Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not Just Thanksgiving, But Thanksliving

1 Thes. 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

The origins of America’s Thanksgiving Day.

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
--William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye (Plymouth) Colony, November 29, 1623
WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;
WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. --George Washington - October 3, 1789
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.
President Abraham Lincoln - Oct. 3, 1863
Psalm 100"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

I included the original three proclamations by Bradford, Washington & Lincoln to remember the original intent of this holiday that we set aside in America. We live today in a very egocentric and materialistic world, society and culture (and maybe it has always been that way in varying degrees due to human nature). Americans have freedoms and blessings in abundance that most other nations and peoples never know.
I love President Lincoln’s assessment “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come. Do we take our lives for granted and neglect the freedoms and liberty that we enjoy, our families and loved ones, the bounties of our possessions, and the source of them all (Almighty God)? We need an “attitude of gratitude” towards God, not only for the things that happen in our lives but also for the things that did not happen by His providence. We need to give thanks in the “good” times and the “bad” times, in all places and in all things despite our current circumstances because of who He is, what He does, how He loves us, what He did for us in Jesus Christ, our adoption into the family of God and our eternal home in Heaven to come.

Do we thank God for our faith, for the gift of Heaven and eternal life? Is it not Jesus Christ who loves us, seeks us, guides us and protects us as the “good shepherd? Despite our faults and failures, God still loves us, still accepts us; we are still his child, and still His desire. We can come to Him with our dreams and our problems without fear because of our relationship, our standing and our position with God. Our decision to salvation through Jesus Christ brings hope, forgiveness, prayer, peace, blessings, holiness, and an eternal prospective of the world to come in Heaven.

Are our lives in conformity with His will? Do we desire and strive to live a life pleasing to Almighty God? Do we claim to be a “Child of God”, and give no thanks? The sin of ingratitude displeases our Holy Father in Heaven. Where our heart is at, this is where our treasure is. Where is our treasure? Where are our hearts? We need to begin each day with thankful gratitude, end each day with gratitude and fill in the middle with thanksgiving. We are not lucky, but blessed and need to thankfully rejoice as Christians! What do we have that we didn’t receive from God? May the gracious name of God have all the praise! This is Thanksgiving Day, but every day should be Thanksliving Day!

Psalm 136:1-3 & 26 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever."

I wish you and your families a blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, November 21, 2009


2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Blind faith ... not really! Blindness is walking without sight in darkness, but faith is walking through this life, in the light of Christ, on the promises of God. We see the length, the width and the depth of this physical Earth, but our spirit desires the spiritual; the happiness and right relationship with our Father in Heaven, which we enjoyed before the fall of man. We have a “God-shaped” hole in our heart that can only be filled with Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is no longer necessary once we go to be with our Maker in paradise, because we shall be standing face to face with The Truth. There is no need for faith in something that we see and know. Faith, with certitude, is for this life, here on Earth, and to be used today for God’s purposes and our happiness despite our “seeing is believing” secular society. John 20:29 Jesus told Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Be blessed!

Faith transforms us into the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) for a lost and dark world, while walking in the Word of God (the lamp unto my feet – Psalm 199:105) that illuminates the paths of righteousness in our Father’s plans & purposes for our lives through the darkness of this age, led by the Spirit. Now that’s night vision. Keep the milk; got faith?!

Psalm 18:28 “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Right On!

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Righteousness literally means to be “right” with God; aligned with His Will, Statutes, Teachings and Commands, in a right relationship, and walking in the Spirit by faith, compared to self-righteousness which is sinful (Galatians 5:16-26). Webster’s Dictionary defines “righteous” as “Just, equitable; ruled by what is right in the eyes of God; blameless; upright, Godly, pious, guiltless, and pure.” To be “unrighteous” would then be the exact opposite of this definition: “Unjust, inequitable; ruled by what is right in their own eyes; with blame, iniquitous - wicked, ungodly, irreverent, guilty, and impure”, but Webster’s gives the antonym for “righteous” as: Evil, sinful, immoral, and unholy. Talking with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers; they take an honest look around at the unrighteous state of our culture & society today and come to the conclusion that we are “going to Hell in a handbasket” morally and spiritually. Wikipedia says: "Going to Hell in a handbasket" is an English alliterative phrase of unclear origin, which describes a situation headed for disaster without effort or in great haste. By godless, unrighteous living, we are literally cutting ourselves off and severing our relationship with our Just & Holy Creator/Father; putting a cleaver to the satisfyingly balanced, loving contentment, peaceful existence, and abundant life found only in the righteousness of a faithful heart towards God. The Bible tells us that we are all born with a Sin nature through Adam & Eve, but we are also nurtured (reared, cared for, educated, and trained) in a sinful world. But by the grace of God, though faith in the redeeming blood of Christ, our hearts and lives are changed; our eyes are opened and bent towards righteous living. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Faith is what you put your trust in. Trust in Christ and his work. Put your trust in the love of God, and live in the joy of righteousness and your salvation in Christ; for the child of God is in the world, but not of the world.

John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." It is my prayer that we, with purpose and concerted effort, not only share the faith and love that dwells within our hearts, but reflect the light of Christ’s gospel into the darkness of an unbelieving world, that neither knows the truth or is deceived to follow paths of unrighteousness.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Unexamined Life

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? "

Hola from Mazatlan, Mexico,
While leaving Puerto Vallarte yesterday, I was walking on the open deck at sunset and came to the very front tip of this massive ship. The noise of my busy life left and as I looked out ahead, the Ocean was smooth with only a slight ripple, the light warm breeze blow straight into my face, a silvery cloud cover was broken over the water and the bit of Mexico coast that remained, and that sun cast a soft and calming glow across everything. How beautiful God's creation is! I stand there leaning on the rail and taking in this wonderful view and prayed. The Lord is so obvious in the hands of His work. How can we help but praise Him?

