Propterea sicut per unum hominem in hunc mundum peccatum intravit et per peccatum mors et ita in omnes homines mors pertransiit in quo omnes peccaverunt. Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam.Continue reading
FAITH SAYS TO ME LAST NIGHT, “WHY IS IT THAT I ENCOURAGE OTHERS and congratulate them when they do well, but no one does the same for me?” Well my daughter, it’s because at the heart of people is selfishness and it doesn’t get any better as you get older. Think about it. One of the first words a child learns is “MINE”. Oh, we may think we out grow it, but we don’t. We are mostly concerned with our owns wants and needs and can’t see beyond that to encourage or praise someone else. We have blinders on, it’s in our nature; which is why the Word of God tells us we have to battle that stinky flesh on a daily basis and put it to death. Sadly, Selfishness is prevalent in the church and will tear it down. People view the church as an institution that is supposed to “serve me”. “The church needs to give to me, I want this, they need to do that, that pastor better speak to me, I’m here to be served and just receive. If you don’t I’m gone.” Sound familiar. This then translates over to our relationship with God. “God serve me. God answer my prayers and give me my hearts desire. You exist to serve me. If you don’t, I’m done.” This kind of thinking is damning. James says “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16 Guess what? YOU are your brother’s keeper and the church is the Body of Christ, meant to be loved and cherished. We are to serve each other, in fact preferring others over even yourself. Don’t let selfishness rule in your body- pluck out that evil root today. Let righteousness dwell and you shall overcome!
I HAVE BEEN SERVING GOD for 20+ years now. He found me and I completely surrendered at the cross. I have served Him with my whole heart and I have never departed or went back to my vomit. BUT, I have fallen A LOT. I have gone around that same stupid mountain more times than I can count. I have gotten it wrong many, many, many times. I have had to apologize and seek forgiveness for my actions and my words on way too many occasions. I start out walking on water, but end up drowning crying out for Him to save me. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MERCY! “O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for his mercy endures forever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endures forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136 This repeated refrain teaches us that God’s mercy and love are the FOUNDATION of all His works on our behalf and the FOUNTAINHEAD of all our THANKSGIVING. God’s mercy, Hebrew “hesed”, is the everlasting love that keeps His covenants. His hesed is new every morning. GIVE PRAISE! He will DO WHAT HE SAID He will do! GIVE HIM PRAISE! Have you messed up? His mercy is new today. Do you feel far away? His mercy is new today. Are you drowning? His mercy is new today. Are you losing hope? His mercy is new today. HE IS A PROMISE KEEPER. His mercy is new today! Praise Him for the victory! His mercy endures FOREVER!
God is good ALL the time. You need to settle this fact in your spirit once and for all. I watch Facebook and I see people getting the things they want and post “God is good.” But never once have I seen a post from someone who didn’t get what they wanted and still proclaim “God is good.” Why is this? God is not only just good when things go your way- He’s good ALL THE TIME. David said this Psalm 31:19 “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!” Throughout the Psalms we see David go through healing and sickness, pain and pleasure, prosperity and lack, victory and loss; but he never loses sight of the fact that GOD IS GOOD. On the day of the greatest calamity that could happen to one person, Job exclaimed,” the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job continued to BLESS GOD in the midst of extreme adversity because he knew and understood that no matter what happened to him- GOD IS GOOD. Are you guilty of only giving praise to God when you get what you want? Whether you’re rich or poor, healthy or sick- GOD IS GOOD.
“And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” Psalm 107:22
Whatever state we are in, God is always to be praised. Often, it is the hardest job to force ourselves to say that first “Thank you” when all of our circumstances have us in the pit of despair. But say it, we must! This first “thank you” takes us out of ourselves and sets our affections on God.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them….But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you…do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!…’ [Then] the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’” At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves (instead of against Judah).” For the whole story, it is very encouraging, read 2 Chronicles 20.
This is not to say that God does not want to hear all of our complaints, agony, tears and anger, He does. There is, however, a time when God challenges us to praise Him. Then, we are lifted from the mire of despair onto the hills of victory. He asks us to praise Him when the armies are present, not just when the victory is won. What faith these singers had when placed in front of the armies! They believed God!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:6-8
The Holy Spirit cannot force us to obey. He encourages. He nudges. He pleads. But this is our duty. We think on the things that will cause our mouths to open in thanksgiving. Imagine the response the world will have when you have a victory that no one thought could be won. We do this through praise.
Come to the house of the Lord and sing His praises with His people. Kneel before Him in your home and speak His truth. Stand with hands lifted to the One who saves. If nothing good ever happened to us, save for the cross, He would deserve our praises unceasingly.