Can a confident and obedient disciple of Jesus ignore some of the Word of God in today’s world and not have their children be led astray?
“therefore my people go into exile (become slaves) for their lack of knowledge.”
“Beware – see to it – that no one takes you captive (makes you a slave) through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
Without God you cannot know anything.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Ro 12:2 KJV
How do you do that? To deliberately stop thinking like the world and be transformed, you must train your mind with the Word of God, right? How else can you prove God’s perfect will?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
Romans 8:7 ESV
“do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 ESV
Claiming to be “neutral” is a declaration of hostility to God! Disciples devote themselves to sound doctrine.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”
Luke 6:40 NKJV
Should we be surprised if we send our Christian students to secular trained teachers in either public or private schools that they come home to us with their minds well trained in pagan thinking? Don’t you think their behaviors will follow?
What does your Bible instruct you to do as a believing teacher who influences your children and others around you?
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Titus 1:9 ESV
Jesus made the separation even clearer, saying:
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
No wonder the Apostle Peter strongly insisted that Christians…
“in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
Do you think that ‘being prepared’ requires some careful study and preparation?
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
Does that sound like the language of passive, post-modern, sloppy-agape? OR does it sound like a battle plan for warriors who know they are in a deadly conflict that demands training?
The ‘verity’ (truth) of God makes it possible to KNOW things… the profoundness of that truth makes science (scientiae… to know) possible.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (scientiae – VUL): but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
If you reject God and His knowledge, you refuse instruction and are a self proclaimed ‘fool.’ Why? Well, consider one of the most exclusive statements in the Bible:
“..in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
If the Bible were not true, you could not prove that anything is true. Logic originates from the Creator of senses and incredibly complex DNA information that allows you to process intelligence of any kind. In the beginning was the ‘logos’ and nothing was made without Him.
We all rely on:
- Laws of logic to make thinking possible
- Uniformity of nature and natural laws (i.e. gravity)
- Absolute morality to establish ethical judgments of right and wrong
Mature followers of Christ are Biblically charged with the job of refuting…
- Relativism… “there are no absolutes” – How can you be absolutely certain of that?
- Empiricism… “truth must be observed” – Can you observe that claim?
- Naturalism… only physical reality can somehow cause itself to exist
- Neutrality… when your enemy is determined to eliminate what you know to be true from the discussion, attempting to appeal to neutrality or compromise is admitting defeat and refusing to provide the tools of knowledge of the truth that would allow the Holy Spirit to convict and convince their hearts if God were to give them the gift of repentance (2 Tim 2:25).
The secularist is in self-denial (delusion) and he will deny that he is in self-denial.
“There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”
2 Peter 3:16 ESV
“And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’”
Why are secularists and even most of today’s self-proclaimed Christians blind to the obvious?
If you want to see an excellent presentation about the truth of God’s Word, I highly recommend the following presentation by my friends David Rives and Bruce Malone.
Barna polls recently show 50% of Christians claim they don’t believe the whole Bible is true. So what do they base their faith on?
“If they do not receive Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded even though one rise from the dead.”
Do you believe Jesus spoke the truth? Do you believe the Old Testament Scriptures of the Bible can be trusted to be 100% true?
“And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female…’”
Matt 19:4 (NASB) also Mark 10:6
(note: does the Bible leave the topic of ‘gender’ open for discussion? What happens when those who say they follow Jesus and His truth refuse to stand for the truth when the enemies of truth use intimidation to prevent people from even discussing the truth?)
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.’”
Matt 22:29 NKJV
“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”
Luke 16:17 NASB
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
2 Timothy 2:16 KJV
If a man does not believe that the Bible is true, does his unbelief make the Bible’s Word any less true?
What are we to do to help a man overcome his mistaken belief that the Bible is not entirely trustworthy?
“the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach… with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition (to themselves), if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth, that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB
What does a man lose if he forfeits his belief in the truth of the Word of God?
“..we see that they (Israelites delivered out of Egypt) were not able to enter (Canaan-the promised land) because of unbelief.”
Hebrews 3:19 NASB
What confidence did Jesus have in the Old Testament?
“But if you do not believe his (Moses’) writings how will you believe My words?”
“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Matthew 13:58 KVJ
Remember how Jesus rebuked his disciples about their unbelief when they could not deliver a lunatic man from the demonic power that ruled him.
“O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”
Matthew 17:17 NASB
The bitter fruit of Unbelief
Could it be that our present perverted generation is experiencing the woes of a condemned culture for the same reasons that condemned Babylon, Rome or Israel?
Is not the most basic foundation of faith in God the belief of who He is as the Creator and the communicator of His clear Word about the beginning of everything? And how do we come to understand that fact?
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Hebrews 11:3 NASB
Notice that understanding comes from faith. That applies to every human no matter what his belief system is built upon. You have to believe in somebody’s words! If you have a choice between man’s words and God’s words, which will you choose?
Is not that same degree of faith required when we come to God in repentance to ask for His mercy and favor?
