Grateful People are Great People

Grateful People are Great People

Gratefulness is a command from God. I Thessalonians 5:18 says it is God’s will to give thanks in everything. According to Philippians 4:6 and Psalm 100:4, we are to pray with thanksgiving. God‘s children should be grateful people! Whereas whining and complaining are music to the devil’s ears, praise is a sweet sound to the ears of our Savior. If you want to really gut punch the devil, then start praising the Lord. If you want to stop anxiety in your life, lower your stress, be a happier person, and become a thankful person, then start thanking the Lord . When you are grateful for what God has done in your life, you will begin noticing God do more in your life. 

Be grateful by counting your blessings. 

When was the last time you thanked God for how good He is to you? Stop focusing on your problems and begin looking at your blessings. 

Be grateful by expressing your gratitude. 

Make a list of three people you can thank in the next couple of days. Maybe it’s friends, parents, siblings, pastors, teachers, neighbors, people encouraging you, or people praying for you. Express your gratitude through a text, a letter, a phone call, or telling them in person. Let them know specifically how grateful you are for their lives.

Be grateful by writing thank you cards. 

Thank you cards seem to be a lost art from the past, but they are a powerful encouragement that can still be used today. Make a goal of writing three to five thank you cards within the next week. 

Be grateful by serving others.

Be a channel of blessing with your words, influence, means, and actions. Every individual has the power to encourage someone with their words and actions. Choose to encourage others. Give a helping hand. Smile. Don’t withhold compliments. God has been good to you, so be kind to others.

Messenger of Peace

Messenger of Peace

by Jeffrey Bush from They Turned the World Upside Down

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

2 Corinthians 2:12

In Raratonga, Missionary John Williams sat in a church that was newly built by one of his trained nationals. He watched in amazement as the people came towards him, throwing their idols and fetishes at his feet. The natives wanted to show him that they were turning from false gods to serve the living, true God. The church soon grew to over 2,000 Christians. They built a “praying vessel”, called the Messenger of Peace. There were no nails available. Instead, they used wooden pins to hold the boat together. He and the other believers traveled thousands of miles in this vessel, telling the other islands about Christ. They reached a Samoan group and in just a few years, there were 50,000 people saved and baptized out of the 70,000 people on the island.

What a great work God can do with a man totally surrendered to him!  If John had not attempted to build a boat, the Messenger of Peace would have never reached the neighboring islands. He had a vision for what God could do. If John had lost sight of his dream, those 50,000 souls on the island of Samoa would have gone to hell. Because one man believed that God would use him, those people are in heaven today!

Challenge: When God opens a door for you, you should go through it and keep working until He shuts it. Do not stop when you reach one soul. Determine to win the world!  There is a world of lost people going to hell at your very own doorstep. What kind of goals and dreams do you have to see the Word carried around the world? What are you doing to fulfill the vision the Lord has given?

The Call of God

The Call of God

by Jeffrey Bush, from They Turned the World Upside

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do ofhisgood pleasure. – Philippians 2:13

Sometimes, it is not clear what God may be calling you to do. John Williams, the martyr of Polynesia, said, “Lord, if it is not thy plan and will that I become a missionary, then tear the wish with all the roots out of my soul.” What a fire burned in his soul to be a missionary! When God calls you to do something, it is like a burning desire you cannot stop thinking about.

Most people ignore the call of God, but there are some who recognize it. John recognized that God was calling him, and his heart was torn. Everything in him wanted to be a missionary, but he struggled with thoughts that it may be his desire and not God’s. He feared being outside God’s will – even by becoming a missionary! Philippians 2:13 tells us that God puts it in us both to will and to do of His good work. It is not Satan that would give us a desire to serve God. It can only be the Lord wanting to put His hand on your life and use you. Your first excuse may be, “But I’m not the right age; I’m too young; or I’m too old.” John Williams was only seventeen when the Lord started speaking to his heart. He surrendered his will to God and let Him work in his life. John could have said, “But I just got saved! I don’t know anything about God or the Bible.” Instead, he threw himself into the Lord’s work, teaching a Sunday school class and getting involved in other ministries. He did all he could for the Lord until the Lord fulfilled his dream and his desires and sent him as a missionary.

