For These We Give Thanks

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In this time of chaos and confusion, in this time of different, in this time of loss – not just loss of people, but loss of normal – it can be so very easy to focus on the bad instead of the good, but just because we have to look harder for things to be thankful for, doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. Paul and James both have been urging us to be different from the world and I don’t think that has ever been more essential than it is right now as we are moving into the holiday season.
There’s a little word in the verses I read that changes everything:
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We aren’t urged to give thanks “for” all circumstances, we are told to give thanks “in” all circumstances.
I read a quote this week that said, “Thankfulness, or its lack, is the thermometer by which our spiritual temperature can be gauged.”
What is your spiritual temperature?


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It’s Time to Get Real

James 4.8How do we overcome our tendency to chase after personal desires more than we chase after God?
James says we must submit to God and resist the devil. Come near to God and he’ll come near to us. Humble ourselves.
In Romans 8:7, Paul told us that the sinful mind is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
We must turn our minds and then surrender ourselves, completely.
So often though, we halfheartedly surrender ourselves. We don’t turn out minds. We keep this little desire or that little want back to ourselves thinking it doesn’t hurt. But it does, because that little desire or want grows.
No, we have to surrender ourselves completely. Come back to God and He will come back to us.
I asked my congregations to read the following verses often over the next days, weeks, months…I ask anyone who wants a closer relationship with God to do the same.
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart (Jer. 24:7).
I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them (
Jer. 32:39).
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh (
Ezek. 11:19).
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (
Ezek. 36:26–27).James 4:1-17


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Wisdom From Heaven

james 3.10The Jewish wisdom tradition believes that words have “being.” That when spoken, they become reality and cannot be revoked. James is saying that we must respect the power our words have and we must control our tongue.

So, how do we do this, how do we control the tongue?
Wisdom. We must use the wisdom that comes from our father in heaven.

James asks, “who is wise and understanding among you.” Let them show it. Wisdom isn’t just something we talk about, it’s how we live. By all means, it shows in our words just as it shows in our actions, because through God’s wisdom, we learn to live the way He calls us to live.

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Dead Faith

james 214 26
In 1990, 85% of adults in the United States identified themselves as Christians, in 2001, it had fallen to less than 82%, in 2012 it was down to 78%, in 2015 75% of adults in the United States identified themselves as Christians. In 25 years, the number of adults that identified as Christians had fallen 10%. In 1990, 17 out of 20 Americans called themselves Christians, in 2015, 15 out of 20 Americans called themselves Christians.
In
Matthew 5:13, in the sermon on the mount, Jesus called us the “salt of the earth.”
I think those numbers prove that we, the salt, have lost our saltiness because that number should be going up not down.
If you were to add three quarters of a pound of salt to one pound of meat, the salt would totally overpower the meat. That’s what we should be doing in the world y’all, we should, as children of light, be overpowering the darkness and we are not.
Instead, we are sitting back and wringing our hands while we bemoan how things have changed, times have changed, Covid has changed things…..These aren’t reasons that the church isn’t what it was in the world, these are excuses for those still in the church!


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