Tag Archives: appreciation

Thanksgiving to God

A message summary of November 23, 2014 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The Lord tells us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. (see Matthew 18:4; Romans 8:16)

When will you come to a place to sincerely say “thank you” for what you have, you will begin to see how God is working in your life.

To say “thank you” is a polite expression of gratitude for someone’s words or actions.

God’s will for your life is to give thanks in all circumstances.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in everything,

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 14:5-7

5 One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 Whoever observes the day, observes it for the honor of the Lord. Whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat it, yet he thanks God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

 

God is your ultimate provider in life. He is able to keep you.

What is it to dismiss the importance of a thankful heart?

  1. A haughty person. A person who has a great pride in himself.
  2. People who expect others to do things for them.
  3. Look to God to always be available without giving Him thanks or recognition.
  4. Lose the ability to show gratefulness to God for helping you throughout the day.
  5. Failure to appreciate God in your life.

 

Psalm 107:1-43

Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

His faithful love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim

that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe

3 and has gathered them from the lands—

from the east and the west,

from the north and the south.

4 Some wandered in the desolate wilderness,

finding no way to a city where they could live.

5 They were hungry and thirsty;

their spirits failed within them.

6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;

He rescued them from their distress.

7 He led them by the right path

to go to a city where they could live.

8 Let them give thanks to the Lord

for His faithful love

and His wonderful works for all humanity.

9 For He has satisfied the thirsty

and filled the hungry with good things.

10 Others sat in darkness and gloom—

prisoners in cruel chains—

11 because they rebelled against God’s commands

and despised the counsel of the Most High.

12 He broke their spirits with hard labor;

they stumbled, and there was no one to help.

13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;

He saved them from their distress.

14 He brought them out of darkness and gloom

and broke their chains apart.

15 Let them give thanks to the Lord

for His faithful love

and His wonderful works for all humanity.

16 For He has broken down the bronze gates

and cut through the iron bars.

17 Fools suffered affliction

because of their rebellious ways and their sins.

18 They loathed all food

and came near the gates of death.

19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;

He saved them from their distress.

20 He sent His word and healed them;

He rescued them from the Pit.

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord

for His faithful love

and His wonderful works for all humanity.

22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving

and announce His works with shouts of joy.

23 Others went to sea in ships,

conducting trade on the vast waters.

24 They saw the Lord’s works,

His wonderful works in the deep.

25 He spoke and raised a tempest

that stirred up the waves of the sea.

26 Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths,

their courage melting away in anguish,

27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men,

and all their skill was useless.

28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

and He brought them out of their distress.

29 He stilled the storm to a murmur,

and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30 They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.

Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord

for His faithful love

and His wonderful works for all humanity.

32 Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people

and praise Him in the council of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into desert,

springs of water into thirsty ground,

34 and fruitful land into salty wasteland,

because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.

35 He turns a desert into a pool of water,

dry land into springs of water.

36 He causes the hungry to settle there,

and they establish a city where they can live.

37 They sow fields and plant vineyards

that yield a fruitful harvest.

38 He blesses them, and they multiply greatly;

He does not let their livestock decrease.

39 When they are diminished and are humbled

by cruel oppression and sorrow,

40 He pours contempt on nobles

and makes them wander in a trackless wasteland.

41 But He lifts the needy out of their suffering

and makes their families multiply like flocks.

42 The upright see it and rejoice,

and all injustice shuts its mouth.

43 Let whoever is wise pay attention to these things

and consider the Lord’s acts of faithful love.

 

(from Psalm 107:1) Give thanks to the Lord…WHY?

He is good (to me).

His love endures forever (for me).

Romans 8:35

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?

Can affliction or anguish or persecution

or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

 

Who is it that God is looking for to give thanks?

(from Psalm 107:2) The redeemed of the Lord should say thanks for what God has done (and that’s not everyone). Let them declare, “my God is good!”

The redeemed refers to the next of kin (and as such to buy back a relative’s property).

redeemed – ga’al (gaw-al’)

This is how God sees His people who acknowledge Him as Lord. He is the avenger and deliverer that purchases, ransoms and redeems us.

He acts as our next of kin.

See the importance of saying thanks to the Lord:

(from Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31, 43) Whoever is wise, let him take heed in appreciation and consider Him. (Think it over and think it through.)

The upright see and rejoice (verse 42). The mouths of the wicked will remain closed. (They don’t know who to thank or express their own pridefulness.)

What does the one who is upright see that the wicked person does not see?

