Thank You

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NLT 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

When you don’t know what to say or do — say “Thank You!”

Sometimes we feel like we don’t know what to do. We wonder what God’s perfect will is.

Certainly the will of God is not for us to start worrying and being fearful about missing His will. Instead we should stay in faith, knowing that God is working and guiding us even when we are not aware of it.

God is not responsible for the bad things that come our way in life — the devil and people are to blame.

But when we start complaining and criticizing, we step out of faith, joy, and peace. These spiritual forces (the “fruit” of the spirit) are for our protection.

So we can, and should, always thank God at all times. We should develop the habit of having an attitude of gratitude.

Our God is amazing! He can turn bad things around and take the sting out of them.

When we stay in faith, always being thankful, the sting is removed from the evil that comes against us. Then, instead of destroying us, it can become a stepping-stone to take us to a higher place of blessing.

So while God is not actually responsible for any of the bad things that happen, we should be thankful always — no matter what happens.

An attitude of constant gratitude provides a shield of faith protecting you and allowing God to freely act in your life, bringing blessing and deliverance.

So when something bad happens in your life, don’t complain. Don’t criticize God, or people. Don’t beat yourself over the head. Just begin (and continue) to say things like:

Thank You Lord that you are with me to guide me and help me, that You love me, that You are working in my life, that You protect me and preserve me and deliver me from evil, and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper or prevail!

The most appropriate words you can ever speak are “Thank You!”

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Accept People As They Are

ROMANS 15:7 NIV 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

We have only two choices, accept people, or reject them. When you realize this, it may change the way you treat people.

When we criticize or condemn people, we communicate rejection. When we try to change people, it communicates that they are not good enough for us, that we don’t like them.

“But what if they are not perfect? What if they don’t believe everything I believe?”

Were you born believing all you do now? Or did you go through a process of learning over time? Should we throw out people because they still have something to learn?

What happens when you don’t accept people as they are? It feeds the lie that they are no good and have no value.

We can accept people and celebrate their value without approving of their sins. But when we refuse to accept people until they are perfect, we communicate rejection.

When someone feels rejected, they tend to reject those who reject them, and what they represent. So when Christians communicate rejection to sinners, they assume God is rejecting them, and tend to reject God because they think He rejects them.

Whenever you reject someone, you have set yourself up as their judge, something only God is truly qualified to do.

To walk with Jesus you will have to treat people as Jesus would treat them. You may not like the way they look, talk, act, think, or smell, but if they are a human being you must acknowledge that Jesus Christ loves them enough to die for them.

Jesus is our perfect example, and He is not rejecting people (John 6:37). Instead, the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ is our Advocate, (our defense lawyer), not the one who condemns (1 John 2:1, Romans 8:34).

People are hurting. Usually they know they need to change, to be better, and to do better. What they have not discovered is a way they can change. They have probably tried, but given up in defeat.

Only God’s unconditional love can give them the strength they need to have hope. Most people realize that if they must earn God’s help there is no hope for them.

This is the main reason why so many people shun Christianity and want to have nothing to do with God. They have accepted a wrong image of God, thinking He is a stern Judge who is against them, instead of realizing the truth that He is a loving Father like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told us about in Luke 15:11-32.

God accepts people as they are. So should we. Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). God so loved the world that He gave.

People crave love. Unconditional love will draw people. It is God’s goodness that leads people to repent (Romans 2:4).

Every time we meet someone, we are faced with a choice: love them — or judge them, accept them as they are — or attempt to change them, make them feel respected — or despised, make them feel valuable and precious — or make them feel worthless.

You might as well accept people as they are instead of trying to change them. You can’t change people anyway. Only God can really change people. Our job is to love them and help them.

Also remember that God made people to be different. So don’t expect everyone will be exactly like you.

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Righteousness, Peace & Joy

ROMANS 14:17 NKJ 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Here is a description of the Kingdom of God: righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness means everything being right.

God has given us the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). That means He has put us in right standing with Himself. He has said that everything is right between us and Him. Sin no longer separates us from God, because the precious blood of Jesus has cleansed us and we are forgiven by God.

Because we have right standing with God (righteousness), we have peace. There is no more struggle. God is not mad at us. God is on our side.