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who (diligently) seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6 NASB
Belief in something that is antagonistic to God does not reward you with anything but confusion. Believe in God’s Word. You can trust Him above all others.
With all the bad new we hear around our affluent culture today, it’s easy to fall into pessimism and a rather grim expectation for the future.
It can seem like the time of the judges in the Bible when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
Judges 1-2 stresses that Israel’s tribes failed to obey God in driving out all of the abominable pagan Canaanites from the land.
- They disobeyed the true and living God and allowed lewd idolatrous gods to become a trap to them.
- After Joshua’s death a younger generation arose that did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Why not?
- They did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.
- They ignored the Godly ways of their fathers and played the harlot after false gods, turning aside from obeying the commandments of the Lord.
For anyone who is aware of his current world, there is no doubt that there are some pretty scary physical omens of…
- The HoneyBee colony collapse syndrome could quickly result in massive crop failures and widespread global famine.
- Even though mankind’s influence is miniscule, the prospect of severe changes in the climate could affect the choices that many humans have to make in coming decades.
- Whether a rogue nation detonates a high altitude bomb to cause an EMP or it happens naturally from solar storms on the sun, the fear of the collapse of much of our electronic technology could result in the death of 90% of the highly dependent population.
- The failure of pharmaceutical-based medicine to prevent the rise of Super bugs (diseases) raises the potential of large-scale epidemics like the plagues and pestilences of both the ancient past and even the major epidemics of modern times.
- The Muslim immigration to Western Countries predicts the total transformation of many cultural norms in the next two decades.
- The continuation of the ‘me’ generation, notably given to Abortion means the inevitable loss of population growth in western Christian culture.
- The unwillingness of governments to manage finances conservatively will inevitably lead to Economic collapse, inflation and depression.
- The Irrational delusion of leftist secular philosophy is overtaking the masses who have no self restraint. They are being manipulated by ‘mountains’ of influence that the church has failed to reclaim for the kingdom of Christ.
What do the facts say about what’s happening in our world?
Check out: World Revival Network Blog – “Why you have been duped into believing that the world is getting worse and worse.” http://worldrevivalnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-you-have-been-duped-into-believing.html
“Based on social media and television news reports, multitudes are convinced that the world is growing worse and worse. Yet, there’s absolutely no evidence of this. By every measurable standard, life is improving around the globe. Darkness is fading and the goodness of God’s Kingdom is truly taking root.”
War and Violence have been going down.
There has never been a time in world history where the masses have been escaping poverty like they have in our present generation.
In 1720 the average man in England only lived to be about thirty years of age. Currently most are living past the age of eighty.
The number of those who claim to be Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last century, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2.3 billion as of 2011.
There is greater prosperity, peace, and health than ever before in recorded history. The Kingdom of God is boldly advancing and it’s transforming everything in its wake.
We need to let go of our pessimistic, “doom and gloom” worldview and truly embrace the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of God. As Jesus promised, His Holy Spirit is working through His people to bring blessing and life to a world that has been ravaged by darkness.
What can change the World? What is the reason for True Hope?
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living.”
Is it possible that God is raising up a generation to repent and reform a culture, guiding a new generation to God?
How must we live? Think? Act? Are we willing to think beyond ourselves and prepare to equip the “next generation” in Reclaiming their legacy?
1 Be grateful for what you have
- Focus on positive things you have.
- Write down 10 things you’re thankful for.
- Post that list and read it often.
2. Set Goals – both short term and long term
- Aimlessness brews frustration.
- Make a daily to-do list and check things off as they are done.
- Write where you want to be in a year and beyond.
3. Take care of your physical body
- Be deliberate about eating nourishing foods the build up.
- Thoughtfully avoid toxic substances you know destroy your health.
- Make a quest of finding things that enhance your wellness.
4. Take your focus off yourself
- Do 5 nice acts of kindness daily for others.
- Love the blessing of giving without expecting payback.
- Remember that what goes around comes around.
5. Put a guard on your mouth
- Consciously monitor your words to edify others.
- Your thoughts don’t all need to be spoken.
- Be careful about what you think about to guide what you say.
6. See yourself as who you want to grow into
- Find admirable role models to watch how they behave.
- Daily work on learning and doing the things that will improve you.
- Be patient with yourself as you would with a child you are coaching.
7. Express your creative self in some way each day
- Feelings of satisfaction with yourself improve when you create
- Do little creative acts with your appearance or your home environment.
- Be creative with how you treat other people.
8. Refuse the fear of failure.
- Embrace the fact that success is always built on multiple failures.
- Draw encouragement from life stories of others who overcame difficulty.
- Do uncomfortable things first, not just things in your comfort zone.
9. Do Not condemn yourself or labor your negative past or present.
- Think about what your Creator has done for your advantage.
- If it’s to be it’s up to me, always remembering you live by God’s grace.
- Think: If others can achieve it, why not me and why not now? Just get to work.
10. Stay in the moment
- When your thoughts drift to past hurts, decide you’re going to refocus on what you do now.
