The Glory of God

The Glory of God

 

AFCRadioShawn-160-241-03112013Good Day and God Bless Disciples and Ambassadors for Christ Jesus.

Good Day and God Bless Disciple and Ambassador for Christ Jesus.

Did you know that our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ wants us to rejoice? He did not take our sins upon the cross for us to be sad but to shout aloud and rejoice about His glory.

The Father is holy. Jesus is holy. The Spirit is holy. Our God is holy and His name is holy. Our hearts and minds should seek Him daily and His glory so we can be joyful, filled, and feel His presence in our lives. We need God’s presence in our lives to be able to ward off the attacks from the demons of the world.

1 Chronicles 16:10, “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!”

Isaiah 6:3, “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

God’s glory is not just in the church we attend on Sunday’s. God’s glory and presence is everywhere. If you need our LORD and Savior you do not have to wait until Sunday to experience His glory. No matter where you are, what you are doing, or who it around you, you can drop to your knees and call upon the power of our God so you can feel His glory and rejoice.

Jesus loves You!
Amen

A World Without Orphans

AFCRShowGuest102013BrittanyDeVries09302013_150_150Hi!

My name is Brittany DeVries I’m a creative producer living in Panama City, Panama. My husband and I have four children, we are the first foster family in Panama’s Pilot Fostercare Program.

Recently I was invited to screen my short documentary “A World Without Orphans” in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the upcoming Global Forum for World Without Orphans (February 2016).

In their own words: “This will be a strategic time to activate, connect, and equip the Christian community worldwide to address the orphan crisis, as leaders from around the world develop and share solutions that provide every child with a safe, stable, and nurturing family.”

Since screening “A World Without Orphans” at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Nashville, TN (May 2015) our documentary has been featured on numerous websites: Better Care Network, Faith To Action, World Without Orphans, Orphan Resources and Missions Dilemma. We are also included in Faith To Action’s “Journey of Faith” 6-week training course for churches and ministries.

So what makes the Global Forum: WWO screening special? Nearly 200 global leaders will be gathered in Thailand February 11th-14th. Many are leading national movements within their countries (i.e. Kenya Without Orphans), impacting thousands of children – encouraging their local churches and communities to become involved through family reunification, foster care and adoption. This is an incredible opportunity to meet with and form relationships with leaders of these movements. I have also been asked to help teach a workshop about media and advocacy. From the beginning our goal has been to offer the documentary as a free resource to be used to further national movements. Currently our documentary is being translated into Spanish and Romanian.

Support my upcoming trip to Thailand to screen “A World Without Orphans” at the Global Forum for World Without Orphans at GoFundMe https://www.gofundme.com/wwoglobalforum

Sincerely,
Brittany DeVries

Founder, Creative Producer & Content Curator

SEEDLING MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
Planting seeds, growing ideas…
Mobile +507-6207-0949 (Panama) | Phone +603-238-6745 (U.S. Vonage) | Skype seedlingmediaproductions | Twitter @MyLifePanama

Giving Thanks For His Refuge :: Full Armor of God

AFCRadioShawn-160-241-03112013Giving Thanks for His Refuge – Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:1-3 : Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:10-13: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of  God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14-17: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of
salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:18-20: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that
I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Childish versus Childlike

Matthew 18:3 : And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter The kingdom of heaven.

We must Trust God the same way we trust our parents. As little children, when our parents told us to do something, we did it without question because we trusted them. Now we must put that trust in Jesus. Our actions must be like those of children, we are children of God, and He is our Father.

Matthew 19:14 – Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We cannot be a stumbling block to others. Those that are innocent and unpretentious do not care about the wealth and status of the world. The heart and mind of a child are pure until the evils of this world, that are ruled by the prince of darkness, infiltrates them. It is our job as parents to help protect our children from the darkness until they are old enough to accept Christ. God will protect His children but we must not just sit on the side lines and watch Him do His work. God has jobs for all of us. We must do our part in protecting God’s children.

1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

It is time to put our childish ways behind us. We are now men and women of God. The things we used to do, we do them no more. It is time to put on God’s Full Armor and fight the evils of this world. We must stand our ground and out our trust in God just as we trusted our parents as children, we must Trust Jesus as Christians.

Ephesians 6:14-17 – 

1. Belt of Truth – Eph 6:14a – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist
2. Breastplate of Righteousness – Eph 6:14b – with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
3. Feet Fitted with Readiness – Eph 6:15 – and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
4. Shield of Faith – Eph 6:16 – In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
5. Helmet of Salvation – Eph 6:17a – Take the helmet of salvation
6. Sword of the Spirit – Eph 6:17b – and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

MatureKnight-93-106

As children when we read and hear stories about a knight we may picture ourselves as that knight in shining armor. As young Christians, we may do exactly the same thing when reading about God’s Armor.

 

ChildKnight-93-70

We may even picture ourselves when first reading Ephesians 6 putting on each piece of armor as we read. The problem comes in when we never stop thinking in childish ways. We must stop being immature Christians and start changing how we think. We must change how we act. Growing to Spiritual maturity is a must to fight the Spiritual warfare that is going on in the heavens and on earth. Let us not picture ourselves like a child dressed in physical armor like a knight.

Remove all of the old ways and put on the new ways, God’s Full Armor, Jesus Christ.

Transformation of the Mind

1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 6:14-17 – Full Armor of God

As new Christians we receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God was sent by Jesus and the Father to dwell within us.

