Category Archives: Trust

Sound the Alarm All Over the World

Numbers 10:7 KJV - But when the congregation is to be gatheredZephaniah 1:16 KJV - A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced
Joel 2:1 KJV - Bible Scripture Image - Bible PortalPin on Words To Hear
Zephaniah 1:16 KJV - A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fencedWhat Does Joel 2:1 Mean?
Zephaniah 1:16 KJV - A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fencedPin on Ambassador Of Christ Work

Sound the Alarm All Over the World

cell-phone-alarm

 

Noises surround us in this swift and fast world. We have made some of them useful — for example, the sound of a cell phone’s alarm to wake us up or remind us to exercise. Even the microwave beeps when the food is ready and warm. Noise alerts are those noises that help us live well. What would become of us without these alarms?

The Word of God warns us about and gives the value of alarms, both to the one who sends the message and the one who receives it:

Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives (Ezekiel 33:4-6 NLT).

God has given us the opportunity to be those living alarms, those alarms that encourage the helpless, that raise the fallen. God has put His Word in our mouths for salvation for this time. By His mercy, we have been chosen as watchmen.  Because of this, we have the responsibility to use any means to issue the alert: messages, images, voice notes, movies and songs—anything goes to carry the loving and encouraging message of God, as it says in Ezekiel:

…You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live (Ezekiel 33:10-11).

The word “alarm” can scare us, but the noble work of an alarm is just to keep us safe. The Bible invites us to change, to leave our sinful lives behind.

Today, we have television and mass media within reach to broadcast the message. As it says in 1 Peter 5:8-10:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

In Mexico, we live in a culture of disaster prevention due to our history with earthquakes. Seismic alarms and alerts are part of our society. I was born on September 19, 1985, and have survived the Mexican earthquakes of 1985 and 2017. My life was spared and I believe it is my duty to raise my voice, sound the alert, and activate the greatest alarm in history: Christ is the way, the truth, the life —and He will return soon for everyone who loves him.

As an editor of Christian programming, I am currently experiencing the exciting honor of sharing this message of hope with Latin America. From CBN México Studios, we sound the trumpets and pray that everyone can hear the alarm and stay safe while it is sounding.

Watch God Make a Morning – Streams in the Desert – November 28

  • 202228 Nov

Thou makest the outgoing of the morning and evening to rejoice (Ps. 65:8).

Get up early and go to the mountain and watch God make a morning. The dull gray will give way as God pushes the sun towards the horizon, and there will be tints and hues of every shade, that will blend into one perfect light as the full-orbed sun bursts into view. As the King of day moves forth majestically, flooding the earth and every lowly vale, listen to the music of heaven’s choir as it sings of the majesty of God and the glory of the morning.

In the holy hush of the early dawn
I hear a Voice
“I am with you all the day,
Rejoice! Rejoice!”

The clear, pure light of the morning made me long for the truth in my heart, which alone could make me pure and clear as the morning, tune me up to the concert-pitch of the nature around me. And the wind that blew from the sunrise made me hope in the God who had first breathed into my nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill me with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that I should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein my own life, only glorified infinitely.

What should we poor humans do without our God’s nights and mornings?
George MacDonald

Our Righteousness – In Touch – November 28

From: Crosswalk.com

Ephesians 2:1-10

Anyone who thinks of himself as a pretty good person ought to take a look at God’s assessment of humanity. He says we all come into the world spiritually dead and are ruled by Satan, his world system, and our own sin nature, or flesh. In the Lord’s eyes, we are children of wrath who deserve only punishment.

On the other hand, God is so pure and holy that He is totally separated from all sin and cannot look upon it with any favor or approval (Hab. 1:13). Everything He does is appropriate and beneficial; by comparison, even mankind’s righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Yet even though we have nothing of value to offer Him, the Lord wants us for His own and has done everything necessary to draw us close.

Those of us who have placed faith in Jesus Christ have been made spiritually alive in Him, and all our sins have been forgiven. There’s a striking contrast between what we were and who we now are in the Lord. But this change has nothing to do with how good we’ve been. Even the faith with which we respond to the Savior comes from God. We can never make ourselves righteous; it’s all a gift from Him. And once He declares us justified, we will never be pronounced guilty again.

God has said that in the ages to come, He wants to show the “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us” (Eph. 2:7). For all eternity, we will be showered with this awesome demonstration of His love. As great as our blessings are now, they’ll pale in comparison to what awaits us in heaven.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 28

Isaiah 26:3 3You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah spent the previous chapters telling of all the destruction that was to come to Judah and the surrounding nations. Then he looked forward in time to when the nation of God’s people will enter their holy city. The walls and ramparts are salvation. God wipes away every tear from their eyes. It is the nation of believers who will not forsake their faith in God.

Because of that faith God keeps them in perfect peace. The world goes through changes and turmoil. Nations rise and fall. So much of our sense of security is in the flimsiest of things, but those whose minds are steadfast, seeing the sovereignty of God, and the love and faithfulness of God, have perfect peace. Perfect peace is not circumstantial. It is much deeper than passing things. They trust that God never changes. They trust that the love that He has shown them and His faithfulness and mercy will continue forever. There is no fear that He will change.

All else is fluid. All else is undependable. But the eye of faith looks past this temporal world and sees the unchanging God. The peace faith brings is perfect. It is deep and abiding. It is the peace He gives us. Do you know this peace? Where is your trust placed? If it is on something temporal, turn away from that today and learn to trust in the unchanging One.

Consider: Do you possess His peace?

 

The Fiery Trials

Image result for picture verses on God's MercyImage result for picture verses on God's Mercy
Image result for picture verses on God's MercyImage result for picture verses on God's Mercy
Image result for picture verses on God's Mercy
Image result for picture verses on God's MercyImage result for picture verses on God's Mercy

The Fiery Trial

man with a hurt hand

 

My husband has faint scars on his arms and hands.

It was not unusual to get the occasional burn at his former place of employment. He once worked at a die-cast factory, forcing molten metal into molds to form automotive parts.

The process began by putting chunks of impure metal into a hot furnace.

Then, once the metal melted, the refiner would throw in handfuls of granules that helped to separate the impurities from the pure liquid metal. These impurities looked like clumps of black lava as they broke loose and floated to the top of the silver molten liquid. The refiner then used a large metal tool to skim the surface and remove them.

This process continued until no further impurities floated to the top.

But the real way to know if the metal was free of impurities came when the refiner leaned over and looked upon the vat of liquid metal. When he saw his reflection—like looking into a mirror—he knew it was ready.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT, believers in Christ were told:

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”

Most Christians would not consider fiery trials and suffering as reasons to be very glad. In fact, it seems logical that such things should be avoided.

In Matthew 16:21, Jesus told His disciples about how He would suffer terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He said he would even be killed. But He added that on the third day, He would be raised from the dead.

This did not make sense to Jesus’ disciples.

“Heaven forbid, Lord,” Peter said to Jesus in verse 22. “This will never happen to you!” 