(from verses 4, 7) The redeemed can see the path as they move along. The ones who are not redeemed will wander from place to place without God’s presence.

(from verses 10, 13, 14) Some will see depression and will remain stuck in it (because of rebellion against Him), while those who are redeemed will seek God and he will deliver from affliction and captivity. He is the One who breaks the chains!

His goodness and love endures forever! It endures for you! That is something to be thankful for!

(from verses 17, 18, 20) Our own sin hinders and hampers us. There’s no one to blame but yourself. Thankfully, God will redeem anyone who declares Him to be worthy and whoever repents and turns to sin. He will deliver you into freedom and “He is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” (1 John 1:9)

Do you see God working in your life? Do you see God doing something in your life? If you do, it needs to be recognized with gratitude.

“…Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20-21)

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The Myopic Believer

Today’s message summary from Melvin Gaines:

When it comes to eyesight, your ability to see changes as you get older.  For example, objects close up are clear, while objects far away can be very blurry.  This is nearsightedness.  Myopia is the clinical term for nearsightedness, which means you can’t see far away.

How does this pertain to a person who is a believer?  It has to do with your faith.  There is only faith in what is seen, but what about faith when things are unseen or unknown?

What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1-2

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.

 

Our entire relationship in Jesus Christ is based upon faith…believing in the promises of God for salvation and eternal life. Without faith, we cannot experience any security in where we are today and where we will go when we leave here.  If you choose to live for the moment and fail to see the importance of what will come in the future, you are not relying on any hope or promises that Jesus offers.  Think about this as you live your life.  If you are living a life where there is a lack of confidence in where you stand, it has an effect on how you are living and how others see you.

Without faith, every believer reverts to a place that is most familiar—the flesh.  In the flesh, you can’t see what is in the distance.  You can only see what is in front of you.  It is the opposite of having faith.  In the flesh, we are myopic.

Symptoms of myopia in a believer:

 

1. Hidden or spoiled fruits (of the Spirit)

Galatians 5:19-25 (HCSB)

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

 

Your flesh will prevent the Spirit from operating in your life.

Your flesh will hide the fruits of the Spirit.

Your flesh will spoil your fruits.

 

2. Short on faithing and long on complaining

1 Peter 4:8-10 (HCSB)

8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

 

3. Missed blessings mean missed opportunities

Deuteronomy 28:1-10 (HCSB)

Blessings for Obedience

1 “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: 

3 You will be blessed in the city

and blessed in the country.

4 Your descendants will be blessed,

and your land’s produce,

and the offspring of your livestock,

including the young of your herds

and the newborn of your flocks.

5 Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed.

6 You will be blessed when you come in

and blessed when you go out.

7 “The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions. 8 The Lord will grant you a blessing on your storehouses and on everything you do; He will bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 9 The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by Yahweh’s name, and they will stand in awe of you.

 

Deuteronomy 28:65-67

65 You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’—because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see.

 

Here’s the problem—if these are your attributes—hidden or spoiled fruits, complaining, and unappreciative—what do other people see in you where they can be encouraged?

A believer’s actions must be evident to others in ways that are deemed to be Christlike.  Anything less is inadequate as a believer.  This myopic behavior, left untreated, can be disastrous in the long term.

God is aware of this condition and its treatment.  It’s up to the person to opt for a prescription, which begins with a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  He wants you to have more as a believer than plain old fire insurance.

Escape through fire…

1 Corinthians 3:14-16 (HCSB)

14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.

16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

 

But don’t think you get a pass even in this area…God knows your heart and will call you out if you haven’t been honest with yourself…

Ezekiel 15:6-8 (HCSB)

6 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire as fuel, so I will give up the residents of Jerusalem. 7 I will turn against them. They may have escaped from the fire, but it will still consume them. And you will know that I am Yahweh when I turn against them. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have acted unfaithfully.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

 

Your prescription for myopia as a believer:

Work on your IMAGE

Investigate – not just read the Bible, but investigate the contents of it–study and learn His Word.

Meditate – not just prayer, but meditate on the Word day and night. Discover how God is speaking to you.

Apply – Taking God’s Word and applying it to your life on a daily basis.  Knowing the Word is not enough–applying it means much more.

Grow – Learning to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ each day and grow in your knowledge of Him.

Endure – To endure is to be able to effectively withstand any opposition that you face; especially the opposition of the enemy.

 

Ephesians 6:13-18 (HCSB)

13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,

righteousness like armor on your chest,

15 and your feet sandaled with readiness

for the gospel of peace.

16 In every situation take the shield of faith,

and with it you will be able to extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation,

and the sword of the Spirit,

which is God’s word.