1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? Ephesians 2:22 – And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. The Prophet Isaiah informs us that the seed of Jesse, the Messiah to come will have a belt and sash of righteousness and faithfulness. This belt for us is not a physical belt, it is a Spiritual Belt, it is Jesus Christ. We need to put on Jesus Christ around our waist. Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

Belt of Truth

Eph 6:14a – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist
Isaiah 11:5 – Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The second piece of God’s Armor is also about righteousness. The Prophet Isaiah this time is saying that Jesus put on the armor Himself. Since Jesus was unable to find anyone in the world that was righteous, He had to where His own righteousness, the righteous of God. But we, as born sinners do not have our own righteousness; we must put on God’s Armor. The righteousness we have is from Jesus and He is the only one that can protect our heart. Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

Breastplate of Righteousness

Eph 6:14b – with the breastplate of righteousness in place.
Isaiah 59:17a – He put on righteousness as his breastplate.

The third piece of God’s Armor. This verse starts out with “and” which means it is also a required component. I know some of you may put on a pair of shoes or boots and they make your feet feel good, giving you piece to walk. This is not the type of piece being spoken. Looking at what the prophet Isaiah says once again, we read 52:7. He is talking about Christ again. Christ came down and spread the Good News and He also told us to spread the good news especially in Matthew 28:18-20 the Great Commission. Christ is our peace!!! It is only by the grace and mercy of God that we can have peace in our lives. That unspeakable joy that surpasses all understanding we read about in 1 Peter 1. Do not put physical coverings on your feet! Put Jesus on your feet by following His command to spread the Good News which is Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

Feet Fitted with Readiness

Eph 6:15 – and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who
bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Another required piece of Armor for our protection as indicated by the in addition starting the passage. The word Shield is transliterated into Greek as Thyreos that is derived from the word Thyra which means Door. The shields they used would protect you from head to toe. Not only that, they would wrap them in leather and soak them in water. Not only is the shield large now it has a heavy material over it plus more weight is added by adding water. The water soaked shield helped in the extinguishing of the flaming arrows. The Psalmist wrote about taking ups shield and armor in 53:2 so those hearing these words from Apostle Paul would know what he is speaking of. Someone carrying a shield could go and help others in trouble, maybe drag them back to safety while blocking in coming arrows. Our shield is Jesus Christ as we put our faith in Him daily. He is the one that extinguish the attacks from evil. He is the living water within us that guards our hearts and minds. Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

Shield of Faith

Eph 6:16 – In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Psalm 53:2 – Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.

Apostle Paul writes for us to take the helmet of salvation instead of putting on the helmet of salvation; however, we all know a helmet goes on the head as the Prophet Isaiah tells us that Christ wore the helmet of salvation on His head. We must keep our helmet on but it is not a physical helmet. Christ is our helmet, He is our salvation. Acts 4:12, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. The gifts of God just keep coming. Christ is the head of the church and is our helmet. Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

Helmet of Salvation

Eph 6:17a – Take the helmet of salvation
Isaiah 59:17b – the helmet of salvation on his head

There is that word “and” again. Apostle Paul tells us that the Sword and Helmet are also required pieces of God’s Armor. Even more so that the Helmet of faith and the Sword of the Spirit are together as well. Although the Sword is probably seen more as the offensive piece of the Armor, it actually protects as well. The prophet Isaiah says God made his mouth sharp like a sword. The mouth speaks words and the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. When the devil tempted Jesus for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, Jesus used the Word of God to keep Satan behind Him. He used the Word of God to fight all temptations successfully. At that point Jesus only had the words from the Old Testament to use against the devil. It was successful because Jesus Christ is the Word, the Logos, and we must know His word from Genesis to Revelations to fight the schemes of the evil in this world. Put Jesus Christ in our minds, He is the Full Armor of God.

Sword of the Spirit

Eph 6::17b – and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Isaiah 49:2 – He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me.

The Word of God

Eph 6:17c – which is the word of God
John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Spiritual Battle not a Physical Battle

1 Corinthians 15:39 – Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.

1 Corinthians 15:40 – There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 6:18-20 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Praying and Studying God’s Word is Key to gaining maturity. Although we have removed all of the physical armor, we have put on Jesus Christ, God’s Armor, and are fully clothed. The battle taking place is not of this world. It is not a physical battle, it is a spiritual battle. Let us pray for each other as we pray for ourselves but more so for others. I will pray for you and you pray for me. I will pray for your family and you pray for mine. We will all pray for our Pastoral family because I know they pray for each of ours. The fight we are in is not ours alone. We are all called by God to service in the kingdom and even though He has given us different kinds of gifts, praying in something we must all do. Something truly important here in this passage is that Apostle Paul says pray in the Spirit. This lets us further understand that it is a spiritual battle we are in. We can pray for many things in our flesh. I want more money, I need a new car, let my numbers come out on the lottery. Bring back my novella show. Send me a beautiful wife. Send me a faithful husband. Apostle Paul does not say to pray for these things. He is asking us to pray to allow the mysteries of Word of God be known and spread throughout all nations. As we learn Gods Word, it strengthens us, it edifies us, and it blesses God. His Word protects us, makes us righteous, faithful, ready, peaceful, covers us with salvation, and gives us the words to speak.

Take off the old, put on the new, you are reborn and a Child of God.

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Great Blessings

Psalm 1: 1 – “Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God” (ERV).

God’s name is worthy of praise! God is our heavenly Father and we should worship and praise His glorious Name while thanking Him for all His Great Blessings, grace, and mercy that He willingly provides. Our purpose on earth is to exalt and praise our Lord’s Holy Name by making disciples in all nations.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 states “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT). Praise the Lord!

During our daily activities, we should promote the Christian Discipleship process to glorify our deserving Lord. He is our Creator and deserves our thanksgiving and praise. As an Ambassador for Christ, how can you use your God-given talents to pursue Christian Discipleship? It is never by our will, it is only by the grace of God and His will that we can accomplish any processes that we attempt to complete. We should thank Him, our Almighty Heavenly Father for His Great Blessings!

