An Attitude of Gratitude

My God is Elohim.  He is my creator.  He is the Creator.  He is your creator.  A creator is proud of his creation and that is the same way with our Lord.  Because He creates us, He loves us, and He is proud of us.  When He created you, He had a plan for your life.  If we can get that concept deep within our soul (which is our mind, will, and emotions), we would see ourselves differently.  Our self-image is in our mind, how we feel about ourselves.  If we can understand that God loves us, wants what is best for us, and that He is proud of us, we would walk in a room with our shoulders back and our head held high because we know that He believes in us.

Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  

Notice it says, “And that my soul knows very well.”  My soul is the mind, will, and emotion of the person.  As we spend time in His Word and in His presence, we learn more of the character of our Creator.  Our mind will be renewed by the Word of God and our faith will grow.  Our faith in who He is, His nature, His character.  When we know a person and learn the character of that person, we will come to trust that person.  If circumstances in someone’s life has made that person not trust people, then this is not an easy thing.  Learning to trust can be easy for some and more difficult for others.  That is why reading about who He is and putting our trust in Him is a growing process.

When we know in our soul (our mind, will, and emotions) about who God is, we can then trust Him in our spirit.  We can then put our trust in Him in our spirit and put our faith in Him.  Once we can do that, then we can be thankful for what He has done in our lives.  Being thankful and having an attitude of gratitude toward our Heavenly Father is one way to be close to Him and to honor the One who has created us and given us a purpose on this earth.

Wake up each day with an attitude of gratitude.

Our Confidence is in Him

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The definition of confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”  Having that feeling or belief that you can rely on our Lord, to have that firm trust, comes from knowing Him.  The only way to KNOW HIM like anyone else it so to spend time with Him.

When cultivating a relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship or a friendship, you spend time with that person.  You get to know that person by being with them, asking questions, talking about stuff.  The more time you spend with someone, the more you know that person.  Your trust or confidence in that person then comes from how he or she reacts to circumstances that arise while with that person.  You should not just take that person’s word for whether they are trustworthy or not.  You watch how he or she handle situations, whether they are trustworthy in their dealings with you and with others.

It is the same with the Lord.  The more time you spend time with Him and in His Word, the more you become acquainted with Him and His character.  As you cultivate your relationship with Him, you spend time with Him, talk to Him, and expect Him to communicate back to you.  You start off by giving Him small situations to entrust to Him and watch Him be trustworthy.  You let Him show you who He is and let Him build your confidence in Him.

How do we do that?  But spending time reading His Word.  Then by putting His Word into action.  Take a scripture that stands out to you, and meditate on it all day.  Maybe it is a scripture that gives you peace.  Let that peace come over you as you think on it.  Say it in your mind and say it our loud.

The Word is the only thing that is life-changing.  Hebrews 4:14 says in the NLT, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest twoedged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Let the Word teach you who our Lord is.  Have confidence in Him that He will be there for you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.  Trust Him that He will see you through anything that comes your way.  Spend time with Him and find Him trustworthy so that you may have the confidence in Him.

In the 8th verse in Jeremiah 17 above, it says, “They (the people who have confidence in the Lord) will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The more you spend time with Him the more your roots are soaked with the nourishment they need to see you through a drought.  There will be no fear that you will dry out or that you won’t bear fruit.  You will have water to spare because you have been preparing and soaking your roots for the day of the drought.  These are the people who seem to be able to walk through a fire because they have prepared their root system in advance.  Soak up the Word of God so that you will be prepared for whatever fire comes your way, whatever drought or life-change may try to attack you.  You will have confidence in your Lord because you have developed that relationship so that you can count on Him to see you through.

 

 

The Lord is Trustworthy

It says in Psalm 145:13b, “The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises, and faithful in all He does.”  When we are not trustworthy, He is.  When we are not faithful, He is.  I love the fact that when I have not been faithful to Him, in spending time with Him or in His Word, He is still faithful to me.  He is waiting on me to show up for our next appointment.  He is always on the ready for our next adventure together.  I may be the one not showing up on time or on a regular basis, but He is and He is always waiting for my attention.

