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Tag: Scripture

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An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18(NLT) - Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the US. Regardless of the questionable history of the occasion itself, it has become a day for family, fellowship, food and most importantly, gratitude. Why is it so important to be thankful? For Christians the answer is simple. It's the Will of God. That's right! It is God's Will for those of us who belong to Christ Jesus to be thankful in all circumstances. What does that mean? God expects us to do more than just respond naturally to circumstances. If that was the case, He would accept thankfulness and gratitude when things are good but complaining and murmuring when things are bad because that's natural. He wants us to go beyond our natural tendencies to respond to circumstances and proactively decide to be thankful in spite of our circumstances.

Colossians 4:2(AMP) - Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is an attitude which means it is a choice. It's not just any choice, it's a very important one. Everyday, you can choose to be thankful for what you have or choose to complain about what you don't. You can choose to be thankful for what is going right or choose to complain about what's going wrong. It's all about perspective. For example, if a glass has water up to its halfway point, some would say a pessimist sees the glass as half-empty and an optimist sees the glass as half-full. May I suggest one more.

A thankful person is grateful to have water in the glass in the first place especially if that person knows what it is like to have an empty glass and be thirsty. That's the attitude God wants us to have. Yet, that's not even what Colossians 4:2 is all about. In that scripture, Apostle Paul emphasizes the important role that an attitude of thankfulness has to our prayer life. He said that not only must we be persistent and devoted to prayer, alert and focused in our prayer life, we must do it with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is a popular scripture that demonstrates the power of prayer. Instead of being anxious and uneasy about anything in life, we must take everything to God in prayer. However, that's not all. There's a small detail we can't overlook. We must do it with thanksgiving. Don't just pray, but pray with thanksgiving. Since we know now that thankfulness is God's Will, it should not be that hard to understand why He wants us to be thankful when we pray. If we're going to ask God to do something for us, the least we could do is be appreciative of who He is and thankful for what He has already done. Only then, can we access the supernatural peace which comes from God to guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus from doubt, fear and confusion.

Luke 17:11-19(NKJV) - Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Ten men cried out to Jesus for deliverance from leprosy and all ten men received their healing. Without question, they must all have been extremely happy about what they received from Jesus. Yet, only one thought about saying thank you. What's the difference? Nine of them only cared about what Jesus could do for them while one cared about Jesus. Though similar, those two perspectives are quite distinctive and Jesus took notice. First, he asked for the rest of the men who were healed. Jesus then made a prophetic pronouncement over the one who returned to give God glory.

Jesus knew that leprosy was not the only problem he had to deal with. Years of leprosy caused the men to be outcasts from society, potentially costing them their livelihood, family, assets and even their good name. So while nine men only received healing from leprosy, the one man who chose to be thankful received wholeness in every area of his life. If that wasn't worth a simple thank you, I don't know what is. Yet, it's still not simple enough for some people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5(AMP) - But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.

These are the last days and many people are simply ungrateful. In some areas of Western society, there is so much prosperity and opportunity that there's a generation of people growing up who feel entitled. They feel like they deserve to get what they want. Life is just supposed to hand them the best just because they are human beings and for no other reason. Even worse, they want what they see others enjoying without considering the cost of earning it themselves. It's all part of our materialistic, greedy, self-centered culture. It's so hard to please people these days because regardless of what they have, they want more. Personal satisfaction and gratefulness to God is just too much to ask.

This passage of scripture put ungrateful people in the same category as people who are selfish, greedy, boastful, arrogant, unholy, profane, brutal, reckless, conceited and much more. How about that? I always thought that ungratefulness was bad but I didn't know it's that bad. Well, it is... It's so bad that the Apostle Paul says to avoid such people and keep far away from them. It sounds harsh but it's good advice. Ungrateful people are toxic and if you hang around them long enough they'll infect you with their ungratefulness and change your attitude to match their own. Hence, follow the advice of the scriptures and stay away from them.

