Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.PROVERBS 18:21Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
PROVERBS 18:21
Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?
Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

When your child tells you he wants to become a Christian or starts talking about baptism, ask him why he is thinking about this now. Draw out of him, in his words at his age level, whether he feels conviction for his sins and knows that he needs a Savior. Unless he is convinced of his sins, he cannot know that he has a problem from which he needs to be saved.

Does Your Child Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
If your child shows awareness of and conviction for sin, begin to talk to her about Jesus. You will not be looking for her to give a discourse on the hypostatic union or penal substitutionary atonement. Does she know Jesus is the son of God? Does she believe that he is real, and that he lived the perfect life we could never live?

Then you should move into a discussion about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can she articulate the basic facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Again, you are not looking for a doctoral level treatise, but in her words can she tell you about what Jesus did for her. What you are looking for here is illumination. As she talks about Jesus, do you see an awareness that she understands and knows this at a heart level?

Does Your Child Believe She is Saved by Repentance and Faith?
The other night we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed in our family devotion. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. I took that opportunity to talk to our daughters about salvation being by faith alone. Their Dad is a pastor, their Grandfather is a pastor, their Uncle is a pastor, and their Great-Grandfather was a pastor. They never remember a time when they were not gathering with the church each Sunday and never remember a time when they were not hearing the Gospel in family devotions and in discussions during everyday life, so I wanted to make sure they heard a clear reminder that none of these things make them a Christian.

When your child approaches you about becoming a Christian, you must make sure that she gets this. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” The Scripture’s testimony is clear, and while your child may not be able to give you an excursus on justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness, you do want her to evidence that she knows she must repent and trust in Jesus. Does she understand that her works or her baptism don’t make her a Christian, but that repentance and trust in Jesus do? Does she have childlike faith in Jesus Christ alone?

Is Your Child Showing Signs of New Life?
Seeing signs of the work of the Spirit in your child’s life is not as evident as it would be in an adult. Your six-year old is not going to have the same kind of testimony that a man with a notorious past would have, but his salvation is just a miraculous. If he has trusted in Jesus, he has been born again and the Holy Spirit indwells him. He will shows evidences of conversion.

If believers grow in conviction over our sins, compassion for other people, and display the fruit of the Spirit, then this will be present in your child’s life. It will be there in childlike form, but it will be there. You will also start to see the lights come on for him spiritually. He will start to understand more of God’s truth and demonstrate a greater awareness of God’s work in his life. As you observe his life, do you see signs of the Spirit’s work in him?

Is Your Child Free from External Pressures?
The invitation system, a pressure-packed VBS or kids’ camp, and friends getting baptized can start putting pressure on your child to make a profession of faith without actually understanding the Gospel. Often children want to know why they can’t take Communion, and hear the answer, “because you haven’t been baptized yet.” In their minds the solution seems simple, “then let me get baptized so I can take Communion.”

You can never know for certain that your child has pure motives in his desire to become to profess Christ, but you should examine to the best of your ability any outside forces that may be exerting pressure on him. Ask him what made him start thinking about this. It may have been a friend’s baptism, but what about the event made him start pondering it for himself? Communion may have sparked an interest in him, but does he just want to take the bread and juice, or did hearing the meaning of Communion draw him to Jesus? These are all factors for you to ask about, think through, and pray over.

Always Bring the Gospel to Your Children
Your child does not get a visible mark on her forehead or a stripe on her back when she comes to Jesus, so you have to talk, pray, and discern. Invite your pastor in to talk to your child and ask questions. He may be able to see and hear things you don’t.

Most of all though, keep putting the Gospel in front of your children. Talk about it in everyday life, in family devotions, and around the table after Sunday worship. Sing songs, pray over your kids, and repent to them when you have wronged them. God’s word never returns void, our labor in the Lord is not in vain, and in due time we will sow if we reap, so take every opportunity to tell and show your kids that Jesus is better than life.



Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.PROVERBS 18:21Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
PROVERBS 18:21
Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?
Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

When your child tells you he wants to become a Christian or starts talking about baptism, ask him why he is thinking about this now. Draw out of him, in his words at his age level, whether he feels conviction for his sins and knows that he needs a Savior. Unless he is convinced of his sins, he cannot know that he has a problem from which he needs to be saved.