I’ve heard people say “I don’t feel close to God right now.”  Or “I don’t believe God is doing anything for me now.”  I’ve heard others say, “I don’t feel like God is hearing me.”  All these are common thoughts or phrases.  But keep in mind, He is the one that is faithful and trustworthy.  If we are not feeling close to God, it is because we have put others or other things in front of Him and have not spent enough time with Him.

Saints, in I John 5:15, it says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  We only have to go back to the Word to remind us that when we ask, He hears!  Now it is up to us to fine tune our relationship with HIm to hear Him when He answers.  We can’t blame God for our unfaithfulness if we are not spending quality time with Him.  

The next verse, it says, “15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”  But we must be confident that He hears us.  His Word says He does.  If we believe the inerrant Word of God, then we must believe that when we ask, He hears. And if we know that He hears us, then we know that He will answer.

One of the things that we Christians are commanded to do, is to become more like Christ.  So strive toward faithfulness and trustworthiness in the things of God.  Be faithful to spending time with your Father.  Be trustworthy to show up for your appointments with Him.  He is faithful and trustworthy, waiting patiently for your next appointment together.

That Which Concerns Me

I was going through some personal issues and wondering how I can get peace through these times.  In the past I have walked in John 14:27 in which Jesus says that I can walk in His peace, the peace that He walked in.  But that did not seem to bring the peace of mind that I was needing.

Then I was reading in Psalms 138 and came across verse 8 where it says “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”  I realized that I had to leave it in His hands to perfect.  I needed to give up the plans I had to fix the problem and trust Him that He will perfect the situation.  It says “that which concerns me.”  He has my back.  He knows what issues I am dealing with and He says that He will perfect it.  Who am I to come in and try to fix something that He is trying to do?  What a revelation and comforting thought that someone bigger than me, smarter than me, more capable than me will come in and take care of the situation.

I release these things into His hand and I trust that He will perfect them.  He knows what concerns me.  He knows the anguished that I have struggled with.  He knows the failures, the mistakes, and the disappointments, and He says, “let me take this off your hands and perfect it in my own way.”

I Cor 2:5 says, “that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”  I do not have any wisdom than can trump God’s power.  I need to get my wisdom out of the way, and let God’s power handle the situation.  Man’s wisdom is inferior to God’s power in any situation, and I have to remember to get myself out of the way and let Him work “in that which concerns me.”

God cares about what concerns me just as He cares about what concerns you.  Let Him work in your life and in the situations that concern you and your loved ones.

Holy and Dearly Loved

I was reading Colossians 3 in I found in verses 12-14 some astounding statements.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which bonds them all together in perfect unity.”

Wow, the first statement makes all the rest come to pass in our lives.  It says “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly love.”  If we could truly grasp what this means to us, that we are holy and dearly loved.  Every human in the world desires to be dearly loved.  We are born with the innate desire to be loved.  So no matter what our upbringing was, whether loving or not, we can look to our Heavenly Father to dearly love us.  First and foremost, before we can embark on the journey our Heavenly Father has for us, which is stated in the next scriptures, we must understand and truly absorb what being dearly loved means.

There are three kinds of love: eros love, philos love, and agape love.  We are familiar with eros love.  Eros is a Greek term which means desire and longing.  It is romantic love and has much to do with the physical attraction we have between man and woman.  In the beginning of a romantic relationship, this kind of love is apparent but if it is not checked and kept in balance, it can become selfish and possessive.

Philos love is in relationships that we have with brothers and sisters just as with our Christians brothers and sisters.  It is a fondness and familiarity with people with like minds.  We pal around with people who like to do the same things and think the same way.  This is a rewarding kind of love that we have with friends and family but it is not always reliable and it can be hurtful at times when relationships go sour.

Agape love is the love Jesus has for His Father, that God has towards us, and the love that we are commanded to have toward everyone, believer or not.  Unlike eros and philos love, we do not have to have a feeling to act on this kind of love.  It is more a decision and, with that decision, we act loving towards others.  This decision to love comes from the fact, not feeling, that God loves us conditionally, therefore we should want to reciprocate that by loving others in the same way.  If we can truly understand this agape love that God has for us, it comes naturally that we show love toward others.  If we are not loving toward others, we may not really understand how we are loved dearly by our Heavenly Father.  This love is unconditional and everlasting.  You can do nothing to make it go away.

