Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 25, 2016

"Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." II Peter 3:17-18

Peter, the great fisherman turned apostle, offers an urgent admonition to the believers in his day. "As you get closer to the final days make sure you grow closer to God!"

Since spiritual growth is a high priority for the believer knowing how to grow is vital!

Growth begins by knowing what you need to know!

Every journey has a starting point and the starting point for growth is knowing what you need to know. Knowing what you need to know is determined by where you want to go! 

Since the context of this Scripture text has to do with the last days before Jesus comes the issue is where do you want to go when it all ends? Do you want to go to heaven or do you want to go to hell?

Where you want your life to go determines what you need to know. If you want to live forever in Heaven then what you need to know is Jesus! If Heaven doesn't interest you then it doesn't matter what you know.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ", says Peter. And that's where spiritual growth begins because that's where spiritual life begins.

You can't grow until you know what you need to know and what you need to know is Jesus! And you need to know Him as your Savior!

Do you?


“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:15-20

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” -- Cicero

“The gracious stirrings of grateful affection to God," in which love flows from the heart as a response to the Divine, is one of the surest ways to discern the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person's life.” – Jonathan Edwards.

For this penetrating insight into gratefulness, I am grateful to Dennis Prager, author of the shrewd and perceptive "Happiness is a Serious Problem."

"There is a secret to happiness,'" Prager writes, "and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person."

This is a keen observation, and it helps explain why the Judeo-Christian tradition places such emphasis on thanking God. The liturgy is filled with expressions of gratitude. "It is good to give thanks to the Lord," begins the 92nd Psalm.

Why? Is it because God needs our gratitude? No: it is because we need it. Learning to be thankful, whether to God or to other people, is the best vaccination against taking good fortune for granted.  And the less you take for granted, the more pleasure and joy life will bring you.



I am thankful that God sent Jesus to pay a sin debt that He didn't owe to redeem me from a debt I couldn't pay!

I am not only thankful that I got what I didn't deserve but also that I didn't get what I did deserve.


I thank God for a Savior Who I can know personally. As the hymn writer put it, "He walks wit me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own......"


The Spirit is the Comforter who helps me through difficult times. He is the Spirit of truth Who leads me into all truth. He helps me when I pray and convicts me when I stray.


I am thankful that the Blood of Christ can cleanse my sinful nature and allow the Holy Spirit to fill me until His will is my will!


I am thankful that when I am in Christ and when His Spirit indwells me, I can know I am secure in His love - forever.


I am very thankful that God has written a love letter to me that reveals all of His truth and details His will.


I am thankful that I get to share my spiritual journey with others who are saved and Spirit -filled and who love the Scriptures and enjoy serving Him within the fellowship of the church.


I am even happy for the struggles of life. Even though I don't enjoy them I understand their value in developing my faith. The only way to really understand how strong and faithful God is through the struggles of life.


I am thankful for a God Who is the First and the Last - the Alpha and Omega - and everything in between! He had the first word in creation and He had the first word in my recreation. Everything is under His control and He is bigger than life and bigger than death!

How about you? Will thanksgiving be just a holiday or a habit?

I will add force to my life by changing the focus of my life:

-       I will commit to thanking God for everything every day.

-       I will commit to thanking others on a daily basis.