Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Thankful Are We?

This coming Thursday is the day that is set aside in our wonderful country as a national day of Thanksgiving. As Christians we have so much to be thankful for and it should be very easy to find reasons for being thankful. Besides having so much of this world’s goods, we have all spiritual blessings which can only be realized by being IN Christ (Ephesians 1:3). But how thankful are we? There are others in the world that certainly do not have or ever will have the material things that we are blessed with in our life. Yet we still find ways to complain and wish that we had even more. In addition to all the physical things that we are blessed with, we should thank God every day that we have learned about Jesus Christ, obeyed Him, and are striving to live a faithful life on this earth until we die. We are promised that heaven is waiting for us to possess it IF we are faithful to the very end (Revelation 2:10). Now that is something we can truly be thankful for.

As We Bow
As we bow our heads in prayer to God this coming Thursday, before we eat our meal, let us truly be mindful of all the wonderful things that God has allowed us to enjoy here on this earth. We should be thankful for our prosperity and for being able to worship God unmolested at any time. Let us thank God for our health and that He may bless us with many more years of faithful service in His kingdom. May we thank God for those that have had an open heart to receive His Word, and are now determined to serve Him for the rest of their life. We should thank God for the opportunities that He presents to us to share His Word with others. Let us also thank God for our children and pray that we raise them completely in the training and admonition that He dictates to us. May we thank Him for the Poudre Valley congregation here in Loveland, CO and pray that we can all strive to continue to build each other up, keeping one another motivated for the cause of Christ and for each other, longing to be with God and each other forever in heaven. As we bow, there are so many things that we can be thankful for.
Prayer Is Important
The importance of prayers of Thanksgiving to God is taught to us clearly in the Bible. Notice the following:
Psalms 50:14 "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High."

Psalms 105:1 "Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!"

Psalms 106:1 "Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

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

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

Ephesians 5:20 "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

Hebrews 13:15 "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. "

When we look at God’s Word, we can see where our duty is evident. We know that we have received many blessings from our creator in which we should be eternally thankful. Prayer is important because it is through prayer that God can clearly see in us the kind of children we really are. A prayerful child is one who talks to their father. God wants us to talk to Him and express to Him how truly thankful we are for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Can it be seen in us by our expression to God in prayer that we really are thankful for what we have, both physical and spiritual?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tinker Toy Religion

Every small child from my era was given a Tinker Toy set to help develop his creativity and ingenuity. I was no exception. You could follow the pictures and build what the designer had in mind, or use your own imagination and arrange the pieces just any way that suited your fancy. There were enough parts of various shapes and sizes to accommodate most any conceivable concoction.

What does that have to do with religion? Well, it makes about as much sense to make a religion out of Tinker Toys, as it does anything else man has invented that God has not specified and approved.

God has always given man specific instructions to please Him, all the way from Adam and Eve, the Patriarchs, Moses and Israel, to Jesus Christ and the Christian age. On all matters pertaining to religion, God has always made known His will through the Bible. People have not been satisfied to follow these requirements, but instead, fashion their own religions by taking pieces from the imaginations of men, and mixing in the additions, subtractions and perversions of what Clod has revealed. One group assembles pieces to build a religion that meets with their own approval, while another group does the same with different pieces. Hence, Tinker Toy religion!

This problem is as old as man. The Bible is replete with examples of people assuming they can change what God ordered. Adam and Eve ignored God's command, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17), and they died! Cain offered a sacrifice to God that did not please Him (Genesis 4:4-7). God called it sin! When Moses revealed God's Law to the Israelites, he warned, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Jehovah your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2). As it turned out, every generation thereafter was punished when they corrupted the "commandments of Jehovah"!

Under the Law of Christ the principle is the same. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema (accursed). As we have said before, so say I now again, If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema" (Galatians 1:6-9). God considers this serious business; notice: "Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace" (Galatians 5:4; Rev 22:18-19).

There is only one true religion today. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). It doesn't pay to "tinker around" with God's religion as He revealed it in His word. Every Tinker Toy religion will be destroyed!

Article written by: Dusty Owens

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Triumphs of Faith

In the sports world we know that the individuals that excel in their individual sport may someday enter the "Hall of Fame". Well, Christians also have their heroes that are solidly planted in the "Hall of Faith". The Hebrew writer defines faith as "...the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). The eleventh chapter of Hebrews shares some beautiful examples of those God fearing individuals from long ago that excelled in goodness and are now entered in the "Hall of Faith" in this chapter. In verse 4 we see where "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain...". Do we give God the best we have each day of our lives? We read of great names such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. Look at those names. Great names in Old Testament history for us to grow and learn from today. Over time, this was a great line up of God's people. They are now entered in the book of Hebrews because of their great faith in God. Of all of our heroes today there is none better than these. These are the ones that we need to pattern our lives after. Worldly heroes can not help us get to heaven but the names in this chapter are ones that if we showed the kind of faith in our daily lives like they did would surely help us get there. But all these great people "died in faith without receiving the promises..." (Hebrews 11:13). We have the greatest gift of all - Jesus Christ our Lord! God has promised us that if we do his will that we will receive life everlasting (Matthew 7:21). Have faith - and do God's will!