18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

The prescription for a myopic believer begins with a better relationship with the One who saved you in the beginning–Jesus Christ. He helps you in the power of the Holy Spirit in how to live life after salvation.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


God’s Expectation of His Church

The church is the place where God’s name should be honored. The moment that you come to church should be the moment that you are preparing to worship Him and show respect for who He is. By doing this, you are much more likely to come away with answers that will bring you with a greater understanding of God and His Word, and apply that knowledge according to His will. Take the time to examine your approach regarding your church and worship time.Jesus had two instances where He had to “cleanse” the temple because of what the people had been using it for.  The first recorded instance is in John 2 and the second follows with accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  First, the account in John 2:
John 2:13-17

13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and [He also found] the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me.

If you look at history, this is the third temple. Solomon’s temple was the first. The second temple was built by Zerubbabel (the leader of those returning from exile to rebuild the temple–as noted in Ezra 2:2; 4:2; 5:2; Haggai 1:1). Then came Herod the Great, who oversaw the building of the third temple. He built the temple to win the favor of the people. Through all of this, we lost the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, and all of the things that were originally associated with God’s presence in the temple. All of the temples were all ultimately destroyed because the people who professed to follow the Lord were not truly worshiping Him. The Lord was not accepting man’s way of worshiping Him and allowed for the destruction of the temples because of the change of its role and with its people. When it comes to today’s church, God will allow for the closing of a facility that does not honor Him or respect Him. He wants His followers to worship God in a way that glorifies Him, honors Him and shows the proper reverence for Him.

When Jesus went to the temple, it was over a period of time as he was growing up. He understood that the temple was a place of worship, but now, in His ministry, He saw the change of the authority of the leadership had changed and that there was no longer a reverence for God in the temple. The leaders were not looking at the temple as a place to make money and even take advantage of people.

1 Peter 5:1-4

1 Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: 2 shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

In order to sell in the temple, there had to be a provision given to the priests in order to set up booths. Under this system, the priests and high priests, many of whom were actually Gentile, were earning money while taking advantage of the poor.

Matthew 21:12-13

 12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves! “

Mark 11:15-18

 15 They came to Jerusalem, and He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers ‘ tables and the chairs of those selling doves, 16and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple complex.

    17 Then He began to teach them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations ? But you have made it a den of thieves !” 18 Then the chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to destroy Him. For they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished by His teaching.

Luke 19:45-48

 45 He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those who were selling, 46 and He said, “It is written, My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves !”     47 Every day He was teaching in the temple complex. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him, 48 but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.

In this second account of Jesus clearing the temple, notice that Jesus, while removing the sellers and the money changers, used the opportunity to instruct and teach the people of the proper way of ministry and worship within the temple, and it was His actions that enlightened the people. His opposition tried to challenge His authority, but it was a futile effort after Jesus had removed the people who were selling in the temple and the money changers.

John 2:18-21

18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign [of authority] will You show us for doing these things?”

    19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”

    20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?”

    21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body.

The church, today’s modern temple, is supposed to be a place of education about God, Jesus Christ and a place to worship Him.

Isaiah 56:1-8

1 This is what the LORD says:
    Preserve justice and do what is right,
    for My salvation is coming soon,
    and My righteousness will be revealed.

    2 Happy is the man who does this,
    anyone who maintains this,
    who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
    and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

    3 No foreigner who has converted to the LORD
    should say,
    “The LORD will exclude me from His people”;
    and the eunuch should not say,
    “Look, I am a dried&nbhyph;up tree.”

    4 For the LORD says this:
    “For the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
    and choose what pleases Me,
    and hold firmly to My covenant,

    5 I will give them, in My house and within My walls,
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters.
    I will give each [of them] an everlasting name
    that will never be cut off.

    6 And the foreigners who convert to the LORD,
    minister to Him, love the LORD’s name,
    and are His servants,
    all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it,
    and who hold firmly to My covenant—

    7 I will bring them to My holy mountain
    and let them rejoice in My house of prayer.
    Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be acceptable on My altar,
    for My house will be called a house of prayer
    for all nations.”
          8 [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD ,
          who gathers the dispersed of Israel:
    “I will gather to them still others
    besides those already gathered.”

God wants all people to freely come to church and celebrate God–in the same way, there are some areas where things that don’t involve worship or praise of God need to be cast out of the church.

When you step into church, your consciousness and awareness of God should be awakened. God’s Word is present…it’s now just a process of believing it in its entirety.