Peter probably thought he was being loyal, even a good friend.

But in verse 23, Jesus said:

“Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

In verse 24, Jesus said to His disciples,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”

Following Christ—even during the hard times—promises great rewards for believers.

This spiritual refining process helps Christians to identify with Christ’s sufferings. It also helps sanctify us from those sinful habits that try to weigh us down in life — to keep us from accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives.

So, when the Lord allows the heat to get turned up in our lives at times, it is not for nothing. He is the Refiner who removes these impurities from us so that His reflection is evident to all.

He is molding us into a strong creation that is not easily broken. He is shaping us into His own likeness.

Listening to Learn

By Meg Bucher, crosswalk.com

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” – James 1:19-21 NLT

Silence is: “the absence of any sound or noise; stillness …the state or fact of being silent; muteness …absence or omission of mention, comment, or expressed concern.” The silent treatment has turned into ghosting. To ghost someone is to “suddenly end all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.”

James says, in the verse above, “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Anger is a necessary emotion, but the way we handle it is important. James tells us why: “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Then, he says, “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” In other words … listen. Tempers are lost and people are ghosted because we are disobedient to the Word planted in us. The Holy Spirit is faithful to convict us when we’re about to cross the line in anger … but it’s our choice to listen. Paul wrote to the Ephesians,

“’Don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT

God created us to need each other. No where in Scripture does it say we have the right to give someone the silent treatment, ignore a brother or sister, or ghost someone out of anger.

Streams in the Desert – November 27

  • 202227 Nov

For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).

Far up in the Alpine hollows, year by year God works one of His marvels. The snow-patches lie there, frozen with ice at their edge from the strife of sunny days and frosty nights; and through that ice-crust come, unscathed, flowers that bloom.

Back in the days of the by-gone summer, the little soldanelle plant spread its leaves wide and flat on the ground, to drink in the sun-rays, and it kept them stored in the root through the winter. Then spring came, and stirred the pulses even below the snow-shroud, and as it sprouted, warmth was given out in such strange measure that it thawed a little dome in the snow above its head.

Higher and higher it grew and always above it rose the bell of air, till the flower-bud formed safely within it: and at last the icy covering of the air-bell gave way and let the blossom through into the sunshine, the crystalline texture of its mauve petals sparkling like snow itself as if it bore the traces of the flight through which it had come.

And the fragile thing rings an echo in our hearts that none of the jewel-like flowers nestled in the warm turf on the slopes below could waken. We love to see the impossible done. And so does God.

Face it out to the end, cast away every shadow of hope on the human side as an absolute hindrance to the Divine, heap up all the difficulties together recklessly, and pile as many more on as you can find; you cannot get beyond the blessed climax of impossibility. Let faith swing out to Him. He is the God of the impossible.
Selected

 

A woman’s memorial

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:13.

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

The evangelists are of course the historians of the time of Christ; but what strange historians they are! They leave out just that which worldly ones would write, and they record just that which the worldly would have passed over. What historian would have thought of recording the story of the widow and her two mites? Would a Hume or a Smollet have spared half a page for such an incident? Or think you that even a Macaulay could have found it in his pen to write down a story of an eccentric woman, who broke an alabaster box of precious ointment upon the head of Jesus? But so it is. Jesus values things, not by their glare and glitter, but by their intrinsic value. He bids his historians store up, not the things which shall dazzle men, but those which shall instruct and teach them in their spirits. Christ values a matter, not by its exterior, but by the motive which dictated it, by the love which shines from it. O singular historian! You have passed by much that Herod did; you tell us little of the glories of his temple; you tell us little of Pilate, and that little not to his credit; you treat with neglect the battles that are passing over the face of the earth; the grandeur of Caesar does not entice you from your simple story. But you continue to tell these little things, and wise are you in so doing, for truly these little things, when put into the scales of wisdom, weigh more than those monstrous bubbles of which the world delights to read.

For meditation: God usually bypasses those who look great to the world and in their own eyes; he desires people who are after his own heart, however inconspicuous they are in the world’s sight (1 Samuel 16:7Luke 3:1-2).

The Thankful Heart

Image result for picture verses of thanking GodImage result for picture verses of thanking God
Image result for picture verses of thanking GodImage result for picture verses of thanking God
Image result for picture verses of thanking GodImage result for picture verses of thanking God
Image result for picture verses of thanking GodImage result for picture verses of thanking God

The Thankful Heart

handyman repairing a window

The soft plaster and drywall underneath the dining room window should have motivated a response long before the decay forced me to provide one. The hidden water damage was discovered shortly after moving into our family home in 2007, but it was an easily ignored nuisance in an under-used room. As a 29-year-old father with a pregnant wife, full-time job, and graduate school course load, there were more pressing matters at hand. At the time, I did not expect a delayed reaction to also include spiritual consequences.

Fast-forward to November of 2018 (yep, over a decade later) when an attempt to be a 40-year-old handyman resulted in an onion-peeling experience revealing just how serious decades of a small water offensive could be. As the baseboards disintegrated while prying them loose, the crumbling drywall exposed many completely rotted 2x4s that framed the window. This was an unwelcome nightmare of a problem to face right before Thanksgiving. Suddenly, gratitude and thankfulness were not residing in my heart. Hope had taken a serious hit as the holiday season would now kick off at a $2,000.00 deficit because of this unplanned repair expense.

I wish I could say that I immediately recognized this situation as an attempt by the enemy to steal my joy and peace. If only I had just shrugged it off and called the contractor without being stressed, frustrated, and even angry. The emotions of, “Why now?” and “Why me?” were overwhelming and my heart was way off from the appropriate place for the season of gratefulness. A focus on circumstances resulted in a hopelessly negative and defeated attitude.

In the same way, circumstances in today’s world can seem oppressive. Most of us are experiencing the pinch of finances in response to rising inflation. Political division is invading almost every facet of life. The government, media, and entertainment industries are racing to indoctrinate our children to abandon any semblance of a God-fearing existence. Hope is at a premium. Thankfulness is elusive. Circumstances appear bleak.

As Christians, we cannot afford to lose hope. We must prioritize gratefulness. In this, God’s word is clear:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15, CSB).

Our hearts are our religious center. If we profess faith in Christ, He is therefore the cornerstone of our existence. Revering Christ naturally results in unending gratitude on our part, but also as the Scripture states, be prepared to share our hope. But we cannot share what we do not possess.

This world is in chaos. People are in pain. Christians must be the ambassadors of hope. We are to be a beacon of light amidst this darkness. Faith in Jesus Christ gives us more to be thankful for this season above any circumstance the world can throw at us. People are desperate for this hope. We have it. We must live in it. We must offer hope.

As we scurry through the holidays experiencing heightened stress and busyness, encountering challenges and frustrations in our paths, stop and reflect on God’s Word. Does your heart revere Christ as Lord? Is Jesus your center? If this is true, the way you live your life will attract attention. Those around you will notice your hope, so much so that they will ask, “How is it possible?” Are you prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have?

