The dictionary defines blessing as follows: “1. The act of prayer of one who blesses; 2. A grace said before or after eating; 3. The gift of Divine favor; 4. Good wishes or approval; 5. Anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune; special benefit or favor…” I think we sometimes believe blessings have to be grandiose.
A. I. Bryant asks; “Do we take the blessings that the common days bring to us?” The truth is that blessings can come in all sizes and shapes. Today I had a simple blessing occur in my daily living; a gift from The Lord. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.”(James 1:17)
I was running errands, and I get this thought to stop by the thrift store. This is not unusual for me, because I am a thrift store queen. 🙂 I lost my caregiving job recently, because the man I was helping was put in a nursing home. So this gal is on a tight budget. And that is okay for a thrift store queen. I also have an amazing God Who loves to take the seemingly little things in my life to bring me much joy.
I recently put together a wreath for my front porch using some really nice silk flowers handed down to me by a friend. The colors in the flowers were light green and an unusual coral. I have a couple of pillows on the bench, but I wanted just a small pillow with that coral color to tie in with the wreath and make the bench pop!
I also have been redoing my son’s room since he got married and turning it into a guest room. I bought a lamp at the thrift store (of course), but it needed a lamp shade that was white. It needed to be the kind that clips on to the bulb, since the other kind would not work.
The Lord is always taking the little things, and they become huge to encourage my heart. I believe The Lord loves to make our hearts sing! I walked into the thrift store, and they had a bin full of throw pillows. The sign said; “Four pillows for $.99.” My heart began to sing. Yes, there in the bin were two small pillows the exact coral color I needed to match my wreath. I am sure the people in the thrift store thought I was crazy — and they would be right, because I got so excited.
Then I wondered around the store, and there sitting on a box was a brand new lamp shade – white, and it was $.99. Was this an accident or some random thing? Absolutely not! My blessing from The Lord that day was waiting for me to pop in and snatch it up!
It amazes me how The Lord is so interested and involved in our daily lives. It blows me away every time it happens. I will never stop being awed at God’s goodness to me. Yep – $2.10 fits my budget, and as I am driving home I can’t keep from smiling and praising The Lord. I guess you could say my heart was singing!
Do “works” have a place in our faith? Theologically sound believers know that salvation is through “faith alone” but there is still the issue of works. The Apostle James spends a whole book talking about it. The only question that remains is: where does “works” fit into faith? Join Charles and Daniel as the discuss “works” and “faith”…
In this postmodern age, the term and meaning of “faith” has been diminished to a mere faith in faith. There is really no object when it comes to ones “personal faith” which leaves us wondering what people really mean when they refer to “their faith”. Unfortunately, it has affected evangelicals in their understanding of faith which leaves us with the need to biblically define it. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss biblical faith.
“I’ve seen this movie before.” You know the feeling? You don’t know where, nor can you remember all the details, but it’s too familiar to be only a feeling. Yes, you have definitely seen it before.
Recent events look and sound all too familiar, reminding me of the ’60s of my youth. The cops are the bad guys. Cries of racism abound mixed with cries for justice. People who had nothing to do with the events in question watch as their hard worked for businesses are burned to the ground by people not from the area: people who often do not have a clue what really happened but are ostensibly looking for an excuse to loot and destroy.
A generation ago I watched similar events unfold and escalate into what seemed to be endless mob violence. Distrust and rejection of all authority (except those who let them do as they please) creates seemingly irresolvable tension looking for a reason to break loose. Justification for lawlessness is never far from reach.
Unanswered questions beg to be addressed. Where is the truth about “hands up; don’t shoot”? Why do the police at times seemingly have their hands tied while they watch lawlessness and destruction go unhindered? Why the cries of racism in Baltimore when three of the six police in question were African Americans? Do the rights of rioters include the rampant destruction of personal property?
If you disagree with where this discussion seems to be going, I hope you are still reading. If you agree with where you think it is going, do not be smug. You see, there is someone else who has “seen this movie before”. There is the young black man walking down the street who cringes as a police car drives by. Or the black youth who was pulled over by the police for no apparent reason who drives away wondering if he would have been stopped had he been white. There are the multitudes of African Americans who watch in horror as a young black man is shot in the back by a police officer. Many of those who watch still have vivid memories of the ’50s and ’60s. Yes, they too have “seen this movie before.” As a white, conservative baby boomer living in a quiet town, I have to work very hard to get into the head of those I have just described. Even then, I cannot see it.
Some may be asking,”Will cooler heads prevail?” But the question is, “Will hearts of character prevail?” For there is the root of the problem: the heart.
In France, Robespierre and his ilk resisted authority while instigating anarchy. The anarchy that followed paved the way for the “Reign of Terror” that sought to silence all who would resist its ideological intentions. We now refer to the events of those days as The French Revolution. Robespierre and others thought they had justification for their actions. After all, the monarchy ruled unjustly. But did it excuse the ensuing lawlessness? France has, quite frankly, never been the same. The “Reign of Terror” may well have been spawned by and mixed with good intentions, but it was nevertheless an ideology that was unyielding, unsympathetic, and lethal.
We are forced to ask if the elements of such a scenario exist today. At the very least, we know that The French Revolution, the ’60s civil unrest, and the events of recent days reveal the sinful heart of man in a most vivid manner and remind us of the frightening prospects of untamed and unruled passions. The prospect of a lawless society is frightening for any of us. The “Temptations” of the ’70s had it right. This is a “Ball of Confusion”.
