Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Strength That Comes From Endurance

female runner legs and feet only

 

Dayna Lovelady – cbn.com

Do you ever feel like the trials in your life are testing your faith? I can relate. Sometimes our trials include our marriage, friendships, relatives, jobs, finances, children, or our health. Although having trials in our lives is unavoidable, there is good news that stems from our trials.

James shared these wise words with the 12 tribes in James 1:2-3 (CSB),

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

James did not encourage the tribe to have joy simply because they had trials, but to have joy because the trials produce endurance—and when endurance was in full effect in their lives, they would be mature and complete (James 1:4).

As an athlete, I have learned the benefits of the strength that comes from endurance. When I endure a hard long-distance run or an intense strength-training session, I become stronger and more conditioned. When I reflect on the words of James that state that the testing of my faith produces endurance, I remember that this spiritual endurance helps me to become mature in the things of God.

There are times when we do not know how to navigate our trials, but God is faithful to provide wisdom when we need it. When we seem the most lost, God gives us direction. Whether the trials that test your faith are caused by the economy, disasters, broken relationships, heartbreak, or anything in between, God can give you the wisdom to navigate those trials. James 1:5 declares,

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.

This promise in God’s Word that He will give wisdom to those of us who ask is always comforting to me. So often we need the wisdom that only God can give to navigate our trials. No matter the complexity or the uncertainty, we can count on God to give us the needed wisdom.

Streams in the Desert – November 19

  • 202219 Nov

Though you have allowed me to experience much trouble and distress, revive me once again! Bring me up once again from the depths of the earth! (Ps 71:20)

God shows us the troubles. Sometimes, as this part of our education is being carried forward, we have to descend into “the lower parts of the earth,” pass through subterranean passages, lie buried amongst the dead, but never for a moment is the cord of fellowship and union between God and us strained to breaking; and from the depths God will bring us again.

Never doubt God! Never say that He has forsaken or forgotten. Never think that He is unsympathetic. He will quicken again. There is always a smooth piece in every skein, however tangled. The longest day at last rings out the evensong. The winter snow lies long, but it goes at last.

Be steadfast; your labor is not in vain. God turns again, and comforts. And when He does, the heart which had forgotten its Psalmody breaks out in jubilant song, as does the Psalmist: “I will thank thee, I will harp unto thee, my lips shall sing aloud.”
Selected

“Though the rain may fall and the wind be blowing,
And old and chill is the wintry blast;
Though the cloudy sky is still cloudier growing,
And the dead leaves tell that the summer has passed;
My face I hold to the stormy heaven,
My heart is as calm as the summer sea,
Glad to receive what my God has given,
Whate’er it be.
When I feel the cold, I can say, ’He sends it,’
And His winds blow blessing, I surely know;
For I’ve never a want but that He attends it;
And my heart beats warm, though the winds may blow.”

The Sacrifice of Thanks-Sharing

Glynnis Whitwer, author, Crosswalk.com

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)

Enough. That’s what I have. Really, more than enough.

More than enough clothes in my closet. Food in my fridge. Shoes spread on the floor. Cans in the cupboard.

My children have books, warm jackets, tennis shoes, pencils, and opportunities for more. I have clean sheets, soft pillows, a kitchen table, and indoor plumbing.

My husband and I have never taken our provisions for granted. Every day we are thankful for the blessings of our home and family. Yet eight years ago we were increasingly aware of what Luke 12:48b tells us, “When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (NLT) We felt an obligation to do something more with our blessings.

So in 2005 our family of five put a plan in place to share what we had. We had enough home, enough time, and enough love. Our gratitude to God for His blessings couldn’t be kept to ourselves any more. We started with some rearranging. Two of our three sons moved furniture around so they could share a room, Then we bought two little white beds, pink curtains, and some dolls. I bought matching calico comforters and guessed at sizes of dresses.

After months of planning to share what we had, two little orphaned sisters stepped off a plane gripping the hands of their new daddy and walked into our hearts and homes.

They wore “African suits” bought from the place of their birth, brightly colored dresses that hung on tiny bodies. So proud they were to own their first new pieces of clothing, wanting to greet their new family in their best. As we wrapped our arms around these little girls, our family of five became seven.

As weeks turned into months, and typical family issues mingled with trauma from our daughters’ pasts, we learned God’s call to share isn’t always easy. Oh, at first it was great, before the first blush of excitement wore off. But the magnitude of sharing our lives with two wounded little girls was harder than we ever imagined.

