Sunday, November 27, 2016

Give Thanks. Prayer, With Thanksgiving. Sacrifices of Thanksgiving. Update.

 

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Thanksgiving Day is over, but we should still give thanks….

--------

In Everything Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

In everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18).“This week on the Daily Bible Verse Blog we have been looking at the importance of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a hallmark of a true Christian. Almost anyone can be thankful when everything is going well, but Christians are to be growing in an attitude of thanksgiving in every situation.

This takes a spiritual perspective—the ability to see things more as God sees them. Though not everything that happens is something to be thankful for, a Christian is learning to see beyond the present suffering and to thank God for His eternal goodness and the end result of His great purpose and plan. This allows us to give thanks in everything.

When we truly believe that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28) and that “the testing of [our] faith produces patience” that makes us “perfect and complete,” we can “count it all joy” (James 1:2-4) and give thanks even when we face various trials.

“An Old Testament example of this was when Job lost his money, his children and his health. He blessed the name of God in spite of his personal tragedies, not because of them. Nothing speaks more powerfully of a walk with God than continuous thankfulness” (The NKJV Study Bible, note on 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Why is it God’s will that we give thanks? Because it helps us to become more like God and helps us develop His perspective and His character. Ingratitude and covetousness are the antithesis of God’s nature. Thankfulness grows out of a godly mind-set.

For more about the meaning of life that helps give us God’s perspective, see our article on the “Purpose of Life.” 

________

Continue Earnestly in Prayer … With Thanksgiving

Colossians 4:2

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. …

The apostle Paul strongly connects prayer with thanksgiving in several other memorable passages:

  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
  • “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  • “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

For more about prayer and thankfulness, see “How to Pray” and “In Everything Give Thanks.”

________

The Sacrifices of Thanksgiving

Psalm 107:22

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.

Leviticus 7 describes a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” that involved offering grain and an animal sacrifice (Leviticus 7:12). This offering was not for sin, but for rejoicing and showing thankfulness to God.

We know from the book of Hebrews that the system of animal sacrifices has been superseded, yet Hebrews still talks about a “sacrifice of praise to God.” This is defined as “the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

Praising God, doing good and sharing are sacrifices that continue to please our Creator today.

For more about thanksgiving, see “In Everything Give Thanks.” (above)

_______

Unthankful to Our Creator

Romans 1:21

Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

In the early chapters of Romans, Paul shows the sinfulness of all men, gentiles and Jews. This verse follows the powerful statement that “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (verse 20). God’s creation itself is proof that God exists, so even those without any biblical background are without excuse.

But the gentiles of Paul’s day put God out of their minds and didn’t give Him glory or show Him thanks. Many people today follow this same poor example. Ingratitude is a hallmark of human nature and especially of this end-time perilous age (as Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 3:2).

Psalm 100, “a Psalm of Thanksgiving,” provides the cure for this common ailment. “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. … Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:3-4).

For more about gratitude, see “In Everything Give Thanks.” See above.

________

Dear Friends,
The U.S. holiday is still officially called Thanksgiving, but why do I see so much more about touchdowns, turkey and Black Friday sales than about the reasons we have to be thankful to the great Giver—our Creator?
This week’s featured article, “Unthankfulness: A Sign of Perilous Times,” seeks to look at gratitude and ingratitude from God’s point of view. Why does He warn that unthankfulness will mark a society on the brink of extinction?
Here’s part of the answer:
“Being unthankful belies an underlying rejection of God. If we don’t recognize what He has done for us, we put something else in His place. Not only does this demonstrate that we are disconnected from reality, but it generally means we are making a god out of ourselves.”

________

Thankful for God’s Goodness and Mercy

by Mike Bennett

1 Chronicles 16:34

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

On the joyous day that David brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he “delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:7). This theme of thankfulness for God’s goodness and mercy is found throughout the Psalms (see Psalms 106:1 and 107:1, for example).

Psalm 107 goes on to give examples of how God displays His mercy to sinners who cry out to Him: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:13-15).

For more about God’s mercy, see “Mercy and Grace: Are They the Same?

_______

OK?  You got the idea…give thanks continually!

Update:

The plumbing in the little guest house has come to a standstill as more parts are needed for both the drains and the water.  But we got a mound of pine needles raked and burned.