The next scripture then says that we should “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Since we are dearly loved, we should work on developing these attributes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  This is not to say we can do these immediately after receiving Christ, but that we should work to develop these in our lives through studying the Word of God which teaches us how to live our lives worthy of Him.  And that post is for another day.

Today, know that God dearly loves you and wants the best for you.  He desires that you be blessed as you are His child just all fathers want their children to be blessed.  He loves you with agape love that is unconditional and everlasting.

 

Noah’s Rainbow

As I was teaching the 4 and 5 year olds this morning in church, I was reminded of God’s promises.  We have been teaching on the Fruits of the Spirit and how God helps us to be like Jesus by helping us to grow in the Fruits of the Spirit.  We were talking about faithfulness today and how God is faithful in His promises to us.  I read the story of Noah’s Ark to the children, and they are always fascinated with this story of the animals getting on the very big boat.  It was not the story in the curriculum but I thought of the rainbow that God gave Noah to remind him that He would never flood the whole earth again.  God has so many promises that He has made and He has not failed in any of them.

Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”  

Verse 25 is interesting, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  God’s promises are as 2 Corinthians 1:20 says in the New Living Translation, “for all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.”  

But why this discourse on “Yes” and “Amen”?  I’ve heard this scripture many times but let’s look at the previous scriptures and this “Yes” and “Amen” stuff will make more sense.

It begins in verse 17, “You may be asking why I changed my plan.  Do you think I make my plans carelessly?  Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”?  As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waiver between “Yes” and “No.”  He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.” 

His promises are always fulfilled.  Our faithfulness should be a direct response to God’s faithfulness.  This is one of His promises to us, that He is faithful.  Faithful to what?  Well, many things, but one in particular would be that He is faithful to forgive us our sin if we ask Him to.  If we cannot think of any other promise (which I am sure we can), this one is big enough to keep us faithful to our God who is faithful to us not matter what. There is so much more on this subject that I will expound on this another day.

Remember, anytime you see a rainbow, let it be a reminder of HIs promises to us and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises.

 

Grateful for His Greatness

I have not written in a while.  Thanksgiving came and went with so many things to do but I was not too busy to remind myself of how great my God is.  I am grateful for His greatness!

I Chronicles 29:11:

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and

the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

If we can keep in mind the greatness of our Father, we can conquer the fears and doubts that come our way.  It says here that everything in heaven and earth is His.  I am His, and He has created me this way and loves me this way.  I am His kid, therefore, I am His heir.  He is head over all.  I am reminded of who He is in those times that I am frustrated or disappointed.  I want to call on Him in times that I don’t have an answer.  We should wake up each day and remind ourselves how great He is.  We should seek His counsel daily and stop long enough to remind ourselves who He is and how great He is.  We can walk in the peace of God knowing that He is great and is above all.

Deut. 32:3 says, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!”

I am grateful for his greatness for He is my God and the God of my children.  I can walk in the knowledge that He is my Protector, my Provider, my Supply, my Healer, my Peace, and everything else that I need Him to be in my life.

Walk in gratefulness of who He is and His greatness.  There is no other God that is as great!  He is above all.  And He is mine!

Grace and Peace

In 2 Peter 1:2-4 (which by the way is where 124 comes from) the Word says,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

There is so much rich stuff in these verses, but let’s start at verse 2, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”  The word tells us here that we can have grace and peace multiplied in our lives but we have to pursue knowledge of God and of Jesus.

Knowing the character of God will multiply grace and peace in our lives.  John 14:27 says that Jesus gives us His peace.  That means that the peace that He walked in on this earth is the same peace that He gives us.  It is a free gift; the key is knowing the trustworthiness of our God and that He does what He says He will do.

The next verse says, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”

This grace and peace is by His divine power.  It is not up to us to gain this but to pursue knowledge and He gives by His divine power.  So many times we think that it is something that we have to do or to earn but as you can see, it is by His divine power.  It is all about Him and not about us.

Remember: Grace and peace are yours when you pursue the knowledge of God.  When we are passionate about knowing who He is, and not just that he is God, but His character, His integrity, His love, then grace and peace are multiplied in our lives.

As the famous quote says, “To know him is to love him,” this is true of our Heavenly Father.

I will continue on this subject in the next few posts because there is so much to pull out of these scriptures.