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Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

A sacrifice costs us something. 

When times are good, when the Lord says “yes” to our prayers, thanksgiving is easy. But when times are bad or the Lord says “no,” it costs us to give Him thanks. Yet we are commanded to give thanks in everything, during good times or bad.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14

Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  (Hebrews 13:15–16

There are rewards!

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.  (Psalm 50:23

But how?

Understand. Giving thanks to God is a commandment.

Decide. Resolve to give Him thanks.

Be aware. It is easy to give Him thanks when things are good. Be conscious of your determination to thank when times aren’t good or when you find yourself grumbling or bitter.

Practice. As you, over and over, give Him thanks, you build a godly habit.

Press on!

Our* Common Timeline

Our* Common Timeline

Chosen

We were chosen before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)

Purpose Prepared

He prepared good works beforehand that we might walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Born

He enabled our conception and birth. (Genesis 29:31)

Saved

When it pleased Him, He revealed His Son to us. (Galatians 1:15)

Sanctified

Now, He is working in us to will and work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

Glorification 

After He has accomplished His purpose in and through us, He will take us home. (Acts 13:36, Romans 8:30)

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*”Our” refers to those who have repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ; those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior.

God’s Sovereign Love

Harry Durgin Facebook

God’s Sovereign Love

After I was diagnosed with two macular holes and before I was able to travel back to my doctors, I received a lot of conflicting information. For about two months I didn’t know if I would keep useful vision, and I was uncertain about next steps. I would wake in the middle of the night looking around to see if I could still see. It was a very difficult time.

God’s sovereign love keep me going. I was in the midst of editing my book, When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? I was (and am) convinced that He was (and is) in total control, that I would keep, or not keep, useful vision according to His will (and His will alone). I was convinced that whatever happened, He loved me, was with me, would be with me, would bring good out of this trouble, and would give me ways joyfully to serve Him regardless.

Of course, I wasn’t consistent. There were times fear flooded in. Then I would have to give myself a severe talking-to, reviewing God’s truths of His all-powerful love for me.

I learned, first hand, about His sovereign love, grew in humility and submission (I wasn’t in control of this, He was!), and more and more trusted my holy God.

Sovereign Love

God is always who He is, never changing. He is a unified whole, whose attributes don’t conflict, but complement. God always loves and … (pick another attribute).

God’s sovereign love means He is at work in us.

He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13

The fact that God’s love is sovereign is immense. It isn’t just that He loves His children (those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior), it is that He makes His love tangible reality. He promises love and He fulfills love. He arranges everything to make His love operate in our lives. He uses every storm to make us into the image of His Son, fitting us for eternity, and helping us through our troubles. (Romans 8:28)

Rejoice in His unfathomable love! 

Next steps

We should examine ourselves: Do you, do I, trust God’s sovereignty? Do you, do I, trust God’s love? Is your, my, confidence in Him?

As always, we must be thoughtfully and prayerfully reading God’s word, learning about Him, relying on Him for wisdom and direction.

He is trustworthy. I pray our lives show it.

God Also Waits

We wait … and wait … and wait. We wait for the pandemic to be over. We wait for our health, or that of a loved one, to improve. We wait for news. We wait hoping a problem will be solved. We wait for God to intervene, to bless, to give us strength, to …

God also waits

God waited until the fullness of time came before He sent His Son. Galatians 4:4

Jesus waited to go to Bethany until Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. John 11

God is patiently waiting, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

God waited to reveal His Son to Paul. Galatians 1:15-16

God is waiting for the fullness of the Gentiles to come in. Romans 11:25

After Christ Jesus died, was raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of God, He waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet. Hebrews 10:12-13

God is waiting until the day He Himself fixed for judgment. Acts 17:31 

We wait for what God waits

God has a glorious plan and a loving purpose for those in Christ.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. (Psalm 89:14)

God works all things after the counsel of His will, including everything affecting us. Let’s determine to wait in a way that glorifies Him.

