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The harvest is near

While gathered together with family and friends to enjoy food and fellowship this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s also take time to remember the ones who are suffering for their beliefs and pray that God would abundantly bless them with his peace and provision.

In America, our blessings are so abundant that even the poor are considered rich compared with others around the globe. The word tells us in 1 Timothy 6:8 that if we have food and raiment, we should be content.

With thanksgiving in their hearts, the early settlers gave praise and honor to the Lord for many things, most notably, a liberal harvest. William Bradford wrote:

“…And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair, warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving… By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty … for which they blessed God.” 

When we stop to think about all that we’ve been blessed with as believers, the list should begin and end with Christ. Having Jesus as our Lord and Savior is our fruitful bounty. Everything else is but a garnish. For the Lord is our everything, and all that we have stems from his never-ending supply of love and mercy—his grace!

May your Thanksgiving be a joyous reminder of all that is Jesus!

In every season…

To everything there is a season…winter, spring, summer and fall. Each is part of the pattern of life which God has established on earth.

The book of Ecclesiastes talks about the seasons of life. With everything under the sun, there is a time—a time to reap and a time to sow; a time to mourn and a time to laugh; a time to gather and a time to cast away.

With everything the Lord brings to us, whether to our delight or adversity, it’s for his purposes. Whether it pleases or not, there is really nothing to lose or gain compared to the fulfillment of a God-centered life, as only God brings us true contentment even apart from the situations in which we find ourselves.

Whether in good times or bad, the blessings of his hand in our lives is what sustains us. The surpassing joys or sorrows will fade in time and our spirits are sustained through it all as we remain focused on the power of his presence in our lives.

As with anything earthly, it passes. Though, the riches of the spiritual gifts designed by God for us are meant to be life sustaining and everlasting.

May the joy of the Lord be yours today and forever in every season.

 

Pray for the persecuted

Living for Jesus is not the world’s primary interest. To be one with God and walk the straight and narrow path is opposite of what the world endorses. “Live your best life today for tomorrow you may die” is their mantra.

In the midst of David’s persecution, he sought the high road by seeking God’s path in Psalm 27, while dodging the enemies surrounding him, who wished to do him harm. Such as it is with the persecuted Christians around the world who suffer for their faith by the enemies of God.

As believers, we attempt to walk a path that is pleasing to the Lord, and in America, thus far, our path to worship is still protected. We may have our challenges, struggles, and trials, but often, our issues pale in comparison to what other Christians around the globe are facing when their actual faith is challenged…or their very lives.

In the midst of spiritual warfare, we join our hearts in prayer  while keeping in mind Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” and Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “…all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

Although all of us who claim the name of Jesus will be victimized to some degree, we know the good Lord remembers our frames and will not allow us to suffer beyond what we are able to bear through His strength working inside us. May those suffering servants around the world feel God’s grace poured out on them today, and may his spirit carry them into tomorrow.

WORST YEAR YET: Global Persecution Of Christians Hits ...

In God we trust

So fortunate we are to live in a nation where its citizens are the sovereign and have the opportunity to partake in our God-ordained government. By casting our vote, we exercise our rights under the Constitution as well as our free will. By holding our leaders responsible, by keeping their feet to the fire, we can demonstrate our desire to be a Godly nation by being the salt and light that God calls us to be.

God ordained the government and its leaders, and WE THE PEOPLE are to carry out the protocols set forth. Even Jesus has allowed us to “…render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…”

As a Christian defined by Christ, our liberty to vote is not thwarted nor precluded by anything in the Bible. What if NO Christians ever voted…especially, when our future liberties are at stake now more than they ever have been?

While it’s incumbent upon every U.S. citizen to vote for the leaders whom we are to elect, it is no sin not to vote nor should there be judgement. And while our government is important, we must always realize that the president is not a sacred position nor our first line of defense against what may hinder us.

Should rafters quake and mountains tumble into the sea, it’s the Lord to whom we turn. We put our trust not in man or government but in God alone.