Does Your Child Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
If your child shows awareness of and conviction for sin, begin to talk to her about Jesus. You will not be looking for her to give a discourse on the hypostatic union or penal substitutionary atonement. Does she know Jesus is the son of God? Does she believe that he is real, and that he lived the perfect life we could never live?

Then you should move into a discussion about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can she articulate the basic facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Again, you are not looking for a doctoral level treatise, but in her words can she tell you about what Jesus did for her. What you are looking for here is illumination. As she talks about Jesus, do you see an awareness that she understands and knows this at a heart level?

Does Your Child Believe She is Saved by Repentance and Faith?
The other night we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed in our family devotion. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. I took that opportunity to talk to our daughters about salvation being by faith alone. Their Dad is a pastor, their Grandfather is a pastor, their Uncle is a pastor, and their Great-Grandfather was a pastor. They never remember a time when they were not gathering with the church each Sunday and never remember a time when they were not hearing the Gospel in family devotions and in discussions during everyday life, so I wanted to make sure they heard a clear reminder that none of these things make them a Christian.

When your child approaches you about becoming a Christian, you must make sure that she gets this. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” The Scripture’s testimony is clear, and while your child may not be able to give you an excursus on justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness, you do want her to evidence that she knows she must repent and trust in Jesus. Does she understand that her works or her baptism don’t make her a Christian, but that repentance and trust in Jesus do? Does she have childlike faith in Jesus Christ alone?

Is Your Child Showing Signs of New Life?
Seeing signs of the work of the Spirit in your child’s life is not as evident as it would be in an adult. Your six-year old is not going to have the same kind of testimony that a man with a notorious past would have, but his salvation is just a miraculous. If he has trusted in Jesus, he has been born again and the Holy Spirit indwells him. He will shows evidences of conversion.

If believers grow in conviction over our sins, compassion for other people, and display the fruit of the Spirit, then this will be present in your child’s life. It will be there in childlike form, but it will be there. You will also start to see the lights come on for him spiritually. He will start to understand more of God’s truth and demonstrate a greater awareness of God’s work in his life. As you observe his life, do you see signs of the Spirit’s work in him?

Is Your Child Free from External Pressures?
The invitation system, a pressure-packed VBS or kids’ camp, and friends getting baptized can start putting pressure on your child to make a profession of faith without actually understanding the Gospel. Often children want to know why they can’t take Communion, and hear the answer, “because you haven’t been baptized yet.” In their minds the solution seems simple, “then let me get baptized so I can take Communion.”

You can never know for certain that your child has pure motives in his desire to become to profess Christ, but you should examine to the best of your ability any outside forces that may be exerting pressure on him. Ask him what made him start thinking about this. It may have been a friend’s baptism, but what about the event made him start pondering it for himself? Communion may have sparked an interest in him, but does he just want to take the bread and juice, or did hearing the meaning of Communion draw him to Jesus? These are all factors for you to ask about, think through, and pray over.

Always Bring the Gospel to Your Children
Your child does not get a visible mark on her forehead or a stripe on her back when she comes to Jesus, so you have to talk, pray, and discern. Invite your pastor in to talk to your child and ask questions. He may be able to see and hear things you don’t.

Most of all though, keep putting the Gospel in front of your children. Talk about it in everyday life, in family devotions, and around the table after Sunday worship. Sing songs, pray over your kids, and repent to them when you have wronged them. God’s word never returns void, our labor in the Lord is not in vain, and in due time we will sow if we reap, so take every opportunity to tell and show your kids that Jesus is better than life.



Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.PROVERBS 18:21Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
PROVERBS 18:21
Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?
Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

When your child tells you he wants to become a Christian or starts talking about baptism, ask him why he is thinking about this now. Draw out of him, in his words at his age level, whether he feels conviction for his sins and knows that he needs a Savior. Unless he is convinced of his sins, he cannot know that he has a problem from which he needs to be saved.

Does Your Child Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
If your child shows awareness of and conviction for sin, begin to talk to her about Jesus. You will not be looking for her to give a discourse on the hypostatic union or penal substitutionary atonement. Does she know Jesus is the son of God? Does she believe that he is real, and that he lived the perfect life we could never live?