The Book of Psalm chapter 1 reveals those who God blesses with Great Blessings. The Scripture reads “Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God” (Psalm 1:1, ERV). We should try not to follow evil, live in sin, or disrespect God. Making a mockery of our Lord will get us nowhere as only through Him we can accomplish all things. There are many distractors in the world but we must remain focused on the prize. Accepting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (who died for our sins), is the way to salvation as we fulfill God’s will and our purpose for our lives on earth.

Refusing evil advice and remaining righteous in God’s eyes by loving and respecting Him allows us to be strengthened in His Word. According to Psalm 1:2-3 “Instead, they love the Lord’s teachings and think about them day and night. So they grow strong, like a tree planted by a stream—a tree that produces fruit when it should and has leaves that never fall. Everything they do is successful” (ERV). Loving the Lord’s teaching and complying with His instructions promotes Spiritual Growth and successful ventures. You can be victorious in God by standing on His Word! Let us be righteous in our Lord’s eyes and avoid evil because “when the time for judgment comes, the wicked will be found guilty. Sinners have no place among those who do what is right” (Psalm 1:5, ERV).

How do you think you can please God more? How can we change as His children, to show gratitude for His ultimate sacrifice? Let us honor God Almighty, use personal God-given talent to promote Christian Discipleship and spread the Good News of the Gospel!

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Thanksgiving Summary

“Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (ESV).

Our Creator     

The book of Genesis reveals that God created the Heavens, the Earth, everything, and everyone it. Yes, that includes you and I! In thanking our Lord and Savior for His glorious grace, we stand in agreement that He deserves all the glory, honor, and thanksgiving for His work in not only creating us but providing for us. His works are marvelous! We thank Him not only for yesterday and today, but also thank Him for the future blessings as His word promises, as long as we are obedient.

God is really good and as we gather with family and friends we should increase our levels of thanksgiving and thank Him for His blessings! Thank Him for His vision, and move in faith to accomplish it. Think of the blueprint of the vision he has established in your heart. Thank Him for trusting you with His resources to accomplish His project. Thank Him in advance for the spiritual resources (even though they may have not yet manifested) to allow you to complete His vision. Acknowledging God, thanking Him in advance will create breakthroughs and He will bless you by releasing spiritual resources to assist you in finishing His good deed. As you seek God’s will, He will help you. Remember in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18 states that our Lord will be with us until the very end of age. The age has not ended so He is here with us. Can you respond to your calling without being afraid? Yes you can! Trust in God, do your part and He will work it out at His will.

Christian discipleship process begins at home. God’s children of all ages should create or take advantage of every opportunity to sit around and engage with His word and increase individual levels of understanding. Spiritual fulfillment empowers us to advance toward our Lord’s desire and meet His goal and engage in proper thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving to our Creator   

Pertaining to Thanksgiving and according to Psalm 95:2: “let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (ESV). We should enter His presence thanking and praising Him. The book of 1 Peter 4:7-9 state “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (ESV). We should be in control of our actions and show hospitality that means no arguing or complaining. Why are we upset at the beauty of God’s creation? Why not find something that we can admire, despite the situation, and thank God for that? The book of Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (ESV). We should thank God for allowing us to faithfully walk on His path knowing tht He leads the way.

The book of Philippians 4:6 state, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV). Being patient God will bless us according to His will. The conversion of thanksgiving can be found in the story of Saul in book of Acts. Acts 19:17-19 states “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.(ESV) Spiritual filling! Shout praises to the Lord for removing those scales that have been blinding us and thank Him. According to Psalm 145:2-3 “Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (ESV). We should praise God’s name EVERY day! Have you blessed our Father today?

The book of John 34:35 state “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (ESV). We can obey God’s commands and be His disciple by loving one another. He loved us so much that He sacrificed His ONLY son. The book of Psalm 50:14-15 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me”

Thanksgiving Celebrations  

During the past few months, many of us have planned thanksgiving celebrations not only to fill our earthly bodies with home-cooked meals, but also to fellowship with other individuals. The Scripture also informs us that we should sacrifice thanksgiving onto the Most High, not ourselves, but our Lord, the one who delivers you in the day of trouble. God can remove us from danger in ways that only man can imagine. Pertaining to the most important commandment in the book of Mark 12:29-31, Jesus states that “The most important is, The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all of your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (ESV). Throughout the series, we have discussed the importance of thanksgiving, giving thanks to God, and loving each other. There are several ways we can revere God and giving Him all the glory and Honor. Through our prayers and worship, we glorify God telling Him that we have faith in knowing He will answer our prayers. God hears our thanksgiving prayers and Songs of Praise. His word gives reveals how we should engage in prayer and worship.

Daily Thanksgiving  

The annual Thanksgiving celebration quickly came upon us and has left just as rapidly (maybe for some and not others). As disciples of Jesus, the Thanksgiving celebration is a daily not annual celebration. Let us challenge each other to GO, make more disciples. During any family and friends gathering, let us keep the conversations to reflect peace, humility, and an awareness of the expectations of our Heavenly Father. Get in the mindset to start rebuking ALL negative thoughts pertaining to anyone or anything. Rebuke it with your favorite biblical verse. It could be the verse reminding you that you can do anything in Christ who strengthens you, reminds you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, or cast your cares on the Lord, and allow Him to lead the way. Let Him lead you through the thanksgiving celebration. As He manifests, and if you invite Him in He will attend, He will give you an inner peace and spiritual meal no man can provide. During our lives we have as situations present themselves that are not of God, we have to cast our cares onto God and focus on His will. Though we may not understand why people act certain ways, we must know that is part of the process. We all have to go through our processes. We thank God for being our Father and working with us all as we all listen to His instructions and follow His word.