An all sufficient grace

Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that he’d rather boast in his weakness, so that the power of Christ can abide in him. Why? Because then he can be made perfect through the Almighty’s strength since his own efforts inevitably fail.

How often do we believe things could sometimes be different in our lives…when we are just not pleased with our lot in life or with the way the Lord has made us and the cross we have to bear? We can compare ourselves with others and bemoan, or we can be filled with gratitude that the Lord has created us in His image and loves us beyond our imagination.

Moses stuttered. Apostle Paul had vision issues. Jacob had a limp, and Leah was deemed ugly. There’s plenty more examples. So many figures in the Bible suffered in the flesh and yet the Lord used them mightily for his plans and purposes.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong ~ Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Who’s your refuge?


    There are no atheists in fox holes. That’s what they say. Of course, when the chips are down, people cry out to God for help. But where is their Creator at any other time? Do the worldly believe they’re getting by in this life on their own laurels? Or that life is a random game of chance to be gambled upon?

The worldly panaceas offering help from the cares and burdens are, for the unsaved, the first place they look for relief from the pain of living. For the children of God, the ones Christ calls his brethren, our solace is met at the cross.

When you rise in the morning or lie down at night, the struggles that plague you have only one solution; it’s found in the arsenal of the Master Physician.

  “Because You have been my help, therefore, in the shadow of Your wings, I will rejoice” ~ Psalm 63:7

The world is a battlefield for control of your mind and heart. The combat skirmishes will always be here until we’re promoted to heaven, but there is assurance that in Him, your battles are already won.

Whether it physical, emotional, or mental pain that take precedence and attempt to sabotage your peace, rejoice in the Lord and count it all joy. Why? You have the Lord! Praise Him through the pain and watch and wait on what the Lord can do.

 

God has blessed America

She stands tall on Liberty Island above the sparkling blue-green waters of New York City’s harbor. Her verdigris silhouette can be seen for miles as the robed Roman Goddess of Liberty beckons to the tired and poor and those who wish to breathe free. She stands upon a broken shackle signifying the abolition of slavery and bears a torch to welcome immigrants from far and wide. Her iconic presence sends a message of hope to the world.

As I stand on the banks of the sunny harbor, tears draw to my eyes. The vision of liberty for America and its enactment throughout the years is without parallel. Where else but on this continent can a person with empty pockets and no education begin a life, raise a family, and through hard work, establish roots that are watered by personal strength and creative efforts? Through perseverance and innate skills, where else can one break through to nurture a dream, whether to open up a popsicle stand or an entire grocery store chain?

So fortunate we are to live in a nation where We the People are the sovereign and have the opportunity to partake in our God-ordained government. By casting our vote, we exercise our rights under the Constitution as well as our free will. By holding our leaders responsible, by keeping their feet to the fire, we can demonstrate our desire to be a Godly nation by being the salt and light that God calls us to be.

Sadly, standing near Lady Liberty is another statue. It hasn’t been erected yet—at least, not formally with an edifice. It is the statue of progressivism. While our country was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as endowed by our Creator, progressivism has inserted itself as the arbiter of liberties. It doesn’t fly under the banner of how the nation was founded and is now pounding on the door of freedom and liberty. With its tyranny and social justice, progressivism is standing at the threshold of the new social order.

This new way of politics seeks a sense of universal oneness—a spirit that we are all united by our very essence, that man is indebted to do away with the inequality, and where class distinction is eradicated. This attitude drives out the need to employ attributes such as natural talents and abilities, personal drive, initiative, ambition, creativity, endurance, and work ethic, which is what America is about. It sucks up the human spirit and further dehumanizes society by thwarting efforts to rise up to a productive lifestyle, all while eschewing capitalism as a valid means of entrepreneurial-ism and mode of free enterprise. This was not in the Founder’s blueprint for America.

I’m saddened by those who don’t understand that when man inserts himself as the standard by which all things are measured, such as with progressive socialism, communism, or globalism, things are doomed to failure. That they don’t see the thwart of its effects on the human spirit, alongside the self-centered sin of mankind that deifies man and ignores God, is truly blind and egregious.