Then you should move into a discussion about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can she articulate the basic facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Again, you are not looking for a doctoral level treatise, but in her words can she tell you about what Jesus did for her. What you are looking for here is illumination. As she talks about Jesus, do you see an awareness that she understands and knows this at a heart level?

Does Your Child Believe She is Saved by Repentance and Faith?
The other night we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed in our family devotion. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. I took that opportunity to talk to our daughters about salvation being by faith alone. Their Dad is a pastor, their Grandfather is a pastor, their Uncle is a pastor, and their Great-Grandfather was a pastor. They never remember a time when they were not gathering with the church each Sunday and never remember a time when they were not hearing the Gospel in family devotions and in discussions during everyday life, so I wanted to make sure they heard a clear reminder that none of these things make them a Christian.

When your child approaches you about becoming a Christian, you must make sure that she gets this. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” The Scripture’s testimony is clear, and while your child may not be able to give you an excursus on justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness, you do want her to evidence that she knows she must repent and trust in Jesus. Does she understand that her works or her baptism don’t make her a Christian, but that repentance and trust in Jesus do? Does she have childlike faith in Jesus Christ alone?

Is Your Child Showing Signs of New Life?
Seeing signs of the work of the Spirit in your child’s life is not as evident as it would be in an adult. Your six-year old is not going to have the same kind of testimony that a man with a notorious past would have, but his salvation is just a miraculous. If he has trusted in Jesus, he has been born again and the Holy Spirit indwells him. He will shows evidences of conversion.

If believers grow in conviction over our sins, compassion for other people, and display the fruit of the Spirit, then this will be present in your child’s life. It will be there in childlike form, but it will be there. You will also start to see the lights come on for him spiritually. He will start to understand more of God’s truth and demonstrate a greater awareness of God’s work in his life. As you observe his life, do you see signs of the Spirit’s work in him?

Is Your Child Free from External Pressures?
The invitation system, a pressure-packed VBS or kids’ camp, and friends getting baptized can start putting pressure on your child to make a profession of faith without actually understanding the Gospel. Often children want to know why they can’t take Communion, and hear the answer, “because you haven’t been baptized yet.” In their minds the solution seems simple, “then let me get baptized so I can take Communion.”

You can never know for certain that your child has pure motives in his desire to become to profess Christ, but you should examine to the best of your ability any outside forces that may be exerting pressure on him. Ask him what made him start thinking about this. It may have been a friend’s baptism, but what about the event made him start pondering it for himself? Communion may have sparked an interest in him, but does he just want to take the bread and juice, or did hearing the meaning of Communion draw him to Jesus? These are all factors for you to ask about, think through, and pray over.

Always Bring the Gospel to Your Children
Your child does not get a visible mark on her forehead or a stripe on her back when she comes to Jesus, so you have to talk, pray, and discern. Invite your pastor in to talk to your child and ask questions. He may be able to see and hear things you don’t.

Most of all though, keep putting the Gospel in front of your children. Talk about it in everyday life, in family devotions, and around the table after Sunday worship. Sing songs, pray over your kids, and repent to them when you have wronged them. God’s word never returns void, our labor in the Lord is not in vain, and in due time we will sow if we reap, so take every opportunity to tell and show your kids that Jesus is better than life.



Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.PROVERBS 18:21Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
PROVERBS 18:21
Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?
Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

When your child tells you he wants to become a Christian or starts talking about baptism, ask him why he is thinking about this now. Draw out of him, in his words at his age level, whether he feels conviction for his sins and knows that he needs a Savior. Unless he is convinced of his sins, he cannot know that he has a problem from which he needs to be saved.

Does Your Child Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
If your child shows awareness of and conviction for sin, begin to talk to her about Jesus. You will not be looking for her to give a discourse on the hypostatic union or penal substitutionary atonement. Does she know Jesus is the son of God? Does she believe that he is real, and that he lived the perfect life we could never live?

Then you should move into a discussion about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can she articulate the basic facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Again, you are not looking for a doctoral level treatise, but in her words can she tell you about what Jesus did for her. What you are looking for here is illumination. As she talks about Jesus, do you see an awareness that she understands and knows this at a heart level?

