Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Questions

“May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.” ~ Colossians 1:11b-12a

Giving Thanks
A question for you:
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
If you are like most Americans, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’  Of course, there are many reasons we observe the holiday, and I don’t even need to touch upon them.  Everyone has their own unique reasons for celebrating, their own traditions, their own food preferences, their own memories, and on and on.

But what I really want to know is:
What do YOU mean by Thanksgiving?
For Christians, the question is simple.  I’ve often wondered, though, what the word means to those who don’t have faith, who don’t believe in a Creator.  It’s understood that we all things in our life to be thankful of, but the very word ‘thanksgiving’ requires a recipient. 
As you gather with your loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving, and to enjoy the food, fun, family, and friendship that characterize the day, ask yourself these two questions:
What am I thankful for today?  And Who is deserving of my gratitude?
Even if you are a non-believer, I challenge you to take a moment to reflect upon these things. 
The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17),” “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23),” and “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).”
God loves us so much that His gifts to us are not conditional on our acknowledgement of Him, but are freely given long before we even cast an eye in His direction.  Reflect upon the blessings in your life, and give careful consideration to where they may have originated.
Give thanks to the Lord!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Give Me Jesus

Give Me Jesus–Jeremy Camp

“Yes, everything else is
worthless when compared
with the infinite value of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have discarded
everything else,
counting it all as garbage,
so that I could gain Christ.”

~ Philippians 3:8

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Law of Christ

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
~ Galatians 6:2

bearing_burdensWhat is the law of Christ? 

Matthew 22:36-40 relates a conversation between a Pharisee and Jesus:

““Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””

Elsewhere, in Matthew 7:12, Jesus spoke of the heart and intent behind the law of Moses – the proverbial “Golden Rule.”

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

In Romans 13:8-10, Paul elaborates further on how Christ’s commandment to love others fulfills the law of Moses.

“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.  For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

Returning to Galatians 5:13-15, Paul reiterates this point:

"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another."

Freedom from the law of Moses is not a license to sin, of course, but that’s a topic for another post.

The Gospel of grace is beautiful in its elegant simplicity.

Love God, love others.