When worry about the future threatened to overwhelm me, God quietly reminded me that He didn’t ask me to have the answers. That’s His job. My job is just to share what He has given me–my love, my home, my life–with two not-so-little girls now who call me Mama. With a heart of thankfulness, and an open hand of generosity. That’s all He’s asking me. That’s what blesses Him.

God’s Word confirms what pleases Him. Hebrews 13:15-16 teaches us that we must link thanksgiving with sharing. But it also says it will be a sacrifice: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NASB)

As we walk together as a family, we continue to learn that showing thanks to God involves sharing, and sharing involves sacrifice. God still calls us to share out of our abundance, and it still involves sacrifice. But when we share our lives, our homes, our money, our hearts, our skills, and our time as an outpouring of thanksgiving, God is pleased.

Laboring for God

From: Intouch Ministries

God invites us to be a part of His work on earth and promises to reward our efforts.

John 12:20-26

As Jesus’ followers, we are to carry out His work. And we’re to be living extensions of His life as we do so. Following His example, believers must:

  • Live as God’s servants. We need to release control over our time, talent, and treasure and accept our commission to work in His kingdom. Like our Savior, we’re not to act independently (John 5:19). Our assignment is to do whatever God asks of us.
  • Answer His call to aid others. We tend to limit our circle to people like ourselves, but we must fight against this inclination. We should be willing to respond to the needs of strangers and friends alike. And the Lord can help us recognize those opportunities.
  • Motivate one another to good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). We’re to spur each other toward godliness and service rather than worldly pleasure and self-centeredness. Believers should foster in each other gratefulness for what He has done and confidence about what He will do.

Good works don’t earn salvation, but they do affect eternal rewards. Believers’ deeds will one day be evaluated: Works done without direction from God will be burned up, while those accomplished in obedience to the Spirit will be remembered and acknowledged (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Let your love for God stimulate you to labor in His kingdom.

 

Homeless Man or Angel?

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Homeless Man or Angel?

cooking spaghetti in a pot

 

Lina Johnson – cbn.com

“Happy birthday,” Martha said to my husband. She had been to the house earlier in the day and had learned it was his birthday. She told us that God had instructed her to give him an original painting that was her own work, but first she shared the beautiful poem she had written about a homeless man. When Martha had finished reading the moving poem, she turned the painting around for us to see. Everyone there gasped. The man in the painting, that she had painted years ago, was identical to the man we had just fed supper. She had left before he had arrived, and he was long gone before she came back.

How could she have painted this man years before we had even met him?

He was a kind man. We talked about the Lord and shared our spaghetti with him. I remember he commented that it was a little bland. I agreed and said, “We do the best we can with what we have. God is faithful to provide.” He asked me if I wanted some Italian herbs to add to the sauce next time and I agreed that would be nice. The conversation turned to other things and before I knew it, he had left.

Who was he? I may never know, but I wonder… Was he just a random homeless man or even an angel?

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:1-2

All I know is I had never seen him before nor after this event.

God is so faithful. Angel or man, God heard my conversation with him. Shortly after this happened, a friend who knew nothing of this story contacted me and said, “God put you on my heart and told me to clean out my freezer and give the meat to you. He also told me to give you my big container of Italian herbs and some other spices.”

I was astonished again that God cared about me so much to be in the details. He did not want me to just eat. He wanted me to enjoy what He provided!

He did not stop with just instructing us to eat; He also made it enjoyable.

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.” Genesis 1:29

God did not have to make it taste good. The very fact that we can enjoy what we eat is evidence of His love for us and for everyone. He wants us to share that love.

Hebrews 13 is full of instructions. It starts with loving others, then goes on to tell us how. What a blessing!

Romans 13:8-10 puts it this way:

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

Prayer: Help us to love like You do. Help us to grow closer to You—and help us to appreciate all the little things You have done out of Your love for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Where Are the Other Nine? – Thanksgiving Devotional

Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries

“And Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?'”  Luke 17:17-18

In Luke 17, we read the story of the ten lepers. These ten guys had the dreaded, disfiguring disease that made a person unclean, unfit for society, and virtually subhuman. The tremendous physical toll inflicted by this incurable disease was only surpassed by the great emotional toll of feeling worthless, vile, and unlovable.

