30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness: Day 24 – Family & Friends

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

No sorrow in a family is so great that God cannot take that sorrow and create something beautiful in its place.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Peter 2:10

“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Psalm 68:5

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

What a good God Who would provide family. From the beginning He saw that it was not good for man to be alone, so He provided a wife for Adam. The fruit of the union of man and wife is the greatest privilege man is given – to raise children for the LORD.

In His wise design, He provided people to surround us with love and counsel as we walk through the few days we are given in this life. To be loved by my husband has brought immense healing to my heart that seemed irreparably broken. Likewise, it has been the greatest joy to be able to love my children unconditionally and to show them the truth God has revealed to me. Watching them grow up and develop their own relationship with God brings this mom joy inexpressible.

But sometimes in the midst of God’s perfect plan, the institution of the family is attacked. Individual sin, death of loved ones or political agendas threaten to undo what God put in place for our joy and protection.

Families are an anchor for our souls as we travel through this world. They can be a source of the greatest acceptance and comfort or the source of the greatest agony and suffering. What God can do to a family yielded to Him is nothing short of miraculous. While no family is perfect, God’s plan will not be thwarted and ultimately we have a family that will last forever.

In a day and age where broken families are more the norm than families who have not experienced brokenness, there is a family that is never broken – the family of God. If you are alone this holiday, please know that you are not ever alone. Come and join the family. You are loved and accepted – just receive the free gift of a forever family that God has given to you. Join a Bible-believing church and watch how God makes strangers into brothers and sisters making up the body of Christ – a family of friends that reflects His glory.

Lord, I am so very grateful for your redemption and for the precious family that You have given me – in the flesh and in the Spirit. No sorrow in a family is so great that you cannot take that sorrow and create something beautiful in its place. I love, You, Lord. Thank You for being the Abba Father to all. I pray many more will come to accept Your invitation and know the peace of God we can have on this earth, no matter what family we come from.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 13 – The Holy Spirit

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

In God’s amazing compassion and mercy, He gave us Himself in the flesh and in the Spirit.

Scripture of the Day:

Acts 2:38-39 

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.'”

John 14:16

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

Ephesians 1:13-14

“And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.”

Job 32:8

“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” 

Today I am grateful for the Holy Spirit and His activity in the life of all believers. In God’s amazing compassion and mercy, He gave us Himself in the flesh and in the Spirit.

We are not merely one dimensional; not just fleshly beings. We were made for something so much more. We who are in Christ, who have been forgiven every single transgression, were also given the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us to live this life for God’s glory.

The Holy Spirit comforts and counsels us in our relationship with God, guides us and emboldens us to do the work of the LORD, reveals truth and convicts us of sin, fills us and produces beautiful fruit and character within us, just to name a few of the activities of the Holy Spirit within believers.

As we consider the many various denominations within the body of Christ today, God is LORD over them all and the Holy Spirit is evident in them all. He fills every person who has believed on Jesus Christ and accepted the gift of salvation. As we ache for the LORD’s return, we have not been left alone.

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit and continual communion we have in Your presence because of Your amazing grace and atonement for our sins.

This article by author Frank Viola lists 50 things the Holy Spirit Does in the life of every believer.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Righteous vs. the Unrighteous

Psalm 36:1-4

“For the music director; written by the LORD’s servant, David; an oracle. An evil man is rebellious to the core. He does not fear God, for he is too proud to recognize and give up his sin.  The words he speaks are sinful and deceitful; he does not care about doing what is wise and right.  He plans ways to sin while he lies in bed; he is committed to a sinful lifestyle; he does not reject what is evil.”

Malachi 3:18

“Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.”

1 John 3:7

“Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous.

Psalm 38:18

“Yes, I confess my wrongdoing, and I am concerned about my sins.”

Psalm 45:7

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.”

No one is righteous, no not one, and yet God counts us as righteous.  How can this be?  The blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins and makes us as white as snow.  Such a costly sacrifice should ever be before us, so that we remember the expectation that comes with so magnificent of a gift.

In this politically correct society, we dare not say that some are wicked and some are more righteous than another, but God has said it in His Word.  Of course I am not suggesting that we go around judging one another and compare our own righteousness – that is folly.  We, who have nothing good in us are not capable of judging another man’s heart, but these Scriptures above help us to examine our own hearts.

The deeds of the wicked are obvious, but the thoughts of the heart are not.  I love the word, “practices” used in the the book of 1 John, above.  It does not indicate that I am trying to be righteous in my own strength, but rather seeking after God and living in such a way as to follow after Jesus.  We will never arrive to perfection on this earth.  We practice because we are ever in the company of our flesh that we must be constantly putting to death.  How do we recognize our faults? Looking into the mirror of God’s Word.

By recognizing our wickedness and confessing our sins, we find mercy and are filled with joy.  Living the godly life is not a miserable, boring life.  It is living as God intended – having fellowship with Him and loving others.  Living for the flesh is a miserable account; especially if you belong to the Kingdom of God – the Holy Spirit will chase you down.  Thank God that He has left us with a Helper.  We do not have to live in ignorance of our sin anymore.

The biggest difference between the righteous and unrighteous is conviction.  The unrighteous do not care that they are sinning; they consider it folly to be concerned with sin.  The righteous are stricken to the core for their sin and troubled enough with their sin to run to the One Who can heal them.

God reveals our sins to us because He loves us.  A sinful lifestyle harms us and separates us from Himself.  We might recognize sin in others, but God did not ask us to seek out other’s sins.  If we see sin in another person, may we be humble enough to see that we are no better and approach in gentleness with redemption being the goal, not accusation.

The church is God’s agent on this earth to reveal our condition before a Holy God and to share God’s salvation.  All to often we find judgement and shunning – even in the body of Christ – because we see some imperfection in one another.  This is laughable – if we could only accept one another because we were perfect, there would not be one member in the body of Christ.  We were meant to be a light to extinguish sin in the world, not a judge waiting to condemn, when we have received mercy ourselves.  Sin kills – are we going to let another soul die?

By God’s grace, we are no longer numbered as unrighteous; may we never forget that.  But may we also never forget what it was like to be unrighteous and seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, throwing a lifeline to the lost, so that they may be found.

Lord, I am forever grateful that You opened my eyes to see my sin and saved me.  Please help the church to hate the sin but love the sinner, that Your amazing gift of salvation can reach more people and rescue them from sin and death.