Peace means more than the absence of conflict. Peace means nothing broken and nothing missing. Peace includes the idea of prosperity — having everything needful in abundance with no lack.

When you are right with God and have peace — nothing missing and nothing broken — you will have joy.

You can look at this as a progression, righteousness produces peace, and when you have righteousness and peace, joy will result.

God’s Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. It is a kingdom of love. It is a kingdom where everything is right. In it there is no imperfection and no lack. It is a kingdom of peace. There is never any conflict because there is no selfishness. It is a kingdom of joy. Everyone rejoices because of the goodness of God.

God’s kingdom includes everywhere God reigns. In the world there is trouble (John 16:33). But by faith in Jesus, it can be overcome (1 John 5:5).

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Your Faith Will Be Tested

1 PETER 4:12 ESV 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

Don’t be surprised when your faith is tested! And don’t be afraid! Jesus — who promised to never forsake you — is still there to help you.

The test of faith is the devil trying to steal your faith. The devil wants you to believe something other than God’s Word.

MARK 4:15 ESV 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

The devil wants to steal God’s Word out of your life, to stop your faith. So you have to hang on to your faith! You have to say “NO!” to the devil!

Our enemy could never steal faith in God’s Word away from us unless at some point it seems like God’s Word is wrong. Or that God has forgotten us and forsaken us. This will happen to you sometime! When it does, trust God and His faithfulness more than you trust your present circumstances.

HEBREWS 10:23 ESV 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

HEBREWS 4:14 NLT 14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.

No matter what it seems like — Jesus is faithful. He cannot lie! Our problem is our limited perspective. We don’t know the future, but God does.

1 PETER 1:7 ESV 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Genuine faith is very precious to the Lord. When you overcome tests you grow spiritually, which causes joy in Heaven, and should encourage you to rejoice, too.

JAMES 1:2-4 ESV 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

LUKE 22:32 ESV 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

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Beware of Pride

PROVERBS 16:18 NIV 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride is deadly. But instead of warning us the world encourages pride in every way.

What is pride?

Pride is faith in yourself, instead of faith in God.

The root of pride is selfishness: putting yourself first. Thinking you are the most important. Thinking you know the most. Thinking you deserve better than someone else.

Pride will cause you to go your own way instead of God’s way. Pride makes you think you do not need God’s advice or help.

Pride is the root of all sin. It causes you to turn away from God instead of turning to Him. All disobedience has pride as its root. All rebellion has pride behind it. All mistreatment of other people is caused by pride: putting yourself and your feelings above the other person and their feelings.

The world system promotes people who are proud, and often gives them great riches. Jesus said pride is evil and defiles a person. (Mark 7:21-23)

While the world may promote the proud for a short time, their fame and success will not last.

JAMES 4:6 NKJ 6 . . . “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Pride is the most serious, and the most subtle, sin. It often goes unrecognized.

Beware!

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Life Lessons

Our life on earth is a learning process. We are in “school” whether we realize it or not.

What are the main lessons we are supposed to learn in life?

  • God is trustworthy.

PSALM 118:8 NKJ 8 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.

TITUS 1:2 NKJ 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NKJ 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Be loving.

GALATIANS 5:14 NLT 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

1 JOHN 4:21 NKJ 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

1 JOHN 3:23 NKJ 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

  • Be thankful.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NKJ 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

COLOSSIANS 3:15 NKJ 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

  • Respect authority.

EPHESIANS 6:2 NLT 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:

1 PETER 2:17 NLT 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.

ROMANS 13:7 NLT 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

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Let Jesus Be Boss

ACTS 2:36 NIV 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

“Boss” is a modern meaning of the word “Lord.”

Somebody has to be the boss. Somebody has to make the final decisions.

It’s not a hard thing to let Jesus be your boss — it’s a wonderful privilege.

Jesus knows more than you do. And Jesus loves you more than you love yourself. So He desires the very best for you and knows how to make it happen. Therefore letting Jesus call the shots in your life is the smartest thing you could do.

Of course, if you choose, you can go your own way and do your own thing. You can try to do the best you can on your own — and see how it works out.

