still one place you can go, one truth you can hold on too.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ Jesus
He is your center and your safe place, your Savior and your friend.

Life can throw you some strange twist and turns. None of us are immune to trials and tribulations that are common to man. They can come in so many forms and ways. Some of these storms can be quite devastating to the point where we don’t know how to cope. We don’t have the answers, the resources or the means to solve this problem. The world offers little solutions, only many means of escapism, like alcohol, drugs, sex, sleeping and so on. These, at best, can only numb the pain and usually only exacerbate the problem. There are times we just don’t know what to do and sometimes when we think, “It couldn’t get any worse,” it still does. Our problem is greater than our ability to resolve it.
In the world you lose hope. You may even entertain suicide or some other drastic measure to end the problem.
Wait a minute. There is hope and God’s got an answer. He may not share it with you in the moment, but if you will trust Him and enter into His peace, He will work it out.
Some people may remark that “Jesus and Christianity is just a crutch.” No, He is the whole package and anybody that thinks they can play God and do a better job is a fool. God created us. He knows everything about us and He didn’t create us to be complete in ourselves, but to be complete in Him. Sometimes we think we can control and manipulate God, but God is the one that is always upon the throne. Even for Christians, there will be times when God doesn’t move in the ways we think He should move. He doesn’t do things the ways we think they should be done and many times He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we thought they should answered. We operate in the finite of what we know and understand. God works in the infinite, far above our ability to understand and comprehend.
So what is the answer?
We learn to trust Him, to totally rest in Him, to praise Him in all things and to know that He is LOVE. Everything that God does comes out of that place.
Jesus promises us His peace, not as the world gives. He tells us, “Don’t sweat it and don’t be afraid. I’ve got your back. Your mine, I love you and if you will trust Me, I’ll work it out My way and for My glory. Nothing in heaven or earth can separate you from My love. I am working all things to the good of those who love Me and are called according to My purpose.”
We can’t believe everything we see around us, because in Christ, that is not our reality. Our reality is our faith and trust in Him and in His Word. Enter into His REST. That is the place of peace, joy and comfort; even in the midst of life’s most unsettling storms. Don’t be confused, just know that Father has it all figured out.

Blessings,
kent

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