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“A Month Of Thankfulness” Text …. Day 30

Let Us Thank The Lord For His Forgiveness When We Fail To Recognize His Great Blessings

Ps 106:1-2 (KJV)   …  Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?

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“A Month of Thankfulness” Devotional Series (Day 30)

“O Give Thanks Unto The Lord (3)”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 106:1-2

Ps 106:1-2 (KJV)   …  Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?

In our last devotional of this series, we will end with these two questions….
“Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?”  
“who can shew forth all his praise?”

Over the past month, as we have thought on a few of the multitude of ways that our Lord deserves our thanks…it all boils down to this one issue.  After all is said and done, we cannot begin to really appreciate, nor thank, our Lord as we should.  This theme is repeated again and again by the Psalmist in a variety of contexts…

Ps 40:5 (KJV)  Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.

Ps 71:15 (KJV)  My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness [and] thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers [thereof].

Ps 139:17-18 (KJV) How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  [If] I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

King David understood the dilemma that we face…. we serve a Lord that is so kind, loving, gracious and merciful that He is CONSTANTLY blessing us.  Every breath we take, every flower that we may see, every second we are not in the Lake of Fire, is a miraculous blessing from our Lord…. How can we begin to recognize all of them and then give Him the appropriate praise?  All we can do is fall upon our knees and ask the Lord forgiveness for failing miserably to recognize His continuous displays of tender love He has shown towards us.

Let us all come before our God and thank Him for the forgiveness that He grants to us as we fail to appreciate all His gracious workings.

May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

“A Month Of Thanksgiving” Text …. Day 29

Lets Thank The Lord For His Goodness and Mercy He Gives To Us Everyday

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Ps 106:1-2 (KJV)  for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever….

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“A Month of Thankfulness” Devotional Series (Day 29)

“O Give Thanks Unto The Lord (2)”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 106:1-2

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Ps 106:1-2 (KJV)   … for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever….

In our last devotional we saw the need to give our Lord all the praise and thanks for what He has so graciously done for us.  In this morning’s devotional, I would like us to emphasize why we are to praise and thank Him.  It is because He has been so good and merciful to us….

 for [he is] good:
Our Lord is good in many different ways.  He is morally good; it is beneficial to us to be acquainted with Him; and He loves His people, cares for them and graciously works in their midst. He gives us many blessings that we do not deserve. What a blessing it is for us to be able to serve a kind, loving God.  Think of what life would be like if we served a tyrannical God.  He would be only concerned about Himself, all the while enslaving us to His servitude.

for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Our Lord is not only good, but He is merciful as well.  He withholds from His people much harm that they rightfully deserve.  The perfect example of this is His withholding judgment from us.  We all are sinners deserving of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire; but God, through the work of Christ has withheld that judgment from us.

God’s mercy and goodness are very much related….
He shows us His MERCY when He withholds from us harmful things that we deserve.
He shows us His GOODNESS when He gives to us beneficial things that we do not deserve.

In our devotional series this month, we have seen a variety of ways in which the Lord shows Himself to be both a merciful and good God.  As we look back upon our life, we can see an innumerable number of displays of His kindness to us.  Also keep in mind, many times, He intervenes and shows His kindnesses to us without our recognition.   For example, keeping us from an auto accident by delaying our departure, or causing our immune system to destroy harmful bacteria with which we have unknowingly come into contact.   These are just two of a multitudes of possible ways that He can be showing us daily blessings.

Let us be thankful to our Lord for both His goodness and His mercy…. Every blessing we receive from Him flow to us because He is a good and merciful God.

May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

“Should Christians Participate In The Christmas Celebration?”

As Christmas time draws close, as Christians we are all faced with Christmas celebrations at the workplace, in our churches, in our extended families, and in our own nuclear family.  Over the past few years of the SIH ministry, I have several posts that refer to the Christmas observance and the Biblical teachings surrounding the birth of Christ.  Every year, I have received questions such as:  What is the proper role of the Christian in these celebrations?   Based upon the origin and history of the Celebration is it proper for any participation whatsoever?

Perhaps, the most complete series of questions that I have received on this subject comes from Shelia at http://talkativeangel.wordpress.com.  I appreciate her allowing me to use her series of questions as the basis of this posting.  I also very much appreciate the questions themselves because they do get to the heart of the issue at hand.