My dining room window was reframed. New drywall, plaster, and paint have been applied. Rehabilitation has occurred. Life is full of frustrations, challenges, and disappointments, but God is a God of restoration. He is calling us to live beyond our circumstances so that we can be sources of hope. Don’t let the discouraging situations of life rob you of a heart of thankfulness. Be grateful for hope. Share it. When people ask how you do it, be ready to give your answer this season and beyond.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 26

Isaiah 8:19-20 19When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

One of God’s complaints against his people was their willingness to seek direction from mediums and spiritists. When people turn their heart away from God, they will want to know what the future holds so that they can prepare for it. Their fear is not their impending judgment, but circumstances they hope to avoid. They will not inquire of God because God would tell them to change their ways.

This fascination with knowing the future stems from a lack of faith and trust in God. If a person is walking in the Spirit, he trusts God for each day. If there is a need to inquire about direction in life, he waits upon the Lord. The Great Shepherd cares for His sheep today and in the future. Only those who are wandering from the sheepfold will be desperate to know what tomorrow will bring. King Saul was such a person. He dared not inquire of God for he would not repent, so he sought out a witch to act as a medium.

Evil sources of information will often contradict what God has said. In this passage Isaiah was told to be different from the people he lived among. He was told to continue to fear the Lord. The mediums will often bring up a person who will speak in contradiction to the Word of God. They had no light in life, and they have none in death. The dead have finished their time in this life. How can they help others where they failed? Jesus is the one that is victorious in life and death.

Streams in the Desert – November 26

  • 202226 Nov

And Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs (Joshua 15:18-19).

There are both upper and nether springs. They are springs, not stagnant pools. There are joys and blessings that flow from above through the hottest summer and the most desert land of sorrow and trial. The lands of Achsah were “south lands,” lying under a burning sun and often parched with burning heat. But from the hills came the unfailing springs, that cooled, refreshed and fertilized all the land.

There are springs that flow in the low places of life, in the hard places, in the desert places, in the lone places, in the common places, and no matter what may be our situation, we can always find these upper springs. Abraham found them amid the hills of Canaan. Moses found them among the rocks of Midian. David found them among the ashes of Ziklag when his property was gone, his family captives and his people talked of stoning him, but “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” Habakkuk found them when the fig tree was withered and the fields were brown, but as he drank from them he could sing: “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation.”

Isaiah found them in the awful days of Sennacherib’s invasion, when the mountains seemed hurled into the midst of the sea, but faith could sing: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved.”

The martyrs found them amid the flames, and reformers amid their foes and conflicts, and we can find them all the year if we have the Comforter in our hearts and have learned to say with David: “All my springs are in thee.”

How many and how precious these springs, and how much more there is to be possessed of God’s own fulness! —A. B. Simpson

How to Know That You’re Saved

Do you have doubts about your salvation? You can settle the issue today.

1 John 5:9-13

The most important issue we must settle in this life is our eternal destiny. Throughout history, churches have been composed of both believers and unbelievers, and it’s often difficult to tell the difference. That’s why John wrote his first letter. He wanted to assure the true Christians of their salvation and warn those who professed belief but lacked saving faith. John gives a four-fold test describing the beliefs and practices of genuine believers.

  1. Right understanding of Christ and salvation (1 John 2:18-27). To be saved, we must have the true gospel and the right Savior, as described in God’s Word.
  2. Right attitude toward sin (1 John 1:5-101 John 2:1-2). True believers hate their sin and are quick to confess and turn from it.
  3. Right practice of obedience (1 John 2:3-6). God’s commands are not burdensome to those who belong to Christ. Although they fail at times, their life is primarily characterized by obedience.
  4. Right relationship with God’s people (1 John 2:7-11). Christ produces within His followers both a love for fellow believers and a desire to be with them.

If you have doubts about your salvation, reading the book of 1 John will help you settle the issue.

Set Apart by God

Image result for picture verses of set apartImage result for picture verses of set apart

 Image result for picture verses of set apartImage result for picture verses of set apart
Image result for picture verses of set apartImage result for picture verses of set apart

Set Apart By God

happy women
Janice Moore – cbn.com

Peter understood the mission of the people of God. He beautifully describes it in the following Scripture:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

Peter is saying we are of the office or of the position of a priest (priesthood)—and not just a priest but a splendid, magnificent, royal one.

When I first read this, I thought, really me? A severely withdrawn girl from the westside of Chicago, called out of darkness to be a part of a holy nation, a kingdom of priests?

I know now, yes, I am—and so are you. God’s priests. We are set apart for the very same reason priests were set apart in the Bible. Priests were set apart, called, and made holy for a purpose, a job, a ministry, and most importantly, to carry out the mission of God. Priests were not set apart to be isolated from people or pompously parade around the community, nor to condemn. God says be holy for I am holy. Priests are called to live out the character of a loving God—to be the hands and feet of our Lord—and so are we.

Our priestly calling brought us out of darkness and the muck and mire of sin into His marvelous light to bless His people and to live out our lives shining His truths and love throughout our world.

Several years ago, I volunteered at a pregnancy resource center as well as clinics for women. There, I spent time talking and ministering to them. It was the most rewarding time of my life. It was my calling, my priesthood, my ministry. As a ministering vessel, God used me to minister to many individuals at those facilities.

Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

We need to be ready, in season and out of season, to share our hope and faith. We may not always see the salvation of the Lord in people we minister to, but our mission is to share our hope in God. And God will shine His face upon them, lift up His countenance to them and give them His peace. Basically, He will do it all.

Lord, I pray that we realize we are Your chosen ones, Your priests called out of darkness to be set aside and sanctified to declare the works of the Lord. We, as ministers and priests, are to let our light shine so you, Lord, are seen and You are glorified.

Streams in the Desert – November 25

  • 202225 Nov

Take the arrows… Smite upon the ground. And he smote twice and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times (2 Kings 13:18-19).

How striking and eloquent the message of these words! Jehoash thought he had done very well when he duplicated and triplicated what to him was certainly an extraordinary act of faith. But the Lord and the prophet were bitterly disappointed because he had stopped half way.

He got something. He got much. He got exactly what he believed for in the final test, but he did not get all that the prophet meant and the Lord wanted to bestow. He missed much of the meaning of the promise and the fullness of the blessing. He got something better than the human, but he did not get God’s best.

Beloved, how solemn is the application! How heartsearching the message of God to us! How important that we should learn to pray through! Shall we claim all the fullness of the promise and all the possibilities of believing prayer?
A. B. Simpson

“Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

There is no other such piling up of words in Paul’s writings as these, “exceeding abundantly above all,” and each word is packed with infinite love and power to “do” for His praying saints. There is one limitation, “according to the power that worketh in us.” He will do just as much for us as we let Him do in us. The power that saved us, washed us with His own blood, filled us with might by His Spirit, kept us in manifold temptations, will work for us, meeting every emergency, every crisis, every circumstance, and every adversary.