- Rather than worrying about future problems that might happen ask what you can do now.
- Look for things you can change for better outcomes in the short term.
11. Being happy is a deliberate pursuit.
- Smile more. You can give one without losing yours.
- Find others who are joyful and learn from them.
- Laugh often when you have the slightest reason.
12. Recharge your emotional energy daily.
- Find 5 minutes of quiet time several times a day.
- Optimism requires refocusing on happy thoughts.
- Deliberately praise others and especially God.
“For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace (prosperity).”
Whether we are employed or not, the challenges facing us in today’s world require us to make choices that produce prosperity for more than ourselves.
We face so many crises today, but the one issue rarely identified as a real crisis is at the root of practically all the problems. It’s a crisis in integrity.
So many problems would be greatly diminished or perhaps even disappear if people had acted with integrity and honor. Before we take a look at how we individually can make the best choices for the challenges of the future, we need to recognize the serious reality of what all of us are facing.
Just think of some of the society-wide problems that are happening today. We choose how we deal with them. Hiding our faces doesn’t make the problems go away.
Physical problems: environmental toxicity issues; chronic degenerative health conditions; shortages; dangers and side effects from natural disasters.
Social problems: political corruption; public policy decisions; civil unrest; conflicts of world views.
Financial problems: Debt; Inflation; unemployment.
Personal problems: fear of the future; peace of mind; relational problems.
So, what do we do to maintain a sense of stability in such a swirling confusion of negative woes?
Trusting God must be the foundation of our plans and actions.
Read Psalm 37:1-11 “Fret not yourselves because of evil doers… trust in the Lord and do good. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
Integrity must be what we determine to maintain no matter what.
What are the Marks of Integrity?
An article by Charles R. Swindoll focused on a vital concept found in 1 Cor. 11:28, 31.
“But let a man examine himself…”
“..If we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.”
Integrity is a very personal matter of our individual willingness to be accountable to the truths and values to which we have committed ourselves.
What are the marks of integrity that God wants in our lives. Do you have these marks of integrity?
- An excellent attitude
- Faithfulness and diligence at work
- Personal purity of the highest caliber
- Consistency in your walk with God
A reminder: Only you can do the surgery on your soul. Only you! No one else can know the truth. You can cover up, twist the facts in your mind, rationalize, and ignore . . . and no one will know the difference but you. But if you really value integrity, you will come to terms with the whole truth, regardless of the consequences. Daniel refused to compromise and consequently was thrown into the lions’ den. Look what God did. He honored Daniel’s faithfulness. He’ll do the same for you.
Integrity is a matter of consistency in living out your values
Conformity leads to compromise. Compromise leads to mediocrity. Mediocrity leads to sin and a wasted life. Finally, a wasted life leads to a lost legacy. Dennis Rainey
No position in life can be secure, and no achievement can be permanent unless built upon truth and justice. Napoleon Hill
You see, we are successful when we are steadily becoming the unique person God intends us to become and when we are doing what he asks us to do. Pamela Heim
Discipline is the price you pay for freedom…Discipline restores your freedom of choice.
Norman Vincent Peale
Now if it is true that God is both Truth and Love it will be readily seen that the greatest sins will be unreality, hypocrisy, deceit, lying, or whatever we choose to call sins against truth, and self-love which makes fellowship with other people and their proper treatment impossible. J.B. Phillips
It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail. Peter Marshall
Christians must seek to behave among men in a way that brings praise to their Father in heaven. J.I. Packer
HOW TO CULTIVATE INTEGRITY
Cultivating integrity is not easy. It is developed on a daily basis, moment by moment, decision by decision, test by test.
Psalms 26:11 – David saw it as a walk: “But as for me, I will walk in my integrity…” It is something we do, a step at a time.
We cultivate our integrity as we respond to the circumstances we face every day. It doesn’t matter if the circumstances are big or little. They are equally effective in testing our core honesty. Some pass these tests better than others. Abraham failed such a test, yielding to the fear of man rather than the promises of God. He didn’t lie outright, but he told only part of the truth, acting as if he were Sarah’s brother. It nearly cost him his inheritance. When the pagan king learned that something was wrong because he took Sarah, he told the Lord, “In the integrity of my heart I have done this. I did not know she was this man’s wife, or I would never have taken her.” The Lord replied, “Yes, I know, and it was because of your integrity that I stopped you from sinning against me.” (Genesis 20:1-7)
David did not wait for circumstances to test him. He had the courage to invite God to test him. He had what some call aggressive integrity, insisting that God sift his heart and examine him: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; (24) and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23, 24)
Pray like David: Psalm 26:2: “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.”
HAVING OUR INTEGRITY TESTED
The Biblical account of Job is really a story about a good man who had his integrity tested. It’s evident by the question God asked Satan at the start of the Book:
“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)
People have tried to fit other interpretations for the “why” behind this story, but this is the only reason God gave. What is otherwise a difficult book to read becomes more relevant to our lives when read in light of how God will allow our integrity to be tested. Job’s wife certainly saw this as the issue, when she said, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Even his friends raised the question of integrity: “Is not your fear of God your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope?”