Psalm 95:1-2(KJV) - O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 100:4(NKJV) - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

It's a good thing to be in God's presence. The scripture says in Psalm 16:11 that in God's presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand, unending pleasures. It also says in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that where the Spirit of The Lord is there is freedom. It then says in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, there He will be among them. Yet, what it says about God's presence in Psalms 95 and 100 should be considered alongside these other wonderful scriptures. If you want to enjoy the benefits of God's presence, come before His presence with thanksgiving! Don't show up complaining. Don't show up murmuring. Show up with praise and thanksgiving. He's done enough to deserve it! Gratitude is a choice, so choose it today.

1

How Do We Evangelize? - Be Concise: Know the Gospel And Keep it Simple

Be concise: Know the Gospel & Keep it Simple

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 18 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 17, "How Do We Evangelize? - Live Holy: Let your lifestyle testify of Jesus (Part Three).".

The third practical key to evangelizing is “Be concise: Know the Gospel & keep it simple”. As mentioned earlier in this series, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 13 years of age. Perhaps if I had not been able to understand the truth that was being presented to me, I may not have made a decision to accept Christ.

John 3:16-17(NASB) – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

The truth of the Gospel is to be kept simple. Nothing should be added to it nor taken away from it. The Gospel is powerful in itself and will cut to the heart of its hearer. When we lift up the name of Jesus, He will draw mankind to Himself. The Gospel does not need our help in the form of human efforts, gimmicks, or manipulative words to persuade people to The Cross. As Christians, our role is to present the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

1 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT) – “And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 1:16 (NASB) – “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.”

John 12:32 (NTL) – “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."

As the saying goes, "less is more". Though we present The Gospel in a simple fashion, it still has the power to affect people's lives. Jesus came from heaven to earth through virgin birth. He lived a sinless life and was crucified on The Cross to pay the price for the sins of all mankind. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. Then, He ascended to the right hand of God the Father and He is coming back again.

Let’s look at how Peter shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and three thousand souls were saved that day.

Acts 2: 22 -41 (ESV) – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says ,“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

You may be saying, yeah, but I am not the Apostle Peter. That is true! However, you are filled with the same Holy Spirit and you are armed with the very same Gospel!

So, how do I evangelize? What should I say when leading someone to Christ? I am so glad you asked! 🙂 Let’s look at some scriptures to formulate a practical way for you to lead someone to Christ. Here are seven words that may help you remember how to share The Gospel: Everyone; Jesus; Gift; Grace; Faith; Saves; Pray.

1.) Everyone. All of us have sinned and are in need of salvation.

Romans 3:23 (NASB) – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

2.) Jesus. Jesus died to save us all.

Romans 5:8 (NASB) – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

3.) Gift. Salvation is a free gift. We all deserve death as payment for our sin.

Romans 6:23 (NASB) – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

4.) Grace. We are saved by grace and grace alone. Not by our good works or deeds.

Romans 11:6 (NASB) – “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

5.) Faith. Salvation comes through faith. We must believe.

Romans 4:5 (NLT) – “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.”
6.) Saves. God saves anyone who calls on Him.

Romans 10:13 (KJV) – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

7.) Pray. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10 (NASB) – “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

The Prayer of Salvation:

“Heavenly Father, I come to You right now admitting that I am a sinner. Today, I choose to turn away from sin, and I ask that You cleanse and forgive me for all of my sin. I believe that Your Son, Jesus died on The Cross to take away my sins and He rose from the dead so that I could be forgiven and made righteous through faith in Him. Jesus, I invite you to come into my heart and be the Savior and Lord of my life. Jesus, I choose to follow you for the rest of my life. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit and guide me day by day. I declare right now that I am a child of God and I belong to Him. I am free from sin and full of the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am saved in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Today, go out and share The Gospel with someone today! Remember, keep it simple and let the Holy Spirit do the work. Next in this series we will review a fourth practical key to evangelizing; “Sola scriptura: Stick to the Word of God”.

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