Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving

Can we be thankful to God and bless his name when our life has been turned upside down by unforeseen circumstances? Yes, we can because we know that all things will work together for good to those that love God states Romans 8:28. The apostle Paul learned that whatever state he was in, to be content [see Philippians 4:11]. Paul said this after a long discourse of whatsoever things . . .

 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

We are to think on these things. The things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and things that are of a good report. Do you have a good report to share with someone? Is the Spirit drawing you to enter His gates with Thanksgiving? November 25th is Thanksgiving Day, and many are getting ready for “Turkey Day,” and it comes at a high price this year anywhere from 30 to 50 dollars for a 10-pound Turkey depending on if it is organic or not. I heard my son say that he wondered if He was going to get a free bird this year. Some companies do give their employees free birds, but maybe not this year. Some people are just giving up on the cost of Turkey since there has been a supply chain issue. It is interesting to note along with the Turkey issue is also the gas price and the Christmas Tree supply chain issue here in America. The mad dash to the grocery store has become anything but enjoyable these days with road rage just getting to the store. I’m not kidding about this, for it is happening in nearby cities where we shop. That is one reason why our family changed to Chicken and even Pot Roast for Thanksgiving dinner in the last couple of years instead of Turkey. We are still thankful even if we do not have Turkey for Thanksgiving.

We may forget that the Indians and the early Plymouth colonies were thankful to God for a wonderful harvest. In 1863 it was declared a national holiday by President Lincoln. Harvest time was always a time to be thankful for what food the fields brought in. Some of us grow our own vegetables in our gardens and we are thankful for what we harvested this year. With thanksgiving in our hearts, we give thanks for what we have at our table. The word Thanksgiving in Hebrew is “Chag ha•ho•da•ya,” which takes on the meaning of Holiday and glory, splendor, or majesty to God. Interesting note on the Hebrew word ” Hó•du,” which means the turkey bird. I wonder if that is how the turkey entered the picture for Thanksgiving. We can find this all amusing as we sit at the table and feast this Thanksgiving and know that the Lord is good, and His mercy is everlasting no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Our family knows what it is like not to have money to buy a Turkey, and it was the kindness of other Christians who came at the door leaving us several bags of goodies on Thanksgiving Day.

God always supplied our need and we have never gone without food, and that is something to be thankful for, besides all the other blessings that we have received throughout the year. We may see that things are a little crazy out in our world today, but we can be thankful for what we do have at our table this year. We have each other to thank also for making this year more bearable since Covid-19 came upon us. As we praise God and serve Him, we can serve each other this Thanksgiving with joy in our heart, for “this is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it,” Psalms 118:24. Oh! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Lift your head and rejoice this Thanksgiving for what God has done for you personally. He has given you this day to rejoice and every day to rejoice and be thankful, for you are alive in the Lord and He has not forgotten you. You have a purpose in this life and God will reveal what that purpose is.  He will direct our paths as we acknowledge him [see Proverbs 3:6]. We have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things [see Ephesians 1:11].

I pray that you are being lifted as you read this devotional, for my heart is being lifted as I write this. Oh Lord! Thank you for this day and bless those who need their hearts lifted on this day. Thank you for giving us this day to enjoy each other in our family as we sit at the table of thanksgiving. Let us rejoice and be glad for all that you have given us. Let us share that joy with others so they can be thankful too. . .let us enter His gates everyday with thanksgiving . . . in Jesus Name, Amen.

This is my last post for this year; however, I will be back after the New Year. This is a time to reflect, pray, and be with those you love.  Use your time wisely and engage with those around you with love and kindness.  Be a blessing and you will be blessed.  I will continue to pray for you and please do pray for me.  May we all stay healthy and blessed in Jesus Name.  Take time to read the bible and any post you may have missed.  God bless you all in the name of Jesus.

The Mystery of the Fellowship

What exactly is “the fellowship of the mystery” in Ephesians 3:9?  The Bible states in verse 9 of chapter 3 in Ephesians that It was hidden in God in the beginning of the world, but now it has been made available through the body of Christ.

