Always Give Thanks!

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

At a very young age, we were taught to always say “Thank You.” If someone were to give you something, it is reason to say thank you.  If someone does something for you, no matter how small it may seem, you were taught to say thank you.  If someone opens a door for you to enter into a dwelling, we were taught saying thank you is the proper response.  These two small words can bring big and bright smiles on others faces.  The Apostle Paul taught the same as a proper response to God.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Giving thanks moves the heart of God.  It is pleasing to God for us to give him thanks and praise.  We should thank Him for each door He has opened unto us. We are to give thanks to God in all circumstances, the good and the bad. Knowing that we serve a sovereign God who is omniscient, then we can be confident that whatever we face in life He will work it for our good. Therefore, we can say “Thank You, Lord” in all circumstances.

Today is a good day to say, Thank You, Lord and put a smile on God’s face.  Always give God thanks, for this is what He desires from his children.

Precepts for an Abundant Life: Wicked Ways

Proverbs 4:19The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”

Wickedness is the act of committing intentional sin. It is the act of deliberately planning to transgress the law of God. Whenever we participate in wickedness, we are in essence aligning ourselves to follow the ways of the world and walk in darkness. When we walk in darkness, our is hindered and we become susceptible to falling.

The goal of the Follower of Christ should be to live a life of intentional righteousness. Intentional righteousness is the act of developing a lifestyle that directs one to follow the ways of the Kingdom of God in principle and practice, instead of the ways of the world.

I challenge you today to live a life that is pleasing to God. Align your life with the Word of God. Simply put, follow these two simple, yet significant rules: love the Lord, your God with all of your spirit, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself! Then we won’t walk in darkness, but will have the light of life!

Prayer: Father, teach me how to only follow things that honor and glorify You. Keep me away from intentional sin. I love You Lord, Amen.

Dr. J. Elvin Sadler

In Bitterness of Soul

1 Samuel 1:10  “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”

Attempting to sign on to one of my computer programs this morning, there seemed be a problem.  I was watching and waiting for the program to open but the little wheel (little circle) simply kept spinning.  All of a sudden there was a message that popped up which said “. . .is not responding.”  I looked again and the wheel was still spinning.  Then I began to reflect on how life sometimes can feel the same way.  You may feel your life is spinning out of control.  You may feel as though you aren’t getting anywhere.  Your life is just spinning. You feel you have lost control and there is a failure in your connection.   You keep getting the message “. . .not responding.”  Hannah had this same experience.  She had reached the place where she felt her life situation spinning and she was getting no response; nothing was happening. It seemed her situation would not change.  She found herself “in bitterness of soul.”   While weeping bitterly, Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord.  She made her connection through prayer.  Hannah received a response from The Lord.  He heard her cry.  He answered her prayer.

I challenge you today that if your life seems to be spinning out of control, earnestly call on the name of the Lord.  Make your connection with God and allow him to respond to your need.  He knows and recognizes your pain.  He is the only one who can solve your problems.

God Will Deliver You

Psalm 34:19  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

More and more we come to the realization that life is so unpredictable.  The best laid out plans do not work out as intended.  People you trusted for so long wind up letting you down when you need them the most. Savings that were set aside for vacation has now dwindled down to nothing because of the car repairs.  Pressures weighing heavily on your mind with thoughts of quitting and giving up on life.  What now?  Why have all these things happened?  The Psalmist writes in Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous. . .”   There is no protection from afflictions.  Afflictions are common for all but the afflictions of the righteous are many.  Although the righteous has to go through sufferings, the good news is also found in that same verse; “but the Lord will deliver them out of them all.”  While going through the sufferings, God has a purpose for it.  God desires to build your character.  As his child, God wants to see how you respond under pressure.  God is always faithful.  No matter how painful the afflictions life brings your way, remember “But God” will deliver you out of them.  Be encouraged, for God cares about all that you go through.  God will deliver you.

Precepts for an Abundant Life: More Than Enough

Proverbs 3:9-10: “9 Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; 10 so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

What is wealth? Wealth is the abundance of valuable possessions and money. A simple definition for wealth is the act of having more than enough. What is the purpose for God allowing us to have more than enough? It is so that we can be a blessing to those He places in our paths. The text, however, goes a little further. It says that we are to honor the Lord with our wealth and from the first of all of our produce. Not only are we to be a blessing to others with our abundance, but we are to honor God’s Kingdom by sowing into it through tithes and offerings.

True wisdom is found when the believer understands the principle of sowing and reaping (seed time and harvest). It is an eternal spiritual principle, driven by obedience, that shall forever be in the earth (Genesis 8:22). When we begin to live our lives, based upon this principle, we will be guaranteed eternal blessings from the Lord. He said when we honor the Lord with our wealth and the first of all of our produce (first fruit), then our storehouse will be filled with plenty (we shall never suffer from want) and our vats (water pots) will always be filled with new wine (our increase will continue to flow).