Let’s begin looking at the subject at hand by answering the questions that Shelia has asked in her comment…

THE SCRIPTURES:

1Cor 8:8-12 (KJV)
8) But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  9) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  10) For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  11) And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  12) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

 2Cor 6:14-18 (KJV)
14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

1Cor 9:19-23 (KJV)
19) For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.  20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;  21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.  22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.  23) And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with [you].

1Cor 10:28-33 (KJV) 
28) But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth [is] the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:  29) Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?  30) For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?  31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  33) Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.

THE STUDY:

Here are Shelia’s questions followed by my answers…

(if anyone has anything to add to any of my answers I would be very happy to hear them, please simply leave them as a comment on the bottom of this posting.)

“Has anyone been able to pinpoint the exact month and date of which He was born of woman? I highly doubt it was in December even though I have not completed an indepth study on the time. The only thing so far that have always stuck with me is the verse in Luke 2:8 speaks of the shepherds being out in the field keep watching over their sheep.”
To the best of my knowledge, the date for the birth of Christ has never been pinpointed.  However, it is common knowledge that it was not during the winter season.  Most believe, based on the shepherds being in the field and the astronomical events that involved the star over the manger, that Jesus was born in late summer or early fall (Aug-Oct).

“How is that most if not all Christians seem to be in accord celebrating His birth on December 25th?”

The celebration for the birth of Christ began as a Catholic celebration.  It was called the “Christ Mass” hence the name Christmas.  It was purposely begun to give the lost world an alternative to the heathen observance of the winter solstice that was observed by false religions on December 21st or perhaps the Babylonian celebration of the birth of the son of the queen of heaven.  Once it began on this date, it gradually became accepted in various denominations and nations of the world.
(For a very detailed look at the Christmas and Easter celebrations and their relation to the false worship celebrations please procure a copy of the book,  The Two Babylons  by Alexander Hislop, Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ, 1959…. This is a REAL EYE OPENER and I suggest it wholeheartedly for this subject.  It may be difficult to read but well worth the effort.)
(You can read this book for free at:http://www.biblebelievers.com/babylon/)

“Was this a practice/celebration of His birth that took place in the NT?”
No.  Also, to my knowledge, there is no place in the NT that we told to remember the birth of Christ.  We are told to remember His death and resurrection (through the Lord’s Supper and Baptism), but I do not know of a place where we are told to remember His birth.

“If Christmas is supposed to be the time according to most Christians or tradition, the time to focus on Christ, why is it that every day is not considered Christmas for Christians?”
My thought is that we should remember all that He has done for us on a daily basis.  A part of His gracious work on our behalf was humbling Himself by His coming to the earth as the God/Man.  So, yes, everyday should be Christmas.  But also everyday should be Thanksgiving, and Easter as well. But besides thinking about Him every day, I’m not sure if there is anything wrong with setting aside a certain day a year to emphasize a particular aspect of His work.

“Second, I want to skip out of Matthew 1- 2 for a sec here, please sir. Matthew 15:8-9–”These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
I fully agree with the principles of this verse. If a person hypocritically goes through the motions of worship without truly being in submission to the will of God, it is sin.  When we do “religious things”  without a submitted spirit, it is all vain.  When a teacher of God’s Word possesses a hypocritical, unsubmitted spirit, then his teachings cannot be from the leadership of the Spirit but must be his own thoughts and, therefore, the rules (doctrines) of men.  This is what was taking place in Isaiah’s day and also Christ’s day…
Matt 15:8-9 is a quote from Isaiah 29:13… it was speaking to those who were experiencing “spiritual sleep” brought upon them by Jehovah as a punishment for their sins.  They were unable to understand and proclaim God’s Word in truth because they were not in submission to His commands.  Also, in Christ’s day, the lost Jews could not understand His Word, nor proclaim it… so they began to develop, and follow, false teachings that opposed the commands of His Word.
I believe these verses CAN apply to this very issue.  We have lost people outwardly “celebrating” the birth of Christ without having a spirit of faith and submission to Him.  In these cases, there is no doubt in my mind that this applies.  Although blinded to the truth, they still hypocritically go through the motions of worship in the Christmas celebration.
Also, we could have saved people all wrapped up in the material, commercial side of things, claiming to be worshipping Him, but really that is not the spirit of their heart.  In this case, I believe, these verses apply as well.
For believers to celebrate the Christmas celebration with a submitted spirit, desiring to put the Lord first in their celebration… I’m not sure that these verses address that… I am not sure that there is actually hypocrisy present in their celebration.

