Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks Giving

"And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will." (Leviticus 22:29)

My wife has been posting daily notifications on Facebook about things that she is thankful for. I've noticed some others doing this too. Thankfulness is such a great heart attitude to cultivate. It keeps us, at the least, somewhat focused in the right direction.

As we approach Thanksgiving it is a wonderful attitude to hone in on. Look at the word. Thanksgiving is a combination of "thanks" and "giving." Thankfulness is a wonderful healthy heart attitude but it can only truly be done with a sense of giving -- it can't be done grudgingly or forced. It really has to come from within BUT it can be cultivated.

Cultivate it in the small things. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we forget that. Be appreciative of the small things that others do for you. Let them know how grateful you are. Count the blessings that God has given you today. Take some time to express it to Him!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not of this World

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." (John 17:14).

This is tough for us to grasp sometimes. Most people want to be liked. Christians are no exception. Usually believers are actually pretty nice folk. Unfortunately, needing to be liked can be a trap. Jesus was never in bondage to making sure people liked him or accepted him. He went around speaking the truth without ever being in bondage by the need to convince. He spoke the truth and moved on. We can learn a lesson.

"Not of this world." That's a phrase that we struggle with sometimes. It seems (I leave room here that I could be wrong) to me that it' a phrase that doesn't seem to resonate as sharply among believers as it did 20 or 30 years ago. We want to reach out but I'm afraid that in our efforts to be "seeker friendly" we've found an excuse to comfort our need to be liked.

Jesus said that we would be hated. Isn't it interesting that you can talk about God as long as you keep it generic but the name of Jesus is offensive. Peter wrote (1st Peter 2:8) that Jesus is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" to unbelievers.

The challenge for us is to not cave in out of our need to be accepted or to become hateful ourselves when we are hated. We are not of this world. We are pilgrims passing through but pilgrims with a very important assignment -- to share the love of Jesus in a lost and dying world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Fruit Test

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

The fruit of the Spirit is outward evidence of our walk with God. When the conditions are right a tree produces fruit naturally. It doesn't have to strain and make fruit occur. If the soil is good and it gets the proper amount of rain and sunlight it will produce fruit. A healthy tree produces good fruit.

Likewise, when our walk with the Lord is healthy fruit is produced! The list in Galatians 5:22-23 provides a wonderful checklist for our lives. If something is missing what is the problem? It won't be God, it will be me. If I don't have peace or joy, why not? I can then talk to the Lord and see where I'm missing Him or if the problem is some kind of external stress He can help me deal with that also! We have an awesome Heavenly Father.