Sometimes hanging on to our integrity is our only hope for recovery. Job held fast to his, saying,
“Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.”
In the end, all he could say was:
“Let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity.”
When we come to the end of our difficult circumstances, sort through all the accusations thrown at us, examine the differences in beliefs and practices which threaten to divide us, or look at all the personality conflicts we face, they can be seen as the tests which assess the depth and development of our integrity.
When we recognize that those trials bring our integrity to bear, will we stand fast.
Integrity means ‘singleness.’ Will we maintain singleness of mind and purpose in our work and in our personal lives? God is challenging us to have integrity to shine brightly to make a true difference in the world around us. He is looking for the men and women of integrity. Will we stand in the face of challenges to do His will, no matter what? Let’s dedicate our lives to reclaim the legacy of integrity. May God give specific direction in how He will fulfill his purpose in your life.
When you think about taking a proactive change of direction to reclaim your legacy, what do you think is the most important thing that you have personally learned in your lifetime so far? With your focus on making a positive influence on your children and grandchildren – your next generation – what truth or idea have you discovered that is such a powerful influence on your own life that you would have to include it among the very top dozen or so important things that you have ever learned in your life?
Who is the one man to influence generations for God’s kingdom?
I recently read a sermon delivered by a gospel preacher who lived over 250 years ago before America became a nation. He was born in Gloucester, England, in 1714 and is often referred to as the greatest English preacher who ever lived. In both England and the American Colonies, he passionately gave himself to proclaiming Christ mostly in open air outdoor meetings heard by thousands of people at a time. One historian estimated that he preached a thousand sermons a year for 30 years. He was perhaps the most influential single person God used to create the society-transforming phenomenon of the middle 1700s called “the Great Awakening.” He became an early example of modern evangelists acquainted with the notable English pastor, John Wesley, who became best friends with one of the most influential men in the founding of America – Benjamin Franklin. Who was this unique man? (more…)
You might wonder why a whole society seems to drift into a hardened rejection of the knowledge of God. Why do people who resist God seem to fall prey to deeper and deeper deceptions in so many areas of life?
What do you want?
- Confidence in your purpose in life?
- To be pleasing to your Creator?
- Victory over destructive influences in life?
- Character qualities that glorify God?
- Greater insight for success in your own journey?
- Optimal physical well being and health?
- Freedom to use your gifts most effectively?
- Greater impact and influence on the world around you?
A wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:5, 7
One of my best lessons I ever learned…
“My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.”
“Through knowledge the righteous are delivered.”
“… if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
What is the primary way that God gives His wisdom to those who ask of Him?
Much has been researched and written lately about the proven personal benefits of expressing genuine gratitude. It turns out that thankfulness is not typically a result of being happy, but rather the opposite is true. People who deliberately and openly confess their thankfulness to others are the happiest of people. And isn’t it interesting that those who recognize that their lives have a purpose are the ones who are prone to give thanks to their Creator and to those around them.
Have you discovered your purpose? Do you have a clear reason why you’re excited to get up in the morning? If you have a mission to drive your daily goals, you’re a much happier person than those who are just being driven by survival mode.
We’re a nation of people that has a centuries-old tradition of celebrating annual solemn days of Thanksgiving. Yet, it seems that our current generation has almost no concept of the deeply personal conviction of the importance of gratitude. And it’s pretty obvious that that gratitude should most deservedly be directed to the Almighty Giver of every blessing and perfect gift in our lives.
It seems like everybody is scrambling frantically to demand that their comforts and material desires be accommodated. How often we see people so ungrateful that complaints and cynical dissatisfaction has become society’s normal? Things haven’t changed much in 2,000 years have they?
Remember The Sin of Ingratitude in Luke 17:7-19?
Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. One of them was a Samaritan man. He was the only one of the ten who came back to Jesus and humbly thanked Him for healing him. Jesus asked him: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Sadly, my missionary friend in Africa reports that barely 10% of those they help will bother to express their gratitude with even a word of thanks or a note card. Gratitude may be rare, but those who express it discover the most enriching lives on earth. Instead of loneliness, poverty and depression, they are the ones most inclined to be enriched, energized, inspired and transformed
Gratitude goes counter to the ‘victim mentality’ that has deceived so many who think they are entitled to everything at the expense of others in our culture. When we give thanks sincerely, we acknowledge that we have received a benefit that is unearned. We can’t help but look beyond ourselves.
When you are stunned with the reality that you survived what could have been a fatal event, how does that make you feel?
After the victory of the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, November 1, 1777. How did they express their feeling? Here’s what they wrote in the proclamation:
“The grateful feeling of their hearts… join the penitent confession of their manifold sins… that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance… and… under the providence of Almighty God… secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace.”