“The gift giving was from others to Jesus, and not to each other, correct? And it was also after his birth. It was common practice to bring a present to a King when coming before one, which I think still goes on today. (Matthew 2:1-11)”   
To my knowledge, you are absolutely correct.  Also, the only time I know of in the NT, where gifts are exchanged between individuals, is found in Rev 11:10 when the lost are celebrating the death of the two witnesses for Christ.

 “With those verses in mind, I wonder if we as Christians should really celebrate in reality a man made holiday called Christmas?”
This is the “million dollar question”.  I believe this issue must be between each Christian and the Lord.  I can see different ways that Christians can look at this question:
First of all, if we apply 1 Cor 8:8-12 (warning against being a stumbling block to weaker Christians), I can see why a Christian would choose to totally abstain from the celebration….
A stronger Christian family could observe it in a God-honoring way by centering on His birth (and all His other works on their behalf).  However, a younger Christian may see their participation and use that as an excuse to participate in the materialistic, God-demeaning aspects of the carnal Christmas celebration.

Secondly, if we apply  2 Cor 6:14-18 (the need to live lives separate from the world) I can see where a Christian may decide to abstain as well…
After all, the very beginnings of the celebration has human origins, much of the symbolism is drawn from false religions and  finally much of the celebration has become so materialistic and carnal that the very aspect of Christ and His birth does not enter the mind of many who participate.

Thirdly, there is another aspect that we need to look at.  Based upon 1Cor 9:19-23 Paul explained that he tried to reach people “where they were at” (socially, educationally, mentally, nationalistically etc) to reach them with the truth. This could apply to the Christmas celebration…
During December, the Christmas holiday is “where the world is at”.  In other words, that is what they are thinking about, that is what they are talking about, that is what they are concentrating on.
Some Christians believe that during the holiday season there is a great opportunity to reach others with the truth of Christ and His word that exists no other time of the year.  They believe the key is to be sure that we are placing Christ first in all of our celebration leaving the materialistic and carnal and mythical aspects behind.  They say that if, as Christians, we remember with thankful hearts His coming to the earth, His living a sinless humble life, His being crucified and raised again on our behalf, there is nothing wrong with that. We should think on these things every day.  Why can’t December 25th be one of those days?
Also they believe that by laying aside the materialistic, carnal, mythical aspects of the holiday, they are in essence observing a different celebration than that which found carnal beginnings in the Catholic church.  It is as if they are doing in a Godly way, what the worldly Christmas celebration claimed to be doing in a carnal, sinful way. For example, if you are hosting a gathering of your family and friends be sure to have a Godly, Bible-centered devotion to reach those who may never set foot in a church.  The Lord could actually use this opportunity to witness to be the only time they hear the truth about Christ and all He has done for us.
I’ve personally seen Christian families observe the Christmas celebration honoring Christ and leaving all the carnal aspects to the side.  Solely through their example, they have been able to reach members of their extended family.  It was those lost family members who offered to go with the Christian family to church on Christmas morning to visit with them when they had been otherwise unreachable with the truth about Christ.  What made this change?  They told me it was the way they saw Christmas being observed by the Godly Christian family.

What is my personal belief on the subject?  My family seeks to celebrate the Christmas holiday in a Godly, Christ honoring way.  We ask His grace to leave behind all the carnal, worldly, mythical aspects of the holiday as we center upon Christ and His work on our behalf.  In doing so, we are attempting to be a living testimony to those around us.  After all, what greater difference can be seen by a lost world than comparing a materialistic, carnal, selfish, Christ-less, Christmas celebration in stark opposition to a Godly, Christ centered, Christmas celebration?

After reading this posting please keep in mind, we should share the Apostle Paul’s attitude about all of this when he said in 1 Cor 10:….
29) for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?  30) For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?  31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  33) Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.

 

Let’s all hold a non-judgmental attitude towards each other, let us all allow the Lord to lead us to do what is pleasing to Him for each of our individual lives.But the most important decision we can make is to honor Christ and have others see Christ in us.  That means no drunkenness, no gluttony, no materialism, no lies.  If we abstain from these types of sin, the other stuff will take care of itself however the Lord may lead us.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

(If I have failed to answer the questions, or if I misunderstood the question that was asked, I’ll be glad to try to clarify things.  And once again, if anyone has anything to add to any of my answers I would be very happy to hear them, please simply leave them as a comment on the bottom of this posting.  I am the first to realize, there is much that can be added for these answers.  I would appreciate your wisdom on these things)

www.settledinheaven.org

“A Month Of Thankfulness” Text …. Day 28

Lets Praise and Thank The Lord Everyday For What He Has Done For Us

Ps 106:1  Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD;…

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“A Month of Thankfulness” Devotional Series (Day 28)

“O Give Thanks Unto The Lord (1)”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 106:1-2

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Ps 106:1-2 (KJV)   Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.  Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? [who] can shew forth all his praise?