Eternal Thanksgiving

Why should we thank our creator?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (ESV). We provide thanksgiving for our Creator as He created everything under the heavens and the earth. Yes, He did!

Keep God first, continue Giving Thanks, Singing Songs of Praise, and raise your Thanksgiving level of praise as He leads the way! Praise the Lord!!! Keep God first and foremost in your life and continue to engage in eternal Thanksgiving to our Lord. We thank you Heavenly Father, we give you all the glory and the honor. We thank you for all the blessings you willingly bestow upon us. Thank you for being the Alpha and the Omega, encircling us, keeping us wrapped tight under your protective cover. As your children, we seek your face always and thank You for loving and creating us in Your image. Blessings in the name of Jesus!

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Thanksgiving

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (ESV) – “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Celebrating Thanksgiving once a year is not the only time we should pay tribute to our Lord and Savior. Giving the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit daily thanksgiving for every one of Christ’s Ambassadors and Disciples should be a natural occurrence. Jesus took our sins away when he died on the cross and we should be thankful forever.
As we gather on Thanksgiving with friends, family, co-workers, etc., be sure to thank God for everything in your life whether you think it has been good or bad. James 1:2-4 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (ESV). Ask the people in your gathering if they would like to share something they are thankful for as a testimony of something Jesus has done in their life. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Thanksgiving Praise

Psalm 95: 2 “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (ESV). Giving Thanks Despite our seemingly difficult circumstances, whatever the depth of pain, strife, or however the situation appears, we should give thanks to our Lord and sing Songs of Praises to Him. Regardless if we feel like it or not, we should focus our eyes on God and Thank Him! We must believe that He will respond, extend His arms, and pull us through.

Thinking of everything or even one thing that God has done for us, we should want to rejoice in His presence, continue giving thanks and singing songs of praise onto His Name. Giving Thanks to our God shows appreciation and respect, not only for what He has done for us, but what He allows us to do for others. Appreciating each other may sound much easier said than done. Why is that?  God already made THE ultimate sacrifice for His children, so we should have nothing to worry about. We can be Free in the Lord, appreciate Him, Thank Him, and sing to magnify His greatness.

Many individuals may give thanks to other humans but we must remember that the daily thanksgiving belongs to our Lord. By faith and invoking His divine presence, we can ask God to use us as a tool to make the change and keep the atmosphere a reflection of His beauty using our Christ-like image to promote His will.  We must acknowledge Christ Jesus in all that we do and be grateful for His sacrifice. Thank Him for what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. That is part of singing songs of praise!

Christ-like Behavior

The book of 1 Peter 4:7-9 state “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” During this upcoming thanksgiving celebration and on a daily basis make an effort to thank God for being in control, and share a spiritual reason why you appreciate another person. Maybe the person is always encouraging when you are feeling down, or the person always provides that smile and conversation or just knows when to be quiet but yet supportive.

You can be a blessing to someone without realizing it. The Christian discipleship process is a journey and by following Jesus’ humble demeanor, we bless others by being supportive. The same way God supports you, you can support others. Reading the Bible, and I understand many people may not know where to begin, some may find it hard to begin from Genesis. I like Psalms, and Proverbs. I think one chapter a day is a good start. Also, if you hear or know of a Bible story that you heard and you like, you can start from there. Maybe you will find yourself wanting to read more.

Being a Blessing

Make an effort to include God in your life, and He will lead the way. However you talk to God, just talk to Him and let Him minister to your heart. Let God speak to your heart and He will tell you what His will is for you while you are serving Him, thanking Him, and singing songs of praise. God hears our thanksgiving prayers and Songs of Praise. His word gives reveals how we should engage in prayer and worship.

As Disciples of Jesus Christ, we follow the Great Commission Jesus gave us to GO and make Disciples in Matthew 28. We must ensure we are doing it with love and God will be with us to protect us. We can practice Christian discipleship anywhere, at gathering, going to work, shopping, or encounters with others. Let us seek ways to take advantage of the situation, disciple each other, and continue fulfilling that Great Commission.

As disciples of Jesus, let us challenge each other to GO, make more disciples. During this family and friends gathering, let us keep the conversations to reflect peace, humility, and an awareness of the expectations of our Heavenly Father. I believe we should start now. Get in the mindset to start rebuking ALL negative thoughts pertaining to anyone or anything. Rebuke it with your favorite biblical verse. It could be the verse reminding you that you can do anything in Christ who strengthens you, reminds you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, or cast your cares on the Lord, and allow Him to lead the way. Let our Lord lead our lives! As He manifests, and if you invite Him in He will attend, He will give you an inner peace and spiritual meal no man can provide. So start getting in that frame of mind on a daily basis.

Songs of Praise

Psalm 95 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;     let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;     let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God,     and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;     the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it,     and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;     let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 7 For he is our God,     and we are the people of his pasture,     and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, 8     do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,     as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers put me to the test     and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 10 For forty years I loathed that generation     and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,  and they have not known my ways.” 11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,  “They shall not enter my rest.”

Giving thanks and singing Songs of Praises to God becomes easier every day. Thank Him for everything you see, everything you do, all the experiences you were blessed with during the day. Being stewards of God’s grace does come with a price. Christ sacrificed Himself to cleanse us from our sins. We must remove our carnal, fleshly, sinful desires and clothe ourselves with the Armor of God and pursue His will. We must use our Christ like mind within us and capture negative devilish thoughts and conform them to positive Christ-like intentions. 2 Corinthians 10:5 state “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV).