If we want to reclaim our true history, we are going to have to work at telling our children about our real history. It isn’t being taught in most schools and colleges today. Thomas Jefferson was the governor of Virginia in 1779. What did he chose to proclaim for his State after Admiral John Paul Jones captured the British ship HMS Serapis? The Continental Congress declared a Day of Thanksgiving, which
“Congress… hath thought proper… to recommend to the several States… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for his mercies, and of Prayer, for the continuance of his favour… That He would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; That He would grant to His church, the plentiful effusions of Divine Grace, and pour out His Holy Spirit on all Ministers of the Gospel; That He would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth… I do therefore… issue this proclamation… appointing… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God… Given under my hand… this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779… Thomas Jefferson.”
Hear what that same Continental Congress proclaimed after Benedict Arnold’s traitorous plot to betray West Point was thwarted. It was a Day of Thanksgiving, October 18, 1780:
“In the late remarkable interposition of His watchful providence, in the rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution… it is therefore recommended… a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer… to confess our unworthiness… and to offer fervent supplications to the God of all grace… to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”
After British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Congress proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, October 11, 1782:
“It being the indispensable duty of all nations… to offer up their supplications to Almighty God… the United States in Congress assembled… do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe… the last Thursday… of November next, as a Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies.”
After the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, Congress recommended that the States declare a Day of Thanksgiving. Massachusetts Governor John Hancock, the former President of the Continental Congress, proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, November 8, 1783:
“The Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and Gratitude to the God of their salvation… I do… appoint… the 11th day of December next (the day recommended by the Congress to all the States) to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, that all the people may then assemble to celebrate… that he hath been pleased to continue to us the Light of the Blessed Gospel… That we also offer up fervent supplications… to cause pure Religion and Virtue to flourish… and to fill the world with His glory.”
After the U.S. Congress passed the First Amendment, it requested President George Washington issue a National Day of Thanksgiving, which he did, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness; ‘Now, therefore, I do recommend… Thursday, the 26TH DAY of NOVEMBER … to be devoted by the People of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be… That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble Thanks… for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government… particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
On January 1, 1795, President George Washington proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving:
“When we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations… the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed – the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it – the happy course of public affairs in general – the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; our circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us. In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience… I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart…a Day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of Nations.”
After hearing those inspiring proclamations from national leaders – which, by the way, were entirely inspired by the attitude of profoundly committed preachers in the churches of the American colonies – doesn’t it seem about time that the pastors of our Bible-believing congregations lead the way for reclaiming our lost legacy for the current generation? Should they not humbly call for days of contrition, repentance and sober thanksgiving? We have such excellent Biblical and historic precedents to guide our way.
Taking God’s Blessings for Granted
Dr. Martin Luther observed: “The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.” It seems that the blessings of life, health, freedom and food are not really appreciated unless they are lost, or threatened. Sunrises and sunsets occur daily so they are taken for granted aren’t they?
Consider the Stars
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that “If the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But because they are there every night, we barely give them a look.”
The Blessings of Being Hungry and Lonely
Have you noticed that the blessings of rain are barely appreciated unless one has been through a drought? A hungry man is more thankful for a tiny morsel than most affluent Americans for their table full of choice foods. A lonely woman in a nursing home will appreciate a visit more than a rock star with a crowd of fans. A Christian who has suffered under persecution for decades and receives his first copy of the Holy Scriptures is more thankful for one book than we are for all the Christian books, Bible translations and magazines that overflow our shelves.
You Should Experience Blindness for a Few Days
Helen Keller said: “I have often thought that it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days for some time during his early adult life. It would make him more appreciative of sight and of the joys of sound.”
A Biblical Command
There are at least 138 passages of Scripture that deal with the subject of thanksgiving. We are commanded: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name.” Psalm 100:4.
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8.
“Give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:12.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Plainly it is God’s will for us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.
A Sacrifice of Praise
“Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.” Hebrews 13:15.
What makes praise a sacrifice? Could it be that when the blessings we are thankful for have not yet manifested themselves in God’s providence?
A Good Habit
“It ought to be as habitual for us to thank as to ask.” C. H. Spurgeon
The Parent of All Virtues
It has been said that a thankful heart is the parent of all virtues.
What is the Root of Sin?
“The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness… for although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:18-21. Look! The failure to give thanks to God is the root sin that leads to futile thinking and foolish, darkened hearts. Think about that.
One of the Worst Sins
In 1 Timothy 3:1-5 the apostle Paul gives a list of some of the most terrible sins including: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, traitorous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Did you see that ungratefulness is listed in the middle of a list of horrible sins?
A Fruit of Character
What’s one of the first lessons good parents teach their children is to say? “Thank You”. It takes character and courage to admit being in debt to others. It is humbling. However, those who cannot admit their indebtedness to others cannot learn, nor can they seek forgiveness.