The captive Savior freeing his people

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.’ John 18:8–9

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:5–11

When you suffer tribulation, affliction and adversity, do not think that God is punishing you for your sins, for no child of God can be punished for sin penally. Let me not be misunderstood. A man is brought before God first of all as a criminal before a judge. You and I have stood there. Through Christ’s blood and righteousness we have been absolved and acquitted as before God the Judge, and it is not possible for the law to lay so much as the weight of a feather upon us since we have been perfectly acquitted. In all the pains and sufferings which a Christian may endure, there is not so much as a single ounce of penal infliction. God cannot punish a man whom he has pardoned and who is then adopted into God’s family. Now, if he shall as a child offend against his father’s rule, he will be chastened for it. Everyone can see the distinction between chastening by a father and punishment by a judge. If your child were to steal, you would not think of punishing that child in the light in which the judge would do it, who would commit him to imprisonment for having broken the law; but you chasten your child yourself, not so much to avenge the law as for the child’s good, that he may not do this evil thing again. So our heavenly Father chastens his people with the rod of the covenant, but he never punishes them with the sword of vengeance. There is a difference between chastening and punishing. Punishing is from a judge; Christ has suffered all such punishment, so that no penal infliction can fall upon a soul that believes in him; but we may have chastisement which comes to us as the result of a father’s love, and not as the result of a judge’s anger; we have felt such chastisement, and have reason to bless God for it.

For meditation: If God becomes our Father, he will sometimes judge that we need disciplining now (Hebrews 12:6–7). If he remains our Judge, he will one day condemn us for ever. Faith in Christ is the only way to have a Father instead of a Judge in heaven (John 5:24).

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 25

Isaiah 6:3-5 3And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

In Isaiah chapter 5 Isaiah was pronouncing words of woe to the corrupt society in which he lived. In chapter 6 the king had died. Isaiah went into the house of God and saw a vision of God’s throne. Angelic beings were flying about the throne singing to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The sound of their voices was so powerful that the doorposts and foundations shook.

Isaiah was no longer pronouncing woes on others. There in the presence of God, in the light of His holiness, Isaiah saw his own sinfulness. He pronounced woe upon himself. A vision of God’s holiness reveals the depths of our sinfulness. The realization of his own depravity caused him to say he was ruined. The Hebrew word can be translated ‘unraveled’. Like a rug that had come unwoven, Isaiah felt as if he had fallen apart.

The first thing he noticed was the words he had spoken. The words we speak reveal our wicked heart. We live around people who are constantly speaking unkind, corrupt, and ungrateful words. We tend to speak like those we are around. In the light of God’s perfections, Isaiah saw this as his most blatant rebellion against God. We need a greater revelation of God to see by contrast how great our sin is and how desperately we need to change.

Consider: Jesus said that whoever loves truth comes to the light. Step into the light and let your need be revealed.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Image result for picture verses of giving thanksImage result for picture verses of giving thanks
Image result for picture verses of giving thanksImage result for picture verses of giving thanks
Image result for picture verses of giving thanksImage result for picture verses of giving thanks
Image result for picture verses of giving thanksImage result for picture verses of giving thanks

Please Pass the Blessings

holiday-thanksgiving-food

 

Gordon Robertson – President and CEO, CBN

The story of Jacob sounds like a soap opera, yet God was in the midst of it. Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and grandsons of Abraham. Before their birth, God told Rebekah,

“Two nations are in your womb … and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23).

Jacob tried to be first from the beginning, grabbing Esau’s heel as he was born; thus his name means heel-grabber.

Jacob was also a good cook, and it was for a bowl of his stew that Esau traded away his birthright as the eldest son. Later, Esau took two Hittite wives who were a grief to his parents. Rebekah then helped Jacob trick Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. When Esau planned to kill Jacob, Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob away to find a wife among her relatives.

Genesis 28:10 tells us, Jacob went out from Beersheba. Often, when you take that first step of faith on a journey, God meets you there. Jacob dreamed of a ladder from earth to heaven—and there God spoke to him.

Although he fell in love with Rachel, Jacob the trickster was tricked by his Uncle Laban into marrying her older sister first. The two wives were bitter rivals, involving their servants in a race to have children—twelve sons total. When Jacob finally headed home with his family, he didn’t know if Esau still wanted him dead.

He wrestled all night with God, who said,

“Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).

If life had been easy, would he have persevered and prevailed?

The key is that Isaac had blessed Jacob:

“May God Almighty bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations! May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings he promised to Abraham” (Genesis 28:3-4 NLT).

This was God’s plan. The blessings God gave Abraham were passed to Isaac, who bestowed them on Jacob. Through him came the twelve tribes of Israel, then the Messiah.

So this Thanksgiving, give thanks for what God has done, then pray over your family and bless them all. Pass along the wonderful blessings that God has freely given to you. As Galatians 3:14 says,

“Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham” (NLT).

God bless you.

 

Thanks

From: Today Devotions

  1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-24

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Heidelberg Catechism says that belief in the providence of God makes it possible for us to be “thankful when things go well” and “patient when things go against us” (Q&A 28). So sometimes we are thankful, and sometimes we are patient. Paul sums things up this way. He says it is God’s will for us to be thankful “in all circumstances.” Really? Well, it may help to note that Paul is not saying we should be thankful for all circumstances but in them. When things seem to go against us, I think God expects us to be grateful that his hand holds us and helps us to endure under the strain. That’s a big challenge–to look for reasons to be thankful when the going is tough. Sometimes it can be equally difficult for us to be thankful when things are going well. We might not think it would be that way. After all, when things go well, we have so much to be grateful for. But the very nature of human beings, even if we are Christian, is to overlook the crowd of God’s good gifts to us every day. Let me suggest that today you sit still where you are and exercise the gift of noticing. Notice what you see, what you have, and who is with you. Notice the color, beauty, and variety around you. Keep noticing, and make a list of the gifts you notice. Then give thanks to God, the great giver!

O great Creator and Giver of all gifts, give us today the great gift of being able to notice all your gifts. Open our hearts to a spirit of thanksgiving, we pray. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Prayerful Joy

From: Today Devotions

  PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

The great hymn “Amazing Grace” summarizes biblical faith well: “Grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” If grace reveals that joy is a gift, then prayer is the Lord’s gracious means through which he daily sustains that joy.

We sometimes believe we are independent, self-sufficient people. Our tired minds, aching backs, and callous hands that produced a successful career and a comfortable home seem to affirm that myth. But what if corporate restructuring takes away the paycheck, or terminal illness robs our strength and vitality? Anxiety, worry, and fear set in, taking the place of our pride.

Life comes from the Lord, and so does daily help. We come to the Lord through prayer, and the fruit of prayer is peace. Yet prayer is not a mantra, and we can’t use it to try to manipulate God. Prayer is a divine gift to strengthen the bonds of love between us and God. The act of prayer itself affirms our dependence on him for peace and joy.