God’s Grace

If we do not continue engaging in the negative behaviors of the world, others will abuse you, talk about you and disrespect you. We were all sinners. In the past we may have conducted ourselves in ungodly ways. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior requires us to behave differently. Some people may not understand that, keep reminding you where you came from, and chastise you for following God! The book of 2 Corinthians 5:17 state, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Being a new creature in Christ, you peel off that dead layer of earthly skin and proudly wear your kingdom garment to glorify our Heavenly Father.

We should keep pursuing the will of God, as one day He will be the judge of our actions on earth. Romans 14:11-12 reminds us that “for it is written, “as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). We must respect each other and regardless of what others say about you, ignore you, overlook, or criticize you. People will judge you, past or present, and do not live allowing the Holy Spirit to influence their lives allowing God to lead the way. As long as your eyes remain focused on God, the victory is yours.

We do not know the date or the time or the hour when our Lord will return, but the word of God specifies how we must behave in a loving, self-controlled, sober mind, and acknowledge that we cover each other through unconditional love. The Scripture reveals that love covers a multitude of sins and also shares that we should show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4). So every day, as we gather with family, friends, loved ones, or choose to enjoy a quiet evening, let us take accountability of our actions in a Christ-like manner, love each other (or try to) like the way God loves us. He forsake His only Son for us remember? Let us enjoy the hospitality and fellowship without grumbling, arguing, gossiping, and know that we are all blessed under His glorious grace and we simply cannot help it. God loves you! Thank Him and love Him back, not only with words….but with actions!

As stewards of God’s grace, use your God-given gifts and talents to glorify Him. As we speak, let our conversation reflect our Lord’s glorious grace. If we are serving or being served let us acknowledge the strength, power, and grace of God that allows us to be there and be blessed.

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Abounding in Thanksgiving

Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (ESV).

There are several ways we can pay homage to God and give Him all the honor and the glory; Abounding In Thanksgiving. Through our prayers, we glorify God telling Him that we have faith in knowing He will answer our prayers. God hears our thanksgiving prayers, and we should prayer to Him abundantly. Psalm 96:6 says, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker” (ESV)! Once again, His word gives instructs on how we should pray and worship. Christian Discipleship Journey

As we follow the Great Commission Jesus gave us to GO and make Disciples in Matthew 28, we must ensure we are doing it with love and God will be with us to protect us. The “GO” part is where I think, and this is just my opinion, is where we are failing as the Body of Christ. Many times we have a full prayer meeting, but sometimes when it comes to the prayer walk, the numbers are lacking. I can remember when we our Church in Philly would have prayer walks and how we talked about going but never made it out there. I must say looking back at that now; we came up with many excuses not to go. Some may have been valid but if it was in our heart to go, we would have found a way to get there. If we had given our heart to God fully at the time, Jesus would have made it impossible for us not to do the right things as He does now.

Abounding in Thanksgiving   

Colossians 2:1 -23 English Standard Version (ESV)

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Laodicea because there were rumors being spread around. The hearsay being told is that the way to salvation was knowledge; they used the terms Gnostic, Gnosticism, or Gnosis, which in Greek means knowledge. We can all have knowledge quoting the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, but if we do not know the hidden mysteries of how to truly receive salvation then the knowledge is no good.

2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Spiritual Discernment

The rumors being spread were that only the spirit is all good and that all matter is all evil. If all matter is all evil then man was therefore evil by default. Paul is letting them know in verses 2 and 3 of the mysteries surrounding God, His Word, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Holy Spirit within you and operating in your life then the mysteries of God’s Word and Will for our lives, His Holy Bible, will not be understood.

4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Alive in Christ

The ones that were spreading the rumors were making plausible arguments that sounded very conceivable to young immature Christians. When we first enter the Kingdom of God, we are learning to be a Christian just as a child learns to be an adult. As long as we are Ambassadors and Disciples of Christ Jesus with the Holy Spirit within, the mysteries will be revealed to us. Paul was letting them know in verses 4 and 5 just that. What they are spreading sounds good, but we know better because we have the Spirit in us and we are always together, never apart except in body.

6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Spiritual Maturity

Walk with Jesus because you have received His Holy Spirit He sent to us as a comforter. Always remember that He is here to build us up so pay thanksgiving to Him for everything in Paul message from verses 6 and 7. In John 14:16 Jesus says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (ESV). We need to listen to the Holy Spirit within us and understand when others are trying to deceive us.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.              Verse 8 is a warning against listening to foolishness of the world. God is not of this world, He made this world, so we can follow the traditions and spirits of this world, we must follow His Holy Spirit and allow the hidden treasures to be revealed. Jesus thanked God for hiding them from the wise but allowed the children to understand in Matthew 11:25-26, “Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will” (ESV). We must be like little children when reading the Bible and let God’s Word minister to us. We must try to forget all the little things we have been taught contrary to His word. We must stop relying on what we have seen with our natural eyes and seek the spiritual guidance through the Holy Spirit within us.

9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.  Ambassadors For Christ       Verses 9 and 10 of Colossians chapter 2 solidify why we are Ambassadors for Christ Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, it says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (ESV). We are filled in Christ as one church. He is the fullness, the head, and has all the authority and rule and we are His Ambassadors and Disciples.

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians chapter 2 verses 11 thru 14 continue the verification and confirmation for us to be His Ambassadors and Disciples. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 continues with verses 20 and 21, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (ESV). We must have faith the God used Christ to clean our sins with His blood. We must believe that He took our sins up on the Cross. We must also trust that He died on that Cross and was then buried for three days.