Does Your Child Believe She is Saved by Repentance and Faith?
The other night we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed in our family devotion. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. I took that opportunity to talk to our daughters about salvation being by faith alone. Their Dad is a pastor, their Grandfather is a pastor, their Uncle is a pastor, and their Great-Grandfather was a pastor. They never remember a time when they were not gathering with the church each Sunday and never remember a time when they were not hearing the Gospel in family devotions and in discussions during everyday life, so I wanted to make sure they heard a clear reminder that none of these things make them a Christian.

When your child approaches you about becoming a Christian, you must make sure that she gets this. For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” The Scripture’s testimony is clear, and while your child may not be able to give you an excursus on justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness, you do want her to evidence that she knows she must repent and trust in Jesus. Does she understand that her works or her baptism don’t make her a Christian, but that repentance and trust in Jesus do? Does she have childlike faith in Jesus Christ alone?

Is Your Child Showing Signs of New Life?
Seeing signs of the work of the Spirit in your child’s life is not as evident as it would be in an adult. Your six-year old is not going to have the same kind of testimony that a man with a notorious past would have, but his salvation is just a miraculous. If he has trusted in Jesus, he has been born again and the Holy Spirit indwells him. He will shows evidences of conversion.

If believers grow in conviction over our sins, compassion for other people, and display the fruit of the Spirit, then this will be present in your child’s life. It will be there in childlike form, but it will be there. You will also start to see the lights come on for him spiritually. He will start to understand more of God’s truth and demonstrate a greater awareness of God’s work in his life. As you observe his life, do you see signs of the Spirit’s work in him?

Is Your Child Free from External Pressures?
The invitation system, a pressure-packed VBS or kids’ camp, and friends getting baptized can start putting pressure on your child to make a profession of faith without actually understanding the Gospel. Often children want to know why they can’t take Communion, and hear the answer, “because you haven’t been baptized yet.” In their minds the solution seems simple, “then let me get baptized so I can take Communion.”

You can never know for certain that your child has pure motives in his desire to become to profess Christ, but you should examine to the best of your ability any outside forces that may be exerting pressure on him. Ask him what made him start thinking about this. It may have been a friend’s baptism, but what about the event made him start pondering it for himself? Communion may have sparked an interest in him, but does he just want to take the bread and juice, or did hearing the meaning of Communion draw him to Jesus? These are all factors for you to ask about, think through, and pray over.

Always Bring the Gospel to Your Children
Your child does not get a visible mark on her forehead or a stripe on her back when she comes to Jesus, so you have to talk, pray, and discern. Invite your pastor in to talk to your child and ask questions. He may be able to see and hear things you don’t.

Most of all though, keep putting the Gospel in front of your children. Talk about it in everyday life, in family devotions, and around the table after Sunday worship. Sing songs, pray over your kids, and repent to them when you have wronged them. God’s word never returns void, our labor in the Lord is not in vain, and in due time we will sow if we reap, so take every opportunity to tell and show your kids that Jesus is better than life.



Draw Near to God!James 3:13-4:8 (4:8)

Draw Near to God!


James 3:13-4:8 (4:8)

Do you know people who quarrel a lot? I mean, a lot? Some people are not satisfied with anything. I am sure you recognize these people. They regularly moan and kvetch and sometimes outright quarrel about what they have or about what they don’t have. James tells us about these dissatisfied, disgruntled people in our Scripture reading today, among other things.

We see two kinds of attitudes in our reading this evening. Two kinds of wisdom, and two kinds of people. One comes from earth, and is grasping, envious, with selfish ambition. The other comes from God, and is peace-loving, full of mercy, and considerate above all things! How do we come to terms with such a stark, black-and-white difference in wisdom? And in people?

It might be repetitious to read these words from the end of chapter 3 again, but we really need to listen. Again. if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. I know how seductive the features, things and practices of the world can be. God forgive us for being so distracted and fooled by the world’s wisdom!

