Sunday, January 16, 2022

Saved By The Passover Lamb

Apply the blood to your life so you can be saved from God's judgment.


Exodus 12:12-14  On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD!

13  But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.  

14  “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time.

In the previous post we saw that Pharaoh's magicians could imitate the real deal sometimes but as God sent more and more plagues that they couldn't counterfeit they proved that Satan may come close but God's Mighty Power is not available anywhere else. God's power couild not be matched as he used it to devastate nature, command animal life and now in today's scripture we will see that he has power over death.

God has been more than fair enough in his dealings with the Egyptians, the Bible focuses on Pharaoh but he isn't the only Egyptian to have a hard heart toward God, most of the citizens of Egypt are guilty of treating God's people harshly even when Pharaoh attempted to kill all of the Hebrew babies. It is amazing that Moses was protected from death by the daughter of the man that wanted him dead and she knew that he was a Hebrew baby that should have been killed by her father's decree. (Exodus 2:6)

God always protects his own, before God judges the world he warns his chosen people that there is a way to escape judgment, they can receive mercy if they believe in the power of the blood to save them. But they were not allowed to just believe, real belief requires action, if they didn't follow God's instruction then they would not be any better off than the rest of Egypt.
Psalms 78:49-52  He loosed on them his fierce anger—all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels.  50  He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague.  51  He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.  52  But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness.
God offers his chosen people protection from the destroying angels, he didn't exempt his people from this plague like he did some of the others, instead he told them how to avoid it through their obedience.

God told them that the Passover lamb must be the best of the best, a young lamb without defect, this lamb became known as the symbol of the perfect lamb that would come to be the final sacrifice.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Jesus is the only sacrifice that pleased God, unlike those lambs that died before him, he is the only one that has God's complete approval. Without his life of sinless obedience his sacrifice would have had no value at all. We need to see that not only did Jesus die for us, He also lived for us.

Most of us fail to see that we are all slaves in a foreign country under the reign of an evil dictator. You can come out of the kingdom of darkness and become a child of God that will not be punished with the rest of this crazy world someday.
1 Peter 1:18-19  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.  19  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
The value of silver and gold will fluctuate but the commodity used to pay our ransom from slavery never changes. The blood of our Passover lamb is priceless yet it is meaningless if it isn't applied to your life by your personal faith. 

Have you had your own personal Passover moment? Find out how you can have peace with God.
RELATED ARTICLES
How Jesus Fulfills Passover (thegospelcoalition.org)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Special Babies

When God wants to do something big he usually sends something small.


Isaiah 9:6-7  For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Galatians 4:4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.

Most of us have heard that the best gifts come in small packages, we know that the smallest gifts are usually the most valuable, but this is especially true when the small package is a baby. We are usually drawn toward the baby with a desire to nurture it, protect it and celebrate it.

Unfortunately there have been too many babies that have been anything but good news and they have not been treasured as a gift from God. We will never know how much good may have been accomplished by a baby that was unwanted and therefore it was unprotected. 

The Bible has a lot of stories about babies that were sent to do something special. I cannot imagine how different the world would be if any of these babies had been destroyed.

Special babies that were sent by God:

  • Moses - Born under an evil dictator that sought to kill every Jewish baby. His life had to be preserved so that 80 years later he would rescue God's people.
  • Samuel - A barren mother promises to give her child to God, the baby grows up in the temple, and he becomes Israel's first prophet.
  • John the Baptist - Elderly parents that are unable to have a child, his dad's unbelief caused him to be unable to speak, Jesus says he is the greatest man.
  • Jesus - Virgin birth, born under an evil dictator that sought to kill him, called out of Egypt, came to be the perfect Passover lamb.
One of the most difficult things to understand is why God loves to send a baby to do a man's job. Why can't a full grown man arrive on the scene and take care of things right away? We want someone with strength, know how and determination but God prefers to send someone that doesn't even know that we need him yet.

God's special babies come in his timing to unlikely moms. The proof that God is in control can be seen many times by using ladies that couldn't get pregnant for a long time. Many of the important mom's in the Bible were barren until God was ready to send the special baby that his people needed.

Waiting for God's special babies to be born is difficult, but then when they finally arrive they are vulnerable and must be protected, then they have to grow up physically and then sometimes God still doesn't use them until they are old and they have had time to grow up spiritually.