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Spiritual Creations

As we are baptized, we have confidence that we are being buried with Jesus Christ because we are now also dead to the sins of the world and being cleansed and circumcised of those sins. Only by the power of God are we raised from the dead reconciled to Christ Jesus and forgiven and cleansed of our sins. Not just some of our trespasses but all of them nailed to the Cross, wiping our record clean giving us a new life as Ambassadors and Disciples of Jesus Christ.

15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Let No One Disqualify You

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

Verses 15 and 16 takes us back to how the different denominations are carrying on and it instructs not to be judged because those in Christ have the secrets of God Word, The Holy Bible, revealed to them. In John 9:16 we see where Jesus was not keeping the Sabbath, “Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them” (ESV). Jesus instructs us in Luke chapter 5 that works can be done on the Sabbath, verse 5 reads, “And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath”” (ESV). Let us stop bickering about the differences between denominations. Do not Judge them for what they do but Judge yourself for what you are doing according to how Jesus instructs us.

17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Spiritual Walk

Ambassadors and Disciples of Christ Jesus must learn His ways, follow His ways, then teach His ways according to God’s Word and Will for our lives, which is the Holy Bible. In verses 17-19, we see more of the items that have separated churches till this day. We cannot do things on our own, we should not worship idols, not even angels; worship only God. Be careful not to listen to false prophets about their visions, dreams, or what their natural mind is telling them. Christ is the Head;  He feeds us, He holds us together, Jesus ensures our growth is Spiritual and not natural to be reconciled to Him to glorify God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—Stop reacting to the natural things of the world. Stop wanting things that will satisfy the flesh. Stop following those evil spirits without authority that cannot give you everlasting life. This is what Colossians 2:20 is letting us know; many are making up rules for Christians because they are not true Ambassadors of Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit operating in them; they are out for self-gain and satisfaction. Some may think then that they do not have to obey the laws of man and only do what is in the bible. Yes, you must follow all of God’s laws and in Romans chapter 13, He instructs us to also obey the authorities appointed over us because God put them in place. Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (ESV).

21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”

22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

God’s Instructions

Verses 21 and 22 continues in the same line about false instructions. We have too many made up rules from false prophets telling us we cannot eat this, we cannot drink that, or even not to touch or handle certain items. Stop thinking like humans in the natural; stop using human principles and wisdom but seek God’s wisdom and His divine purpose, rules, and regulations for our lives. We give God all the honor and glory and seek Him first and foremost.

23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Finally we see in the last verse of Colossians chapter 2:23, the rules and regulations set forth by many churches are not for the glory of God. They are not for the edification of the Body of Christ, His church. They are for selfishness, religious purposes, and to keep people in line with a whip, but they are of no value. Only with the help of Jesus can we overcome the weaknesses of our flesh. In Mark 14:38 Jesus says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (ESV). We must also be careful to whom we listen to about what the bible says. Spiritual Ear

If you are a Christian, Baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then listen to the Holy Spirit within you. Give God your full heart and He will lead the way. Abound in Thanksgiving to God. Thank Him for giving His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ as a sin offering to wash our sins away and make us free of unforgiving. Amen!

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Prayers and Petitions

Philippians 4:6, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV).

God hears our petitions, our pleas for His grace and mercy upon our lives and wants to deliver us from our wicked ways. All he asks is that we love Him and each other with our complete heart. Romans 13:9-10 reads, “For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (ESV).

As we follow the Great Commission Jesus gave us to go and make Disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, we must ensure we are doing it with love and God will be with us to protect us. This is not only for the men of the church, but for women as well; women have just as a vital part in making Disciples as men do. Philippians 4:6 states, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV). This scripture puts into perspective exactly how we should wait for God to answer our prayers. When we engage in prayer, we must continue to have faith the God knows exactly what he is doing. We do not know His plan for our lives and He will answer prayers in due time.

When God gave Jeremiah a message to the exiles he wrote, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV). God will reveal His plan for ours as He answers our prayers in due season. We require patience and continuous love towards Him and our neighbors.

Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians; Philippians 4 English Standard Version (ESV) Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer 2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

God’s Provision

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.  15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.  16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.  17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.  18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.  19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Final Greetings 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.  22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

The first verse immediately informs all of us that God loves us. We must remember that when reading the Bible to put ourselves in play. Even though this letter is from Apostle Paul to the Philippians, we have the discernment to know it was for all God’s people. We are God’s joy and crown if we are a part of His Kingdom by being disciple of Christ Jesus. During trials and tribulations we must continue to stand firm. Jesus is our Rock and the Solid Ground we stand on and it will not crumble.

Even in the early days of the church beginning, there were troubles with women in the churches disagreeing and causing havoc. In verses 2 and 3 Paul is asking us to stop the bickering, gossip, and foolishness that are going on among ourselves. And not just the women, men must also steer away from such folly. These women are laborers for Christ and should know better, but we all need help. If you see a man or woman of God backsliding, instead of talking about them behind their back, do as Paul asked the Philippians and help them be reconciled to Christ.

Paul called on His true companions to help the women of Euodia and Syntyche in verse 3 and established that men and women are equal in the eyes of the Lord. He then pleaded with all to rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing means so much to God that Paul wrote it twice in verse 4 to ensure we understand that we must give thanksgiving only to God and He will give us rest. Verse 5 is exactly how we are to portray ourselves, with reasonableness, fairness, and sensibleness, which is what Uncertainties and Reasoning portrays. To be Christ-like is to be gentle, reasonable, kind, fair, and sensible.

