Thursday, November 27, 2014

Inspiration for Today - Be ye grateful and thankful

What started out as a twitter post, grew into a small blog post of thanksgiving, primarily due to the amount of references within Scripture simply on one word, Thanksgiving.

America traces this day back to a combined meal with the pilgrims and the Native Americans with a proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln to create a national holiday.  For Christians, Scripture is filled and instructs mankind to be thankful for many things.  Some of which include songs of, sacrifices of, as well as simply being thankful in all things.

A great song was written by Johnson Oatman in 1897 called Count Your Blessings takes portions of Scriptures and places them into what seemingly is a call from himself and others to count the good, the blessings, that has been provided.  It is a simple but powerful song of reminding that we need to be thankful daily for the provisions that have been bestowed upon us by God.  He grants them to both the believer and unbeliever.

I could cover a grand list of what I am thankful for and I quite imagine that you could as well if you paused and began to write down a list of things you can be grateful for.  Recently, I was listening to a talk show about a mother who wrote a book while she was bed-stricken during her pregnancy.  She indicated that they were having financial problems to keep up with the maintenance of the house.  Her husband kept a positive attitude, making light of their situation to keep them thinking positive.  As she laid one day, in the midst of feeling low she began to jot down, as a prayer, what she was thankful for.  She relayed that what started out as a presumptuous couple lines turned into three full pages and later into a book.  I apologize that I do not recall her name but she was on Family Life Today.

As for myself, I can begin a similar book for the family I grew up in, a home, my wife and son, food, clothing, a job, reliable transportation, friends, my parents, and so on.  I find myself thanking God nearly all day which only a year ago was a simple thanks for the food and a few things.

God is a loving Father that gives abundantly to His children.  Scripture indicates that following:

Proclaim His works with Thanksgiving - Psalm 26:7
Come into His presence with Thanksgiving - Psalm 95:2
Enter His gates with Thanksgiving - Psalm 100:4
Sing with Thanksgiving - Psalm 147:7
Sacrifice with Thanksgiving - Jonah 2:9
Pray and petition with Thanksgiving - Philippians 4:6
Be vigilant in prayer with Thanksgiving - Colossians 4:2
Receive food with Thanksgiving - 1 Timothy 4:3-4

No matter your circumstance, no matter how low or grand your situation, be thankful.  There are many times in which we endure difficult and challenging situations in life that we cannot see any blessing.  God is still blessing you, thank difficult as it may be, thank Him and be thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The Holy Spirit struck me the other day concerning the study of God and all that He is.  No, this is not a class, but as I was ingesting God's Word last Sunday, a few key words came to mind which led me to a small devotional as well as a self-examination.

How many of us have interests, hobbies, sports, or other such things that help us get through, well, life?  For some, it is their favorite sports team/s and their sport that keeps them going.  They will study a player and how they move, pass the ball, and so forth.  For others, it is geo-caching where they are carefully reading over instructions to seek out that buried/hidden treasure.

As for me, I am a television show person.  Mostly from the 80s and because of time, I am far behind on current television shows.  With that said and with some confession, I thoroughly enjoyed and still enjoy many shows from that era such as the Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, Airwolf, A-Team, Alf, and many, many cartoons.

As a younger adult, I watched and rewatched many of these shows and would discover so many mistakes throughout the episodes.  Take for instance the Dukes of Hazzard, aside from reused footage of the jumps, I would notice how many skid marks were on the dirt or asphalt as I saw a car slide to a halt.  I began to keep count and discovered that it took at least one, but sometimes as much as five skids before I saw what the director or editor wanted me, the viewer, to see.

I would notice the steam from the actor's breath when they were recording in the early morning hours or see the boom mic in the shadows.  Occasionally, I would see the sound stage buildings towering in the background of the Hazzard town set as well.

On Knight Rider, I would catch the indestructible K.I.T.T. dent his fender when driving off of the main road onto a field.  Or catch a lapel mic while the actor is driving the car.

Over and over, I found myself studying these and other shows and I am quite sure I'd either make a film company money or break them because of the lack of detail I catch.

With that much passion for man-made entertainment, can we safely ask ourselves do we study God's Word with that much passion?  Do we study each word within a verse to understand what God is - present tense - IS saying to us?  Do we casually read it and check off that we've read the Bible in a year?  Do we read a chapter or two and claim that we are in God's Word daily?

Take a look at a simple Scripture: Romans 15:13  NKJV
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Now - In context, looking over Romans 15, we would see that the word Now could be used like therefore, or, and now because of the previous Scriptural references to Glorify God.

Because the people of God, those that praise Him...the Gentiles also have hope, and now...

... may - What is may?  It is a word used to allow, permit, or perhaps in this wording, may is more likely to invite in this instance.

the God - something that has been lost over the years is the reverence of refering to God with a capital G.  The God, the only God who is not only God the creator, God the father, but here He is referred to as The God of hope.  He provides us with an eternal, assured hope.  Not a vain hope but a concrete expectation for things to come to include heaven, eternal life, and so on.

Fill - This is a simple word.  Fill but there are many instances and meaning in this word as well.  Does it mean to fill to the brim?  Does it mean to satisfy?  Does it mean supply?  In this context, fill is most likely the best word but emphasized as the fill you full or cram/pack.  Who?

You - God is speaking to you.  May the God of hope fill or cram/pack you full...of what?

With all joy and peace - He wants you to have a fulfilling, joyful and peace-filled life.  Living for Him does this.  Living and believing in Him and what His Son, Jesus, did on the cross to wipe away your sins, allows that God of hope to pack you full of joy and peace.  The joy from living a free life, the happiness of having a new family, the joy of being able to go direct to the One that can do miracles and the peace of knowing all of this and the peace that you will live eternally free.

in - Though in is a preposition, in this context, this could be used as a mathematical addition, a + sign or could be swapped for the word while.

believing - Our faith is based upon a blind faith.  One that is not seen.  Unlike the Apostles who saw Christ and saw Him die and raise to life again, we have a blind faith but it is a faith that comes straight from our soul.  While we feel it in ourselves, the Holy Spirit is also felt and leads us through many things and to be filled with rejoicing praise, sometimes when we do not initiate it.

That - this word, typically interchanged with which, is a word that could be phrased as so that or therefore.

You - God continues to speak to you.

May - Again, this could be changed out with allow or permit.  Permitting the next action to occur or be a continuation from the previous.  Another word that would work well is will.

Abound - Many words could be used such as thrive, prosper, and overflow, the latter perhaps would be a good equal to this word.  God is a God that wants to give us abundantly and, many times, He overflows us with blessings, joy, peace, and so on.

in hope - we see hope again and like before, it is more of an assured conclusion.  It is not a wishful hope but a fulfilling hope.

by the power - self-explanatory but what is this power?  It is a supernatural power that will be delivered.

of the Holy Spirit - The third in the Triune God.  The Helper of Christ, the Spirit of the Living God lives within us and helps us to experience God more than we could ever fathom.

Here is another way to look at the Scripture from our single verse study of God:  "Because we glorify God, even as Gentiles, now we invite the God of an assured, eternal expection, to pack you full of overwhelming happiness and an eternal peace with your heart-felt faith so that you may or will overflow in a fulfilling hope delivered by the supernatual power of the Holy Spirit that lives within your soul."

A deep, deep study of God on one verse.  The Bible is full of this power, full of wisdom, and we have this in the palm of our hands, hard copy or digitally.  I encourage you to study God's Word as much, if not moreso, as you study a tv show, sport, hobby, etc.