Meanwhile generations of God's people live and die without seeing God's mercy and generations of worldly people live and die without seeing God's judgment. That's what happened in Moses' day, the Canaanites continued to live in sin without suffering the consequences that God promised would come someday and God's people suffered and many of them died in Egypt without the fulfillment of the promise to save them.
1 John 4:14-15  Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  15  All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
It doesn't seem fair to us, God doesn't satisfy our desire to fix things right away, all of Israel waited for hundreds of years for the greatest baby that was ever promised. Meanwhile it seemed that God wasn't paying attention or he didn't care. 

Our idea of being in control doesn't look like God's, he was aware of our plight and he was still on track with his original plan to send his son to be "God with us." In the midst of the chaos of political and economic woes he sent Jesus as a baby to eventually grow up to be the man that would save us.

The day is coming when "God with us" will happen again, God will send his son back to earth, but don't expect him to be the sweet baby that they saw the first time and don't expect him to be a humble servant either. 

We all need to learn about the greatest gift ever that comes through Jesus but the only way to experience a gift is to receive it. Have you received the only gift that can give you peace with God?

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Perfect Gifts: Love

Love is the best gift of all!


John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Colossians 1:19  For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,

Have you ever thought about how amazing God's love is?

God's love is great enough to love a rebellious sinner that fails to acknowledge him as God and give him the love and respect that he deserves. I don't love him as well as he deserves and he doesn't love me how well I deserve to be loved either. He loves me far better than I deserve.

God loves me so much that he has done everything that he can do to give me the option of spending eternity with him. He left the splendor of heaven and come to earth to suffer and die just because of his perfect love.

There was not any other motivation for God to send us his son on that first Christmas night other than his love for us! After thousands of years of rebellion he is still loving mankind and offering us a path forward to live with him for eternity.

We can learn a lot about how to love better by following his example. God was willing to become a vulnerable little child whose life was threatened, born into poverty and used for selfish gain by the crowds around him.

He showed us how to love despite the reaction of the people that we are giving love to. So what if the love doesn't come back to you, according to our example, we are still supposed to show love, Jesus endured a lot of abuse and he never stopped loving us.
1 Corinthians 13:13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
There are a lot of gifts being passed around this time of year, some of them small and inexpensive, some of them are creating a lot of debt, but their is a gift that will top them all. The only priceless gift that creates a huge debt that you should be giving is the gift of love that we have received from God.

Thank you Lord for really loving us and giving us the definition of love so that we can know how to truly love others completely.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Perfect Gifts: A Promise

The promise of Christmas is an example of God's faithfulness.


Romans 1:1-4  This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through His prophets in the holy Scriptures.

 3 The Good News is about His Son. In His earthly life He was born into King David's family line, 4 and He was shown to be the Son of God when He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have all made a promise that we knew when we made it that we wouldn't even try to keep it sometimes we have our fingers crossed when we say it as if that is a mute button that gets rid of the promise. Our promises and our decision to keep them tell a little bit about who we are. One of the ways that we can learn more about God is to study his promises made and his record for keeping his promises.

Paul said in the book of Romans that he was sent out with the good news that God had promised long ago. God fulfilled hundreds of promises when Jesus came into our world. If you take the time to study God's record for keeping promises you will find that you should be able to believe that he is actively involved with our world and that he cares for you.

Since God kept his promise to send his son the first time we should be expecting him to send him back to us. And if he is coming back then you should be concerned about your relationship with him when he returns.
John 14:3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
Christmas at its best is a glimpse of something that is still on the way. The beautiful decorations, the angelic music and the tastiest food give us great pleasure but it is nothing compared to what is on the way for God's children.

Every child of god should be anxious for the promise that some day we will live forever with our Savior and we will know perfect love, peace and joy that will never end.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Perfect Gifts: Wisdom

The wisdom that God wants to give us is so much better than the world has to offer.


Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

It is easy to get caught up in the thinking of this world, to value what they say is important and pursue the things that they think are worthwhile. All of us have fallen into that trap because that is a natural part of our human wisdom but God's infinite wisdom tells us that there is a better way to live and better things to pursue.

The pursuit of temporary riches and the pursuit of knowledge can consume all of us but these treasures are not the most valuable. If you are honest with yourself you will conclude just like King Solomon did that none of these things satisfy for very long, it is is all a chasing after the wind.