I'm reading a book by Blaise Pascal, who lived in the 1600's. He had an encounter with the Lord that immediately filled him with certitude and lead the remainder of his life in apologetics for Jesus Christ to others. Sadly, he died at the age of 38. I hope that you get a chance to read his writings - The Pensees. Pascal explains the reasoning that combines with the heart that inflames the Christian inside (heart, mind, emotion and soul) towards Jesus. Explaining the nature, heart and thinking of men & women with & without the moral compass of God's Word, Will and Way in their life. Here is just a taste from the Introduction from Mind on Fire.

The present life is momentary, but the state of death is eternal. How terribly important it is, then, to live in the light of the eternal, since it ultimately affects all that we do or think! Since nothing is more obvious than this observation, how absurd it is to behave differently.

Seen from this angle, how absurd it is for the people to go through life without regard for their final destiny. Instead, that are led as they feel inclined and as they indulge themselves, unreflected and careless, as though they could wipe out eternity and enjoy some passing happiness merely by repressing their thoughts. Yet death is real, for it threatens us at every moment of time, while eternity is also real, and is in fact a threat of ultimate destruction and misery.

This creates the prospect of terrible consequences; indeed, it is the prospect of eternal damnation. Yet people do not even bother to find out if eternity is merely an old wives' tale. Though this stares them in the face, they do not even trouble to find out if the arguments for it are valid. They have no idea whether they should or should not refuse to face up to this question.

It was Socrates who said: "The unexamined life is not worth living". To not would be absurd!
Hasta La Vista,
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Culture Wars

Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

There is culture war going on today for the hearts, minds and souls of everyone on Earth, between believing God or believing man. The enemy (the flesh, the world, and the Devil) attempt to steal, kill and destroy our relationship with God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit with lies that range from outright rejection of the existence of God to subtly questioning His authority and willfully reinterpreting His teachings, statutes and commandments to fit our will, instead of His will. I read that the real dividing line in our modern culture is not between right wing and left wing, not between conservatives and liberals, but between the orthodox (holding, or in accordance with, established belief, especially in connection with religion) and the progressives (the people favoring changes and reform in authority or administration of God). We see this, even within the walls of some churches today. Divisions are taking place on worldly standards over the very Word of God among the people of God. John 14;23-24 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

Luke 11:28 “But Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Talking to a good friend, who is a Christian Marriage and Family Counselor at a major mega church in the area, he said that this is the very issue that he deals with in counseling sessions today. The thinking goes: “God wants me to be happy. Following my needs and desires make me happy, therefore God is okay with me doing them, even if it is against his statutes and commands. My God loves me and will forgive me”. But this is a classic case of “Not thy will be done, but my will be done”. In many cases, the people of God compromise the word of God for the sake of the secular world and the beliefs of people in their lives that do not know the Lord; either to live politically correct at peace with them without confrontation, to be accepted socially by them out of fear of rejection, or to deny the sorrow of the reality of their loved one’s true eternal destiny without Christ. The writer concludes that it is not the revelation of God where we must stand, but on the Word of God. There is the solid ground. There is safety and security. We need not seek to curry (with flattery) favor those who would gainsay (contract, dispute, oppose or deny) the Word of God. We need instead to call them to repentance. Matthew 28:8 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

It is not God (the Creator of Heaven & Earth, and of all that lives and breathes), that needs to change to our Will. It is us who need to change, to align our lives with His Will and Way. To be a disciple of Christ is to be a Follower, Pupil and Student of the Word (John 1:1). This is the message that this culture needs to hear. May you & I be the messenger to this culture at war.

Matthew 5;17-19 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Origin of Species

Genesis 1:1 & 31-2:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”

This month marks the 150 year anniversary of the 1859 publishing of Charles Darwin’s landmark work, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”. It’s been more commonly called “The Theory of Evolution”, but in the century and a half of time and observation, this theory has evolved into the religion of the Atheist. With no discoveries of transitional forms, no fossil record to substantiate the theory, and no findings of “missing links”, along with the advances in science to discover the infinite complexity of DNA and the Cell, etc., Darwinian Evolution is no longer regarded feasible, and no Evolutionist today will try to explain the origin of life. Yet Evolution is still taught in American Public schools. Why? To indoctrinate the next generation to reject the “Intelligent Design” of the Universe, the Earth and all life by creator God, and no high authority to be accountable to.

Job 38:1-7 Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”

Based on observations of nature on his famous round-the-world voyage aboard the Beagle, Darwin exchanged “micro-evolution” (which is minor changes and adoptions that naturally occur with species based on environmental influences) with “macro-evolution” (which is the creation of an entirely new species from another totally different species) as a philosophical consolation to explain the universal origin of life apart from the Bible ... to explain the natural world apart from a creator God. From the natural physical changes that occur, he tries to explain the very origin of species.

Romans 1:18-25The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.”

The battle is truly not between evolution verses creation, but between belief and unbelief in God. Does evolution explain how nature produces life out of inert material? How does nature produce a seeing eye from nothing?There are many great books and DVD’s on Creation Verses Evolution out there today. It’s time that we tell our culture and society, which has been fed the lie of Evolution and give them the Truth of their creator God and His creation. We are reaping the chaotic results of decades of godless teaching on evolution and lack of biblical knowledge of the Creator. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we need to turn this society around for Christ, our Lord & Redeemer for today, tomorrow, and eternity.

Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”

In Christ, Brian