Random Ramblings

Just a few of my thoughts on the world around me

New Devotions

Do you ever just have  a bad day? Maybe you try to brush it off, and try again the next day. But what if that’s just as bad, even worse? and the day after that? Well, that’s been me this week. Only after missing my alarm this morning, struggling through the delivery of a speech, and trying to take a test while fighting physical pain did I remember what I had been skipping all week. My devotions.

Now I’m not saying that I was having trials because I missed my devotions and if I do my devotions I won’t have trials anymore. No, God allows trials in our lives so that we will grow. He guides us along the way with His Word. Because I had been neglecting reading my Bible, I had no ammo to combat the trials I faced, and instead allowed them to bog me down. I could see my attitude towards little things getting out of hand. As the semester finished, my classes are getting rough and just plain frustrating at times as teachers attempt to cram the last of the content before giving the final exam.

Today I started a new devotional booklet I received as a graduation present last year. It’s called Gospel Meditations for Prayer and the first reading is from Psalm 127. When I opened my Bible to read the verses, I instantly remembered highlighting them last year when I was facing a struggle of tiredness and the feeling of trying to do everything myself. This is basically the situation I’ve thrown myself into lately with allowing myself to be consumed with worry for deadlines approaching and my future.

” Except the LORD builds a house, they labor in vain who build it; except the LORD keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil – for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.”

Psalm 127:1-2

I have nothing and can’t do it myself! It is God who gives me the ability to face each day for His glory. Obviously not all of my problems are magically fixed, but I can stop worrying so much about them and trust God cos He’s got everything under control.

I’m gonna sneak a page from Christy’s blog today and list some blessings God has shown me today 🙂

1. God has everything under control.

2. A call from my dad that the company he works for wants me working for them again this summer, and at a possibly higher rate.

3. Technology that allows me to connect with other believers to glorify our God and share His blessings with each other!

~jojo

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What’s Your Excuse?

Okay, so it’s a little old and cheesy, but it brings up a good point. Are you afraid to share Christ? Do you make excuses, are you afraid? Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” -Romans 1:16

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

~jojo

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God’s Not Dead

Okay, so I saw this movie was out and I said to myself “Oh, that’s cool, I hope it’s a good movie” and moved on. I never really got excited about seeing it or even intended to go see it. Thursday night as I was headed up to my room, a friend passed me and invited me to go with her and some friends to go see a movie. I hesitated but when she said they were seeing God’s Not Dead I decided to go.

Now I went with 5 girls who live in a kind of prosperity gospel environment, one where sin isn’t a big deal it’s all about feelings. This and their actions have caused me to wonder about their salvation status. As we drove to the theater, I prayed that this movie would open a door that would allow me to share the true Gospel of Christ with them.

On a side note, I heard an interesting conversation between two of the girls and an atheist student in the dorm lobby. They invited him to join us and he gave his reasons for not going, namely it was a cheesy movie that ended with a stupid Christian rock concert. I was watching for our ride to pull up and didn’t join the conversation but noted how weakly the girls defended their reasons for going. They tried to win him over on feelings, which of course didn’t work. Once they got in the van they started talking about how they couldn’t believe he wouldn’t go with us. I gave my opinion, which involved several verses (John 14:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14 are some), which I hope God can use in some way in their lives. Anyways, back to my review of the movie.

The movie started off okay. Being a Christian movie, there was of course no sex or cussing, which may have contributed to it’s cheesiness. That probably sounds really shallow, but in my experience, atheists and other unbelievers usually don’t argue with Christians or even converse normally without some colorful language in between. This is not to say I didn’t appreciate that it was a clean movie, in fact, that’s one of the highlights.