To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages hath been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:9

What exactly is “the fellowship of the mystery” in Ephesians 3:9?  The Bible states in verse 9 of chapter 3 in Ephesians that It was hidden in God in the beginning of the world, but now it has been made available through the body of Christ. This wonderful fellowship that every believer has is made possible through Christ Jesus. One need not to ever feel alone, since we have the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the key to the mystery of the fellowship, yet it is often overlooked in the body of Christ. After I got saved, a wonderful thing happened. I felt God’s Spirit residing within my heart, and I no longer had the great burden I was carrying as a young adult. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Through Christ, I found a real love that I desperately needed. I found that Christ was the real meaning for Christmas. I believed in God but did not know about His Son. I found that Christ was more than just a prophet as some have taught. I found that He is the foundation for the mystery of the fellowship.

All the Prophets and Apostles are founded in the mystery of the fellowship through Jesus Christ, yet we can be so distant from the true fellowship by denying the promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Let us consider the meaning of the word fellowship. Fellowship in English means companion, a unified body of people with a common interest, and goals. It also takes on the meaning of partnership and membership within a body. The Greek/Hebrew word is “koinōnia,” which means fellowship, association, communion, or joint participation according to the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. The two words often used in the New Testament is fellowship and communion. As a new Christian, I was excited to go to the youth group Koinonia up on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle Washington. To be a part of a fellowship of believers in Christ was special to me because of the joint participation of worshipping and learning more about our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

We should never get tired of knowing more about him. His love should always draw us into that fellowship of His Spirit. This mystery is the new relationship we have through Christ and with each other as members of the body of Christ. In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, it conveys something that is special regarding the Holy Spirit. The fact that there is an intimacy between man and God. Jesus exclaims in verse 20 of Chapter 14 in the Gospel of John, “at that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” We seem to overlook this oneness between the Father, the Son and us, but it carries a wonderful relationship that is very personal. It is love that carries us through from Jesus to the Father. To think about how the Father and Jesus will abide with us is amazing [see John 14:23]. This should not be overlooked. The Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit shall teach us all things [see John 14:26]. Nothing should separate us from having fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus said that he would pray to the Father for the Comforter to come and abide with us forever [see John 14:16]. Our fellowship is always linked to the Father through Jesus Christ.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:3

The Apostle John expressed this and stated that this was written that our joy may be full [see 1 John 1:4]. Let us have the joy of fellowship in holiness with the Lord. As Christians our fellowship is based upon what Jesus did on the cross. The Apostle John states that “if we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth,” [see 1 John 1:6]. However, “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” because the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all sin [see 1 John 1:7]. The basis of our fellowship is on repentance of our sins. It is the Holy Spirit that draws us towards Christ. Jesus said that the Spirit shall testify of me [John 15:26]. The Holy Spirit will always point to Christ, for we cannot come to the Father without the blood of Christ, for Christ is our sacrifice, and we were bought with a price.  This is the Spirit of Truth who will guide you into all truth, for he will never speak of himself [see John16:13-14]. If you have any other teaching then that of Jesus Christ, or a spirit that does not point to Christ, it is of another entity and that spirit is in darkness.

You cannot have fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ without the shed blood of Christ for the remission of our sins. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance to have a clear conscience in order to keep that fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul states it clearly that we are one body with many members. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” [1Corinthians 12:12-13]. We follow Christ Jesus, because He is our foundation. It is Christ that we place our faith in. The Holy Spirit is given for our edification. It is the revelation of truth for our present time and of our future. Christ gave us the Comforter so that we would never be alone in this world, for He has chosen us out of this world. We have this Spirit residing with us and guiding us into all truth. All we must do is ask in prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide us every day in our walk and to teach us through the Holy Bible the truth of the meaning of all mysteries that we may come across in the Bible.

Remember to walk in the light is to have fellowship with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. Ask, and you shall receive. . .take time to fellowship with the Lord through worship, prayers, and the reading of His word every day.