For every Uncertainty the Bible has the Reasoning for our lives and verse 5 ends with the Lord is at hand or the Lord is near. God is always with us and watching our actions, physically and spiritually. If God is always watching, then continue to do as verse 6 tells us, be patient and not anxious. Give God thanksgiving in prayers and petitions. Call on God, follow His commands and see if He will not open the floodgates of heaven in your life. Malachi 3:10 reads, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And there by put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (ESV).

That is the only place in the bible where God tells you and allows you to test Him. I implore you to constantly pay your tithes and see what God will do for you. Following His commands is how we understand verse 7 and know that God wants peace in our lives. He wants to be at peace with us. Just as a father disciplines his children, so will God discipline us for not obeying His rules. Why do we listen to our natural parents who cannot give us everlasting life? Why do we forsake God’s commands who gave us His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, which is the only way to everlasting life? Jesus will give us that inner peace and guard our hearts using the Holy Spirit He gave us to comfort us.

In verses 8 and 9, Paul pleads with us to follow his example. We must understand that Paul was a Disciple and Apostle of Christ Jesus and he was following Jesus as the perfect role model. In our minds and our actions we commit ourselves to being better each year, each month, each week, each, day, each hour, each minute and down to each fraction of a second. Jesus never turned to the left or the right when God our Father told Him to move forward. The only way to learn these things is to read and understand His Word and will, The Holy Bible.

If you have an Uncertainty, turn to the Sword of God, The Word of God and find your answer and reasoning. The Philippians sent Paul gifts, tithes and offerings, and Paul is acknowledging that although it has been a long time since the last time, he knew it was not their fault. God knows when we have had an emergency and may have missed paying our tithes and offering right away. He will forgive us of our sins if we continue to petition Jesus in thanksgiving prayers and ensure we repent. Paul then further lets them know he is a patient man and was not anxious for anything. This lets us know to be content in all situations because God will take care of all our needs; Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV).

Having patience and being relaxed in all situations allows God messages to be heard with clarity. Verse 12 and 13 demonstrates that we will have highs and lows. We can last with Jesus on our side through famine, pain, and ridicule. The stumbling blocks others put in front of us are nothing when we give it to Jesus because he will give us the strength and endurance to come out victorious. In verse 14, Paul lets the Philippians know it was good for them to let him know of their troubles; we must let God know of our troubles.

God already knows the trouble we are going through, but wants us to pay thanksgiving to Him in prayers and petition Him to bring us through. God wants to be acknowledged; He is a jealous God and wants your complete heart. Giving thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ let’s God know you are doing His will and not your own will. The Philippians were the only ones initially supporting Paul’s journeys and travels as we read in verses 15 and 16. Are you a Philippian and ensuring your thanksgiving is being heard by God? Or are you just receiving the messages and going about your way?

It is was not that Paul needed their gifts, tithes and offerings, as he says in verse 17 but we must follow Gods commands so the churches and ministries that are doing God’s work can spread out into the world and deliver the Good news. We just read what was written in Malachi about bringing in the full tithes and Jesus gave a warning to us using the Pharisees. Luke 11:42 reads, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (ESV). Jesus tells us that we are to still tithe but not to forget to also be just and love God. An Ambassador for Christ and a Disciple of Christ must not pick and choose the actions they will live by. All that is written in God’s Word shall be done.

The gifts that we give in our tithes and offering to the churches and ministries are planting seeds that will bear fruit. Not apples and oranges but the Spiritual gifts from God, everlasting life through Jesus Christ. A Good Samaritan asked Jesus how to receive eternal life. Jesus put the question back on him by asking him how he reads the law, “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27, ESV). Loving our God is to follow his commands, not some of them but all of them.

In verse 18, Paul lets us know that the Philippians sacrificed themselves for the work of God with the offering they sent. It was not so much that it would take care of all of Paul’s needs, but because it came from the heart, it was pleasing to God and Paul knew they gave all they could and not just what they wanted to give. Paul had the understanding that what they gave would stretch and God will provide the rest for his continued work. When we are doing God will, and not our own, He will provide our needs.

In verse 19 and 20, Paul blesses the Philippians for this sacrifice and telling them that God will give them all their needs through Jesus Christ but for God glory, not Paul’s and not the Philippians. We pay tribute to God and God alone, who is the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit. We give thanksgiving to God and we should do it just as Paul said, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen”(Philippians 4:20, ESV).The Perfect Role Model is Jesus Christ, but the God’s Word the Holy Bible is filled with many role models we can strive to be like before reaching the plateau where Jesus is.

The final three verses of Philippians chapter 4, 20, 21, and 23, are how we should act amid each other. We are to great each other with open arms; ensure we welcome everyone with love. All the followers of Christ, all the Disciple of Jesus, each and every Ambassador for God should welcome everyone under the sun with love and forgive each other for our sins. We have all learned the Lord’s prayer and I am sure many of us say it. Jesus told us to pray this way and it has a command in it for us to follow. Jesus said, Matthew 6:9-15 English Standard Version (ESV) 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Here in verse 12 of Matthew Chapter 6, during this thanksgiving prayer and petition, we are telling God we are going to forgive those that have sinned against us. We cannot continue to hold grudges, hatred, and continue with foolishness and expect God to be graceful and merciful towards us.

 

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Thanksgiving Conversion

Who do we give thanks to? During thanksgiving, do we glorify and honor each other for blessings? Do we tell others how much we love them when we receive a gift we desired? Do we get excited and show eternal appreciation, smiles, and gratitude as we receive a gift? When are we going to begin our conversion of Thanksgiving and give it to God, who deserves all the praise, honor, and glory?

According to the Holy Bible, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4 NIV). It is ok to be appreciative recognizing others for being an instrument and providing you with God’s blessings. However, we must THANK GOD and focus our praise, honor, and glory all on Him!