Challenge: What is your answer when you hear the Lord speaking clearly to your heart? Are you as excited as John was, who wanted to make sure God actually WANTED him to be a missionary? John considered it a special calling from God, something so special that he wanted it with all his soul.

One In the Morning

One In the Morning

by Jeffrey Bush

John 5:39

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

 Sixteen-year old Robert Moffat had received work as an apprentice. As he was preparing to leave home, his mother came to him. Her eyes were solemn as she watched her son getting ready to go live in the world. Mrs. Moffat was a devout Christian mother and prayed that her children would follow the Lord and serve Him. 

“Robert, will you promise me something?” she asked.

Robert hesitated, “Mother, I don’t want to make a promise if I don’t know what it is. Please tell me and then I will see if I can keep the promise.” 

Mrs. Moffat’s eyes filled with tears, and Robert quickly said, “Oh, mother, ask what you will and I shall do it.” 

“I only ask, Robert,” she requested, “that you would read a chapter of the Bible once every morning and then another in the evening.” 

Robert was confused. “But, Mother, I do read my Bible.” 

“I know you do, son,” she said, “But you must read it regularly. You owe it to God to read His Word. Read it regularly, read much in the New Testament, in the Gospels, then you cannot go astray.” 

Though Robert was often influenced by the foolish, worldly crowd, he remembered the promise he had made to his mother and he kept it. It helped him to stay away from the wrong influences, and eventually turned his heart toward God. He learned to love the Scriptures; it became precious to Him. Jesus was his closest friend. 

Challenge: Do you read your Bible regularly? If you want God to speak to your heart and use you, make an effort to spend time in the Scripture. Christ cannot speak to you unless you are daily reading and searching His Word.

His Pride Killed Him

His Pride Killed Him

by Jeffrey Bush

“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” — Acts 12:21-23

There was no doubt Herod was a man of authority. According to Romans 13:1, the position of authority is given by God. For one to abuse a God-given position is foolish.

It was not necessarily Herod’s fault that people thought he was great, but it made him prideful, which in turn led to his destruction. 

Nebuchadnezzar had a similar situation in Daniel 4:30-34. He had authority, position, and power. He looked at all he had, and swelling in pride, he said all he had was a result of his own doing. At that moment God sent him to eat grass in the field like an animal. His pride caused him to lose it all. Contrary to the story of Herod, Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself, recognizing that all comes from God. At the moment Nebuchadnezzar looked to God, his position was restored. 

Pride always destroys, unless you recognize and repent before it’s too late. Pride looks attractive to flirt with, but it destroys every lover it’s ever had. Pride killed Herod, and pride will kill you if you do not run from it. God declares this, and history has proven it time and again. So remember, when you’re praised by others, be sure to give God the glory. Remember that when favor and fruit are evident in your life or ministry, be sure to give God the glory. All the glory belongs to the Lord, make sure you don’t forget it. Never be so arrogant as to think that who you are, what you have, or what you’ve done is because of you. Give God the glory! 

Rehearsing What God Has Done

Rehearsing What God Has Done

“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” — Acts 14:27 

After returning from their missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas get the people together to rehearse (to run through or go over) all that the Lord had accomplished and about the doors God had opened. The first thing they did upon arriving back was not to give prayer requests or talk about the challenges and difficulties, but rather tell everyone how great God was to them while they were out. 

This practice should be a regularity for us as Christians. We should be quick to remember how great God has been to us, and to share it with others. There is always something for which we can praise God, no matter the situation. It would do us good to “rehearse” regularly how good God has been to us. By doing so, it would change our mindset, our attitude, and our outlook. This habit would cause us to be on the lookout for blessings throughout the day instead of just trying to get through the day. 

Proverbs 3:6 tells us that in all of our ways we are to “acknowledge” God. Every day and in every situation a Christian should acknowledge God’s hand of protection, guidance, and blessing. God has been good, and we should acknowledge that fact and rehearse it constantly in our life. Rehearsing what God has done should be on the tip of our tongue. Stop where you are and ask yourself if God has been good to you. What are three things He has done in your life in the last week? Have you thanked God in prayer and in song? Have you shared those blessings with someone else (family, friends, in prayer letter, or on social media)? Rehearse all God has done in your heart, and then share it with others. God’s praise is not just for private consumption, it’s also for public communication.