We pile up all the toys that we can get our hands on (Proverbs 3:14-15), we spend our time seeking pleasure and higher education (Proverbs 3:5), but we forget that God has a gift that he is ready to give us that is far better and longer lasting.

Knowing Jesus, Priceless

Philippians 3:8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded  everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.
The person who is truly rich is not the one who has money, power or the most toys but the one who is wise discards all of that to gain Jesus. The person who is really wise is the one that seeks to know God and his son Jesus. 

What is God's wisdom? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us some of God's wisdom and showed us how different it is from man's wisdom. Jesus tells us that the people that live for him, seek to have the same attitudes as him and act like him are the richest people that you will ever meet. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Wise men still seek him and when they seek him they become wiser still. Digging into God’s word everyday is the only way to receive wisdom from God that will help you get to know him better and help you gain his wisdom and understanding for the difficulties that will come your way.

Thank you for giving us wisdom Lord, since your wisdom is so different from mine I need your help to discern your wisdom each day for the situations that come my way.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Perfect Gifts: Peace

We can all use some more peace on earth.


Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Colossians 1:19-20 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

The infant child arrived on a night that was just like any other as far as most people could tell. But in this small corner of the world there was a magnificent event taking place. The God of all creation became Immanuel, God with us, hardly anyone knew that the Prince of Peace came as a baby to change our relationship with God and with our fellow man.

Ever since the original sin in the Garden of Eden the world has been in chaos. Satan hated mankind because they were the most excellent part of his creation because we were made in his image. That's the reason Satan hates you so much, God is his enemy and since you are made in God's image, you force Satan to see his enemy everywhere.

So Satan went to work to break the relationship that God enjoyed with man. Maybe he thought that God would destroy us because of our sin but God had a better plan to make a way for us to have peace with him.

The original sin was the beginning of strained relationships, suddenly relationships were tainted by fear, man and woman tried to hide from God in the bushes and from each other by creating clothing to cover themselves.

Peace with God

Romans 5:1,10-11 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. 
Our situation was hopeless and there wasn't any way for us to fix our broken relationship with God. As soon as you were conceived you became an enemy of God, your sin nature put you at odds with him, but he loved you too much to leave you in that condition.

A just God must punish sin but thankfully our God is also a God of mercy and peace. The same all powerful God that is your judge is also the provider of your pardon. Jesus told us over and over again during his three years of ministry that he came so that he could die to pay the debt that we owed for our sins. That was his main agenda.

Peace with Man

Romans 12:16-18 Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  
We are to approach our relationships with our fellow man the same way that Jesus treated us, he didn't give us what we deserve, he didn't seek revenge for those that hurt him, he didn't even raise his voice in anger to defend himself. 

As a follower of Jesus we must put aside our natural reactions to being wronged and allow the characteristics of the Holy Spirit to be our guide. It is amazing that we think that the Holy Spirit can dwell in us and yet we can be so at odds with one another. (Galatians 5:22-23)
"True love never thinks evil of the beloved. It is never suspicious, but always supportive and inspiring. True love bears all things. Nothing weakens or undermines it." -Billy Graham 
We should be able to make peace and live harmoniously with those around us as a result of the peace that we have with God, he went to the extreme to fix relationships and he expects us to do the same. How far will you go to mend a broken relationship?
John 14:27  "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." 
The biblical concept of peace does not focus on the absence of trouble. It is ironic that Jesus taught his disciples about peace on the night before He was arrested and sentenced to die. Jesus didn't give us any reason to believe that this world was going to be easy but he did say that we can have peace in the middle of our trials.

Thank you Lord for bringing peace to our relationship, a peace that affects every part of my life. Help me to show peace to the world so that they will know the Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

God’s Mighty Power To Save

The power to save us from bondage if we will submit to his control.


Exodus 7:3-5  But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.  Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment.  When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”

Exodus 7:10-13 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the LORD had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! 

11 Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. 12 They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

13 Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted.

Moses' call to serve God required a lot of perseverance, he had opposition from the world and also from God's people that he was called to help, but the opposition is only going to get worse as Moses returns to meet with Pharaoh over and over again.