I have to publish this in pieces as my monitor keeps on going out, and I lose everything that I have written if it isn’t saved.   I still have to restart everything to make the monitor come back on.    I tried a different monitor and it did the same thing, so I can only assume that there is something wrong with the hole (port) where the monitor plugs in.  I will have to change over to my old computer which has Windows XP, and so Open Live Writer won’t work on it, so rushing to get this done.

The lamb stew that I made for the potluck was enjoyed and a little casserole that was made with shredded English cucumbers, dressing and cheese.  One of the elders usually brings an enormous crockpot of meat, chicken or salmon loaf, but he assumed that our main meat dish would be the turkey from the week before which I had taken home to slice and freeze and make bone broth with the carcass.  The pastor’s wife and I had already discussed this and figured that everyone would be sick of turkey by then, and so it was kept frozen.  So now he wants us to have it next Sabbath potluck.

Surprise! Surprise! Jay, my neighbor’s son and previous helper, went to church with me, he was mostly sober, but was in a rowdy mood and did a bit of interrupting in the church and the dining hall.  He is going to have to go to jail for a while for something he did a few years ago, so he thought that going to church might help him.  This maybe the chance he needs .... to quit drinking and start to have an enjoyable life.

The Bible readings were Gen. 23:1-25:18, 1 Kings 1:1-31 and Heb. 11:11, these are mostly about Isaac.  The Teaching, which I didn’t hear much of it was “Glorify God”.  I was in the dining hall tending to my crockpots but someone kept on talking, so I couldn’t hear it.  I finally went back into the church and managed to hear the end of it.  I was glad to get Jay dropped off and have some peace and quiet.

It was cooler, not raining, and I am still this side of the grass so it was a lovely day.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving - What Is Your Focus? Thanksgiving Song. Update.

 

imageFor Thanksgiving Day 2016 

image 

Happy Thanksgiving to y’all.

http://ucg.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1d04480cefc2e7c4492fe4a04&id=450ca8b05b&e=72c729d811

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Day More Than Just Being Thankful

Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday every November. Perhaps this is the appropriate season to wonder if there is a difference between being thankful and giving thanks.

Why Give Thanks on Thanksgiving Day?

http://ucg.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1d04480cefc2e7c4492fe4a04&id=c2a68d9a01&e=72c729d811

In a modern world filled with fast cars, fast money, fast foods and more—all lavished so liberally on the self—why consider a national occasion to pause and give thanks? Is it really that important? If it is, whom should we thank—and for what?

_______

Thanksgiving - What Is Your Focus?

Where should our focus be during Thanksgiving?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xPEu3ypBvk

Transcript

“It’s one of my favorite times of year – the American Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of every year in November is the American Thanksgiving, when people travel by planes, trains, automobiles, and gather with family and friends for food, football, and hopefully to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving 2016 is a very interesting year as we find ourselves at the end of a very long and protracted and divisive election season. We have a new president-elect and the reminder that America has much to be thankful for, but also America has many, many divisions. In an earlier Beyond Today Daily we talked a little bit about that, and I pointed you and all of our viewers to prayer for the new president, for the nation, and I come back to that as we think about Thanksgiving 2016, where we are, what needs to be done.

I pulled out the Thanksgiving proclamation made in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Every president every year makes a Thanksgiving proclamation, from the time of George Washington. But the one that was given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in the midst of the American Civil War brought out a very interesting point that I think helps us to be pointed back to the Bible and to Bible prophecy and the historic and prophetic role that the United States and all English-speaking peoples have in our modern world.

As Lincoln talked about the times in which they lived and the position America found itself in, he said, “No human council has devised, nor has any mortal hand worked out these great things,” speaking of America’s abundance and national greatness. “They are,” he said, “the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins” – the sins he was specifically talking about then was the sin of slavery, which was part of what embroiled the states in the Civil War. He said, “God nevertheless has remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”  Words true then, words true now – that we should acknowledge God’s gracious, benevolent hand upon America and upon many other nations in this world at a particularly acute moment in world history and American history.