America, land of the free and home of the brave, is the best idea ever conceived by human minds. It is precious. When vicariously witnessing the struggles of war our countrymen have endured and the blood and treasure sacrificed, I appreciate this country more with the passing of time.

Lady Liberty—the silent spokesperson for the bright and shining star on the hill—has weathered many storms. I fear, though, that despite her beauty and grandeur, she, too, may have a tear in her eye. But beyond the sadness, there is something within her, something palpable that she feels. The same fortitude that encompassed the spirits of the likes of William Bradford and the original English separatists, who braved the stormy seas and led hardscrabble lives on these shores, is still alive and well in America. Those same qualities of perseverance, endurance, and drive to succeed are thrumming just below her surface. The banner of hope she holds out is for not only immigrants but for every American to stand under—strong, determined, and willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to keep America thriving as a nation and a beacon of freedom for all.

A shepherd’s love

One of the most beloved and well-known passages in all of the Bible is found in the book of Psalms. In Psalm 23, the pastoral images of green pastures and still waters bring peace and contentment to the psalmist, David, and to every believer who reads the comforting words.

The Lord as our Good Shepherd is a timeless metaphor that speaks of his people as sheep who often go astray but can still hear the shepherd’s voice and know it well. The shepherd’s love for his sheep goes beyond the realm of understanding that one could be so indebted to such a lowly animal.

In the famous psalm, David establishes the providence of our Lord’s divine care, guidance, refreshment and security both now and through eternity. To rest in green pastures…led by the still waters as the Lord restores our souls is our joy and such a far cry from the stagnant pools and boisterous crashing waves of life.

Even through our most trying of hours, he’s there through the shadow of death and every storm of life, knowing our frames are weak. He directs us with his rod of discipline and staff of support as we lean on him in everything. To comprehend that his love will carry us into eternity is utterly unfathomable, and we need to share this precious news with the world.

 

How wise is your wisdom?

There’s a lot of talk in the world but not enough wisdom. Plenty of humanistic philosophy, folklore, skewed rhetoric, and plain lies. If what you’re hearing it isn’t Godly, it’s false, a fake, a knock-off… because man-made philosophies are only man’s wisdom. Man is corruptible. Therefore, take it for what it is.

Sometimes, wisdom masquerades as truth, but inside there is a core of falsehood. A little stone or pebble coated in milk chocolate is not a peanut M&M; it could break your teeth. We need to be cognizant of the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” because the devil always seeks to deceive us. Though, if we are one step ahead of him by being steeped in the knowledge of God, it’s easier to spot the deception.

If one were to compare a one-dollar bill to a counterfeit bill, it might be difficult to discern the difference. However, if one has studied the true dollar bill in all of its context and nuance, it would be quite easy to spot the fake knock-off because you’d recognize the real thing, having been so intimately acquainted with it. So, it is with the Lord.

Free will shapes our lives in the choices we make. We grow toward maturity when our choices intersect with God, for in him is true wisdom.

 

Focus on the light

While David struggled during his life in the Old Testament, what stands out is his faith. Despite the trouble he encountered, David knew God would be there to keep him from swerving too far off course, and the Lord’s guidance would be the lamp unto his feet.

In Psalm 27:11, David prayerfully sought the Lord as he dealt with his enemies whose goal was to do him harm.

Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

The only thing that can protect us from evil darkness on our road through life is to keep our focus on the light. When we make the wrong turn or become mesmerized by the dazzle of worldly lights, which beckon or entice, that’s not necessarily the right kind of light to follow! It’s more likely a warning of snares ahead. Be discerning.

We may never have such a trial as someone like David, who feared being murdered. Our struggles are often more subtle than someone lurking around the corner with a spear. Although, in the scheme of things, Satan lurks like a lion and wishes to consume us just the same. Keeping our eyes, ears, and whole body prepared for the insidious nature of the evil one, we are more likely to err on the side of caution than fall headlong into the trap.