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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Which Day Is Thanks Giving Day?

Just so we get off on the right track here, I'm all for Thanksgiving Day.  I've traveled to other lands and have a better idea than most of just how much every American has to be thankful for.  A lot of citizens of the United States of America take this great country for granted.  A good many people enjoy every benefit this country offers, then turn right around and ridicule and publicly advocate against the U.S. for giving everyone the same right(s) they use to speak out against our country. Go figure!

My point to be made today sort of goes along with, yet is separate from, the issue(s) I mentioned in the first part of this post.  Just like on Sunday mornings, people all across this country of ours will sit down today [it's already Thanksgiving Day in some parts of the country!] and give thanks to our LORD GOD for the bounty before them.  Most people will thank HIM for this great country we live in, and make mention that there are a lot of other countries in which people don't have the [legal] right to offer thanks to GOD, or to live freely.  This Thanksgiving Day I'm confident that quite a few prayers will be offered up for the Ministers of the Gospel in China and Iran who were told the only way they could avoid execution for the crime of being a Christian was to recant.  I agree with everybody doing every single thing I've mentioned here, and that leads right up to my point of today's ramblings.  Before I get going and forget, there's something I haven't mentioned in quite a while that I need to get out in the open here.... Yeah, I'm a Believer! 

Is this day the only day of the year, excepting every Sunday, that should be a day of thanks for those of us who claim the Blood of CHRIST as atonement for sins?  Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm as guilty as anybody, so don't think for a minute that I'm putting myself up on some kind of pedestal.  I'll tell you what my excuse that doesn't work anymore used to be [funny how that works when GOD gets involved, isn't it?] Something along the lines of, "Just because I don't say 'Thanks' everyday doesn't mean that I'm not thankful."  Or, "It's in my heart, and GOD knows what's in our hearts, right?"  I could go on and on with the excuses, but I think you probably know where I'm going with this, don't you?  Yes, the FATHER knows what's in our hearts, and yes, HE knows when we're thankful even if we don't come right out and say it.  The thing to remember here though is that HE didn't just 'think' about sending HIS Son to die on the cross.  HIS Son didn't have it in His heart to obey the FATHER's will just on that life changing [did I say 'changing' or 'giving?'] day on that hill overlooking Jerusalem, now did HE?  When we get ourselves into some kind of a bind, GOD doesn't just think about giving us a hand our of our trouble and forgiving us for whatever bone-headed stunt we've pulled this time only on a certain day of the week or year, now does HE?  Neither is HE only available for us to come to on Sundays and the last Thursday of every November.  When we do come to HIM, whenever that is and for whatever reason, HE's always there, any time of the day or night, every single day of the year. 

The more I think about it, the sillier it seems.  It's like you have a perfectly good car in the driveway.  But five days out of the week, you walk right by it on you way down the drive when you're setting out on your eight or ten mile walk to work.  Then maybe on Saturday you pass it by on your way to the grocery store, I'll bet you really hate your grocery [shopping] day, don't you?  When Sunday comes, it's time to save the old shoe leather and fire the old heap up and off to church you go!  I know this sounds a little silly, but is it?  What has more meaning to you, GOD or your car?  Has your car ever not started or had a flat?  Especially with the price of gas, does it seem as if you're always pulling into either the gas station or the mechanics shop?  How about my wife's pet peeve, having to scrape ice and snow off the windshields? [It doesn't help when I explain that it only happens in the winter.]  Now, take a [long] minute and compare that to GOD.  HE's always there and HE's always ready.  We never get a busy signal or a voice mail.  HE never puts us on hold.  Never any 'low fuel'  or 'check engine' lights.  But a good many Christians only have any time for HIM on Sundays and Turkey Day. 

Every day is HIS day, or it should be.  Every day is a day of thanksgiving, or it should be.  I was talking with someone, and I probably shouldn't admit that I can't remember who it was, about marriage and I made the statement that when someone tells me that their marriage is a fifty-fifty deal, with each of them contributing fifty percent to the marriage, then my response is that the marriage is already in trouble.  I mean BIG TROUBLE!  Now I want you to think about this, if people are willing to contribute fifty percent of themselves to their marriage, but only thirteen days a year, and those days aren't usually the whole twenty-four hour days, to GOD then something is seriously wrong, with both that person's  marriage and their relationship with GOD! 

My prayers are for you all to have Happy Thanksgivings, and that you have three hundred and sixty-five of them a year!

Faithful in HIS service,
Terry & Faith
Absarokee MT

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Wait?

