24 November 2012

Gratitude through Prayer

"Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents.
"Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". 
~Robert D. Hales

Gratitude = Humility

"Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief....
"Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without appreciation, there is arrogance and evil.
"Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride." 
~Gordon B. Hinckley

How Can I Have Eternal Life?

Each of us faces the same dilemma. We have a sin debt that we owe to God but no way to pay for it. None of our solutions - living a moral life, being religious, or doing more good deeds - can take care of our problem.
God Himself has provided the solution - one that both satisfies His justice and grants us mercy. He sent His Son to pay the penalty we owed. Jesus was qualified to be our substitute because He never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). He willingly took our place on the cross and experienced the full measure of the Lord's wrath against our sinfulness. In dying for us, Christ secured our salvation by paying the debt for all our past, present, and future sins. When we trust in Jesus and surrender our life to Him, He becomes our personal Savior and Lord.
The great tragedy is that many have heard the gospel and rejected it. Some are like the rich ruler who placed his trust in material possessions and turned his back on the truth. Others have refused to even listen. Another group is convinced they are heaven-bound, based on erroneous confidence in their own good deeds. Only those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus through faith in Him will be welcomed into heaven.
If you're wondering, How can I have eternal life? there is only one answer: through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). We have an Enemy who actively seeks to blind people to the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). Pray that many who are separated from the Lord will trust in the Savior and gain everlasting life.
Charles Stanley

21 November 2012

How Would Your Life be Different if....

"How would your life be different if...you began each day by thanking someone who has helped you? Let today be the day...You make it a point to show your gratitude to others. Send a letter or card, make a call, send a text or email, tell them in person...do whatever you have to do to let them know you appreciate them."
~Steve Maraboli

20 November 2012

Gratitude can Transform Common Days

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
~William Arthur Ward

What “Living Water” Did Jesus Offer?

The story of the Lord’s encounter with a Samaritan woman is a wonderful example of His loving response to hurting individuals (John 4:1–42). Jesus is always reaching out in love, even when we do not recognize His extended hand.
Although this meeting may have appeared accidental, it was really a providential appointment with the Messiah. As the woman reached the well, Jesus initiated conversation by asking for a drink of water. His direct approach surprised her and opened the door for a dialogue that would change her life forever.
Throughout the exchange, Jesus’ goal was to help the woman recognize her greatest need so He could supply her with the only gift that would meet that need: salvation and the forgiveness of her sins. She had spent her life trying to find love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Christ offered her the living water of the Holy Spirit—the only thing that would quench her spiritual and emotional thirst.
Like the Samaritan woman, we can at times be so intent on getting our immediate needs met that we fail to see God’s hand reaching out to us in love, offering what will truly satisfy. Only Christ can fill our empty souls for eternity and provide for our essential emotional needs now.
This world is filled with wells that promise to provide love, acceptance, and self-worth but never fully satisfy. When your soul is empty and the well runs dry, look for Jesus. He has a divine appointment scheduled with you, and He will quench your thirst with His Spirit—if you let Him.
Charles Stanley

Are Some Sins Worse than Others?

Christians tend to categorize sins, rating some as small and inconsequential, but others as huge and far-reaching in the damage they cause. In reality, no one sins in isolation. Each disobedience to God affects not only the sinner but also countless others in both the present and the future.
If we were to separate Adam and Eve's sin from its context, few of us would convict them of great transgression. All they did was swallow some fruit from a tree with a "do not eat" sign. Today people think nothing of ignoring commands - even biblical ones.
But God has a totally different view of our sins. Each one is followed by negative consequences. Adam and Eve's disobedience led to pain and frustration in two basic areas of fulfillment - relationships and meaningful work. The whole earth fell under sin's curse, and every person born since then has entered the world with a sin nature that alienates each one from the Lord.
That first rebellion plunged humanity into a terrible condition. Civilization is now plagued by countless ramifications of the innumerable sins committed by human beings throughout the ages. Is it any wonder the world is in such sad shape? Sin not only causes suffering; it robs us of God's best. The Garden of Eden is closed and locked to sinful mankind.
The good news of Christ's grace and forgiveness is our only real hope in this fallen world. Though unpleasant, focusing on sin's consequences is necessary at times to remind us of the greatness of our salvation and to move us to obey God, even in the small things. Each obedience is huge to Him.
Charles Stanley

16 November 2012

Count Your Blessings

"We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count."
~Neal A. Maxwell

15 November 2012

The Gospel: A Daily Need?

The gospel isn’t simply a set of truths that non-Christians must believe in order to become saved. It’s a reality that Christians must daily embrace in order to experience being saved. The gospel not only saves us from the penalty of sin (justification), but it also saves us from the power of sin (sanctification) day after day. Or, as John Piper has said, “The cross is not only a past place of objective substitution; it is a present place of subjective execution.” Our daily sin requires God’s daily grace—the grace that comes to us through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Churches, for example, have for years debated whether their worship services ought to be geared toward Christians (to encourage and strengthen them) or non-Christians (to appeal to and win them). But this debate and the struggle over it are misguided. We’re asking the wrong questions and making the wrong assumptions. The truth is that our worship services should be geared to sinners in need of God’s rescue—and that includes both Christians and non-Christians. Since both groups need his deliverance, both need his gospel.
Christians need the gospel because our hearts are always prone to wander; we’re always tempted to run from God. It takes the power of the gospel to direct us back to our first love. Consciously going to the gospel ought to be a daily reality and experience for us all. It means, as Jerry Bridges reminds us, “preaching the gospel to yourself every day.” We have to allow God to remind us every day through his Word of Christ’s finished work on behalf of sinners in order to stay convinced that the gospel is relevant.
Tullian Tchividjian

10 November 2012

What Does it Mean to Seek God’s Kingdom?

A verse every Christian should commit to memory is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? God’s kingdom is the rule and reign of Christ in our lives. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). This is praying for a day when God will bring heaven to earth and will bring His rule on this planet. God still has a plan for planet Earth. He will rule and reign here, and as believers, we will rule and reign with Him. So that is in the future.

But when we pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven,” we are also praying for the rule and reign of the kingdom of God in our lives. This is when Jesus is in charge. On one occasion Jesus said, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), where He was speaking of himself. When you are under His lordship, and when He is in control of your life, that is the kingdom of God. It is not rules and regulations, but “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Have you, as a Christian, surrendered your life to Christ? Have you said, “Lord, I want Your will more than I want my own will. I am willing to surrender to You now”? Because you cannot pray, “Your kingdom come” until you first pray, “My kingdom go.” Have you done that yet?

A lack of faith can bring a lot of anxiety into our lives. So instead of worrying, we should put God and His will first in our lives. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
 Greg Laurie