There’s a scripture in 2 Chronicles chapter 7 that has been on my mind of late, where Solomon gave a prayer at the dedication of the temple that God allowed him to build in Jerusalem. And as an answer to that prayer, asking God’s grace and benevolence upon Israel, God appeared to Solomon and He said that when problems would arise, and difficulties and challenges for the nation – much like what we see right now with America being divided economically, politically, culturally, and having deep, deep problems right now – He said if people will acknowledge who He is, He said to Solomon something unique. In verse 14, 2 Chronicles chapter 6 – 7  He said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”     If.    The big question mark. “If My people will humble and pray and acknowledge their sins, I will hear.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Will that happen? Well, we could talk about the likelihood of that for a long, long period of time. But I know this, that if you pray, if I pray, then at least we can orient ourselves in an aspect of humility toward God that allows us to be thankful, and there are many things for us to be praying for at this time. Certainly be praying that God would grant the ability for the gospel to be freely preached, that  religious freedom is guaranteed in this land, to be preserved and protected. And pray that there would be a repentance. And pray that God will call those and maybe even you to understand His great purpose and plan for mankind.

And so above all on this Thanksgiving 2016, be thankful. Think about humility and pray to God and humble ourselves in a unique period of time to acknowledge God and all of His blessings. We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving here from Beyond Today.”

________

Thanksgiving Song

Can you think of any Thanksgiving songs? In the pages of the Bible is a Song of Thanksgiving that we can sing everyday.

image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXUIja9oECg

Transcript

“Seems like there’s all kinds of songs that we associate with the holidays – some of them aren’t so good. But I got to thinking about that in relationship to Thanksgiving. Do you know any really cool Thanksgiving songs?

I had a hard time thinking of any. But the Bible points to probably the kind of song and the kind of thanksgiving that we should always have.

There’s a wonderful song, it’s in the Psalms, which are songs. In fact, it has the title, “A Song of Thanksgiving”. See if you recognize it. Here’s the lyrics. “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!” In other words, the whole earth is supposed to sing praises to God. It says, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” What a great reminder as we begin the lyrics of this song to show who is most important in our life – our relationship with God and all that He does. And because of that, the song goes on – verse 4. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalms 100:1-5).

It frames the issue that this isn’t something we should just think about for one Thursday at the end of November. That shouldn’t be the way that it is. We shouldn’t just hurry on into Black Friday and forget the whole Thanksgiving thing. It shouldn’t be like that, not if we claim to be God’s people. This tells us pretty clearly – this is an ongoing thing. It says, “For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

So let’s have this frame of mind, not just for a day or two at the end of November, but let this be something that is on our mind constantly – that we’re continually coming into His presence, worshipping Him, praising Him, honoring Him, having a thought of really singing and praising and honoring God and being truly thankful for much more than just one day in November.”

________

Update:

Surprisingly, one day it started out below freezing, so we stayed inside the guest house putting up regular batt insulation, foamboard insulation, and the original paneling.  Now why would I put the old painted paneling back up?  Because sheetrock is so labor intensive to install, and have you seen REAL wood paneling lately.  It is priced like gold.  All you can find at the box stores is that MDF, almost cardboard stuff.  That just swells, bows, goes moldy, and is horrible.  So to have some real wood paneling is going to be a rare sight, even though it will all be repainted a soft, discreet yellow, only because I acquired free, a 5 gallon bucket of it!  We have already painted the ceiling white.  Though the new kitchen and bathroom are sheetocked, only because they have been made out of the old bedroom which was sheetrocked before all the damge was done.

My helper has been under the guest house for the last few mornings, and I have been the “go-fer”.   We had left some of the new plywood floor unscrewed so that we could pick it up to get under the house to install the new drains.  Also, the cedar skirting was removed so that he could squiggle on his back under the house.  Now, to hand him anything, I have to step down into the hole where the plywood has been taken up, and try to push whatever it is to him.  We arrived at a system where I would throw an old drop light to him, and tie whatever to the cord, sometimes in a grocery bag.  Now all that getting up and down, and climbing in and out of that hole is pretty tiring, working the old leg muscles, and made me pretty tired.  After all, I am nearly 82, though I don’t feel it.  So now we have a lot of the water system done and most of the sewer, but still quite a bit more to go to finish it.  We are leaving some of the plumbing of little 3/4 bath off the utility room till later, as it will tie in to a different part of the sewer system.  Just getting the guest house functional is the main objective.

As Petco is closed today, my two little foster kittens who are on view for adoption at our SPCA habitat there, have come back here until Friday.  We were pleased to see each other, and there is a lot of purring going on.  So I am not alone today.   All my family live a long way away, but I had a really good Thanksgiving Dinner and fellowship with my friends at church on the Sabbath.  