Who is brave enough to admit that they have envy in their hearts, sometimes? Again, who is forthright enough to admit they have selfishness in their character, sometimes? These worldly traits or features are sadly prevalent in this world. Every person alive feels these worldly emotions from time to time. I have, and I suspect you have, too. The problems these negative emotions can cause! They bring a lot of misery in the lives of many, many people, too
Let’s consider the worldly, flawed way of thinking and being, for a moment. (Actually, we all fall into this way of thinking and being, more often than not.) Carolyn Brown, retired Children’s Ministry Director, has written a prayer for this reading. Listen, if you would, and see whether these words from Ms. Brown do not resonate in our hearts.

Dear God, we want to look amazing.

We want great clothes, cool shoes, a great haircut. We want our homes filled with our stuff.

We want all the best people to be our friends. We want to be the first, the best, the most, the greatest. So we grab and hold and demand. We even kick and punch to get what we want.

Forgive us.

Teach us to let go, to open our hands and hearts to others. Teach us to be content with what we have and to share it.

Teach us to think as much about what OTHERS want as what WE want. Teach us to be as loving as Jesus. Amen.
In this reading, James also presents us a much more positive way of wisdom: Godly wisdom. We hear James describe this attitude, this way of acting and thinking, with God’s help. Let’s read the attributes James lists: the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.Who would not want to display these kinds of positive, caring, loving attributes? Living God’s way is a sure-fire way to show these kinds of character traits! At least, according to James.

What are the operative words that James tells us are essential? Even, imperative? Peace, mercy and gentleness. That’s what this short list of positive, caring, Godly attributes come down to. I know in this letter, this basic manual of how to live the Christian life, James talks a great deal about doing. How to do, what to do, and why we ought to do it, please God! Except – here James concentrates on the inner person. How do we live this way? What motivates us? What is the fuel that keeps us going? Peace. God’s peace. James says, Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. An internal reservoir of peace within each one of us that translates to an external harvest of righteousness. (THAT sounds like practical James!)

In the Gospel of John, in the Upper Room discourse on that last night before He was betrayed, Jesus gives us a great gift. He says, Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, but as I give it to you.Maybe, just maybe, you and I just don’t understand the concept of peace. At least, the kind of peace Jesus – and James – talk about here.

“Maybe we’ve defined peace as the absence of something, of conflict, or worry, of trouble, of doubt; but Jesus wants us to define peace as a presence. Peace is not what we’ve emptied from ourselves, but what we’ve filled ourselves with. And what we’ve not filled ourselves with is ourselves – at least according to James.

What – practically – can we take away from this reading today? Peace is the way OF God. Peace is the how-to of living a life pleasing to God. Peace is being filled with the presence of God.

In this practical letter, this how-to manual, James advises his friends on how to live in a way pleasing to God. Peace is possible, even while [you and I] are works in process. This isn’t about completion and the satisfaction of a job well done; it is about a journey of discovery and transformation. But peace can be our companion in the journey to keep our feet on the path.

Practical James would wholeheartedly agree! Keep on keeping on. Live in God’s peaceful presence. It’s a sure-fire way to have God draw near to each one of us.

Alleluia, amen!

Salt of the EarthIn this fallen world, believers are to be a preserving, flavoring, healing salt for those who live in darkness.Matthew 5:13-16

Salt of the Earth
In this fallen world, believers are to be a preserving, flavoring, healing salt for those who live in darkness.

Matthew 5:13-16

When Jesus spoke to His followers, He called them the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). In those days, salt was the only way to preserve food. As Christians, we too have a preserving effect on the earth because we have the only message that can deliver people from the corruption of sin and give them eternal life.

This means we are to be a spiritual influence in the lives of people around us. Just as salt enhances the flavor of food, so a Christlike character and godly lifestyle can be an example that draws others to the Savior. They’ll notice our joy and contentment and may desire to have those qualities, which are available only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Salt also has unique healing properties, as does the gospel. If we take a moment to listen to people’s hurts, we’ll have an opportunity to offer the truth that brings spiritual healing to those trapped in the darkness and despair of sin.

But remember that Jesus also warned us not to lose our saltiness. If we tolerate sin in our life, we’ll be just like the world. To be a positive influence for Christ, we must guard against falling prey to temptation.

Gratefulness was more than just an attitude or a feeling- it was a powerful tool and principle to position, to promote and bring you to a place of wellness.