Peace is knowing that death is overcome by resurrection, falsehood by truth, confusion by wisdom, hatred by love. This is the joyful fruit of believers who seek the Lord! Then, when all else has failed, we can still say, “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).

Dear Lord, I rejoice in you. “I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Thank you for this gift of prayer, for listening to my heart, for speaking to me of your grace. In Jesus, Amen.

Streams In The Desert – November 24

  • 202224 Nov

Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).

Is there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)? Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion? Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?

There is for the heart that will cease from itself, “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” a “quietness and confidence” which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace “which nothing can offend,” a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away. There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.

There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all; and so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness.

There is only one way to know God. “Be still, and know.” “God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
Selected

“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.

“But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy ‘still small voice’ that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.”

Finding Strength by Giving Thanks

Image result for pictures verses of giving thanksImage result for pictures verses of giving thanks
Image result for pictures verses of giving thanksImage result for pictures verses of giving thanks
Image result for pictures verses of giving thanksImage result for pictures verses of giving thanks
Image result for pictures verses of giving thanksImage result for pictures verses of giving thanks

Finding Strength by Giving Thanks

sabbath-candle_si.jpg

 

Gordon Robertson – President and CEO, CBN

Only two cultures in the world have existed 4,000 years: the Han Chinese, who never had to leave their land; and the Jews, who miraculously survived much of their history without a country.

We can learn from our elder brothers in the faith about how to maintain faith in the midst of a culture that opposes you.

The Lord chose Abraham, knowing he would teach his children God’s promises. How faithful are we to share His Word with the next generation? We must tell them, because the world will not. There is great joy in seeing children grow up into spiritual maturity, and their children after them.

The Jewish people have also kept their culture by keeping the Sabbath—honoring God with a weekly remembrance. It begins every Friday evening as mothers light candles and pray.

Psalm 92, often attributed to Moses, is a song for the Sabbath. The psalm opens with thanksgiving:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night (vv. 1-2)

Are you discouraged? Give thanks and see what happens. Thank God for His faithfulness and the victory that is about to come. Declare His lovingkindness, and praise Him for the covenant He made in His own blood for you.

Verse 4 says,

For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work.

This is key to finding deep satisfaction—joy from seeing what God is doing. It’s why my father has always challenged me to pray, “God, can I be part of your plan?” There’s a gladness to be part of God’s purpose that will last for eternity.

Do you feel weary and dry? Verse 10 promises,

I have been anointed with fresh oil.

Every day, He will give you a fresh anointing, vision and hope.

The psalm concludes:

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age … to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (vv. 13-15)

Think of the Jewish people singing the song of the Sabbath every week to guide them through the centuries. When looking at all the uncertainty in the world, remember—He is working, and He is faithful to see it through to completion.

So, this Thanksgiving, take time to give thanks for what God is unfolding in the world today. Our hearts can be glad because of who He is. He is using us to preach the Gospel and usher in His kingdom. In that kingdom, every day is a holiday and a Sabbath because we can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. God bless you.

Why I Give Thanks to God – Thanksgiving Devotional – Nov. 23

By Keneesha Saunders-Liddie, crosswalk.com

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

There are times that, because of God’s extraordinary goodness, I overflow with thanks. One such time, I was about 13 years old when I got off at the wrong stop while traveling to see my aunt. It was supposed to be a simple and very short trip across the ocean, from one island to the next. But I got off at the wrong port.

At the time I didn’t realize that the island had two ports, and I picked the wrong one. It was around 3 pm in the afternoon, and everyone who disembarked with me was picked up. I didn’t think anything about it until I realized that it was about 6 pm. At the time, the little flip phone I had was unable to make calls, and I wasn’t receiving calls either.

I sat there until it was about 10 pm. I tried calling my aunt’s house several times with a payphone until I ran out of quarters. A family drove into the lot and exchanged their vehicle for another one. When the mom spotted me sitting there, she stopped the car and asked me, “Do you know where the person that was supposed to pick you up lives?”

Despite my fear and the gnawing in my belly, I decided to accept the lift. They took me straight there.

That night before I went to sleep (after being scolded by every possible family member from near and far), I thanked God for his goodness.

Anything could have happened to me. But God. I was sitting by the side of a closed building while the sun descended. It was literally a dead end, just a parking lot full of cars. And yet, God’s love is enduring. It is particular. Do you understand what that means? It means that, he loves you. And his love never ends.

All your earthly relationships, the love of your mama or husband or fiancé will never, ever be able to compare to the enduring love of God.

This is why I give thanks. When I look back on his goodness over my life that night, I have to give my God thanks and praise. I could have easily become a statistic. I would have been another unsolved murder or just disappeared without a trace, but God.

Look at your life and honestly ask yourself, “Are you truly thankful for all that God has done, is doing and will continue to do for you?” If we are honest, we know that the answer is no. Every day is a gift, an opportunity that we have been given to thank God for his goodness and his enduring love.

It pays to remember that there is none who is good and no one that seeks after God (Romans 3:10-11). This is why we shouldn’t downplay or take for granted the goodness of God. He is a good God and he alone can carry the title of good. He is the definition of the word ‘good’ and he is our father. I’m thankful for all that he has done and will continue to do, are you? Then give him the glory that is due him

The Witness of Being Thankful

From: Today Devotions

  1 CHRONICLES 16:1-36

Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8

Being thankful is a witness. In his psalms King David wanted to tell everyone how great God is! The occasion of bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem was no exception. David wanted everyone to join in the celebration of praise.

David’s psalm is long and rich. It sparks our praise for a wide variety of things:

  • for God’s wonderful acts and his holy name (vv. 9-10).
  • for God’s strength, “miracles, and the judgments he pronounced” (v. 12).
  • that God “remembers his covenant forever” (v. 15).
  • for God’s protection when his people were vulnerable (vv. 19-22).
  • that “splendor and majesty are before him, strength and joy are in his dwelling place” (v. 27).

The families of all nations are then invited, even commanded, to give God “the glory due his name,” to bring an offering, and to worship him “in the splendor of his holiness.”

What can you add today to this rich list of thanksgiving? A thankful heart is a testimony to the greatness of God!

David’s song closes with a prayer asking God to save. In what ways do you need saving? Jesus Christ reaches out his nail-scarred hands to deliver you from sin. That alone can bring an eternity of thanks as you receive his amazing grace.

Majestic Lord, I receive your salvation in Jesus Christ. Thank you for all the goodness you’ve poured into my life. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Amen.

Giving Thanks: Thanking God Forever

From: Today Devotions

  PSALM 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
Psalm 136:1

I remember hearing this psalm as a child, and it seemed to go on forever. As I grew older, though, I realized the writer of Psalm 136 wished to show readers repeatedly that God?s ?love endures forever.?

Read and re-read this psalm as a truly attentive child of God who is daily growing to know God better. Prac?tice lectio divina (see Feb. 10) by carefully reading aloud the first part of every verse, reflecting on every phrase. The verses of Psalm 136 recall concrete examples from history in which the Lord showed his enduring love.