Needless to say, Psalm 100 was read along with Psa. 121, 122, 123 and 125.  Then our usuaul Bible readings were Gen, 18-22:24, 2 Kings 4:1-37 and Romans 4:1-25.  The Message or Teaching was about being grateful. 

The potluck was great and we had so much left over.  I made shredded sweet potato casserole, and Yorkshire Puddings made in a muffin pan, and there were lots of contributions of many dishes and desserts.  Three dishes of potato salad.  I was able to bring some home for my less fortunate neighbors.  The pastor’s wife made a green bean casserole and it tasted better than any I have ever had.

Then they had me bring home the remains of the great big organic turkey and take care of it.  I sliced off the breast meat, and froze it, sliced off the dark meat and froze it, and then made bone broth with the carcass and froze it. We knew that everyone would be sick of turkey by this weekend's potluck, so we will all enjoy it at a later date.  For another potluck, I will cook quinoa, or potatoes or lentils or something in the bone broth, so everyone gets the healthy benefits of it.

I hope that you are well and having a good day for Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

After the U.S. Election, Then What? What Will the Next President Face? What’s Beyond America’s Historic Election. Update.

 

For Scripture Sunday”:image

So Mr. Trump is President Elect.

After the U.S. Election, Then What?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

“We brace ourselves for the coming weeks, months and years as the results of the most divisive presidential election in living memory will come to bear on all the issues facing the country and the world. What can we do to face those challenges?

A man looking down while standing in a field. The sun is setting in the distance.Karl Fredrickson/Unsplash

After the U.S. elections what matters most is what you personally do.

Fatigue runs deep in the 2016 presidential election campaign. And not just in the United States. The level of discontent—ranging from mild to extreme—over either candidate (or parties) has pushed the limits of decency and discontent beyond bearing.

That level of dissatisfaction casts an ominous shadow over the huge global issues swelling up in nearly every aspect of life on earth. The U.S. President-elect will face an assault from many sectors—from a dangerously aggressive Russia, to anxious instability on every inhabited continent, to a sputtering global economy.

Bankers wake up in the middle of the night worrying about the decaying financial culture and lagging performance that grip institutions in Italy, Germany and around the world. And everyone knows that with economic unrest, political unrest—even to the point of boiling turmoil—cannot be far behind.

What does matter is your direct relationship with God and how you act on that relationship in becoming a changed person. Start today.

What hope is there for us?

First, there are reasons why all of this is happening, but there are pathways that we can positively pursue, both collectively and individually, regardless of who is elected to lead.

Shortly before the presidential election, legendary Democratic pollster Peter Hart went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to sample the attitude of Americans. Hart asked a series of questions, asking those present to raise their hand if it described them.

He first asked how many liked both presidential candidates. Nobody raised their hand. Then he asked whether those present liked one of the candidates. Nobody raised their hand. Finally, he asked for those present to raise their hand if they didn’t like either candidate.    Every hand went up.

The conclusion? People want leaders who they can trust and believe in, but they’re not getting them. These same people were asked to describe the America they want. They wrote phrases like nurturing “a culture that improves us as a people,” and most importantly “leading the world in everything, including morals .”

America’s moral compass is malfunctioning and nearly broken. Morals internally govern how we act, both individually and collectively. Morality is the behavioral GPS that drives our individual consciences.

To some it may come as a great surprise to learn that the main cause of our troubles today is spiritual in nature. Sound spiritual principles form the solid foundation upon which morals and subsequent human behavior can be built. Ever hear the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them to do to you”? That’s become known as the “Golden Rule” for a reason.

It was said by none other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In Matthew 7:12 He stressed: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, emphasis added throughout). Basically the entire Old Testament of the Bible is summed up in that statement!

James, the brother of Jesus, provides this critical detail for us: “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? … You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it … you fight and wage war …  you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong” (James 4:1-3, New Living Translation).

Does that sound like what the world is in the midst of?

So what’s the solution? The apostle Paul makes it clear for us: “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” (Romans 12:2, NLT). That represents the starting point for all of us!

Want to change the world? First, surrender your will to God and ask Him to change you. As you become more like God and learn how God thinks, you will change. That positive change will be noticed. Eventually, as God works with you, you will become a light, a spiritual beacon. And people will notice.

Don’t curse the darkness that is all around us. Light a candle. Look for that marvelous light that is the very light of this world, the light that comes from Jesus Christ (John 8:12).