Whatever Your* Situation

Whatever Your Situation

Whatever your situation: Remember:

God is in control. 

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103:19

God is making you better. 

It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13

God is giving you opportunities to serve.

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10

Whatever your situation: Determine to:

Trust Him.

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.(Romans 8:28

Praise Him.

Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15

Serve Him.

Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1

Thank Him.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18

Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4

Press on!

I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus… one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14

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  • This post is for those who trust in Jesus Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior. If you haven’t, please see Becoming a Child of God.

Bad Results are Good

Harry Durgin Facebook

Bad Results are Good

A bad result from an action is used by God for good in a Christian’s life.

Huh?

There are at least three ways bad results are good

Bad results help us see our own sin, confess, and walk more closely to the Lord.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:67

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. (Psalm 119:71

Bad results prompt us to pray—for ourselves and for the people we may have hurt

God promises to work all things, including bad results, for good

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

He is making us into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29

What to do

Strive to live a godly life, of course.

Examine bad results to identify any sin of your own, then confessing and determining to walk more closely to the Lord.

If you’ve hurt others, try to make it right.

Determine to trust God in this, and every, situation.

And!

Press on!

Beyond the Ridge

Beyond the Ridge

When we hike, we generally have a good map, showing the route, elevation changes, distances, and destination. By looking at the map, we know how many ridges are left, how many streams still to cross, and how far we have to go.

In our Christian walk, we know something about the wonders of our destination. We are warned that we’ll have trouble along the way. We are told how to think, speak, and act on our journey. We are certain we will have opportunities to serve. We realize God prepared work for us to do. We are promised guidance and help.

But we don’t know how far we have to go. 

God’s word encourages us to have joy and hope in the journey, to rely on Him along the way, to persevere, and to trust Him for the unknown distance still to go.

Through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we … have hope. [It is] God who gives perseverance and encouragement …  (Romans 15:4–5

Therefore …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1

Press on!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

I had many relatives in the military, clear back to the Revolutionary War. None died in those conflicts, but one pilot uncle died in a Navy Reserve midair afterwards. On this day, I honor him and all those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.

And I, and you, have many others to honor: the many, many, martyrs for Christ, who have died, and are dying, in the ongoing war between good and evil. 

We look to and honor those who were faithful to Christ, who witnessed to Christ, even unto death.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews mentions a number of “heroes of the faith.” They are part of the cloud of witnesses (martyrs) (Hebrews 12:1) we look to as encouragements, as motivators, in order to be faithful ourselves.

As those fighting for our freedom were steadfast unto death, as those who considered Christ more important than their lives, let us also run our races with endurance, looking to Christ.

So today, Memorial Day, let us honor them and resolve to be faithful ourselves.

You Have What It Takes

You* Have What It Takes

The Reality—Part I

God can do anything.

Listen up. 

God can do anything by the power that works within us! The same power that works within us! 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (Ephesians 3:20

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:8

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13

And there are many more similar verses.

This is breathtaking. 

The Reality—Part II

Put God’s power into action

Feeling inadequate to do what God asks you to do? God makes you sufficient. You have what it takes.

Are you struggling with some stubborn sin? You have what it takes to overcome.

Are you concerned you won’t know what to say when your faith is attacked? The Holy Spirit will give you the words. You have what it takes.

Are you fearful that you’ll deny Christ in the face of impending death from persecution? You have what it takes to stay faithful. 

We are equipped to do the job God wants us to do.

How?

The fact is that we can do all things through Him. We can.

But we need to learn how to have His power work within us.

This is our assignment right now, in this world. We are to grow in the grace and love of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18). We are to learn how to fix our minds on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 1:13). We are to learn how to deny ourselves and take up the cross of Christ (Matthew 16:24). We are to increasingly walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

The great news is that God is working within us to want to do His will and to actually do His will (Philippians 2:13). 

Determine to pay attention and walk in His way.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. (Ephesians 6:10

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  • This post is only for believers, those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you’re not, or not sure, see Becoming a Child of God.