If you wish, look up the full report of each of those examples in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, and Judges. Then try to identify personally with as many of the instances of the Lord?s enduring love that the verses suggest to you.

Can you identify any of the Lord?s ?great wonders? that awed you? That comforted you?

Can you name a time in your life when the Lord led you ?through the desert??

As you mull over each verse and each example of God?s love, repeat the psalm?s refrain again and again. What do you think is the most fitting response to God for his enduring love in all its instances?

How can you, your family, and your community thank God for his enduring love?

Eternal God, I offer my heart thankfully for your enduring love in my life. Forgive my faulty memory. Bless me with better memories of your love. In Jesus? name, Amen.

A Flood of Thanksgiving

Image result for picture verses on giving thanksImage result for picture verses on giving thanks
Image result for picture verses on giving thanksImage result for picture verses on giving thanks
Image result for picture verses on giving thanksImage result for picture verses on giving thanks
Image result for picture verses on giving thanksImage result for picture verses on giving thanks

A Flood of Thanksgiving

happy family in front of a camper

 

Jonathan Macnab – Writer – cbn.com

My heart sank as I awoke to find the floor of our camper trailer soaked with water. All I could think was, “No! Not again, Lord…” I’d rushed for days to tear out the inside of the aging RV, remove any mold, and lay new plank flooring so our two toddlers could run around safely—all while living in it as a family of four with two dogs. Throughout the project, one thing after another had gone wrong, and I’d been injured multiple times. Now, I needed to rip out the floor and start again.

I couldn’t afford this kind of mistake. The worst part was how hopeful we’d become the night before, only to have it snatched away. A terrible storm had buffeted the trailer all night, and we’d just been praising God that no water had come in. Instead, the place managed to flood from the inside, as my tub overflowed from a leaky faucet. Shock gave way to desperation, and then my heart began to fill with rage. How could God let this happen? We had an agreement. I’d asked for help, and He was supposed to answer!

As it turns out, His Word had an answer:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3 ESV)

God showed me something in my heart that fateful day in the RV. My passions were at war within me. My heart was stealing my joy in the Lord and keeping me from being able to react decisively to solve the situation—which affected my family.

There was no solution but thankfulness—through a return to the cross. God has called us to give thanks in all circumstances, but I couldn’t do it that day. I had to bow before God and yield my sinful self to Him. God had promised that I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

Jesus had given His life to win me a place at the Father’s side and offer me a glorious inheritance for eternity, and He had promised His presence in life now. I had good reason to be thankful! And my angry, fearful old identity had been nailed to the cross. It was buried. I didn’t have to be that man anymore.

As a new man, I could give God thanks for a new nature and His covenant promises, and I could rise up to care for my family with joy through trials. God was enough, as His Word reminds us, be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

This Thanksgiving, turn your heart towards God in thankfulness. Let Him become the passion of your soul, and none of this world’s challenges can break you, because He will never leave.

Something Extra

NOV 20, 2022 | BY THE FELLOWSHIP

It was the day before Thanksgiving.  For the second year in a row, I did not have the means to provide turkey or any other festive food that would make the day special for my three kids. As a single mom of three in Minnesota, I was facing another year of existing on food stamps, welfare, and any other kind of public assistance that I could find. How was I going to come up with something even close to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

A friend told me about a church with a food ministry that was handing out boxes of food that included a turkey. Hoping it was not too late, I got in the car (while trying to ignore the  transmission fluid leaking into the snow) and headed to that church. The building was still open when I got there. Entering the building, I was thanking God for this unexpected opportunity.

Greeted by a cheerful woman, I was led to a big room with tables configured in a horseshoe arrangement. Pantry food was sorted out by type on the tables. She handed me a box that already had a small turkey in it, explaining that this was the last turkey they had. I could choose what I wanted to go with it off the loaded tables and add the items to my box. Gratefully, I filled it with a box of stuffing, some canned vegetables and a pie filling. After sincerely thanking her, I carried the box out to my leaking, rusty car.

Before I could load it in my vehicle, the woman came running out and asked me to come back inside and sign a paper to confirm that I had received a donation. Setting the box down in the  snow bank next to my car, I followed her back inside.

The woman explained the volunteers were closing the donation center down in the next few minutes and asked if I would like to fill a couple of more boxes with cans and packaged items. I was elated by her offer and together we filled two more boxes. Then she walked outside with me, each of us carrying a box of precious food. It was enough to eke out several more meals!

As we approached the car, I saw nothing but snow where the turkey box had been set down. “I cannot believe it!” I exclaimed.  The kind woman said, “Well, dear, someone must have needed the food more than you did!”

Despite my disappointment, those words really resonated with me. Most probably she was right!  The Lord reminded me of the occasions that I had myself been tempted and contemplated theft in grocery stores in the last year during desperate times.

We loaded the two extra boxes into the car, and I returned home thankful for the donations I did receive – but also sad about the missing turkey. Unloading the items from the two boxes into my almost bare cupboards gave me a sense of relief that tummies would not rumble for a few days.

Just as I finished and sat down, the phone rang. A friend I had not talked to for some time was calling. “We would like to invite you and your children to join our family tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner,” she said.

God came through abundantly and surprised us with joy!  He always provides! In fact, for the two years my family and I spent on food stamps and welfare, barely making it through, He always provided for our needs!  Not our wants — but our needs.  And there were times, like this memorable Thanksgiving, He blessed us with something extra!  God is good all the time!

Food For the Hungry

From: Today Devotions

  JOHN 6:1-15

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

—  John 6:11

In the Bible we learn that God is especially concerned about a few groups of people. That’s because these people are often taken advantage of: the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners. And Jesus, the Son of God, who is fully human and fully God, showed the same concern for these groups.

In particular, Jesus fed the poor in abundant and miraculous ways. One of the marks of God’s kingdom is that everyone should have enough, or as John 6:11 says, “as much as they wanted.”

When Jesus gave the Lord’s Supper to his disciples, he did that to feed them physically and spiritually. And we should know that in the early church, this sacred meal was often cele­brated as an actual meal, not just with a small bit of bread and wine (or juice), as many do in their church services today. Perhaps our churches would do well to pass out ample slices of bread, and full cups of juice so that people could truly experience God’s generosity (but I digress).

Because Jesus has been so generous to us, we are empowered and encouraged to be generous to others.

As you receive Christ’s gifts in the Lord’s Supper, try to hold hungry people in your mind and heart—including people you know in your local community and people you don’t know in other parts of the world.

Reset Your Gratitude Meter

From: Crosswalk.com

1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for? We gather, every year at this time, to reflect on the blessings of God over the past year. But in most families, Thanksgiving is less about real gratitude and more about stuffing your face, watching football, and hanging with the family. Some actually dread Thanksgiving, because they’re forced to sit in a room with people they really don’t enjoy.

