“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(I Thess.5:16-18) Every Christian should be joyful. It’s easy to get distracted and discouraged by all the negative things that are happening in the world today, but Christians should be joyful no matter what. At the end of the day, no matter how bad things are, we Christians still have our relationship with God and it’s from Him that true lasting joy flows. Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet because our joy comes from God, not this temporary world. I know things get rough at times, they do for all of us, but don’t let the enemy or anyone else steal your joy. It’s God’s will that those in Christ be joyful.
I shouldn’t even have to mention this one, but I’ll write it anyway. Every Christian should be prayerful. No relationship thrives or survives without communication, so why would we think that our relationship with God is any different. God wants to hear from us and we need to talk to Him. One of the most important things that we can do for our faith walk every day is set aside time to pray. Those quiet moments acknowledging God honors Him and does so much to strengthen and revive our soul.
Finally, every Christian should be thankful. I know we all have plenty of problems but we also have many blessings to be thankful for. We tend to think about giving thanks at Thanksgiving, right? Christians should give thanks in all circumstances. Yes, even during the difficult times. If you’re going through a difficult time and you’re having a hard time being thankful, then give thanks to God for His love and that He is with you as you go through your rough spell. No matter how bad life gets, we can always be thankful that as Christians we are blood bought and forgiven people in God’s eyes. Let’s BE the Christian God’s wants us to be.
Recently, I was walking across a parking lot and noticed a book in the back window of a car. As I passed by and looked closer, it became obvious that the book was a Bible. Every book tells a story. Isn’t that the whole purpose of a book? I have a fairly good understanding of the story the Bible tells. This particular Bible told the same ageless story about God, His people and the redemption He brought through His son Jesus. That is the most powerful and important story ever, but that Bible, laying above the back seat in the window, told another story also.
The Bible, that captured my attention from the back of that car, was worn. I don’t think it was worn from the sunlight shining on it through the car window. I think it was worn from constantly being read by the owner as he or she searches for insights into our Creator. I couldn’t help but think that the owner of that Bible must turn those pages and read those words constantly. A well-worn Bible tells the story of a much used and often read Bible. Our Bible really does us little good, unless it is well-worn and used. Does yours tell the story of a well-worn, often used and constantly read Bible?
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”(Psalm 119:105)
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”(Jas.1:19-20) We all get angry at times. Sometimes we handle our anger well and other times we don’t. You know from my announcement last Sunday that I’ve experienced this personally. Last Wednesday night, just a few days after my announcement, the topic of the lesson in our men’s class was anger. Louie Giglio, in his video series “Goliath Must Fall” said something about anger that truly resonated with me. Louie said, “the antidote for anger is forgiveness.”
That doesn’t sound profound. In fact, I think I already knew that, I just hadn’t thought about it the way Louie presented it. So, we can choose to stay angry and allow our anger to control us and potentially even become an ungodly grudge. A grudge is an unwillingness to forgive. Remember, you hurt yourself and not the one who hurt you when you choose anger. We can also choose the antidote for anger and forgive. When I made the choice to forgive, my feelings of anger began to dissipate. Forgiveness is a choice and it is the antidote for anger.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”(Col.3:13)
We woke up last Monday morning to the tragic news of the Las Vegas shooting. A 64 – year old wealthy and obviously very disturbed man opens fire on some 22,000 people, killing over 50 people and wounding more than 500. Why? There are countless stories of people hurting their own family members. Why? Too often we hear stories of people hurting themselves. Why? In the aftermath of a tragedy we’re left dazed, confused and asking, why.
I’ve pondered the “why” question a lot this past week. The conclusion and solution I have come to are not new or even profound, but very true. Here goes. The only explanation that makes any sense as to why these unthinkable tragedies occur, is the fact that we live in a fallen world. Our world fell under the influence of Satan many years ago in the garden when Adam and Eve ushered sin into the world by yielding to Satan’s temptation.(Gen.3:6) Since that time the “god of this age” (Satan) has wreaked havoc in the lives of so many with his evil temptations to yield to sins allure.
The solution to our problem of living in a fallen world is nothing new or profound either. In fact, it’s a simple truth. Here it is. Folks, our world needs Jesus. Our world needs to bow their knee to Jesus and recognize Him as the only Lord and answer to surviving our sin soaked society. Far too many people are yielding to the world and Satan which is what leads to all of these horrific tragedies. The answer to the question “why”, that we are constantly asking, is Jesus. Jesus is the answer to mass shootings. Jesus is the answer to all forms of abuse. Jesus is the answer to suicide. Jesus is the answer no matter what.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”(Phil.2:9-11)