So what can we say to these things. First we can be grateful for the progress that has been made in race relations. This country fought a horrible war with itself at least in part to abolish slavery. And that was not the end of the battle. Painful, gradual, but significant progress has been made since then. African Americans and other minorities hold significant positions of responsibility in our nation’s social and political structure. An African American has been elected to two terms as President largely with the votes of white Americans. These things have taken too long and with too much resistance. Still they have come.
Is the battle over: not at all. But I cannot allow myself to think that my view of these things is flawless. Nor can I let myself ignore or dismiss the viewpoint of my black brother in Christ who sees these events in a very different light. Prejudice, racism, and bigotry are wretched, no matter the color of the skin that covers the heart they come from. And who among us believes that urban warfare is the answer? I trust it is few. The racial distrust and even bigotry that exist among those of every background cannot be legislated away. Let those of us of every race and ethnicity who know and follow Christ pray for racial reconciliation, the peace of our cities, show the love of Christ to the hurting and those who distrust us, and bear a Gospel that not merely changes minds but hearts. We can pray that cooler heads will prevail, but let us pray more that hearts will be changed by the power of the Gospel. Let us pray for leaders, that the Gospel will be brought to bear upon them and that many will turn to Christ; that they will, by God’s grace, make decisions that will lead to peace and open doors for the Gospel. And let us ask for the help of God to see these critical issues from the perspectives of others while holding the saving Gospel of our Lord as our only weapon. May the events of these days be used of God to cause many to bow the knee to Jesus Who has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
In the love of Christ,
Is knowing the will of God the reason we seek Him or do we seek Him for the sake of knowing Him? Is it possible that “knowing the will of God” has become the end of our seeking after Him? Charles and Daniel discuss it today…
Early Early Reg for P4C15 ends on June 30th. This means that, if you register before June 30, 2015, you’ll save $65 over regular registration. Registering during Early Early Reg is the best deal you’ll find – guaranteed.
What could you do with that extra $65? We have a few suggestions…
- Buy a P4C T-Shirt and a P4C Hoodie and still have $12 to spend on road trip snacks or Starbucks stops.
- Or just go to Starbucks about 13 times!
- Buy a tank and a half of gas. (Hint: If you’re carpooling to P4C15 and all your friends save with Early Early Reg, your combined savings will cover all your travel expenses in no time!)
- Go ALL OUT with a theme dinner costume.
- Take half a day off of work on Monday, October 26th so you can catch few extra winks after all that late night volleyball.
- Use your savings to support a friend going on a GE missions trip or start a fund to go on a trip yourself!
- Check your luggage to and from P4C and maybe still have some spare change for a quick bite.
- Donate your savings to help a friend attend. Your savings would be almost 1/4 of their Early Early Reg!
- Have a $65 head-start on your Early Early Reg for 2016!
Believers talk about the will of God a lot. Why? Because within us is the desire to know what God wants for our lives. Sometimes we don’t always like it but in the end we desire to know and obey our God. But what is the personal will of God? Is it hard to find? Charles and Daniel discuss it today…
I was reading Psalm 87 in my devotions the other morning. This Psalm speaks of the Davidic Covenant the Lord made with David. It speaks of the Lord’s faithfulness, His lovingkindness, His will. The will of God is truth and faithfulness. Verse 37 really leaped off the page at me… “It shall be established forever like the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.”
Sometimes I awaken at night and get up in my bedroom. I love to glance out my window to look for the moon. It’s just a thing with me! Sometimes it is so bright it lights up the whole ground area. Sometimes it is very small in the sky. Sometimes it is only partially visible. But the moon is always there in some capacity.
God’s will comes in different shapes and forms in our daily lives, but like the moon, it is always there. The Lord is always performing His will in our lives. Just like I never get tired of looking at the moon, I never stop being amazed at the will of God in my life. Through recent events in my life, I have seen God’s will perfectly, faithfully lived out in every day situations.
Do you remember those Tupperware toys from years ago called “Shape O Ball”? My children had one. You had to match the right shape into the corresponding place, or it would not fit and go inside the ball. I remember watching my young children take a shape and try to make it fit in the wrong hole in the ball: hitting and trying desperately to make it work. It never worked.
Even as adults, we try to do the same thing in our lives regarding the will of God. We desperately pound away trying to make something fit that doesn’t come close to the will of God. The answer is always God’s Word. If it does not line up with God’s Word, then it is not the will of God. We must stop desperately trying to fit our lives, plans, etc. into a space or shape they will not fit.
The Lord is ever coordinating and shaping our lives to fit His will. He puts in motion His perfect plan for our lives.
“There are enough changes we cannot stop which are the essence of this life and are meant to be. They are meant to drive us to God.”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
“The best kind of beginning, when we are wanting to know the will of God, is to concentrate first on God Himself.”
(Elizabeth Elliot, from the book “Faith that Does Not Falter”)
This truth does fit into the shape of our lives.
In order to discern the misconceptions of God’s will, we must understand the biblical framework of God’s will. Unless you know what you believe about God and his working…you cannot discern how God determines and reveals his will. “The will of God” is one of those things we say without really knowing what we are talking about. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss the biblical ramifications of God’s will…