If you owned a large important company, who would you rather run the company for you, a brilliant executive with a perfect track record of running many other companies successfully, or someone who has never run a company before?

You have control over something much more important than a company — your life. Who do you want to run it for you? Jesus, with a perfect track record. Jesus, who knows more about the future than you know about the past. Or, yourself?

Without the wise, loving, experienced, guidance of Jesus, you will almost certainly crash in life.

Sure, you may get along fine for awhile. But, eventually, it will all crash around you. Trust in yourself, and you will be disappointed. Trust in God and obey Him, and you will not regret it.

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God Has Already Given

Most people are asking God to give them things that God says already belong to them.

Many are still hoping God will forgive them. But Scripture tells us God has already forgiven us, and He is no longer holding our sins against us.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 NLT 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

Instead of begging God to forgive us, we should be thanking Him for already forgiving us! And we should tell others they are also forgiven!

Just as God has already forgiven us, He has also already blessed us. He has given us every blessing.

EPHESIANS 1:3 GWN 3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer.

God HAS blessed us with everything Heaven has to offer. Spiritual blessings are the reality behind all physical blessings. They are what cause the physical manifestations.

God has already given. Now we need to learn how to receive His blessings, and to keep the devil from stealing them from us and our families.

Once we truly realize God has already given to us, we will rise up and stop the enemy stealing from us.

Scripture says God already gave us all things when He gave us Christ Jesus.

ROMANS 8:32 NKJ 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

WITH Jesus He freely gave us ALL things!

Can you imagine God saying, “I will give you my Son, but you can’t have ________.” Ridiculous! With Jesus we were given EVERYTHING God has. Every blessing.

God has not held back on us.

2 PETER 1:3 NKJ 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

All things that pertain to life and godliness are ours through the knowledge of Christ. Whatever pertains to you having a full, satisfying, joy-filled life — God has already given you.

Jesus is the heir of all things, and we are joint-heirs with Him (Hebrews 1:2, Galatians 4:7, Romans 8:17).

God has given healing. God has given prosperity. God has given peace. God has given joy. God has given us all the blessings Heaven has.

We don’t need to convince God to help us. We only need to learn how to receive what God has already given to us.

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Always Be Thankful

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NLT 18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Bad things happen in life sometimes. There are times we don’t understand what is happening or why. But we can always be thankful for many things:

God loves us.

Jesus died for us.

Our sins are forgiven.

Jesus has promised to never leave us.

God is our Father and He is faithful.

We have an eternal home in Heaven.

What we choose to focus on determines our attitude. While we may face problems, we don’t have to let those problems become our focus. We can choose to give thanks and praise God for His goodness and faithfulness.

Imagine how discouraged that will make the devil feel!

Also, think of the pleasure it must bring our Father God when we stay in faith and focus on Him, instead of being distracted by the stuff the devil does trying to steal our faith.

If you are always thankful, the bad things that do happen to you will lose their ability to really harm you. For God will work in your life.

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Weep With Those Who Weep

ROMANS 12:15 KJV 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

There are times when we should share the grief of others, understand what they are feeling, and support them in their sorrow.

JOHN 11:35 KJV 35 Jesus wept.

Jesus lived a perfect life. He is our model as well as our Lord and Savior. If Jesus found it appropriate to weep at times, then it is appropriate for us, also.

In general we should encourage people. We should try to get them to see the positive side of things and to trust in the Lord, and even to rejoice in Him. The Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. But people are not perfect in acting in faith, and we can’t force them to do something.

So sometimes it is not appropriate to try to “cheer up someone.” The Bible says there is a time to weep.

ECCLESIASTES 3:4 KJV 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Sometimes what is needed is not trying to change a person, but just letting them know you care about them. By your presence and your actions you are saying, “You matter to me. When you feel bad, it affects me, because I care about you. You are important to me, and when you hurt, I hurt because you are hurting.”

PROVERBS 25:20 NLT 20 Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.

GENESIS 23:2 KJV 2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

When our loved ones depart for Heaven, we should rejoice for them. But it is natural for us to weep because of our loss. We should not sorrow as the world does. We have a hope they do not have. But it is not wrong to display emotion. God made us emotional beings. Emotion is not wrong unless we let it control us and lead us away from doing God’s will.

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