Whatever you appreciate, appreciates!
When we praise there is always provision by God’s presence.
Psalms 34:1, I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

The only way I can praise or have an attitude of gratitude in all things is by His grace (kindness and favor). Like the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, and you must develop this mentality:

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

When grace is your case, you are non-judgmental of:

yourself
others
events
situations
Romans 3:23,24 tells us, For ALL have sinned (missed the mark; had a mistaken identity) and come short of the glory of God. Verse 24: Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Don’t ever underestimate the power and strength of grace!
Gratitude is the confirmation of relationship.
Gratitude is rooted in grace.
Without grace, we cannot truly be thankful and appreciative.
So, when I am gracious, which literally means, ENJOYING FAVOR,I am grateful.

You want favor BUT you won’t get it with a nasty spirit and attitude.
You must make a conscious decision to look at what is right and appreciate it.
I like this expression: Gratefulness means experiencing GREAT-FULNESS (Felling Full in every moment).

Appreciating exactly what is happiness is NOT what makes us grateful! It is GRATEFULNESS that makes us happy… Why? Because attitudes effect atmospheres and atmospheres influence actions.

Bad attitude = Bad atmosphere = Bad action
But like the woman who came to worship JUST TO SAY THANK YOU TO JESUS FOR ALL HE HAD DONE with her alabaster box in Mark 14:3-9
You too can change an atmosphere in your home, in the church, in your workplace, in the world… with an attitude of gratitude!

She walked into a hostile environment with 1 purpose: TO SAY THANK YOU.

Some think it’s Mary, the sister of Lazarus (who died and was raised from the dead by Jesus).
Others believe it to be Mary Magdalene.
Her life had been transformed by Jesus…
He had delivered her from seven demons that dominated her! Mary totally dedicated herself to Jesus and his cause…
Either way it shows me it was a woman who is deeply appreciative and grateful to God for his goodness.

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.HOSEA 6:3

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
HOSEA 6:3
Do you not feel God? You’re not alone. Many heroes of the faith felt very distant from God most of their lives, including the author of most of the Psalms, King David. He wrote, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Words which would be repeated by Jesus as He withered on the cross.

The best advice I can give is to keep learning about God. Keep reading the Word and filling your mind with Him. The act of these disciplines will eventually reorient your desires toward Him, and even though they are not glamorous or even fun, your emotions will follow.

The ruts of routine become the grooves of grace.

The things you fill your head with will eventually trickle down into your heart; your emotions will be affected by what you put in your mind. There’s no way they can’t be! So don’t try to rush it. I would argue that wisdom doesn’t attempt to conjure up a false emotional experience, but simply remains faithful and lets the emotion come when the time is right.

Different views of our beautiful God will choke you up and tug on your heart, but one thing is true across the board: You won’t reach these deep places with Him if you’re not filling your mind with His words and orienting your life toward Him.

It will come in time.

So may we be people who pursue God, not an emotional high. May we be people who see God working in all areas of our lives, especially many of the mundane and unglamorous nooks. May we be comforted by knowing that He is not simply an emotion to be conjured up at will, but He is a person; a Father who wants to walk the journey of our lives with us. And that means that there will be a lot of long stretches of road without emotion or hype, just many, many trudging footsteps

Spot Free-Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2The Bible tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27 NLT). So how does the world spot (or soil) us in the first place?Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2The Bible tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27 NLT). So how does the world spot (or soil) us in the first place?

Spot Free-

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2
The Bible tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27 NLT). So how does the world spot (or soil) us in the first place?

It starts with friendship with the world. James 4:4 says, Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God(NLT).

This leads to a love for this world. First John 2:15 says, Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you (NLT).

Then it’s our love for the world that results in our conformity to this world. We read in Romans 12:2, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (NLT).

We find a classic example of this in the book of Genesis. When the angels came to deliver Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah, they had to practically drag him out of the city.

How did it all start? The Bible tells us that “Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12 NLT). Lot moved closer to Sodom (maybe so he could keep it in view), and the next thing you know, he had moved into Sodom.

But before long, Sodom had moved into him. Lot lost his testimony and ultimately his own family. And when judgment fell on Sodom, he lost everything.

True spirituality is primarily measured by what we do, not by what we say. So let’s keep ourselves unspotted from the world