The song titled, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” expresses it well:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

The everlasting arms of Jesus and the blessed fellowship He gives us through the Holy Spirit should carry us through every day. If it does not carry you through than ask the father through prayer what is holding back the fellowship. Ask for His Spirit to reveal the truth to you. Have an open heart to listen and hear His word.

What Foundation do you Live Upon?

Is your foundation upon a rock or is it upon some other material? The word “foundation” is in the Bible 48 times, so it bears consideration into the meaning of what lies behind the word.

Is your foundation upon a rock or is it upon some other material? The word “foundation” is in the Bible 48 times, so it bears consideration into the meaning of what lies behind the word.

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like;

He is like a man who built an house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock and when a flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.

Luke 6: 47-48

In this scripture Jesus spoke these words right after the sermon of the “Beatitudes.” Let us take note that this was said after he said, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” [Luke 6:45]. We must always consider our heart, for out of our heart flows the issue of life. Taking that into consideration will help us to define where our foundation is laid upon. A good firm foundation on a house is of the utmost importance and everyone knows that in the city a skyscraper must have a good foundation. Have you ever seen the beginning of building a skyscraper? Tall structures need to have a low center of gravity to support the structure, so it must be dug deep until bedrock is found. This can be 85 meters deep. Bedrock is the key to a strong foundation.

When you think about the depth you must dig down to build a skyscraper.  You can understand the importance of what Jesus was saying in this scripture about the foundation.  If the foundation is laid upon a rock or bedrock, it will be able to withstand a flood. I have seen houses flow down a river of water after a big storm hit. It is like the great St. Patrick Day Flood in Pittsburgh in March of 1936. When the rain melted the snow, it carried down the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River a large amount of water and reached past the flood state of 46 feet.  It flooded the city, yet some buildings were left standing.  Read more about it at Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle. You might say why bring this story up? Because it drives the point home of having a firm foundation to withstand the storm. How about the classic bedtime story of the “Three Little Pigs?” Have you ever thought about its meaning? Jesus is concerned about the foundation you are living on. Is your foundation built upon the rock or is it build upon something else?

The word foundation means the act of laying, establishing, or setting a building with support. Jesus is saying that whoever listens to His words and does them is a wise person who build’s his house upon a rock. In other words, it is Jesus himself who is the rock, the firm foundation and the support is His words. The apostle Paul exclaims this in 1 Corinthians 3:11.

For other foundation, can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is our foundation, and we should take note of His words spoken in red in the Bible. When building a foundation, you must dig deep. This means you must dig deep into the meaning of the words of Christ in the Bible and ask Him to reveal its meaning. It is the Bible that is our moral compass for living every day and Jesus exclaims if we do them, we will be building a house upon a rock. We must dig deep and allow it to fill our hearts and change us so we can stand strong when the floods come. This is the Christian service that those who are called and saved are now fellow workers with God. We are God’s building being built up for good works [see 1 Corinthians 3:9]. It does not matter who is planting or watering in the garden that God has put us in charge of. What is important is who is the center of our foundation.  Our focus is on our foundation, and we must build upon that foundation only and not on anything else like gold, silver, wood, hay, or straw [see 1 Corinthians 3:12]. The foundation will be tested stated the Apostle Paul in verse 13 of 1 Corinthians chapter 3.

In fact, the whole chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians should be read in context to where our foundation is laid. We are not to deceive ourselves as thinking we are wiser than others.  We are not to give glory to men. We are to glorify God in giving us, a sure foundation in Jesus Christ. We are one body in Christ, and we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus. This means that you are created to do good works and not evil works. This means that God has a plan for your life in being fellow workers in building upon the Kingdom of God. Working in the place where God has placed you and where you will grow to see the wisdom of God. We are all growing to become a holy temple in the Lord for a habitation of God through the Spirit states Paul in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 21-22. You need not feel alone for you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God [see verse 19 of Ephesians 2:19]. And in the same chapter of Ephesians 2 verse 20 it states that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” I would say” hallelujah!” Is this not a blessing?