I challenge you today to make sure that you are obedient to give to God the title and offering first, before you do anything else. Your blessing and increase depend upon it.

Prayer: Father, may I always be faithful to give to You from my wealth and first fruit. I realize that my increase is connected to my obedience. Forgive me for when I have neglected to do so and help me to teach my children to be obedient to give to You. I love You Lord, Amen.

Dr. J. Elvin Sadler

Please God!

Hebrews 11:6  . “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Every new day is an opportunity to please God by exercising our faith in him.  If we are going to please God, we must begin by believing in His existence.  The writer of Hebrews says “whoever comes to him must believe that he exists.”  God does not exist to merely give us what we want or to do everything we ask of him.  God does not exist to please us but we are to please God in our actions.  Believing God exists means believing we are his creation whom He loves and will do what is best for us.  Our faith in God must be based on his character.  God is full of mercy and grace.  1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.”  This does not mean we will be exempt from pain and troubles but we can be confident that God will show forth his love for us.  It is through faith that we are able to please God, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  So, I challenge you today to walk in faith; do not doubt God but earnestly seek God for guidance and strength knowing that he will reward you.

Precepts for an Abundant Life: Delivered from Evil

Proverbs 2:12-15: “12 To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things; 13 from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 who delight in doing evil and rejoice in the perversity of evil; 15 whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.”

People often confuse evil and wickedness. Wickedness is the act of consciously performing actions that are immoral or sinful. Evil, on the other hand, is the nature by which sinful and immoral acts are manifested. While they both emanate from Satan, evil is worse. It is a dangerous thing: it is the act of being profoundly immoral. Evil is an act of demonic activity that distorts, perverts and mocks the truth of God. It causes violence and ultimately ushers in death to those who give into it.

Wisdom, however, teaches us to stay away from it. In order to avoid evil, we must practice righteousness, justice and peace. When we live according to the precepts of God and walk in His way, He spares us from the plot of the enemy, keeps us away from evil and motivates us to live righteously aligned to His will each day.

I challenge you today to walk in wisdom and truth. Despise evil and cling to that which is good.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times when I strayed from You and allowed evil to rule my way. I repent of those times and ask that You will create in me wisdom that despises evil and clings to what is good. I love You Lord, Amen.

Not Out of His Reach

Isaiah 59:1  “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.”

Life sometimes seems so unfair.  Have you ever said or felt like saying those words?  Maybe you have experienced a lot of pain and hurt and you wonder why.  Afterall, you have tried to live a good life.  You trust God to be there for you when you need him.  But the question still remains, why does bad things happen to good people?  Good people are dying because of this coronavirus pandemic. Innocent lives are taken because of hatred toward others.  Families are struggling to feed their children and keep the power on.  It seems the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer.  Where is God?  Why doesn’t God do something?

Isaiah said “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, not his ear too dull to hear.”  God is very aware of our problems, struggles, and our pain.  However, we must remember that God is a sovereign God.  He can rescue us from all evil.  With his arm He can deliver us from our enemies.  His arm is not too short.  If he has to reach way down, Jesus will pick you up.  His ear is not too dull that he does not hear our cry.  God hears us when we call and I want to reassure you that he will answer in his timing.  I encourage you to continue to do good, seek righteousness and pray without ceasing.  God will take care of you.

Unspoken Prayers

Romans 8:26  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

When we feel our prayers are not heard or we don’t get the answer we want, we must stop and take time to recognize what God has given us.  Yesterday someone whom I met for the first time, greeted me warmly and handed me this prayer.   It was a reminder to me that when we bring our requests to God, we must trust that he will do what is best for us.

 

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,

I was made weak to humbly obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things,

I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for – but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

Author Unknown

RUN TO WIN!

1 Corinthians 9:24-27     24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

In these few verses the Apostle Paul uses the comparison of the Christian life to that of an athletic competition.  His emphasis is on the need for the Christian to possess self-discipline.

In exemplifying self-discipline to RUN TO WIN one must be willing to be:

  • RESOLUTE in your Pursuit —

v.26 Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

  • Know what you have signed up for
  • Focus on your goal
  • Strive to reach your goal at all times and at all costs
  • Remain Faithful, do not wavier
  • Maintain a Champion Mindset

1 Corinthians 15:58 . . .Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

  • UPHOLD your Beliefs –

v.27 I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

  • Defend your faith, stand up against opposition
  • Don’t fear, declare whose side you are on
  • Practice what you preach
  • Maintain a strong conviction to what you are preaching

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

  • NOURISH your Body –

v.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training

  • Establish a healthy diet
  • Strict Training – Build Up the Body with healthy and wholesome food
  • Daily nutrition of the Word of God
  • Daily nutrition of Prayer
  • Daily nutrition of Worship of the Father
  • Strict Training necessitates routine exercise

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.

RUN TO WIN!  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.