FROM THE HEART
Relevant blogs about living as a Christian in the world today.
This is a collection of thoughts on the life and power of God’s Word for Christians. When we read and take the Bible into our hearts, it is transformational.
Faith comes from “hearing” the Word of God. The Lord has said that if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. When we “hear” what the Lord has to say and His Word works in us, we are given more comprehension and as we hear more and apply it, we continue to grow in faith and understanding. This is not just hearing with the outer ear but hearing inside our hearts. (Mark 4:23-24, Romans 10:17)
Finding out the true character of God. Most of us come to be Christians with preconceptions about who God is. Only when we grow in our relationship with Him, and read and study His Word, do we find out who the Lord really is. His character, His heart, His ways, His will, etc. If He is to be our Lord, then we must know whom we serve. (2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 4:8, Matthew 4:4)
We are to be Christ-like. How can we be like Jesus without knowing who He really is? By reading and studying about Jesus in the Gospels and additional Scripture, we can do our best to please the Father, honor Him and be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ to those around us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
By learning what sin is, we can keep from error. How can we “not sin” if we do not know what “sin” is? Society’s definition of sin is often quite different from the Lord’s. Perhaps we were raised with parents who taught us wrong and unless we realize it, we might continue in something sinful. Learning “what sin is” from God’s Word, is the only definition that can be trusted! (Psalms 119b-11, Hebrews 4:12)
God’s Word not only shows us “what not to do,” but “what to do!” We need guidance on the road of life. The Bible not only shows us stop signs but which way to turn and how to proceed. (Psalms 119:130, Ephesians 5:8b-10)
Without the renewing of our minds, we would never make it. As Christians, we all have an “old man” that has a “sinful nature.” And being spiritually born-again, we all have new hearts that want to please God and live wisely. By the renewing of our minds, we can overcome that “sinful nature.” The old man has evil thought patterns which were developed in the process of time and are not God-centered thoughts. When we read and apply what we learn from God’s Word, we learn and develop new patterns of thinking with Christ as our center. (Romans 12:2, John 17:17-19)
In learning and knowing the truth, we can recognize deception. With the Bible as absolute truth, we can know truth from error. The world teaches tolerance of sin and often wants us to embrace it. By knowing the truth of God’s word, we can recognize the lies. We can love people without condoning or embracing the sin. The truth always exposes what is counterfeit. (2 Timothy 3:13-17, John 8:30-32, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
In knowing the Lord and His Word, we can have the courage to stand up for what is right, even in the face of an enemy. There are many situations in life that can make one fearful. But in knowing the Lord and the Bible, we ascertain the confidence to stand strong, even if the price may be expensive. (Ephesians 6:10-11, Psalms 27:1, Deuteronomy 31:6)
Through God’s Word, we learn that we have authority over Satan and his demonic forces. By knowing who we are in Christ and the power He has given us, we can stand against all darkness. (Ephesians 6:12-13, James 4:7, Mark 16:17-18)
By knowing God’s plan for us, as found in His Word, we can abide in Him and He can abide in us. And in so doing, we can be pleasing to the Lord and even have our prayers answered. (John 15:7, Psalms 91:14-16)
Abundant and eternal life are gifts for those who forsake sin and believe upon the Name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Lord provides an abundant life now and eternal life forever. Father God and the truth of His Word, set us free from the bondage of sin and provide the direction to have a blessed life. By knowing and applying the truth of the Gospel, we find true life, now and forever! (John 11:25-26a, John 10:10b)
Great benefits of reading and studying the Bible have been presented here, but there are many more. Thank the Lord for so masterfully creating the Bible through so many people and over so many years. As it has been said, many books can inform you but only the Bible can transform you. For those who do not learn and apply God’s Word, they fail to mature in the Lord. Without the truth of the Bible working in their lives, they easily fall prey to the tricks and lies of the devil. By not abiding in Christ or allowing Him to be their true Lord, they miss out on the covenant relationship with God. Therefore, He is not obligated to hear or answer their prayers.
Repenting and believing upon the Lord for salvation is just the beginning. Becoming a Christian is not a small thing or to be taken lightly. The word disciple and discipline come from the same base word in Greek. We are to put the Lord first above everyone and everything, including ourselves. It is an honor and a privilege to be a child of God and have His Word to help us. When we realize and learn of the Lord’s love and grace for us, we cannot help but love and seek to honor Him. We find that the Bible is the best instruction manual for life and the standard of measurement for our lives. We are thankful for it and want to grow in it more and more.
In America, Thanksgiving Day is always the fourth Thursday in November. Many want to deny or taint the history that Pilgrims of Christian faith, came to America and that the Indians helped them. In fact, many Pilgrims died arriving in harsh cold weather and the ones that survived, did so by the help of a Native American Indian name Squanto, who had been taken into slavery where he learned English but by the grace of God, made it back home. Squanto was not only able to help the Pilgrims, but he also helped them communicate with other Indians of the area. Estimates vary, but it is believed to be about 10 million of the people in America today, descended from this little colony. On a global scale, they are believed to have about 35 million descendants worldwide. Only 53 of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers and about 30 crew, survived the first winter in America.
In the autumn of 1621, the colonists celebrated their survival and harvest by sharing a feast with some of the local Native American Indians that they had established relations with.This was the first "Thanksgiving," and over time has become one of our biggest national holidays. And while many people all over the world have given thanks at harvest time, the celebration of Thanksgiving in America has been seen more and more by many because of modern travel and communications, and even personally experienced. And in so doing, many others also have started to have their own special days of Thanksgiving and special dinners.
As Christians, we must always maintain hearts of humility and thanksgiving. And what a blessing it is, to have a special day like Thanksgiving when we all take the time to count our blessings and work together for a special meal with traditional favorites. No matter how easy it is to get caught up in all the work or festivities, let’s not forget to take time and count our blessings and give thanks to the One from whom all blessings flow. Without the Lord, we would not even exist and without His blessings upon us, life would be unimaginable. From salvation through Jesus Christ, to our skills, talents, opportunities, health, families and loved ones, food and shelter, to waking up to another day, education, churches, jobs, freedoms, transportation, pets, and all the many blessings that surround each of us, we all have much to thank the Lord for.
Here are some of the things that we are thankful for in our family:
Salvation and being able to pray to a God who cares, hears, and answers in His wisdom
A great Bible in a language we can understand
A great church with a wise pastor and our church family
A cup of coffee in the morning
Sweet tea in the day
Birth family, married family and adopted family
Chocolate and other wonderful sweets
Not only food in the pantry, but food we like and also being able to eat out
Clothes, not only do we have clothes and shoes, but more than enough. There was a time when some of our grandparents had only two sets of clothes. One for every day and one for church or town. And went barefooted much of the year and then had to put newspaper or cardboard in their shoes until they could do better.
A good toothbrush and toothpaste
Good water, hot and cold water as needed
A loving spouse that loves the Lord too
Wonderful children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews
Blessed to be in the body of Christ and the ministries the Lord has me in
Sunrises and sunsets
Seasons including spring and the wildflowers, fall and the leaves turning
Living in a free country
High speed internet
Education, reading, writing, arithmetic and all the extras
Being able to see
Living in the country
Vehicles that not only run and are paid for, but were answers to prayer
Work with income
Instruments and music
Having a Lord so worthy of worship and being able to worship Him alone and with others too
Living in a climatized home
Parents that taught me right from wrong and good work ethics
A sense of humor
Cell phones and computers
And YOU if you are reading this!