Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Thankful One

"Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,
and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks, And he was a Samaritan.
So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed?  But where are the nine?"
Luke 17:12-17 (NKJV)

Often when people think about Thanksgiving, they think about all of the food and time with family, and that is a nice thing.  But it is easy to overlook the real meaning behind Thanksgiving.  Most people have some ideas about the origins of Thanksgiving and how that the day began because people wanted to give thanks for the good things that they had.  But it is easy to lose sight of the original intent of things and get caught up in our own lives and miss the point of something like Thanksgiving.

Sometimes we are not as thankful as we could and should be.  When something happens that we could be thankful about we often just feel good about it and move on.  But, if we would just take a moment to thank God for the answer to prayer, or the favor we just received on our job or with some person we had to deal with, or for another healthy day, or a positive outcome in a difficult situation, or even that we had a nice place to live and food to eat, it would help us.

Being thankful can change our outlook on things and help us to be more aware of the good things we have in our life.  We need to be the kind of people who don't take good things for granted and don't overlook something positive that happened.  By making a decision to be thankful for the things we do have it can help us to avoid a wrong attitude and instead be truly grateful for the good things in our life. We need to be like the one leper who came back to give thanks, we need to be the thankful one.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Our Source Of Satisfaction

"The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above."
Proverbs 14:14 (NKJV)

Have you ever done something that you thought would be great, but afterwards you realized it was not so great?  Maybe you heard about a restaurant that supposedly had some wonderful food, but after you went there and had your meal you felt less than happy about the experience.  Or maybe someone told you about a certain place to visit or take a vacation that they claimed was the best thing ever.  But once you visited the place you were a bit disappointed because what you experienced did not match your expectation.

Many people try different things to bring a sense of well-being and happiness into their life only to feel less than satisfied.  Proverbs 14:14 informs us about "the backslider in heart" being filled, or satisfied, with his own ways.  This person's life is filled with things based on their own endeavors.  But, we are also told that a good man is satisfied from above.  One person unsuccessfully tries to satisfy themselves while the other relies on God as their source of satisfaction.

Jesus made an interesting comment to His disciples in John 4:34 when they asked Him about having something to eat.  Jesus said He had something to eat that they did not know about.  He went on to say that His food was to do the will of God.  Jesus was really saying the same thing as Proverbs 14:14, Jesus found His satisfaction in doing the will of God, this is the only true source of satisfaction.  If we want to live a successful, satisfying life we have to realize it will only come from committing to and doing the will of God, nothing else will really satisfy us.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

That Works For Me

"So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!"  For he said, "Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?"
2 Kings 20:19 (NKJV)

One bad habit that pretty much the entire human race shares is being selfish; fortunately, we don't have to live that way, but it is often how we act.  Most of the time we think more about how things will impact our lives and what interests us than we do about how other people will be affected by what might happen.  This kind of selfish thinking is not only wrong, but it can be very harmful.  If we only live our life based on what is best for us, we will tend to make short-sighted decisions that can cause problems for others.

In 2 Kings there is the story of King Hezekiah; he was sick and God healed him.  But King Hezekiah had a problem with pride, as we see recorded in 2 Chronicles 32.  When ambassadors from Babylon came to see him, King Hezekiah wanted to show off what he had.  Afterwards, the prophet Isaiah came to the king to ask about what had happened and after learning that King Hezekiah had shown the ambassadors everything he possessed, Isaiah foretold the destruction that would eventually come to Israel from Babylon.

King Hezekiah's response to what God said through Isaiah was a selfish one, Hezekiah was only concerned about what would happen to him and not about how others would be affected by what would happen.  We have to make decisions not just based on what is best for us in the short or even long term, we must make decisions based on what is best overall, even if it means we might suffer a little because of it.  Don't just have the "that works for me" attitude, live a godly life that paves the way for others and does not leave hurt people in its wake.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Our Efforts Or God's Grace?

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)

Have you ever tried to do something where after a lot of time and effort you end up with either poor results or no success at all?  Then someone tells you how to do that same thing in a different or better way that helps you accomplish your task and you wish you would have known the right way to do it to start with.  There were a couple of times I had this happen where I tried to do something myself and failed until someone helped me out.  What I tried to do through my own efforts did not work, but with the help of someone else I was successful.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul said what he did was by the grace of God and how the grace of God towards him was not in vain.  Paul was saying that God had given him an ability, the grace, to do what he was doing.  Paul was someone who was highly educated, but he did not rely on his education.  Paul was also a tentmaker, but Paul did not rely on his occupation or his own efforts.  Paul knew how to follow God's direction in what he did and to rely on the grace of God in his life to do it.

We can use our own efforts, ideas, time, and resources to try and figure things out and accomplish what we need to do, or we can trust God to give us the wisdom and grace to do what needs to be done.  If we are only doing things through our own efforts our success will be limited at best.  But if we look to our heavenly Father to find not only His direction and wisdom but we also tap into the grace that God has for us to live our life we will have much greater success than we could have otherwise.  Don't set aside the grace of God, allow God to guide and empower you to do what needs to be done.