Pharaoh would receive a greater revelation of God with each plague that was coming but Pharaoh wasn't the only person that needed to learn more about God and how to please him. God's chosen people needed to learn about God as well, they had already embraced the false gods of Egypt even as the one true God was working to secure their freedom. (Joshua 24:14, Ezekiel 20:7-8)

Through the encounters that Moses had with Pharaoh, God showed the whole world that he is the only all powerful God that was superior to the overwhelming number of deities that were worshiped in Egypt. Even Pharaoh was considered to be a god so it's no wonder that he had a difficult time dealing with the truth.

The plagues should have been a wakeup call for everybody, think about it, God announced what would happen, he said precisely when it would start and when it would stop happening and yet they wouldn't acknowledge that he was in control.

Man has been consistent with his rebellion against God from the start of world history. From the Garden of Eden, to the conditions that led to the flood, the Tower of Babel, it just doesn't stop despite all of the proof that points to the real God who is all powerful, all knowing and completely in control of every situation.
Exodus 5:2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.” 
God will soon answer his question but Pharaoh won't accept it, instead of allowing the Israelites to leave with Egypt unharmed, he forces the slaves to stay and causes the destruction of his country and the misery of all of his people. 

At first Pharaoh wasn't impressed because his magicians could counterfeit the real deal but as the plagues continue we see that Satan's counterfeits don't stand a chance. Warren Wiersbe's Old Testament Commentary says that Satan always has inferior counterfeits that he uses to deceive the world:
  • Satan counterfeits the works of God (2 Tim. 3:8)
  • Satan counterfeits the children of God (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43 / 2 Cor. 11:26)
  • Satan counterfeits the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9)
  • Satan counterfeits true righteousness (Rom. 10:1-3)
  • Satan counterfeits ministers who spread his lies (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
  • Satan counterfeits Christ (2 Thess. 2:1-12)
God made it obvious to everyone that the powers of darkness were not powerful enough and they were not in control. After they are free from slavery, Moses encourages God's people to recall the miraculous work that God had accomplished for his chosen people, they have plenty of proof that there is one God that deserves our worship and every other god is a counterfeit.
Deuteronomy 4:32-34  “Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before?

33  Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire—as you did—and survived?  34  Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts?

Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes.
What has God done to show you favor? Have you been freed from slavery? If you are not a child of God then you are in bondage to the death penalty that is required to atone for your sin. But thankfully that isn't where God leaves us! The same all powerful God that is your judge is also the provider of your pardon.
Exodus 9:1 This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.
The day is coming when God's people will be freed from this world of sin to worship him for eternity. Everyone that thought that they were in control of their destiny will be left behind to face God's judgment through the events that Revelation tells us about. God will prove himself to mankind again but just like Pharaoh they will refuse to repent. (Revelation 6:15-17; 9:20,21; 16:9,11)

Thank you Lord for revealing your mighty power to save so that I can know how to escape your mighty power to judge. Help me to give up my throne and submit completely to your control.

Friday, November 26, 2021

A Heart Of Thanks: Has Peace

Peace comes to those who think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

 
Philippians 4:2-9 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

You cannot be full of joy and have a thankful attitude if you are arguing or if you are worried about something. The enemy hates peace and he will find a way to make it difficult to "think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" when somebody has done you wrong, when somebody sees things differently or when difficult events comes our way.

Being thankful, rejoicing, and praying all work together to produce a peace that surpasses understanding. I need to decide to be considerate even if I don't want to be or feel like it. Sometimes it is a deliberate choice that goes against our real desires.

Prayer is a great way to change my attitude so that I can have peace and be thankful, Paul told the Philippians not to worry, tell God what you need and thank him for what he has already done. When I pray I can thank God for revealing the end of the story, I know he has the solution for my sin, I know that he is in control and I know that someday peace will be an eternal condition.

Help me Lord to be thankful for those around me even when they don't do things my way or when they treat me poorly. I want to dwell on the things that are excellent and worthy of praise so I can appreciate the people and the circumstances in my life and live with peace.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

A Heart Of Thanks: Joyfully Praises God

Shout for joy when you remember God's love and faithfulness.

 
Psalms 100:1-5 A psalm of thanksgiving. Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!  2 Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.  3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are His.

We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.  4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  5 For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.

This world is a noisy place, it is so bad that there are people that have issues with sensory overload, everything begins to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. It can be very easy to lose your joy in the middle of all of this irritating noise.