Okay, now obviously there were some Christians, and some non-Christians in this movie. Basically all the Christians were great people (except the girlfriend, but I’ll get back to her later) and all the non-Christians were very not nice people! This is my first issue with it, though I’m not sure that there was really a way to fix it. The fact is, there are a lot of nice people who are on their way to hell, not all of them are hateful, violent people like we so often think them to be. Plugged In Movie Reviews put it this way: “Pretty much everyone who’s not a Christian in this story is villainized for being mean, abusive, grouchy or narrow-minded. Several such sinners are condemned to either death or terminal illness, as if they’re being punished for their attitudes.” If life were this way, it would make things a whole lot easier when it comes to evangelism. Unfortunately, it’s not and personally I think it’s one of the challenges the devil throws at believers.

I also thought the movie was a little doctrinely unsound. People who are not saved are coming to see this movie because the title is interesting to them. You’d think the producers would have this in mind and have a stronger Gospel message or plan of salvation. There are two individuals who (I assume) become saved during the course of this movie. One is literally on the brink of death and the other has received word that she has cancer, been dumped by her boyfriend, and, not surprisingly, an emotional train wreck. Now admittedly, my memory isn’t the best, but I didn’t really remember hearing anything about acknowledgement or repentance of sins or that Christ and Christ alone could bring forgiveness of those sins and salvation. I can’t help but wonder if I, a Christian very familiar with the topic of salvation, can’t remember hearing that, how many unbelievers will? Salvation is not “fire insurance” against hell either! It is coming to the realization that you are a sinner, deserving only of death. The only way out is through Christ Jesus, who took on the consequence of sin by dying on the cross and obtaining for us life everlasting with God. This didn’t really seem to be addressed in the movie. Instead, the arguments for salvation was that it makes live better and that if you are unsaved you need to be saved (okay yes, that is technically a reason, but really?). Overall I was really uncomfortable with how much the feel-good and prosperity gospel tone seemed to be present throughout the movie.

Two more short deals and then I’m done, promise 🙂 . The main character, Josh has been dating his girlfriend for 6 years (meaning they started when they were 12?!). She gave up going to a better school to be with him. They are a little too touchy for my taste, but I don’t think they’ve done anything. As soon as he decides to go up against his philosophy teacher and prove God exists, she tells him not too and basically threatens him with ending their relationship. Uhm, she’s supposedly a Christian, yet she doesn’t want him defending God? and she’s willing to sacrifice a better education but not her boyfriend debating God in a classroom? Not the best picture of a Godly young woman, that’s for sure, though I can understand the need to present some adversity for him.

The finale to the entire movie is this giant rock concert by the Newsboys which nearly all the characters attend. Now, I don’t want to make a blanket statement here, but a lot of Christian rock music has very little doctrine in it (not all, mind you, just most). I do on occasion listen to this music, but only as entertainment, not as a main part of my worship. A comment is made about this concert where people “are worshiping the Lord”. I’m not entirely sure that’s what was going on there, but the movements of the audience members and the lead singer were very similar to the movements of secular rock music, which are very often full of vulgarity and anti-God sentiments. At a glance, which do you think an unbeliever would assume the concert to be? (Romans 12:2)

Lots more I could say, but won’t since I guarantee I’ve definitely  stirred up the pot already here. Final thought is what was the whole purpose of the movie? Consider this passage of Scripture:

1 Corinthians 2

English Standard Version

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit,interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

~jojo

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Sola Gratia

“Grace Alone”

Grace is a topic I’ve been meditating on the past few weeks. It is one of the most important factors in our Christian lives and it such an amazing concept! It is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings, or simply, being given something we don’t deserve. That something is salvation through Christ. We are all sinners and because of our sin there is no way we could ever be with a holy God unless a sacrifice is made. Miraculously, He choose to come to Earth in the form of a man to take on our sins and the punishment of death on the cross. One of the most well-known verses in the Bible illustrates this:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

Even then, our sin nature prevents us from seeking Him. 

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”   Romans 3:10-11

Yet in His mercy and grace He seeks us and draws us to Him. Isn’t that amazing?! But His grace doesn’t not stop there; as we go through life, He is there giving us grace to come through trials and glorify Him. In fact, we can’t even do anything without Him!

