Walk His Way




Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:5
When the angel announced that Christ had been born, this was the message he delivered: “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:10–11 NLT).

The Christian faith is a happy faith and a hopeful faith. We have hope in this life and in our relationship with the Lord, and we have hope for the afterlife. But this doesn’t mean that Christians are happy all the time or that we should walk around wearing fake smiles.

After all, Christians have moments of sadness, too. Christians even grapple with depression and other difficulties that everyone else deals with. We have hard times and setbacks, even if we are God’s children.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean that we’ll be exempt from facing a tragedy or a hardship. But what it does mean is that in the midst of our difficulties, we can experience happiness. It comes down to something the apostle Paul frequently referred to when he was writing to the believers in Philippi.

There are 16 references to the mind in Philippians, which tells us that the secret of Christian happiness is found in the way that we think, not in the way that we feel. So if we want to be happy, then we need to think properly.

Paul filled his heart and his mind with Jesus Christ. And why is that important? Because the way we think will affect how we live. For instance, we will walk in the direction that we’re looking. That’s why it’s hard to look over your shoulder and keep walking forward.

In the same way, when we’re looking to the Lord, we will walk in His direction. Every action starts with a thought. And what we think is what we’ll do

Understanding Forgiveness

Now when the Phariss who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him – that she is a sinner. – Luke 7:39

 

Jesus had been invited to dinner at Simon’s, a Pharisee. A woman who had committed many sins serves and surrenders to Jesus by washing His feet. Jesus tells a parable about 2 people who have debts, one significantly larger than the other. We find out that the person with the larger forgiven debt will be more grateful. We see Simon and the woman mirrored in this parable. Because the woman’s faith is strong, she is forgiven and understands the magnitude of that forgiveness. Simon, however, does not understand. Just because someone is ‘good’ doesn’t mean that they understand the power and love of Jesus’s forgiveness. It’s not about living right or doing good, it’s about surrendering one’s self to Jesus, completely. Jesus recognizes devotion and love to Him, not good deeds. The law makes us conscious of our sin, it’s not a list of things we make sure we never do

Why Did God Allow Sin?


We may not like having fleshly traits, but without the presence of sin, we wouldn’t experience God’s grace and goodness.

Romans 5:17-21

Have you ever wondered why God allowed Adam and Eve to sin? Since He’s all-powerful and all-knowing, He certainly was not surprised by their rebellion and could have stopped them from dragging the entire human race into sin and suffering. So why didn’t He?

Although we can’t fathom the inscrutable mind of God, Romans 5:20 of today’s passage gives us some insight: Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. The presence of sin in the world is an opportunity for God to display who He really is—a being of endless and unconditional grace. In other words, sin and rebellion allow us to experience His graciousness towards us.

Angels stand in awe of the gospel—that’s because, as beings who never fail to do God’s bidding, they haven’t experienced His forgiveness or the undeserved favor we often take for granted (1 Pet. 1:12). Everything the Creator has done in His universe has been for the purpose of revealing His incomparable glory, majesty, and grace. And the crowning display is seen in His extension of love to sinful people like us. Of all His creatures, only fallen human beings can experience His amazing grace and the gift of salvation

It’s His Work, Not Ours



Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6
From unfinished buildings to unfinished songs to unfinished books, a lot of us have started things that we haven’t finished. Yet God always finishes what He begins.

The Bible tells us that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6) and that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV). So if God starts something, He finishes it. Isn’t that great to know?

But also notice that verse 6 of Philippians 1 says that it’s He—not you—who has begun a good work. Sometimes we’ll tell ourselves things like, I want to be a good Christian. I’ll just read my Bible more and pray and try to be more kind. . . .

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do those things. But we need to realize that it is God who is doing the work. It is God who will change us. So we need to ask for His help in our lives.

And God does, in fact, want to do a good work in our lives. Remember what Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope(NKJV).

God has a great plan for your life, and it’s better than the plan that you have for your own life. So never be reluctant to commit an unknown future to a known God—and I might add, a loving God who has a good plan for your life.

Maybe you’ve tried to change your life on your own. You can’t do that any more than someone who’s drowning can save themselves. You need to call out to God for help. He will help you, and He will change you

Rest for His Loved Ones

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25

Experts say that worry and anxiety actually can cause deep depression. The Bible told us this long ago. Proverbs 12:25 says, Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad(verse 25 NKJV).