Failure to express gratitude is more than immaturity and rudeness, it is ungodly. We are commanded to honour our parents, our elders and our leaders. It is a sign of maturity to acknowledge indebtedness. Have you learned anything? Then you’re in debt to somebody else, aren’t you? We are all in debt, first, and mostly, to God Himself, for our life, health, food, talents, family, friends, opportunities and for our salvation itself. We are also in debt to past generations who have sacrificed for the freedoms we now enjoy: Reformers, martyrs, pioneers, missionaries, soldiers, parents, teachers, pastors and so many others have sacrificed for our benefit.
An Attitude of Entitlement
Instead of the Christian character of gratitude, our present culture prefers to promote an attitude of entitlement. This is the very opposite of gratitude. It builds on pride and covetousness. It is fuelled by bitterness, greed and envy. All too many in the present humanistic society take things for granted, demand to get, rather than seeking to give. It is sheer wickedness, and is a sure road to being led astray by all sorts of empty promises and destructive ideas.
An Attitude of Gratitude
A grateful mind is a great mind. “Be thankful, therefore, for the least benefit and thou shalt be worthy to receive greater.” Thomas a Kempis. Start giving thanks to God and the humblest of servants like your garbage man for the little blessings in life. Start today to write notes of sincere gratitude to people who have blessed you in any small way. Ask God to guide your thoughts. Partner with a friend to hold one another accountable in your new habit of expressing gratitude.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2.
Pride, Ingratitude and Unteachability
Those who do not take advice do not think they have anything to learn. They are often the same people who have a problem expressing a genuine heartfelt gratitude to others. It is a sign of pride to be ungrateful. It reveals an unwillingness to acknowledge a debt to others. By God’s grace, when we are humble enough to admit our wrong, He is powerful enough to enable us to change. We can be a thankful person.
Let’s Make this season a Turning Point for expressing Thanks-giving.
List 7 things you are thankful for in your personal life today.
Call 2 people who you can honestly thank for something they contributed to your life.
Privately talk to God about the gratitude you have for His saving grace.
Take 2 minutes to begin pondering the incredible blessings you have to live now.
Promise yourself you will thank the next 10 people you encounter for something they did for you, even if it’s just a common courtesy.
The results of gratitude?
You will become healthier. Recent studies suggest that gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep quality, and reduces inflammation in the body. Grateful people are also more inclined to eat better and exercise which obviously increases your wellness.
You will become a more compassionate person. When you make a routine of expressing gratitude to God and to others for tiny courtesies, you are looking beyond yourself. You will be kinder. You will be more forgiving. You will find joy in serving others and be willing to bear others’ burdens without expecting anything in return.
When you appreciate what you have, it’s impossible not to share it with others. On the other hand, you can’t give something away when you’re empty yourself. When you don’t know how rich you really are, you can’t take delight in sharing little insights with others. The more aware and thankful we are of the good things in our lives, the more we are able to give to others.
Your relationships will deepen. When you relate more gratefully to others you will draw closer and bond more deeply to the people in your life. When you express gratitude to the people you love, you become more satisfied with your relationships. You will reach out to others more easily. You’ll be more generous. You’ll be more forgiving and less judgmental.
A grateful heart is more content, more happy no matter what his circumstances are like. And a happy heart focuses more on the really important joys of peace and little blessings that make life worthwhile. That’s like a healing ointment to restore your health even when modern medicine can’t do it.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done… Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:8,34.
If ever there was a time when we needed leadership like the sons of Issachar in ancient Israel, it is now. What was special about the sons of Issachar back in the days of King David, a thousand years before Christ’s time? We read about them in 1 Chronicles 12:32. “The sons of Issachar (were) men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”
We may not see any explanation or have any historical knowledge about why these particular men of one of the tribes of Israel (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were so gifted. Yet our spiritually minded hearts can’t help but cry out for extraordinary wisdom when we are faced with such overwhelming challenges as a nation of people. And let’s humbly recognize that just because we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, our Lord and King of kings, commands us to ‘disciple the nations.’ And frankly, the Bible makes it clear that that is a very big part of the legacy that our Creator wants us to reclaim. (more…)
You have probably seen evolutionary charts like this… but you might not have seen how to expose the faulty arguments behind them. Those arguments have deceived many students into thinking the Genesis record is unscientific. In reality, all a person has to do is ask some logical questions to reveal the utter foolishness of evolutionary assumptions.
You’ve heard educated evolutionists insist that it took a loooooong time… and that it was undirected by a Designer or God so it all happened by random chance… and of course, simple things got more complex – that’s evolution in a nutshell isn’t it?
Did you get that? The 3 absurd assumptions of evolution we’re talking about here are:
Don’t forget this key piece of the discussion.
The two major evolutionary fallacies that are required to get us to this point are covered in another chapter or article. What are they? They are the absurd answers given by evolutionists to the questions: “how did the universe get here?” and “where did life come from?” You’ve heard those answers I’m sure. Here they are:
The Big Bang
And don’t forget the simple questions you can use to reveal the ‘emptiness’ of those two supposed ‘scientific’ causes for the two most significant ‘effects’ that can lead anyone to a realization that there has to be a Creator.
#1 – Did you ever see an explosion cause an increase in the orderliness and complexity of anything?