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:5

“And he said unto me, My graceis sufficient for thee: for my strength ismade perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”                       2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I think my favorite part about grace (and mercy) is no matter how many times we mess up, we cannot lose this Salvation that has been so freely given to us. We never deserved it in the first place! Hebrews 6:4-6 tells us it is impossible for “those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” or have received our Salvation in Christ to fall away from that Salvation!

For the past few weeks the Sunday School class I’m in has started studying the book of Galatians. As Paul is writing this, he starts off dealing with some problems the  churches he’d planted were having. After he’d plant the churches others would come in and they’d basically tell the people “okay you’re saved now, but to keep your salvation, you need to follow all the laws of the Old Testament.” Okay, so I guess they’d call it the Book of the Law or the Torah, but you know what I mean. Paul addresses this in some of the first few verses.

” I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”  Galatians 1:6-9

By the way, he wasn’t saying the Gospel he was preaching was true because, but because it was received from God.

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”   Galatians 1:11-12

Anyways, let’s go back to the “grace of Christ” and the gospel in verses 6 and 7. By teaching that it wasn’t grace that brought salvation, the false teachers were perverting the gospel of Christ and were in a sense preaching another gospel, though it wasn’t gospel, but a false religion. Remember, Ephesians tells we are saved only by grace, not works.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”   Ephesians 2:8-9

Okay, so this post has gotten rather long. I spent all this time in Galatians to show that not only is grace an amazing thing, but an important to our faith as well. I’d like to wrap this post up with a recording one of my favorite hymns about grace but I couldn’t find one so I’ll put the lyrics at the end. Sorry for the length, but I hope taking some time to meditate on God’s grace was as much a blessing for you to read as it was for me to write. 🙂

~jojo

Grace! ‘Tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear,
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.

‘Twas grace that wrote my name
In life’s eternal book;
‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.

Saved by grace alone!
This is all my plea;
Jesus died for all mankind,
And Jesus died for me.

Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road,
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing up to God.

Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made mine eyes o’erflow;
‘Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.

Oh, let Thy grace inspire
My soul with grace divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.

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New Legalism?

Growing up in church I’ve heard the term legalism thrown around a bit. It is an excessive adherence to a law, that is, dependence on morals and laws rather than personal faith. In the Bible we see this in the lives of the Pharisees (and scribes and Sadducees and so on) pretty much whenever they encountered Jesus. Even though they were face to face with the Messiah, they refused to believe and instead spent their time making sure everyone knew they were following all the laws and loved to point out those who weren’t.

Though many can look and see this example and easily point out the problem of legalism, there are still loads of people in the church who struggle with this, myself included. And not just the ones who are extremely religious with no relationship but the ones at the other extreme as well. This is why I feel it’s one of those difficult subjects. I’ve heard and read people who condemn others who take the legalistic route and emphasize relationship over religion. This is good and all, but I have also see these same people live their lives in obvious sin, using the excuse that it’s their relationship that counts, not how religious they are. This attitude is addressed by Paul in Romans 6:1-3.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

Yes it is our relationship with Christ, our faith, that is the deciding factor in our Salvation, but that faith causes a change in us so that we no longer want to continue living in sin!

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17

Okay, so there’s my views (sort of, I could go a lot longer) on legalism. Now I can talk about what brought me to writing this post. I recently read an article that got me thinking even more about something I’d been ruminating (love that word!) on the past year or so. The article is titled The ‘New Legalsim’  and it talks about how the push to be radical Christians by becoming missionaries and such has actually driven away many people who are meant to be ordinary Christians, living ordinary lives for the extraordinary glory of God. Here are some of my favorite insights from the article:

“Being a ‘radical,’ ‘missional’ Christian is slowly becoming the ‘new legalism.’ We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40).”

“I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special.”

“What if youth and young adults were simply encouraged live in pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, education, wonder, beauty, glory, creativity, and worship in a world marred by sin, as Abraham Kuyper encourages in the book Wisdom and Wonder. No shame, no pressure to be awesome, no expectations of fame but simply following the call to be men and women of virtue and inviting their friends and neighbors to do the same in every area of life.”