When these men saw Jesus, they cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13).  Jesus responded with compassion and a challenge, telling them to show themselves to the priests, an obvious reference to Leviticus 14 about the cleansing of a leper.  Luke 17:15 says, “As they were going, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14).  Do you see that?  “AS THEY WERE GOING, they were cleansed.” That’s always the way it works with faith.  You have to believe God’s Word enough to obey it.  When you take a step of faith, then you see God do miracles.

EXHILARATION

Can you imagine the overwhelming exhilaration these guys must have felt? Their leprosy was cleansed! The vile disease that had taken virtually everything from them was now gone! They could return to their families! They could return to society! They could really live again!

Nine of them scurried away to enjoy their great blessing.  But one turned back … and he was a hated Samaritan.  This guy was also overcome with exhilaration at his cleansing, and he wanted to give thanks and praise to the One who made it possible. He couldn’t dream of taking another step without glorifying God and expressing his sincere gratitude. And the Lord responded to his thanksgiving by bestowing on him a far greater gift, the gift of salvation.

Interestingly, Jesus was wondering aloud about the other guys. Where were they? Why was this “foreigner” alone in his thanks?

The question for our day is clear: why do so many experience the goodness of God and so few return with grateful thanksgiving?

THIS THANKSGIVING

Let me challenge you as I challenge myself to emulate the Samaritan in this story and give thanks, first and foremost. To be sure, thanksgiving can be a sacrifice.  Life can be cruel and hard. Circumstances can knock us down and leave us devastated. If we are not careful, we can easily become disillusioned, depressed, critical, cynical, and bitter.

This is the key to rising above the circumstances: focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have. Rejoice in the Lord! Give thanks for the cross and the empty tomb! Give thanks for His unfailing love! I truly believe the greatest witnesses for Christ are those who have experienced the worst of life and yet have the best of attitudes, continuing to praise God no matter what.

Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksgiving to remember as you set aside time to glorify the King. He will be honored, and you will be blessed.

Streams in the Desert

Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me. (Luke 7:23)

It is sometimes very difficult not to be offended in Jesus Christ. The offenses may be circumstantial. I find myself in a prison-house—a narrow sphere, a sick chamber, an unpopular position—when I had hoped for wide opportunities. Yes, but He knows what is best for me. My environment is of His determining. He means it to intensify my faith, to draw me into nearer communion with Himself, to ripen my power. In the dungeon my soul should prosper.

The offense may be mental. I am haunted by perplexities, questions, which I cannot solve. I had hoped that, when I gave myself to Him, my sky would always be clear; but often it is overspread by mist and cloud. Yet let me believe that, if difficulties remain, it is that I may learn to trust Him all the more implicitly—to trust and not be afraid. Yes, and by my intellectual conflicts, I am trained to be a tutor to other storm-driven men.

The offense may be spiritual. I had fancied that within His fold I should never feel the biting winds of temptation; but it is best as it is. His grace is magnified. My own character is matured. His Heaven is sweeter at the close of the day. There I shall look back on the turnings and trials of the way, and shall sing the praises of my Guide. So, let come what will come, His will is welcome; and I shall refuse to be offended in my loving Lord.
Alexander Smellie

Blessed is he whose faith is not offended,
When all around his way
The power of God is working out deliverance
For others day by day;

Though in some prison drear his own soul languish,
Till life itself be spent,
Yet still can trust his Father’s love and purpose,
And rest therein content.

The last enemy destroyed

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.’ 1 Corinthians 15:26

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 8:35–39

To live well is the way to die well. Death is not our first foe but the last; let us then fight our adversaries in order, and overcome them each in its turn, hoping that he who has been with us even until now will be with us until the end. Notice, dear friends—for herein lies the savour of the thought—it is the last enemy. Picture in your mind’s eye our brave soldiers at the battle of Waterloo; for many weary hours they had been face to face with the foe; the fight had lasted so long and been so frequently renewed that they seemed to have encountered successive armies, and to have fought a dozen battles; charge after charge had they borne like walls of stone: imagine then that the commander is able to announce that they have only to endure one more onslaught of the foe. How cheerfully do the ranks close! How gallantly are the squares formed! How firmly their feet are planted! ‘Now,’ say they, ‘let us stand like a wall of rock; let no man shrink for a moment, for it is the last the enemy can do. He will do his worst; but soon he will be able to do no more but sound to boot and saddle, and leave the field to us.’ The last enemy! Soldiers of Christ, do not the words animate you? Courage, Christian, courage; the tide must turn after this; it is the highest wave that now dashes over you; courage, man, the night must close; you have come to its darkest hour; the day star already dawns! Now that you are dying, you are beginning to live. The last enemy conquered! Does it not bring tears to your eyes to think of bearing your last temptation? Little care we who the foe may be, if he be but conquered and be but the last.