Faithful Thanksgiving     

Many challenges occur during our lives and with faith we can overcome barriers that try to prevent us from accomplishing God’s will. According to the book of Luke chapter 17 verse 6, Jesus said “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (NIV).

Believing in God, we can focus on Him and reroute or convert the thanksgiving process giving our Lord (not man) all the praise and glory. Situations and people may test your faith. We may not believe and may be inclined to follow the group for whatever reason. How many times have we met individuals and without giving them or yourself a chance to get acquainted, we jump to the conclusion that you do not like the person? You do not speak to someone because your so-called best friend does not communicate with him or her? With that mindset, that could be a potential blessing that was lost!

Proper Thanksgiving  

The Holy Bible shares a story in the book of Acts pertaining to the conversion process of thanksgiving. Saul was persecuting our Lord just like other people. The power of our God changed Saul from thoughts of persecution with murderous intent to thanksgiving to our Lord for restoring His vision. During our transformational process mutual encouragement and spiritual engagement is necessary as we convert our thanksgiving processes to align with God’s will and glorify our Almighty Lord.

The book of Acts chapter 9 reveals that when Saul was traveling to Damascus to commit evil acts, he heard a voice call his name. The book of Acts 9:7 state, “The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone” (NIV). During the conversion process, on the road to Christian discipleship, many challenges and barriers will confront you. As the Holy Spirit appears and gets your attention, others may not hear or see anything. That happens as the experience is between you and your Creator. It is our duty to respond to the voice of God so that we can become a viable instrument in promoting His Kingdom. Remember “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 KJV).

We should remove distractors by entering God’s presence (especially during difficult times) and receive the message that is meant for us. During your conversion process, God may send a stranger with a message. God sent Ananias to find Saul, place his hands on him to restore his sight (Acts 9:11). Spending intimate time with our Lord provides us with discernment and with the Christ that is within us, being Spirit filled, we can identify what is and is not from God.

Despite the negative reports that Ananias heard, he knew that Saul’s mission was to comply with the chief priests and arrest those who call on our Lord (Acts 9:14). Our Lord is so powerful, that He used Saul, the same person that was ordered to do evil acts against God’s children, to convert him to proclaim the name of the Lord instead! The Holy Bible informs us that when Ananias placed his hands on Saul, “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength” (Acts 9:19 NIV). Ensure your faith is strong. Give God all the praises, honor, and glory only He deserves. Make sure to thank Jesus daily throughout the day and especially for removing scales from our eyes. Remain knowledgeable and well fed in the Scriptures and ward off the spiritual warfare. Giving thanks to God is a way of life and not a Sunday affair.

Lawful Commands   

Pertaining to the 10 commandments that Moses presented to the children on behalf of God, the book of Deuteronomy Chapter 5 verse 33 states “be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (NIV). Our Lord has given us commandments to follow and wants us to live prosperous lives and fulfill His will. If we follow His commands, He will bless us.

Think of a personal reward system, if a loved one does something nice or exceptional, after following your instructions, you may want to do something just as nice or complement them with a nice gift or action. Loving, Obeying, and Thanking God should be our daily life process as we walk by faith and allow His Spirit to influence us. Christian discipleship process teaches children to love God, Jesus, parents, family, teachers, classmates, listen to people in charge, behave very well in school, at home, and in the community.

The road to Christian discipleship is equipped with all the necessary tools to remove potential barriers in our path. Pursuing God’s will is a daily process and we must stay on track without being judgmental. The scripture reads “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV). So, if it that is written and documented in the Bible, who has empowered humans to judge others? Certainly not Jehovah God as he told Moses (after dictating the 10 commandments) to address the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 5). “Oh that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV). Don’t we, in the depth of our hearts, also desire the best for our family? Is not that what we claim?

Thanksgiving Renewal  

Conduct an honest reality check, how can we improve our actions on earth to reflect God’s purpose and glorify His name? Are we equally strong in action, faith, and words? Understanding that by accepting that a higher power exists, we can release all cares upon God, we can move toward His goal. The old saying goes Do as I say, not as I do. Beware of hypocritical teachings. Make sure what is preached in church is also followed according to God’s will. If teachings and actions are not supportive of God’s words, be careful!

Pertaining to hypocritical teachings, in the book of Matthew 23:3 Jesus warns us against hypocrisy and states, “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you, but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” We cannot walk around like Saul persecuting people because man says so. We must love each other and follow Jesus. God loves us all and wants the very best for us. Thanksgiving conversion and adjusting thought processes and habits be a challenge as we may have become settled in our ways. However, God’s way was, is, and will continue to be first. Somewhere in our history, the processes were tainted and we picked up bad habits. Seeking God’s face, He will illuminate the path and remove the scales from our eyes clarifying our vision. Allow our Almighty Heavenly Father to remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see each other, the way He sees us; the way you see your loved ones…with LOVE.

As Ambassadors For Christ we are to become Disciples of Jesus Christ. We are to learn from Him, His teachings and ways. Reflect upon what you are thankful for and give proper credit and thanks where it is due. Thanksgiving belongs to our Heavenly Father. Let all the things from the past leave your thoughts. Ask God to remove negativity, blindness, and restore your eyesight and heart. Increase levels of forgiveness among each other and thanksgiving onto the Lord. We must always keep God First. Praise the Lord!       On the road to Christian discipleship, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21 NIV). Keep God first and foremost in your life and continue to engage in eternal Thanksgiving to our Lord. We thank you Heavenly Father, we give you all the praise, honor, and glory. Blessings in the name of Jesus!

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