#2 – Can you even imagine how to put life into chemicals, even if they are cleverly arranged into all the organs and systems of a now-dead corpse?
What’s really at the bottom of evolution teaching?
What is seldom mentioned to unwary and impressionable young students today is that evolutionists believe in bigger miracles than Christians ever dreamed of. They even admit it on occasion. And the reason their misguided faith is really nothing less than sheer gullibility is because their miracles had no adequate cause to perform them. Nature and common sense demonstrate scientifically that any result or ‘effect’ requires an adequate cause. By definition, the Creator of the universe that exists independent of natural substances is the only adequate “cause” for the universe and life. (more…)
Whose Lives Can You Influence With Positive Benefits? Who Are the People You Want To Talk To?
Who Are the Ones Most Open Minded To What You Have To Share With Them?
To everyone who absolutely loves to help other people,
Unless you love ‘beating your head against the wall’ and constantly feeling like you are in the business of ‘convincing’ people against their will, you must finally come to grips with the fact that there are really only a minority of the people out there who are even interested in hearing what you have to say. Who are they? You can find them easily because their mind is actually working— and working in their favor.. It kind of reminds you of a parachute… It only works when it’s open! It’s the open-minded people who are actually willing to discover something that they don’t know and are willing to really admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.
Do you want to know how to spot those who are open-minded?
Open-minded people are constantly excited about their personal discovery of new things. But more importantly, they’re eager for developing their life. They’re serious about improving their health. And they truly want to be better stewards of their resources. They’re not afraid to be ACTIVE receivers of the blessing of the Apostle John’s wish where he said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2).
How can a person honestly say they want to receive the goal of that prayer IF they’re unwilling to do their part to adjust their attitudes and behaviors that will enable the desired result to manifest in their own life?
Have you noticed that our society has unfortunately promoted a rather negative and cynical attitude that easily rubs off on many people who are inclined to be more pessimistic than optimistic?
Now I realize that you have to try your best to get along with everybody. But does that mean you have to ‘spin your wheels’ wasting much of your energy and time with people who really don’t want to better themselves?
There’s an important lesson we need to learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, who said that you need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on. Imagine that. Even when you’ve got the most life-changing and positive message to give someone, if they don’t receive what you have to say, pack up and find someone who is OPEN. There’s a reason it says “the humble shall inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity” – the humble one is the one who knows he doesn’t know it all and is open to hear what you have to say – explore undiscovered realms of life-building insights.
It isn’t a bad idea to start out a conversation with someone and ‘take their temperature’ to see if you’re going to have a short conversation or if they’re someone who you might want to dive a little deeper with. Try something like: “Hey, I thought of you and wondered if you’re open to see what I’ve been discovering lately.” If they respond with cynicism, sarcasm or condescension, just tell them, “Oh, that’s okay, did you hear the weather forecast for next week?” and move on to other topics. Don’t even try to engage their mind. It’s not working anyway! Remember the parachute?
On the bright side, don’t let their pessimism wear you down. Be encouraged with the hope that there really are a lot of people out there who are plenty happy to hear what you have to share with them. Start asking questions that reflect your honest care for people. Ask them what would make them happier than they are right now. Ask them if they’re open to a new idea. Ask them if they’d like to make a difference in the lives of those they themselves care about. Ask them if they have taken the course you just learned about on how to …be healthier, …save more of their hard earned money, or …leverage their time to get more done and have more time to do the things they like to do.
With some people, if you’re brave, you might even be able to ask them something like this: “You wanna know what I learned about people that are open? … Turns out that they are the same people who like to better themselves, improve their health and make more money so they can do more good in the world!” Then you could follow up with another question like, “Can you think of anybody who thinks like that?” … and laugh with them if they seem to be good natured enough to engage with you.
You might think that everybody wants to solve their problems and find solutions for the things that cause them pain in their life. But if they really did want that – solutions for their problems – then why aren’t they actively pursuing it? Sometimes we have to rekindle the hope, inspire the optimism and rebuild the curiosity that makes people want to discover new things. Just be careful not to ‘cast your pearls before swine’ if you know what I mean. For an energetic young optimist, that’s one of life’s hardest lessons to learn. The only ones you can help… really help… are those who really want to be helped. You ‘gotta wanna’ have the results bad enough to exercise some initiative to get what you want. And if a person doesn’t respond to you with some energy …some interest …some sincere curiosity, you must not let them drag you into an argument that goes nowhere.
So, don’t forget this one. It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy. Test the waters. Ask some good questions to see if they’re open. Don’t be afraid to taunt them a little bit if you have a good rapport with them. But don’t ‘show your hand’ too soon. See if they’re ready to activate their mind. And when you’re confident that they are ready, just give them a few nibbles to see if they really want more. Make a plan with them to talk again later and see if you have something that really can help them. Let the curiosity factor ‘work’ on their subconscious. That way they’ll be ready to hear you with both ears when you’re with them again.