We might think that worry is somehow a virtue, but worry actually can be a sin because it’s a failure to trust God. Nothing touches the Christian that has not first passed through the loving hands of God.

Think of the prophet Daniel, a man of God. He faithfully delivered the word of God to kings, and no one intimidated him. But some who knew Daniel, other officials in the kingdom, were very jealous of him.

Because Daniel was such a man of integrity, they couldn’t find anything in his life to trip him up. So they decided the only way they could bring something against Daniel was to find something concerning him and his God.

They knew that Daniel had the habit of praying every day. So they convinced King Darius to sign a decree that no one could pray to anyone except the king for the next 30 days. And if someone disobeyed the decree, he would have them thrown into a den of lions.

Daniel, however, prayed as he always prayed, and immediately the authorities arrested him and threw them into a den of lions to be fed to them alive. King Darius, who liked Daniel, spent the entire night worrying. Meanwhile, Daniel slept like a baby in the lions’ den. And the next morning, the king gave the order to bring out Daniel, who was very much alive.

Psalm 127:2 says, God gives rest to his loved ones (NLT).

We can rest in the Lord, knowing that He is in control and at work in our lives

Courage or Fear?

T⁶hen Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. Matt14:28-29

Let’s give credit where credit is due. No one else volunteered to walk on water—not James, not John, and not any of the other disciples. But Peter did. So Jesus told him, Yes, come (Matthew 14:29 NLT).

What happened next? Matthew tells us that Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. Save me, Lord!’ he shouted (verses 29–30 NLT).

Peter sank because he was afraid and because he took his eyes off Jesus. When fear reigns, faith is driven away. Fear and faith don’t hang out together. Either faith will be there, or fear will be there. But when one walks in, the other walks out.

Sometimes we’re doing well, and then we look at the wind and waves in our lives, and we begin to sink. We check our email or social media, or we turn on the news, and it causes our hearts to panic.

Peter began to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus. And when take our eyes off Jesus, we’re going to sink as well. When we forget God’s promises to us, we’ll start to sink.

But then Peter called out to Jesus, and He immediately reached out and grabbed [Peter]. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. Why did you doubt me? (verse 31 NLT).

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I heard a doctor on the news say something that I’d never heard before: Courage uses the same pathways as fear.

When you’re facing the storms of life, you have a choice: either you can be afraid, which is easy, or you can be courageous while you keep your eyes on Jesus.

The Ultimate Lesson Plan



Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. – Isaiah 48:17

Learning is an important part of life. I like learning new things but also learning from my mistakes or from the experience of others. I even see conflicts as a chance to learn new ways of solving problems and maturing in my relationships. However, many times I grumble and hold a grudge against God’s lessons, and that is because I do not always recognize them as such. God’s lessons are so important. God is our best, most dedicated, and loving teacher. He is always teaching us the most valuable lessons. First of all, how to be loving human beings in the way we are supposed to be. Then He teaches us how to love others with God’s love because ultimately it is love that will bring us to His Heavenly Kingdom. God’s lessons are precious, although sometimes difficult to understand at times. We need to remember that everything that is given unto us is for our own good and we shall benefit from it

Thanksgiving

The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for grain, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Native Americans in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Native Americans in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 Native Americans (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.

From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.

Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.

In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

The Effects of UnforgivenessFor the sake of others and ourselves, God wants us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven

The Effects of Unforgiveness
For the sake of others and ourselves, God wants us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

Matthew 18:21-22

Resentment has far-reaching and often unexpected consequences. Although bitterness takes root in the mind, it can spread into other aspects of a person’s life. For example, the hostility a man feels toward his father can color his relationship with his wife, his performance at work, or his involvement in church.

Most of us realize resentment impacts the mind, but have you noticed the physical toll it can take on us as well? An attitude of bitterness triggers tension and anxiety, which can affect everything from muscles to chemical balance in the brain. Over time, that kind of stress weakens the body.

Unforgiveness also causes spiritual turmoil that hinders a believer’s growth. It can stifle prayer and turn worship dry and hypocritical. That’s because it’s difficult to effectively honor the Lord while trying to justify or hide a wrong attitude. What’s more, resentment dampens a person’s witness.

Forgiving someone means giving up bitterness and the “right” to get even with him or her, even though you were wronged. And God insists on forgiveness not just for others’ benefit but for ours as well. He knows the damage that hostility and vengeance can cause in our life and wants to protect us from it