As we complete our series on thankfulness to the Lord, I am trusting that we have a better understanding of what Psa 106:1-2 is teaching us…

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD;…”
As the people of God, we have the responsibility to both “praise” and “thank” the Lord.  What do we mean by these terms?

“Praise” – When the Bible speaks about “praising” the Lord it is describing our responsibility to make Him “shine” in the eyes of others.  It is the idea of making the Lord look attractive to others, to point their attention to Him and to come to a better understanding of Him.
One of the easiest ways for us to accomplish this is by telling others what He has done for us.  When we do this we are not only telling others about His actions, but we are telling them much about Him as a person…. It shows others He is gracious, kind, loving, all-powerful, just (the list goes on and on).

“Thank” – If you remember from our first devotional in this series we saw that to thank the Lord involved three ideas… acknowledging our need of Him; we are pointing the attention to Him; and sending out our message of His goodness to us.
If you notice the idea of thanking Him is very similar to praising Him and rightfully so.  When we thank the Lord in the way that we should, it will certainly bring praise to Him.  Likewise, one aspect of praising the Lord is showing our appreciation for all He has done for us.   When we understand this principle, it is easy to see why the psalmist linked these two ideas together in Psa 106:1-2.

Over this past month we have been keeping our hearts and minds centered on thoughts of appreciation and gratefulness to the Lord.  Hopefully, throughout the month, we have been motivated to share with others truths about who He is and what He has done for us.  In doing so, we have been fulfilling our call to bring offerings of thanksgiving to Him resulting in Him being praised.

As our devotional series comes to a close over the next few days… lets continue on with thoughts of thankfulness towards the Lord and sharing these thoughts with others.  By doing this we will be continuously bring praise and honor to Him who has done so very much for us.

May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

“A Month Of Thankfulness” Text …. Day 27

Lets Thank The Lord For The Promise That We Will Be Reunited With Our Saved Loved Ones Who Have Gone On Before Us

1Thess 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

“A Month of Thankfulness” Devotional Series (Day 27)

“Concerning Them Which Are Asleep, That Ye Sorrow Not, Even As Others Which Have No Hope.

SIH’s Think On These Things: 1 Thess 4:13-18

 

Paul, as he was led by the Holy Spirit of God, wrote comforting words for any of God’s people who are suffering from the death of a saved loved one.  His message of comfort is found in 1Thess 4:13-18 …

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Christians can be comforted in the death of a beloved saint.  Great hope can be had by those who are missing a saved loved one.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
As followers of Christ, we believe that Christ arose from the tomb after three days and nights.  If Christ arose as an act of the power of God (Acts 2:24), this is proof that the resurrection of the saints is possible as well.  Also, since the Word of God clearly promises that the saved shall be raised (Matt 24:31, Phil 3:20-21 etc), there should be no doubt on behalf of His people of the future resurrection of the saints who have gone on before us.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
Paul then reminds us that whether our body is in the grave or still alive on the earth, we will all be taken by Christ at His coming.  This wonderful promise of the resurrection and the following glorification of the saint’s body applies to all of God’s people.

and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
At the time of His return, He will return with the spirit of those saints that have passed away.  At that time, these spirits will be reunited with their (now glorified) bodies. If we are alive when His return takes place, we will be taken to be with Him and it will be at this time that we will be reunited with our loved ones.  If we pass away before His coming we will be reunited with the spirits of our loved ones in heaven at the time of our death (when our spirits leave our bodies and ascend to heaven).  Not only will we be reunited with those who know and love but we will also be united with the many saints of the Old and New Testament as well as all of the members of our spiritual family.  What a wonderful blessing that will be!

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
As Christians, we find great comfort in this promise from God’s Word.

Let’s say thanks to our Lord for the wonderful promise of being reunited with deceased loved ones and the great saints of old that we have come to love through the pages of His Word.

May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

“A Month Of Thankfulness” Text ….. Day 26

Let Us Thank The Lord For Giving Us An Eternity Not Affected By Sin’s Curse.

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Rev 22:3
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

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