The noise that the world makes is not joyful, there are so many people that are angry yelling about whatever, there are cell phones ringing and Facebook notifications and text messages dinging. Construction equipment, political ads, airplanes and gunfire, this world fills up our heads with unpleasant sounds all day long.

The noise that God's people make should be joyful, it is a celebration of who he is and what he has done for us, when you realize how incredibly good he has been it should make you a noisy person. We should be the noisiest people around, clapping our hands, shouting and singing praises, playing instruments and even dancing to express our gratitude with joyful abandon. (Psalm 95:1; 98:6; 149:3; 1 Chronicles 15:28).

Yes, I know, there is a time for quiet reverence in the presence of God and he often speaks in a still small voice but he also delights in us giving it our all to thank him for who he is and what he has done. (Psalm 5:7; 95:6)

Heaven is a noisy place, our voices will not be silent in heaven, we will be joining in with what is already going on there. (Revelation 5:6-14, 14:1-3, 19:1-2) When we break out into song and worship God we are getting a head start on heaven, bringing a piece of heaven to earth, why should we wait until we get there?
Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
The only way to maintain our joy is through thankfulness, if we feel like we didn't get something good that we deserved, then our joy will quickly disappear. Counting our blessings and giving God credit for them all brings joy that will last.

The Christmas season is coming when we will be tempted to celebrate our gifts from each other. This can bring joy for a season, or maybe just 5 minutes, but if we focus on thankfulness for the greatest gift ever then we will always have a joyful heart.

Lord help me to make a joyful noise all of the time. You are great and you should be praised greatly for your glory and for your great gifts that you give to us everyday.  I want to sing your praises now and get a head start on what I will be doing in heaven.

RELATED ARTICLES
The Happy Choir Of Heaven (desiringgod.org)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Heart Of Thanks: Even When Life Is Difficult

The wilderness is for my own good so I should be thankful for it.

 
Psalms 95:1-11 Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.

3 For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods. 4 He holds in His hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. 5 The sea belongs to Him, for He made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, 7 for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care. If only you would listen to His voice today!

8 The LORD says, "Don't harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. 9 For there your ancestors tested and tried My patience, even though they saw everything I did.

10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, 'They are a people whose hearts turn away from Me. They refuse to do what I tell them.' 11 So in My anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter My place of rest.'"

When we think about all of the reasons we have to be thankful, we should go to God and give him praise and worship, if we consider just a fraction of what he has done the praise and worship should be unrestrained.

Maybe that isn't your experience right now, you know he deserves it but you are wondering around in the desert and your feelings are just not there. You are in a situation that you don't want to be thankful for.

Our number one desire here in the United States is to be comfortable, more money, better health, a house full of stuff and we are happy. The only problem with that way of thinking is that it isn't God's number one desire for you.

We like to pray for him to close doors that we shouldn't go through but what if he closed that door to test your faith? Do we really believe that God is in control when things happen?

God's number one desire for you is to make you holy, he is the master gardener that prunes his vine to make it more productive, pruning doesn't feel good but growth usually comes in the most difficult moments.

We are just like God's children in the wilderness, we have been brought out of slavery, we have witnessed unexplained miracles but at the moment we are out in a desert and the last thing we want to do is thank God for this situation.

We need to see God's presence in even the most difficult times and realize that sometimes he strategically puts us where we would never choose to go. 

Have you considered the reality that Jesus knew the weather forecast and he still put his disciples in a boat on two different occasions? 

Why would God ask Jonah to go start a revival in enemy territory? 

Why would faithful men have to make a stand for their beliefs and get thrown into a furnace?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
When everything is going our way we take prosperity and comfort for granted but when things get tough we realize that we are powerless to control our circumstances. If you begin to see that everything you have and everything you have counted on can disappear in a second then it becomes much harder to take it for granted.

A heart of thanks can help you persevere when stress and heartache come upon us. You can focus on the current situation and forget about the past experiences that we have already come through. God brought you through yesterday, last month and last year when you thought things were so bad so why won't he do it again?

Lord help me to remember that you are in control and that I should not look at the people and circumstances around me and blame them for interrupting my plans to be comfortable. Thank you for loving me enough to die for me and for using any means necessary to help me grow.

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