Yes, it is, for all things are yours, salvation, healing, eternal life, and much more. All things are possible through Christ Jesus, because he is the chief corner stone of a sure foundation. You can build upon Jesus Christ by digging deep into His foundation and allow him to build you up into a holy temple. Ask God to help you to become a holy temple today. Rely upon Him to give you the answers you seek. Make sure your foundation is built upon Christ only and not upon any other foundation that way you can have the full assurance of security.

Put on Mercy and Kindness

Mercy and kindness are seldom seen these days. It seems it takes too much effort in trying to show kindness.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

Colossians 3:12

Mercy and kindness are seldom seen these days. It seems it takes too much effort in trying to show kindness. That may be the reason why we now have World Kindness Day. Did you know that it is a Holiday? According to the inspirekindness.com web site it is a Holiday and there are over 28 countries that participate in observance of this day which is on November 13, 2021. Some consider this a joke, but it is no joke. I encourage you to visit the web site Inspire Kindness to read more about it. This web site states that this movement started in Tokyo, Japan in 1997. This organization encourages people to be kind to others by doing one act of kindness to benefit someone else. Sometimes a movement like this helps us to understand the how and the way of blessing others by being kind. World Kindness Day is just around the corner on November 13th, so I thought why not get a head start by thinking and pondering about it now.  Asking God for guidance in this area in showing you someone you can bless will change your life in ways you cannot imagine.

The bible exclaims that Christians should put on bowels of mercy and kindness. Putting on mercy, kindness, meekness and longsuffering is profitable because of God’s love toward us. Have we not experienced this ourselves when we realized that we needed deliverance from the evil one and from our own sins? We all needed to be rescued from ourselves also because of our own selfishness and the desire of doing evil rather than good. Putting on means to immerse our minds in awareness and who we are in Christ. If we allow the peace of God to rule our hearts, then mercy and kindness will be a part of our life because we have been delivered through the mercy of God. The Hebrew word for kindness is [Che•sed], and it takes on the meaning of grace, mercy, kindness, and charity. It is to have mercy within our own hearts and to refrain from hurting or distressing others. I pray that we have not become so busy with our own lives that we do not think twice about sharing with others or showing mercy. I pray that we do not have to begrudgingly do an act of kindness.

Have you ever asked a child to take out the garbage and the child is grumbling about having to do it? The child is reluctant in doing this task. The child is unenthusiastic about doing this chore. I know I was as a child because I had other things in my mind like playing with my favorite toy or going out to play in the yard. A child cannot conceive in his or her mind that they are being helpful to their mother by doing this kind act. They have not been taught that this is an act of kindness by helping mom out in lightening her load of all the things she is doing in making a home clean and livable. Kindness is about helping others without thinking twice about doing and showing it. We really need more of this in our communities. I remember the song “Try a little Kindness,” that Glen Campbell sung in 1969. Just look at the second verse and you will see the real meaning to the song. Do not walk around the down and out, lend that helping hand instead of hesitation or doubt.

Don’t walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

We should all lend a helping hand without hesitation in doing good every day.  Isn’t the good works that Christians do helping others to see and glorify God?

You got to try a little kindness
Yes, show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see

Do you have a light to shine for everyone to see?  “Shine your light before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven,” taught Jesus in Matthew 5:16. Are you a follower of Jesus? If you are then you have the light that can shine out to others. The light of love, peace, joy, gentleness, and goodness should flow out of you towards others. Kindness and mercy are what Jesus gives to all humanity. Pray and ask our Heavenly Father to put the salt of Jesus back into your life so you can shine the light and love of Jesus to others. Ask Him to restore your soul and give you strength. Ask Him to open ways of lending a helping hand by doing kindness towards others. Ask Him to help you every day to follow the good shepherd so that surely goodness and mercy can follow you every day.  This great song written by John W Peterson and Alfred Smith is based on Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  Is the Lord your Shepherd?  Did the kind Shepherd find you?  I pray that He has and is now guiding each step of your way.  This song is an affirmation of your walk with God.  Listen to this song and sing it every day.  It will bless your soul.