So, it seems that everywhere we turn, we see churches preaching that you must have a ministry and that ministry is to be a part of the ministry of the church. Again, not that this is bad, but in extreme cases, it can be. All through high school, there were always several chapels during the year that encouraged us to commit our lives to the Lord again for the ministry. Almost every time, about half of the students made some commitment, whether to become a pastor or a missionary or a pastor’s wife… you get the point. And pretty much every time, these verses were used:

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15

I used to think how cool it would be to marry a pastor or become a missionary in a foreign country. Yet, somehow, I didn’t think that that was God was calling me. But how could God not want me to do all those things? I forgot the other passages that said that some people are not called to the ministry of ministry.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” Ephesians 4:11

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

This next passage is my favorite in particular. It talks about the body of Christ and how each member has his or her own part to play. Not everyone can do the same thing, otherwise, the body cannot function. Here’s a practical example: If all believers were either pastors or missionaries, where would their support come from? Surely unbelievers would have no reason to give to a church or missionary they have never met. No, this is why not all are called to teach. Yet, we do not teach children and young people to grow up and find good jobs and give to support the church. Instead, we seem to focus more and more on raising more pastors and missionaries and pastors wives. We need to realize there should be a balance in the church. I encourage you to read this passage, though it is a long and familiar one, as well as the article I mentioned earlier. Comment below to let me know your opinions on the subject and if I can improve this post.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-31

~jojo

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Thoughts on Love

I am constantly amazed by how often something I’ve read in devotions one day and been convicted by turns up in other places. The video I put in here later on is one I came across today and the subject it’s under was one that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days

In my Sunday School class we are going through the book Biblical Leadership by Matt Williams and Ken Collier. The chapter we went over this week dealt with the love we must have as Christians so naturally, the main passage was 1 Corinthians 13. I like to read ahead for the coming Sunday so I was reading this chapter last week. I don’t know about you, but this is one of those passages that I usually approach with the attitude of “Oh, I’ve read this before.” You’d think I’d learn by now! I was really hit by a few of the verses as well as the commentary Ken Collier had on them.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love envieth not.

“I cannot be envious of someone, because his success cannot work against my success in God’s plan.” If someone else is living a successful life in God’s will, why should that make me upset?

Love vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up.

“A person who loves God will not be impressed with himself.” This can be a big one for me. I tend to look at all the “good” I’ve done and think that I’m a good person or at least a better Christian than someone else. The truth is, I can’t do anything without God, and all that I can even attempt is filthy compared to God (John 15:5; Isaiah 64:6)

Love thinketh no evil.

“I am not allowed to attempt to read someone’s motive’s. To do so is unloving. I cannot know for a certainty why he says what he says, nor why he does what he does.”  Only God knows what is going on in a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7). This was the biggest one for me. I tend to judge people’s actions and manners without anyone knowing. I just sit there and think of all the bad things they’re probably doing and that is very wrong of me. If I judge others, I am in more danger to be judged myself and that can bring about many more problems (Matthew 7: 1-5).

Love rejoices in truth.

“True love loves what God loves as well as hates what God hates.” I don’t think I have much to add to this one. Showing love to someone involves caring about them as a person. Therefore, because the things that God hates are sinful and will lead to painful consequences (Romans 6:23), we cannot allow those we love to follow that path. We must in love pray for them and perhaps even approach them when we fear they are sinning.

Love bears all things.

“Love covers all it can rigteously cover. It doesn’t ignore sin; it simply refers it back to the ones who can solve the problem . . . While a sin problem is being handled, I must love the person by covering hime, protecting him from ridicule, exposure, and harm as much as I possibly can.” Often we like to spread bad news by gossiping about it. Christians like to hide this by using “prayer requests” that have all the juicy details of the scandel. While I think it is okay to ask others to be praying for a fellow believer, others do not have to know all the details in order for them to pray for the situation. Telling people who are not part of the problem or solution to the problem is useless and often blows a small offense way out of proportion.