Have you ever gotten ‘fed up’ with the way things are going for you to the point where you finally just said you’ve had it?
Why not take stock today of some things that need to change?
Why not decide today to intentionally work on some personal habits that are guaranteed to make you a happier and more influential person?
Are you willing to Stop the self-destructive things to regain your joy?
- Stop making excuses: If you are really serious about reclaiming your legacy then you have to realize that you’re entering the realm where you know good and well that NO EXCUSES ever fly! Why do we come up with excuses? Because they deceive us into thinking they are easier than actually achieving our goals. But excuses are just a waste of time, and we know it.What draws us into a negative path? Rather than growing and working on improving ourselves, we get stuck, lying to ourselves. We use all kind of excuses. And 99.9% of those excuses are not even real.2. Stop the blame game: When you blame others for what you don’t have or for what happens to you, you actually give your power away. Life should never be only about what happens to you. How are you going to handle the situations in your life? Only you can make the choice to take right actions.
3. Stop your resistance to change: Change is good. Change will help you make improvements in your life. Working with change you can also help lives of those around you. Embrace change – don’t resist it. There is a great book:Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson – read it!
4. Stop complaining: You are the only person responsible for your attitude and your reactions to things! So stop complaining about people – You can’t change them. Stop complaining about events – they happen to everyone. Situations can only make you sad, angry and bitter when YOU allow them to. No one wants to be around someone who constantly complains.
5. Stop trying to impress others: Stop trying so hard to be something or somebody that you’re not… especially if you’re doing it just to make others like you. It doesn’t work anyway. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly. Not all people… of course. Just the people who you really want to connect with anyway.
6. Stop being a control freak: Yeah, sure… I know this is hard, but when you are willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, miracles seem to happen. Situations, events, and people – Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – all these things are out of your control. Admit it. Just allow them to be. Your stress level decreases tremendously.
7. Stop the criticism: For some of us who tend to be perfectionists this is hard… but there’s wisdom in the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. Everybody wants to be happy. We all want to love and be loved… and we all want to be understood. So why not practice the habit of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about in his book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
8: Stop Judging: Stop judging people, things and events just because you don’t understand them. Just because something seems “weird” or different does not mean it is bad or wrong. If you need to help your kids understand good judgment in a discussion that’s fine, but you don’t need to get into a personal ‘issue’ over what you disagree about. Let God judge them. Let go of it and let God handle it.
9: Stop with the need to always be right: There are too many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right. We do this even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”
10. Stop trying to live your life up to other people’s expectations: Way too many of us are living a life that is not true to our own personal calling and purpose. When we try to live our life according to what others think is best for us, we develop all sorts of inner tension and frustration. Some people spend their whole life trying to live according to what their parents think is best for them. What a shame to allow what your friends, or even your enemies think is best for you to control your decisions! For way too many men and women, the popular media has projected a false reality that they try to live out.
Don’t ignore the inner voice of conscience and the inspiration of your Creator to guide you.
Remember “Desire” and “inspire.” Remember your inner calling. We are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that we lose control over our lives and forget what makes us happy, what we really want, what we really need. We all have just one life to live. Own it. Don’t let other people’s opinions mislead you.
I can honestly share with you, since I have made a conscious effort to stop all of the behaviors above, I have never been happier. And when I see myself slip – I acknowledge that behavior and work on adjusting my thought process.
Remember we cannot change, fix and improve on what we have not yet acknowledged.
So if you need it (and who doesn’t?), find an accountability partner who has your permission to call you out when you slip. This way you can reflect on what made you say or act in a certain way. The more aware you are of your actions, the easier and faster you can improve them.
What are you passionate about?
What drives you to put your feet on the floor before dawn every morning? Some pious person might say: “just doing God’s will” or “living for Jesus” or some trite saying that is so vague and evasive that it really doesn’t give anybody a clear picture or roadmap of what is truly the passion that guides your agenda.
Some might say that “I just aim to please my boss” … or “serve my customers” … or “be faithful in doing my job” … but what are you passionate about?
May I tell you what I’m passionate about? I’m passionate about changing lives… about helping others discover the best ways of reaching their goals, accomplishing their purpose, fulfilling the purposes they were created for and enjoying every day life. And that encompasses a lot of things… things like: discovering insights, finding better ways of doing things, and applying practical solutions to life’s challenges.
In the hectic pace of modern living today, it’s common for us to be so busy doing all the things that we have to do that we don’t have the time to search out the best solutions to many of our deepest challenges. Unless I’m a fatalist, when I stop to realize what’s going on, it hits me that nearly all the problems, heartaches and difficulties common to mankind are explained by one ageless principal. Once I discovered it tucked away in the writing of a well known ancient Hebrew king, I began to see that everything in life is part of our Creator’s blueprint for us to fulfill our purpose.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”
You don’t need to stumble and fall into confusion about choices. Why not just do something?
1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
It’s vitally important for the believer to have confidence that what he is doing is blessed or at least sanctioned by the overarching truth of God’s providential will.
Deuteronomy 8:18 “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.