For meditation: Christ’s veteran soldiers were calm as they prepared to do battle with the last enemy (2 Timothy 4:6–82 Peter 1:12–15). ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Do we have a similar attitude to our own death?

 

 

He Corrects Whom He Loves

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he  accepts as his son." Endure hardship a… | Book of hebrews, In god we trust,  Lion of judahPin on Disciples of Jesus Christ Movement
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But don't resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction.  It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all  this.” ~King Solomon | Jesus Quotes andWorld Challenge, Inc. - God disciplines those whom he loves! ❤️ View more  encouraging Bible verses: http://worldchallenge.in/pcWF | Facebook

He Corrects Whom He Loves

mother and daughter having a talk at the kitchen table

Maribel Ixcajoc Arevalo – National Director – CBN Guatemalay

 When my mother was widowed with seven daughters to raise, her only option was to discipline and reprimand us when we did wrong.  She carried it out in such a way that the end result was women who fear God and do good. In those times, when I was still very young, that discipline seemed very painful (especially having lost my father). However, very early in life, I understood that we needed her correction and it was always for love.

We also feel pain when the Lord corrects us for our sins and we do not want to face the consequences of our actions. But it is necessary, and believe it or not, everything is for love and to be recognized and legitimized as children of God.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all (Hebrews 12:7-8 NIV).

The Bible says in Romans 12:2 that we must renew our understanding to know the will of God: good, acceptable, and perfect. How then does one think that they can be renewed without being cleansed? How are you going to know the will of God for your life if you have not yet been purified, molded, and prepared for a new life of faith?

Let’s start from this point: God loves you and loves you just the way you are. You were created by Him in His image and likeness. To be used for His glory, you need that purification process, because there will always be areas in your life in which the Lord is working.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will have not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure (1 John 3:3).

Since the first day that God called me to serve Him at CBN Guatemala four years ago, I have experienced test after test, process after process, and correction after correction in a deep purification process. Although there has been no reprieve and I have experienced the most tribulation I’ve had in my lifetime, I want to share with you my personal and ministerial recommendations to help you face your purification process. Know and apply these four things:

  1. God the Father loves you (see John 3:16).
  2. Be thankful for the process, you are being turned into a better version of you (see James 1:12).
  3. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, learn to be quiet and listen, even when it seems to take time. He is always speaking into your life (see Proverbs 8:32-34).
  4. Pray without ceasing and ask for discernment to understand what God is doing (see John 10:27).

All of us in the CBN Guatemala office are encountering major difficulties. We recognize that we are going through a time of personal and ministerial growth as the body of Christ. The Lord has glorified Himself and blessed us to the fullest while we are being purified—so much so that we will not have enough life to thank Him for His favor. We’ve seen transformed lives and families, miracles of healing, provision, and restoration, among many other blessings happening in the lives of those we respond to as a ministry.

So, the next time you ask yourself, why me? I encourage you to fill yourself with joy and enthusiasm because your life will be changed by the love and mercy of God.

Though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).

Today’s Devotions

Morning

November 17

Proverbs 30:7-9 7“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

The author of this proverb had a healthy fear of the LORD. Knowing the deceitfulness of his own flesh, he asked for two things. The first was to keep falsehood and lies far from him. The passage does not say whether those lies come from his lips or from another. We can look at it both ways. We can’t keep others from deceiving us, which in turn causes us to make wrong judgments. We can ask God to keep others from lying to us. But just as important is to ask God to help us not be tempted to lie. Most of us don’t plan to outright lie, but in the heat of a conversation there is a way of putting things that brings you favor or respect through a distortion or exaggeration. We can justify it, but it is lying nonetheless. God protect us from our treacherous self-exaltation.

Then the author asks for daily bread. Jesus echoed this in the Lord’s Prayer. If I have too much, it may cause my heart to turn from the LORD. It is good to have needs that drive me to prayer. I need to see my needs met little by little so that I give Him praise and thanks. If I go hungry I may get desperate enough to steal, and that would dishonor the God whom I profess to serve. So, I ask for sufficiency, not abundance or poverty.