Love believeth all things.

“Love does not rush to judgement of others without evidence.” This applies to several of the previous statements as well. Another danger here is that a person who has done no wrong may have their testimony ruined by someone who began spreading rumors about them. This is damaging because the person may lose credibility when sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever. Even if the rumor has no basis to be founded on, it can be very difficult to convince people otherwise (Job 27:4).

Love hopeth all things.

“I must persevere in my love for someone, always hoping, never giving up!” No matter how difficult it may be, we must love others. It is a command and though we may fail at times, we know that Christ can give us the strength to succeed (Matthew 22:35-40; Philipians 4:13; Hebrews 6:19)

I hope this was an encouraging post for you, as it has been for me. Have a lovely day!

~jojo

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah, Thanksgiving. The day that so many Americans pause to reflect on what they are thankful for. Many families have a tradition of going around the table and everyone gives one thing they are thankful for. The answers may vary but usually they are something like a house, friends, family, heating, or the food their about to eat. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s good of us to be thankful for these things, but as believers we have so much more to be thankful for and not just one day out of the year either.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13: 5 gives us two good reminders. One is to be content with what we have and not covet (be jealous, want) what others have. The other is in the end of the verse: “for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This is what gives us as believers reason to be content! Because God is always with us and will always provide for our needs, we can be thankful at all times in all circumstances. This can be very difficult, especially when our expectations are not met or say we arrive at a store for a special sale and they’ve sold out (ahem, Black Friday). But we need to have the attitude of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13:

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

I encourage you to recognize things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving, but also to continue finding one or two things each and every day. I started doing this last year and it put a lot of things in perspective for me. I thing I even wrote a short post back in January about my experience with it (Thankfulness).

Well I guess that’s it for today. It’s good to be back! 🙂

Count Your Many Blessings free printable at { lilluna.com }

~jojo

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You Are What You Think!

Last Sunday the pastor of my church had a really great point in his message on Philippians 4:8-9. He said, “You are what you think.”

It’s such a simple phrase, but it is so true!

You can think negative or sinful things and soon they will overcome you.

You can dwell on positive, God-honoring things, and I guarantee your mood will improve no matter the circumstances surrounding you!

This message prompted me to look up some Bible verses about what we think. Here are some:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

“For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Proverbs 23:7a

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ” 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

I started this post a week ago and it’s just now getting posted. And it’s really short, but it’s easier to meditate on that way I guess. Oh well. Anyways, good thing I waited, cos now I can add a link to Christy’s blog post on the same subject from yesterday. Ha!

~jojo

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God is Good – Even on Mondays!!

Ah Monday. Sometimes they just sneak up on ya, ya know?

Today has definitely been one of my worst Mondays. I only have two days of school this week but for some reason they decided to be difficult. I overslept two hours due to my phone dying in the middle of the night leaving me with no alarm. Then my watch started doing crazy things and now it’s off an hour (did I miss daylight savings time?). And to top it off, I spilled my hot cocoa all over myself. Twice.

And so today’s rough start has given me some difficulty in my ability to praise God. I just want to grumble about everything bad that’s happened so far and not even bother with devotions. But I did them and I’ll probably do some more this evening. When I feel the most rotten is when I need to pause and thank God for His awesome grace to me and adore His power. So I thought I’d share some of my devotional thought with you all today.

Praise:

God is our Refuge and Strength.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”  Psalm 46

God is All-Knowing.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

Thanksgiving:

For livestreamed church services so even though I am away from home I can participate in my churches service.

Being able to go to college.

Friends that are just a phone call or message away.

Freely being able to read the Bible

My upcoming vacation with my family.

Good health.

Provision for all my needs and more.

Hope of what God has for me in my future.

~jojo

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Atheists Hear the Gospel

Taken from LivingWaters.com

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