Archive for November, 2015
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout the realm and to put it in writing: (Ezra 1:1)
God’s word will be done. He uses people to accomplish his purposes. Be willing to be used by God.
He was called Basil the Great. Bishop of Caesarea in the fourth century, he was a staunch defender of the idea of the Trinity. He stood his ground against all opponents, even when the Emperor tried to exile him for his beliefs.
Basil may have been better known for his charity work. He built what many consider to be the first hospital, a complex known as the Basiliad. It had room for more than 300 patients. There was a special ward for those with leprosy. There were rooms for travelers and a section for orphans. The poor could come and eat at a soup kitchen on the grounds of the Basiliad.
The project was funded by wealthy Christians… including the very Emperor that tried to exile Basil. The ruler disagreed with Basil on doctrine, but couldn’t argue with the things he saw Basil was doing.
Gregory of Nazianzus, archbishop of Constantinople, said about Basil: “His words were like thunder because his life was like lightning.”
Sounds like something Jesus said to his followers:
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)
Don’t just talk about being a Christian; live like one! Live in such a way that you won’t have to tell people that you’re a Christian; they’ll be able to see it for themselves.
The world has seen enough Christians who are all thunder, with no lightning. Christians who just talk about their faith and don’t live it make non-believers turn away from God. We should live the kinds of lives that will make people praise God.
When we shine our light before men, we will be able to talk to them about Jesus. What we say will carry weight when they are backed up by deeds. Our words will be like thunder when our lives are like lightning.
Don’t just talk about what you believe… live it!
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. (Psalms 105:1)
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but that’s no reason to stop being thankful. Give thanks to God and let others know that you’re thankful.
Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. (Genesis 25:20)
Death is not a tragedy for believers. Many believers live a long and full life. Celebrate their life and then celebrate that they have gone to be with God and his people forever.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18)
Be joyful… always.
Give thanks… in all circumstances.
24/7, 365 days a year. Even Thanksgiving!
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.” (Acts 20:25)
Some day we will be through with this life. Treat everyone everyday as if it the last time you will see them in this world.
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5)
There is no greater heritage than the heritage of faith. It is to be passed down from generation to generation. And each generation must take hold of that faith, must make faith their own.
He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. (II Chronicles 21:6)
Who you marry matters. Pray for the singles you know to find mates that will help them follow Jesus.
It is the time of year when everyone talks about being thankful. It is the month we celebrate a holiday entitled Thanksgiving. Christians talk about always giving thanks. We are told to “count our blessings”. But there are many people who really are not in the mood to give thanks. And there are others who are thankful even in the midst of very difficult times. So why is it so hard to be thankful? What is the secret to recognizing our blessings? Why are Christians so intent of living lives full of thanksgiving?
Here are some ideas to reflect on concerning Christians and thankfulness.
- Short term pain sometimes makes us forget the larger picture. The loss of a job or a relationship, the death of a loved one, natural disasters; these can seem overwhelming and the pain makes it hard to see anything to be thankful for. But Christians see the big picture. The pain of living in this fallen world is not permanent. It will not last. Our hope is rooted in the knowledge that this world is not our home.
- It is hard to be thankful when you focus on what you do not have instead of what you do have. This is especially true when what we want is given priority over what we need. Most people will never have everything they want. Christians strive to be thankful for the daily needs that God provides. Jesus taught his followers to ask for daily bread. God will give us what we need. For that we are thankful.
- Sometimes worry overwhelms gratitude. What will the future hold? Will my children be alright? Will I get sick? What about my job and my retirement? Christians focus on today. We believe God does hold our future. We strive to serve him today.
- It is hard to be thankful when you believe you earned – or deserve – everything you have. Christians know that our greatest blessing is that we will live with God forever. That is something we do not deserve and could not earn. That is the gift of God through his son Jesus who died for our sins.
So happy Thanksgiving every day – both now and forever.
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
As followers of Jesus, we need to remember that he is worthy of honor and glory because of his death on the cross. It wasn’t his teaching. It wasn’t his leadership. It was his sacrifice.
Jesus marked a way forward for us. It’s the way of the cross, not the way of the sword. It’s the path of sacrifice, not the road of dominance. It’s laying down our lives to receive life eternal.