There comes a  certain point in time for everyone, even Christians, when we all ask ourselves if we've made the right decisions.  Sometimes this certain point in time is at the end of our lives. I've seen in dying peoples eyes, who were not Christians, the fear of death overshadowed only by the terrifying certainty that what they've denied GOD their whole lives HE now might deny them.  In so many ways, the fear of imminent death is the great equalizer.  When someone knows that their time is short, all the posturing and worldly based arguments against either the existence of and/or the need for GOD are discarded.  It's sad to say that this doesn't happen all of the time, there are people who are so deeply saturated with satan's poisons that even the certainty of death doesn't faze them.  Then there are the times that death comes in an instant, like in a car wreck or some other kind of accident or when someone is killed by another person.  Of all of these situations in which [physical] death is the end result, it's when a non-Christian dies instantly or without a last chance to come to the Throne of Grace that bothers me the most.  I'll give you a good example of why I feel so frustrated and helpless during these times.  A couple of years ago, a good friend of ours learned that a friend of hers who had been sick for several years had passed.  I knew the fellow, and he was a real piece of work to say the least.  Because of the kind of man he was, this friend of ours asked me to pray for him after he'd passed.  It surprised her when I refused, but I believe it also shocked her into reality when I explained that if he didn't make the decision for Christ before he died, no amount of prayers would do him any good at all.  If you'll remember, Jesus told one of His disciples to 'let the dead bury the dead.'  His point was that we serve a living GOD, and we are a living people.  The frustration and helplessness I mentioned earlier is because GOD has made it so easy for us to come to Him through His Son, who even died in our place.  The 'new and better Covenant'  undid all of the restrictions and biases held by the Old Testament Worshipper so that all can equally come to the Throne [of Grace].

'Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.'  (Acts 4:12    NKJV)

For such a relatively short verse, this piece of Scripture is loaded with information, literally life-saving information.  First we read about the exclusiveness of Christ as Savior.  Then we have the equally good news concerning the inclusiveness of His life-giving act.  Like I stated earlier, all of the restrictions and biases established by Old Testament Scripture and traditions of man were washed away by the same blood that washes away the stain and condemnation of sin from the New Testament Believer.

So, I'll wrap this up with a question, and I'm the first to admit that it's the same question that's been asked for the last two thousand years.

Why would anyone not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?  I've heard so many people justify their denial of Him with every excuse from they don't believe He exists to they'll check Him out when they're ready to settle down.  So many never have that chance to 'check Him out' because their life will end suddenly.  I'll leave you with this one last thought, and that is it isn't a safe bet to put off turning your life over to Christ until the last minute for at least two reasons I can think of.  First, you may not have a last minute.  Second, would someone coming to Christ at the end of their life still come to Him if they weren't facing death?  This is a question that could very well determine, for GOD, whether that person was sincere, or just trying to 'pad their bet'.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Motivation Counts!

I know that I've already talked about motivation in a previous post (Why We Do What We Do - June 11, 2011), but please go on and read this post because I've a different point to make today. 

'17Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD GOD of Israel.  18But the LORD said to my father David, "Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for MY name, you did well that it was in your heart."'    (I Kings 8:17-18    NKJV)

What we have here is Solomon, the second son of King David and Bathsheba, with what is basically a sermon dedicating the new temple to GOD.  This was the temple that his father, King David, had desired to build years earlier, but had been told by GOD through the priest Nathan that this was something not meant for him to do.  The point here is that GOD was blessed by the fact that David had this desire, or need, in his heart to build a temple to house the ark of GOD.  GOD didn't need to see the temple built by David to be blessed by it.  It wasn't the temple itself, a stone and wood structure, that would be a blessing, or pleasing, to the LORD.  Now here is our lesson for Christians in today's world.  GOD has made it clear that temporal things, like stone and wood structures, and nice cars and trucks, how often we're in church or how much money we put in the offering, these things do not bless GOD.  While places of worship should be respected places, I can't find Scripturally that the more elegant or prestigious a building we worship HIM in, the more HE'll be blessed.  Neither can I find that the more chic or fashionable our clothes are the more HE'll be pleased.  Yes, we should show HIM reverence and awe by wanting to  look respectful  in a respectful-looking place of worship, if that is our motivation.  I read some time ago that one of the better known 'TV Preachers' in what we're calling 'Megachurches' now was given a $10,000 a month clothing allowance.  (This was in a taped interview, so I'm going to assume that if the dollar amount was inaccurate it would've been corrected before the piece was aired).  I'll tell you folks something, I don't know that I could except that kind of money from our ministry for any kind of allowance.  My first thought was something along the lines of how much we could do for how many people with ten grand a month.  This brings us back to motivation.  Just who is this TV Preacher trying to look good for?  It can't be for GOD, HE only sees our 'innermost' selves.  Is it for the members of the church he pastors at?  Now we need to look at their motivation for even being in church if something as useless [to GOD] as how their pastor dresses is that important to them, and it must be or the congregants would put a stop to that kind of money being spent on clothes.  In my first post on the issue of motivation, I made the point that what we desire to do for GOD brings HIM just as much blessings as what we actually accomplish.  Aren't we really trying to look good for ourselves?  Is this how we measure our success?  But whose standards are we measuring our success by?  This is where we can get into trouble real easy, even if we are careful.  Think about it for a minute, what 's the first thing people will respond with when they're invited to church, especially the women?  It'll be something like, "Well, I'll have to see if I have anything to wear."  The connotation is that church is the only place they wear clothes, they're running around naked the rest of the time.  Should we go to church in cut-off jeans and flip flops?  I'll not answer that one, except to say take it to the LORD in prayer, then dress however you're comfortable.  Just make sure that you're being led by HIM while you're laying out you clothes for Sunday morning.  Don't worry about what anyone will say, what do they know anyway?

Brothers and Sisters [before the LORD], make sure that your reasons for doing whatever you do are the right reasons, and yes, this does extend to every single part of your lives.  No, I'm not taking this 'motivation' thing too far, the only way that could be true would be if you felt that JESUS took HIS 'dying on the cross' thing too far.  Well, did HE?