Now I’m all in favor of the food and the football. But this year, let’s make Thanksgiving about giving and about thanks. This year, more than any, might force us to dig deeper. For many, it will mark a year since they’ve had employment. For others, Thanksgiving will bring another reminder that they haven’t found that significant other. And there are those couples who have to face the family questions of why they still can’t have children.

For many, this was a year marked by pain. So how do we summon the gratitude? Well, if you’re a Christian, you’re basis is not your circumstances, but something greater. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that they could “give thanks in everything.” Why? Because this was the “will of God in Christ.”

In other words, followers of Christ believe that every piece of hardship is a grace gift from the Lord, sent for their growth, sanctification, and further intimacy with the Almighty. We don’t believe we’re here on this earth all alone. We believe God is firmly in charge.

Though life may get hard–and it does–it all falls under God’s sovereign will. And so we give thanks.

As Americans, we really have cause for gratitude. I have to periodically remind myself of this and remind my family. We so easily get caught up in the easy lust for more stuff. Bigger house, nicer car, better clothes, newest gadgets. But then I remember my travels to third world countries, where I’ve seen real poverty–and real gratitude on the part of the Christians there.

Tonight, my kids will go to bed with full stomachs. They’ll have a roof over their heads. They will have two parents in the next room. They will ride in a nice car. They will have a future that includes a good education. All of those are things most kids in the world don’t have. And so, they should be grateful.

Let’s not sit around the table carping about the election, complaining about our job status, whining about injustices from friends. Let’s instead reset our gratitude meters and offer genuine, heartfelt thanks to God. For salvation in Christ. For His daily care. And for friends and family He graciously provides. Oh, and for wives that allow us to stuff our faces and watch football.

Life Lessons From the Kitchen Cabinet

2,875 Bible Verse Stock Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime2,875 Bible Verse Stock Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime10 Bible verses about Life By God's WordLiving Life with the Living Word: Life Scriptures – Nurturing the Creative  Spirit Within17 Bible Quotes About Life — Bible Verses About LifeInspirational Bible Verses With Pictures | Faith Island

Words Of Life 8 Holy Bible Scripture Art Poster by Reid Callaway - Fine Art  America2,875 Bible Verse Stock Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

Life Lessons From the Kitchen Cabinet

woman looking through her kitchen pantry

 

Kimberly Poteet – cbn. com

I could take you to the exact spot, along that Nashville highway, where I felt that dagger plunge into my heart as I drove home one afternoon. Words were the weapon—instead of steel—but they cut just as deep.

I fought back tears as I struggled to find a response to my young son’s comments he whispered, under his breath, from the backseat: “I wish you were not my mother.” At that moment, many words flashed through my mind: angry words, tearful words, words of correction. But I realized that a quick response would not carry the weight I wished to share. My son lashed out when he did not get his way, not truly understanding the significance of what he said. And I needed him to understand.

In silence, we drove home. My son tried to talk to me as I got out of the car and walked inside, but I remained quiet. I walked into our kitchen, opened a cabinet door, and retrieved a 5-pound bag of cornmeal. I asked my son to follow me as I carried the cornmeal to a small patio that overlooked our tiny backyard. He curiously complied.

Reaching into the paper bag, I extracted a handful of the yellowish-white cornmeal and flung it across the yard. The powdery plume quickly fell and settled into the crevices of so many blades of grass. Then I turned to my son, extended my empty hand, and asked him to pick up every fragment and return it to my hand. With an excitement that only comes from youth, he raced into the yard, not even hesitating before he began this impossible mission. I stood, with my hand extended, as he made multiple trips to place a tiny portion of the powdery grain in my hand. Finally, he tired of this task, admitting he could retrieve no more.

“Was this how much I threw out?” I asked. He admitted that the contents of my hand—cornmeal mixed with weed fragments—was not anywhere near as much as I had broadcast across the yard. We stood there in silence a moment longer. Then I told him that our words are like that cornmeal. Once we throw them out so carelessly, we cannot fully retrieve them.

I did not rush this conversation. I wanted it to penetrate the crevices of his heart and mind so he understood. I then reminded him of those hurtful words he said in a moment of anger. Those words could never be fully taken back. So, that is why we should choose words carefully.

Of course, I forgave my son. He was a child who behaved … like a child that day. But now, I see so many adults who also lash out and broadcast hasty words to any who will hear—in person, on social media, everywhere!

The third chapter of the book of James warns us of the power of our words—for good or harm. In verse 5, the tongue is compared to “a tiny spark” that can “set a great forest on fire.” I know we’ve all seen reports of wildfires that often start small but soon destroy thousands of acres, homes—even lives! That is God’s warning about what our words can do in a moment of carelessness.

But God wishes for us to speak words of life—not destruction.

A Story of Persistence – Thanksgiving Devotional – Nov. 21

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden, Crosswalk com.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:12-14 

Here is a part of the Thanksgiving story you may not know. While the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October of 1621, it was not until October of 1777 that all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving, for the first time. At one point, our first president, George Washington, proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, but conflict and difficulties among the colonies put an end to its observance.

It was a magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, whose work led to the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday we observe today. Hale wrote letters to governors and presidents, and editorials in magazines, books and newspapers, promoting the observance of Thanksgiving. In 1863, after 40 years of letter writing and campaigning (that’s not a typo, she really wrote letters for 40 years), Hale’s persistence paid off and President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. Since then, every president has supported Thanksgiving. Forty years of dedication, persistence and passion, all to make sure that this country would celebrate a National Day of Thanksgiving each year. Impressive.

We can learn from Hale’s perseverance. It took her 40 years to accomplish what she set out to do. Just like her story, the Christian faith is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. Each day of our life is another day to choose between right and wrong, to help someone in need, to read our Bible and pray. As Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:12-14, Christians are called to persevere, to press on. Sometimes it can feel like an unrewarding task. It is hard, but important, to look to God for the BIGGER plan. What if Hale had chosen to give up after one year or ten years? Her goal would have been left unfinished. Press on towards the call of Christ! Endure! But be forewarned, just like Sara Josepha Hale, it may take 40 years to see the fruit

A solemn inquiry concerning our families

Author: Charles Spurgeon

‘And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place.’ Genesis 19:12

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 9:1–5 & 10:1–4

If you do not care for the souls of others, you do not know the value of your own. God’s people are a tender-hearted people. Like their Saviour, they cannot look upon Jerusalem without weeping over it: they cannot view with complacency the destruction of any; much less can they be careless concerning the condition of those who spring from their own loins, who are united to them by ties of blood. We love the souls of men. Like Doddridge, we dare say in the sight of God: ‘My bowels yearn o’er dying men.’

I set you down as nearer akin to a devil than to a saint, if you can go your way and look into the face of your friend or child, and know him to be on the downward road, and yet never pray for him nor use any means for his conversion. May God grant that no doctrinal belief may ever dry up the milk of human kindness in our souls! Certainly the doctrines of divine grace, such as election and effectual redemption, will not do so. Error may petrify, but truth melts. May we feel that no dogma can be scriptural which is not consistent with a sincere love to men. Truth must be consistent with its Author’s character; and he who has revealed saving truth is the God of love; he is love itself; and that cannot be true which naturally and legitimately would lead men to be unloving! May we be such parents, such brothers, such sisters, such children, that it shall be the first anxiety of our spirits that our children, our parents, our husband, our wife, our brothers and our sisters, should be brought to partake with us of the things of God!