Reader, do you recognize how deceitful your flesh can be? Do you dream of hitting it rich, thinking of all the good you would do with the money? The worst thing for many of us is to get that for which we ask. Recognize the power of the flesh and live to stay free from its power. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit instead.

Prayer: Please give me sufficiency and a healthy fear of the LORD.

Streams in the Desert – November 17

  • 202217 Nov

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! Won’t God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long to help them? (Luke 18:6-7)

God’s seasons are not at your beck. If the first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike again. God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations. Hence the need of perseverance and importunity in supplication.

In the days of flint and steel and brimstone matches we had to strike and strike again, dozens of times, before we could get a spark to live in the tinder; and we were thankful enough if we succeeded at last.

Shall we not be as persevering and hopeful as to heavenly things? We have more certainty of success in this business than we had with our flint and steel, for we have God’s promises at our back.

Never let us despair. God’s time for mercy will come; yea, it has come, if our time for believing has arrived. Ask in faith nothing wavering; but never cease from petitioning because the King delays to reply. Strike the steel again. Make the sparks fly and have your tinder ready; you will get a light before long.
C. H. Spurgeon

I do not believe that there is such a thing in the history of God’s kingdom as a right prayer offered in a right spirit that is forever left unanswered.
Theodore L. Cuyler

Hope as an Anchor – The Crosswalk Devotional –

By Emma Danzey

Hebrews 6:19-20 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

The book of Hebrews is filled with beautiful verses proclaiming that Jesus is our great High Priest. He took on the cross for us, and He broke the barricade between us and God the Father. The sin that stood in between was defeated, and Jesus became the bridge between the Lord and us. As we break down these verses today, pray that Christ would reveal Himself more and more in your heart.

This Hope Is an Anchor of the Soul, Both Sure and Reliable
Have you ever used an anchor? A seemingly small device can be cast down into the water and stabilize a boat through the wind and waves. The larger the boat, the larger the anchor. Our soul has the effects of sin and the world. However, when we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, He can anchor us through being pulled in many different directions other than God’s best.

Ephesians 4:14 gives us insight into the way that we are spiritually impacted by the wind and waves. It says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

We have hope that is both sure and reliable. Jesus’ sacrifice and following Him is the only true way to be steady in this life and sure of the one to come. He has fulfilled the law where we could not, He has come in and convicted us but not condemned those who say yes to Him, and He has been the One who had a once-and-for-all sacrifice sufficient for all sins.

One Which Enters within the Veil, Where Jesus Has Entered as a Forerunner for us

Back before the time of Jesus, a high priest would enter the Holy of holies within the temple (where God’s presence was) once a year on Yom Kippur to provide a blood sacrifice and incense to the Lord on behalf of the people’s sins. There was a great veil separating the Holy of holies. They would actually tie a rope to the priest’s ankle in case he died in the presence of God so they could pull him out. We are so sinful and small, and the Lord Almighty is so glorious and perfect that being in His presence is just too much. This is why even Moses, who was very faithful to the Lord, was instructed when getting the Ten Commandments not to look at God’s face or he would die. (Exodus 33:20)

This emphasizes why we needed a Savior. One man, once a year, who was a selected high priest, was able to go into God’s presence for one day to give an offering for sin. Jesus is called the “Forerunner for us” because He offered Himself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God on behalf of all of our sins. There was then no more need for the temple and the holy of holies or an earthly priest because the High Priest of Heaven had taken care of the problem of sin forever

Matthew 27:51 shares, “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”

If Jesus’ death and resurrection were not miracle enough, the extremely thick and heavy temple veil was torn from top to bottom right after Jesus’ death. God could not have been more clear that we are now welcome in His presence. In fact, once Jesus ascended, He sent His presence in the Holy Spirit to us who believe. This is a true miracle.

Having Become a High Priest Forever according to the Order of Melchizedek.

Jesus was not a temporary priest, He is the High Priest forever. He is the One who forever has reconciled us as sinners to our Holy Father. This verse is extra impactful to the Jewish people because Melchizedek was the high priest in Genesis whose name literally meant “king of righteousness.” He was the king of Salem, and he blessed Abraham. This is a beautiful tie to God fulfilling the Old Covenant and bringing the New Covenant through Jesus. We can celebrate our High Priest forever.

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