We all know the Scripture in Psalm 37:4 that says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Many so-called Christian doctrines have stemmed from this Scripture with the interpretation that God wants us to have all the “material possessions” that make us happy. And the truth is, Continue reading
Many Christians look for the confirmation of God’s love in the big things in life; things such as cars, financial freedom, material blessings, a great job and even social status. But we will never see God when we have to look through “things” to find Him. Continue reading
One of the things that many of us in the civilized world pride ourselves in is our collection of worldly goods. Some of us have the funds to back our expensive material collections while others of us struggle to acquire even a few over a lifetime. But the fact is, most of us can look around our homes and see things that we cherish and in our eyes they have great material worth. But in the end, they are worthless collectibles. Continue reading
Today is Thanksgiving Day to many of us, and it’s a day that’s designated to celebrate all the things we’re thankful for in our lives. For some of us it’s easy because we have so much wealth that surrounds us, but for others it’s hurtful because they have so little or they’ve lost what they had through a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps it’s time for us to give thanks for the love in our lives and not just the things.
It’s great to have material possessions because they make us happy, make our lives more rewarding and more desirable, but tangible things can become a stumbling block for real gratitude and true thanksgiving toward God. In Matthew 6:19 Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”
These earthly treasures might help to make our lives a little more comfortable and they may give us a sense of accomplishment, but Jesus warns us that it’s these treasures that the enemy will attack because he knows that losing them will get us down – maybe even tear us away from God. That’s why in John 10:10 Jesus tells us that the thief – the devil – comes to steal, kill and destroy, and he knows what our treasures are and how much they mean to us.
Does that mean it’s wrong to have nice possessions? Not at all, as long as we don’t put their value above God, above our love for God or above our love for other Christians.
We need to remember that even greater than material possessions is the love that God has for us, and it’s this love that should be the reason we live each day – and the reason we give thanks. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
There was so much more accomplished on the cross than most of us know. We were not only brought back to God so that we could talk with Him and walk with Him like Adam and Eve did before the fall, but He also gave us victory over the things that would come against us in life.
Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
Not only were we forgiven and set free from the sin that separated us from God, but Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to. We now have eternity with God instead of eternity in hell. He bore the penalty so that we could have peace – His peace – and we are free from the clutches of the devil and his hurtful strikes against us. He will attack us, but we have peace and confidence in God, and we know that He will give us the victory over the attacks.
With the 39 strikes from the cat of nine tails, a harsh whip filled with ground glass, Jesus set us free from sickness and illness and gave us back the right to be healed and to have a healthy body. Sometimes He performs miracles and sometimes He expects us to change what we’re doing and what we’re eating so that we become responsible for our bodies. He gives us wisdom to know the truth about the food and medications we take and when we adhere to the truth, our bodies line up because Jesus has already made healing possible for us.
Some of us have lost loved ones this year and the hurt is still so great that it’s hard to be thankful for anything. But we must remember that this life is short compared to eternity with God, and when someone we love moves on to Heaven we need to keep our eyes on God and on the fact that very soon we will be there, too. It’s lonely here now and the memories and family traditions can be painful, but we have to carry on anyway because even though the one we love is not with us, there are others still here who need us and who need our love.
What can we be thankful for when there is so much hurt and pain in our lives and all around us? We’re thankful that God has redeemed us from the control of the devil; we’re thankful that we have His Spirit in us to give us strength and wisdom to live every day in victory; we’re thankful that any illness or disease that has come against us will fall away because we are healed; we’re thankful that we are surrounded with family and friends who love us for who we are and not for what we have; and we’re thankful that we have a home in Heaven where Jesus has prepared a place for us and where the ones who have already moved on are waiting for us!
We have much to be thankful for, and much to live and hope for because Jesus is alive and has given us life.
There is only one thing in this world that is free and that is given without strings attached. Air is not free because of the pollution it carries that destroys the body; water is not free because it contains impurities, bacteria, chemicals, toxins – all that destroy the body. The only thing that we have that is truly free is love.
It’s impossible to put a price on love because there is no amount of money imaginable that can be applied to influence the value of love. Money can buy faux love and material possessions that mock the security of love, but it cannot buy true love.
There is no greater value that can be applied to life than the gift of love that is given through sacrifice. This world was made for people and everything in it is given to us to make us happy, but the ultimate value of existence in our life is love. When Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice on the cross for us He did it freely and without charge to us. And in doing so He showed us that there is nothing more valuable in our lives than love.
It’s a free gift to all of us and all we have to do is accept it. There is no cost or condition that comes with it. When we accept the love of Christ in our hearts that was given to us through His sacrifice, we are changed and we become eternally grateful to Him. He becomes our Lord and our Saviour and nothing this world has can separate us from the love of God because His Spirit lives in us.
Many people think that once they become a Christian they have to stop doing certain things and they have to change how they act and speak, and they have to go to church every Sunday and they have to give large amounts of money to support the church. Being a Christian for them simply means adhering to a new set of rules and making sacrifices that they really don’t want to make and having to do things that they really don’t want to do, but they feel obligated because they think that this is what Christianity is all about.
That’s what carnal Christians do because they’re trying to follow their own ideals of what a real Christian is, but that’s not how a real Christian acts or thinks. There’s a big difference between trying to be a Christian through works and accepting Jesus as Lord in our heart and truly accepting His love for us and loving HIM in return.
John 1:36 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, and there is nothing we can possibly do to even come close to what He did for us when He gave up His throne in Heaven to become an earthly man so He could die in our place as punishment for our sins. There is no sacrifice we can make that can even compare to what He gave and to what He accomplished on the cross.
He died for everyone regardless of their sins and all He wants from us is to accept His love. It’s free and it’s for everyone. There are no conditions or strings attached. We don’t have to give up anything for Him. Why?
Because once we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are filled with a love for Him that is overwhelming. We don’t “have” to give up anything but we “will” give up everything because our hearts are filled with a love for Christ and we no longer want to be associated with the sinful lifestyle that we had and that offends what He has done for us. Our hearts change and our actions change because we no longer want to be part of anything that mocks the One who loves us so much that He’d die for us.
We have a home in Heaven waiting for us, and our life on earth will still be plagued with trials and tribulations but that’s because the devil runs this world and when we’re here we’re susceptible to the same issues as everyone else. BUT we have an advocate with our Father whereby we can ask Him for help and when we trust Him, He gives us the victory. And it’s all because He loves us.
In 1 John 4:8 we read that “God is love“. Everything He does for us, His children, is done in love. It’s free love and it’s given to us and then we become like Him. We can love others and show them that our Father in Heaven is not the uncaring, harsh, bias god that starves little children in the Third World or that pours disease upon the nations and doesn’t care about them. He does care and when our hearts are filled with the love of God then we become His vessel on this earth. Through us God will do great and mighty things and through us others will see His love and turn to Him for their salvation and for their healing. He wants to heal the sick and He wants to raise up the hungry people and give them a good life, but they are being crushed by the devil of this world and they don’t know what God has done for them. So we will tell them so that they, too, can know the love of God.
God’s love is free to all who ask for it, and what He has for us in Heaven is greater than our thoughts could ever imagine. So, when people rebuke His love and treat us unkind because they resent who we are, we go forth in our mission anyway, because nothing is more valuable to us than His free love.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” …Matthew 10:8