For meditation: At best human love can only long to perish in the place of others (Exodus 32:322 Samuel 18:33Romans 9:3), but it’s the thought that counts. Are you really concerned for others (Romans 9:1–2Philippians 3:18–19)? The best way to show it is to pray for them (Romans 10:1) and point them to the Saviour who died in the place of others (1 Peter 2:24).

Thankful For Faith

28 Thankful Bible Verses — Bible Quotes About Being Thankful15 Bible Verses on Thankfulness
28 Thankful Bible Verses — Bible Quotes About Being ThankfulTake A Moment To Relax And Be Thankful | Thankful quotes, Gratitude quotes, Quotes about god
28 Thankful Bible Verses — Bible Quotes About Being ThankfulPin on Motivation & Inspiration
28 Bible verses about Thanksgiving And Gratitude50 Bible Verses About Gratitude - Scriptures on Being Grateful - Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health, Life, Holidays

Thankful for Faith

family at thanksgiving meal table

 

Our first Thanksgiving in Virginia felt odd. For the first 18 years of our marriage, we’d always celebrated the holiday with my husband’s extended family—30-40 people—in California. Now, since leaving the Golden State so I could attend Regent University, Thanksgiving only included our family of five.

Over the years, my contribution to the yearly feast was to bring the sweet potato casserole (the kind with the crunchy brown sugar/pecan topping—YUM!). Now the whole meal was up to me. Unfortunately, I’d never learned how to prepare a turkey, how to make homemade mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, etc. And attempting to reproduce one of Grandma’s pies? Out of the question!

That’s when I discovered my local grocery store sold “Thanksgiving in a Box”: a pre-cooked frozen turkey, frozen mashed potatoes, frozen rolls, canned cranberry sauce, canned green beans, canned gravy … you get the picture. All I had to do was thaw and/or reheat. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess how the meal turned out. Let’s just say it was memorable for all the wrong reasons!

On a happier note, we started a new tradition that year. Before we prayed over the food, we went around the table and shared what we were thankful for: new friends, new jobs, family, our dog, etc. What did I share? I was thankful to be in Virginia, and here’s why:

Five years earlier, the Lord gave me a word while I was praying on the beach in Monterrey, California. He said, “Major in Communications and prepare for television.” Long story short: after much prayer and preparation, my husband and I resigned from our jobs, sold our home,  and moved our family to Virginia Beach so I could attend Regent.

At some point in our Christian walk, God will test our faith. I’d been in ministry all my life, but it wasn’t until we trusted God’s call and moved to Virginia that my faith became truly alive. A supernatural breakthrough happened in the spirit when we put our faith into action, and we were never the same again!

In the book of James, we see the brother of Jesus calling out people who claimed to have faith but had no deeds:

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17 NIV).

What does faith in action look like? James says we should look at father Abraham. God told Abraham to go to an unknown land, to believe for children even though he was too old, and finally to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. With each test of faith, Abraham obeyed. In the words of James,

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).

When you trust and obey God, I guarantee your life will never be boring. With faith, we can move mountains. With faith, we can please God. With faith, we are promised eternal rewards. And here’s the greatest benefit of faith: friendship with God!

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23).

Today, I’m thankful for faith.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 20

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

When we gather together for corporate worship, we need to be especially conscious of what we are saying. Modern worship services often focus on one preacher. How important it is that his words be clear and to the point! If there is humor, it needs to be applicable and appropriate. Better a short sermon that is anointed than a long winded one with many rabbit trails. We need to leave with the clear message ringing in our hearts. Anything that distracts from that should be avoided. C. S. Spurgeon once said that the ground behind the pulpit was holy ground, and that one should take his shoes off before standing there.

We can be easily moved by emotion and the appeal of the sermon to make a vow to God. This passage warns us not to be hasty in our hearts to utter anything before God. Be sure that it is at the direction of the Holy Spirit and that you have counted the cost before making commitments to God. To make a vow to the Almighty is a serious thing. When God promises something to you, you can count on it coming to pass. We are to be like Him, faithful to our word. Use caution not to fill the air with words just to avoid silence. God often speaks to us in the silence.

When you come together to worship, come to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. Expect Him to meet you there. Take what He has said seriously. Take it with you through the week and determine how God would have you respond. Count the cost and then make the commitment.

Consider: What steps can I take to remember and cling to the Spirit’s direction?

Streams in the Desert – November 20

  • 202220 Nov

Blessed is he that waiteth (Dan. 12:12).

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still.

There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption?

No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid.

Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come, and shall not tarry.

Wait in quiet patience. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses. Accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities; but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”
Morning by Morning

Why Being Thankful Is a Powerful Way to Live Free – Thanksgiving Devotional – Nov. 20

By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalms 28:7

We have so much to be grateful for in this life, every single day. But reality is that sometimes constant life demands, battles, and worries give more room to defeat than to a heart of thanks. Or we forget, in the midst of busyness and pressures, just to pause and give thanks for all that God has done and continues to do in our lives.

Sometimes it really is a sacrifice to offer praise and thanks. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We’re weary. Or maybe, we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like he’s far away, or doesn’t really care about what’s troubling us. Painful life blows and losses might have recently sent us spiraling.

But here’s what can make a lasting difference. We have a choice, every day, to give him thanks. And with a heart of thanksgiving, we realize that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He changes our hearts. His power, through hearts of gratitude and focused minds on Him, releases the grip our struggles have over us. We’re strengthened by His peace, refueled by His joy.

No matter what our current situation, or the struggles we may be facing, here’s what choosing to be thankful does:

  • It gets our eyes off ourselves, and helps us to focus back on God.
  • It reminds us we’re not in control, but that we serve a Mighty God who is. It keeps us in a place of humility and dependency on Him, as we recognize how much we need Him.
  • It helps us to recognize we have so much to be thankful for, even all the little things, which often we may forget to thank Him for. It takes our attention off our problems and helps us instead to reflect on the goodness of His many blessings.
  • It reminds us that God is the Giver of all good gifts. We were never intended to be fully self-sufficient in this life. A grateful heart reminds us that ultimately God is our Provider, that all blessings and gifts are graciously given to us by His hand.
  • A heart of gratitude leaves no room for complaining. For it is impossible to be truly thankful and filled with negativity and ungratefulness at the same time.
  • It makes the enemy flee. The forces of darkness can’t stand to be around hearts that give thanks and honor to God. Our praise and thanksgiving will make them flee.
  • It opens the door for continued blessings. It invites His presence. God loves to give good gifts to His children. He delights in our thankfulness and pours out His Spirit and favor over those who give honor and gratitude to Him.