This world, its ways and people are corrupt. But Jesus Christ did not pray to His Father that we would be taken out of the world (John 17:15); He prayed that we would be a strong spiritual light to the world, where our good deeds can appropriately be seen in contrast to this world (Matthew 14:16).

So after the U.S. elections what matters most is what you personally do.

Do you want to make difference? I urgently invite you to request and dig into one of our most popular Bible study guides: Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion,  which can be read online as well.

It doesn’t matter to God what political party you belong to. What does matter is your direct relationship with God and how you act on that relationship in becoming a changed person. Start today. Don’t wait for any election, now or in the future.  The time is now! The time is now to wake up and change.”

From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/after-the-us-election-then-what

_______

What Will the Next President Face?

Estimated reading time: 19 minutes

“In the days of biblical Israel, advisers counseled the king on how to lead the nation based on the Word of God. Samuel guided Saul. Nathan counseled David. Isaiah revealed God's will to Hezekiah. These men of God represented the word of God to the king. What might a servant of God say today if he entered the Oval Office with an analysis of the world and America for the president?

The White House a night time.Photos.com

Because of our growing moral corruption, God’s protective presence and blessing will be removed from the land we so dearly love.

It is the first full working day for the new president of the United States. What might he hear if a servant of God gave recommendations from the Bible of how God would expect the president to govern? Let’s imagine.

Good morning, Mr. President. Let me congratulate you on your new responsibilities, and may I offer wishes for your success as you take the helm of the world’s most powerful nation. Your inaugural speech made clear your intent to maintain that position for the nation while at the same time seeking to reach out to both friend and foe to forge a bond of respect and cooperation.

You are coming into office at perhaps the most critical time in America’s existence. The financial crisis of recent months is the most severe in this generation. America’s relative position in the world faces the greatest challenge since the end of World War II. Iran’s nuclear program could soon destabilize the entire Middle East. Many wonder what your administration will do to counter this threat.

God removes rulers and raises up rulers. No world leader holds office without His consent.

Other world problems demand your attention and leadership. The security and prosperity of this nation and the maintenance of the current world order are at stake. Many voices are offering advice on the way forward. Here is an analysis and counsel from God’s Word. The choice is yours as to which way you, and the nation, will go.” 

More at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/what-will-the-next-president-face

________

What’s Beyond America’s Historic Election

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

How can we understand God's role in the affairs of the United States in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump?

A small United States flag in the grass with the sun setting in the horizon.Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Great things are in store for you. The time is now to find out what they are.

The come-from-behind, surprise upset victory of now-President-elect Donald Trump shocked billions of people. He won the electoral yet closely lost the popular vote. Embarrassed pollsters, some who derided the President-elect completely, failed to gauge the level of discontent apparent in the American electorate.

Following the unexpected victory, a heady mix of shocked reaction and defiant jubilation engulfed much of America and the world, with many expressing deep concern about potential instability and upheaval.

God has a purpose for humanity, a purpose for current events, and He will accomplish that purposethrough the leadership that He allows.

In the early morning hours following Trump’s victory speech, violence broke out in California and elsewhere on the West Coast as protestors decried the results. Prior to the election, several commentators warned of divisiveness in the election’s aftermath. The Economist magazine warned in October that Hillary Clinton was “deeply reviled” by many potential voters. Other research showed that neither major candidate was preferred and many thought that voting for one or the other was more a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils. Trump himself was openly regarded by many in the media as boorish and unfit to be the U.S. President.

But was this election outcome the result of “the will of the people?”

More at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/whats-beyond-americas-historic-election

________

We have mostly been working on the plumbing for the guest house.  Ran out of parts for the water, and now have run out of parts for the sewer, so a trip into Conroe is needed.

On the Sabbath, we had a great service and then a tasty potluck of two kinds of meatloaf, one made with organic ground beef, and the other a “meatless” meatloaf made with lentils, veggies and walnuts.  I took a crockpot of organic ground turkey with organic macaroni and veggies. Lots of different veggies and desserts.   One was a pumpkin pie made by Laura who is learning to cook!

The Bible readings were Gen. 12:1-17:27, Isa. 40:27-41:16 and Heb. 7:1-10.  The teaching was Bible verses which show that the Messiah was appointed a High Priest.

The weather is definitely cooler than it has been, and it was a great day.