Patriotism

We have forgotten what patriotism really is. Patriotism is not racism or rioting. These are divisive and destructive. Patriotism is not kneeling while our country is being honored. Kneeling is showing disrespect to all people of all races who have sacrificed and who are sacrificing.

Webster defined patriotism this way. Love of one’s country; the passion which aims to serve one’s country, either in defending it from invasion, or protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions in vigor and purity. patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man in the character of a citizen.

Patriotism is about character. These professional athletes are not exhibiting what it means to be a good citizen. They believe they are to big to fail. I personally gave up on the NFL last year. I have found something better to do with my time than to watch the unpatriotic acts of these people who are abusing their freedom. It will not be long before those freedoms are forgotten.

It is not enough for Americans to say they are fed up. What America needs now more than ever is the most patriotic act anyone can do. America needs to return to the Lord. We must go back to church and fall on our knees and pray for our country. Have a burden for the USA!

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A Dry Morsel

I want to challenge you to read from the Proverbs every day.  There is much wisdom that can be gleaned from this book.  This morning I read from verse one.  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.  

It is so easy to be ungrateful for what we have.  We have the dry morsels.  This is the simple thought that hit me this morning.  God gave me my “dry morsels.”  So when I am ungrateful for these “dry morsels” I am ungrateful for what God has given me.  What God gives me is enough to sustain me.  What God gives me is enough to give to the work of the Lord.  What God gives me is what God deems necessary for my life.

There are so many people that have less “dry morsels” than I have, but they are doing more to serve God than I do.  This tells me that the devil uses discontentment as a diversionary tool.  He wants to prevent me from serving God.

God gives me every day what I need to sustain me.  He sustains me so that I may serve Him.  Therefore, I must refocus my efforts away from being ungrateful for the “dry morsels” to seeing them as a gift from God given that I may serve Him.

Let us be grateful for what we have and use what we have to serve Him.

 

Pray

prayer_warrior

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Extraordinary times require extra ordinary prayer.  Our Scripture tells us two things that we need to do as Christians, watch and pray.

The word watch gives us the idea that we must be alert.  We must be alert to the fact we are in a spiritual war, we must be alert that our adversary the devil uses many tactics to attack us, we must be alert and on guard.  

We must be vigilant during the day and the night.  During the day we can see dangers afar off.  During the night we cannot see the dangers, but we know they are there.  Both times require that we take these dangers very seriously.  Unfortunately many of us do not take these dangers very seriously.  

The word “watch” is a warning that we often get distracted.  We hear the preaching of the Word of God and believe that it does not apply to us.  We read the Bible and do not submit to God’s precepts.  

The word “watch” should lead us to “pray.”  Watching gives us the burden.  Watching shows us the need.  Prayer is asking God to intervene and protect.  Prayer is pleading for God’s help.

These two words make an appearance after the armor of God is put on.  Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray and watch.  A prayer warrior has put on the armor of God and then uses them.  We use them by watching and praying.

Are you alert to the dangers, to the needs, to God’s will?  Are these things moving you to pray.  Do not avoid the responsibility that we have to be prayer warriors.  We may not be able to things that others can do, but we all can pray.  

“I’d rather be able to pray than be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”—D. L. Moody

 

An Aspect of God’s Will.

curtishutson

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.  Acts 20:24

My first year in college I went to my mail box and found a tape of a message preached by Dr. Curtis Hutson.  It was entitled, “But none of these things move me.”  Every student was required to listen to it.   I only share this story because whenever I read this verse I can hear his voice in my head.

Let us consider an spect of God’s will.  When we think of God’s will we tend to think about going to certain places and doing specific things.  Have we given thought to dealing with certain things.  

God’s will is specific.  He does call certain people to do very specific task.  The apostle Paul reached the gentiles.  He started many churches.  He was used of God to write much of the New Testament.  But when Paul wrote this verse he said none of these things.  These things were the trials that he had to deal with along the way. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 and see all the perils that Paul had to deal with.  Those perils were part of God’s will for his life.

We do not enjoy the perils; we want the profits.  We do not enjoy the burdens; we want the blessings.  We are afraid of the endangerment; we want the experiences of victory.  Let us be encouraged through the Scriptures that the things that we have to deal with as we attempt God’s will is part of God’s will.  

Paul also said that he finished his course with joy.  Determine to do the same.  Do not let the things you have to deal with along the way detour you from the will of God.

Weep with them.

 

weep
What is missing from Christianity today is tears.

Romans 12 is a popular chapter because of the first two verses.  As we continue reading we come to an important group of verses.  Verses 9-21 gives us “Characteristics of a Christian.”  They are short straightforward identification marks that can be seen in a Christian.

I want to focus on one of those identification marks found in verse 15, we are to weep with them that weep.  This is a very convicting verse because it shows how little we weep for others.  We may say that we are praying for someone to be saved, but when was the last time we have wept for them.  We may say that we are praying for revival in our country, but when was the last time we have wept for our country.

Weeping is mentioned forty-four times in forty-one verses.  It means to wail or to sob.  It is something that will happen when we get close to someone and their situation.  The absence of tears should reveal to us that when someone is hurting we distance ourselves from them.  We must invest ourselves in the lives of others.

Jesus wept.  He is our example.  I believe that He wept because He felt the grief from the family and friends of Lazarus.  Jesus also rejoiced when He was at the marriage feast in Cana.  We enjoy that part, but we should not neglect the latter part of the verse.  

There are many things that is missing from modern day Christianity.  One of those things that is missing is tears.  It also shows that we are not carrying a burden for and with others as we should.  I want you to consider the word, “BURDEN” as we meditate on Romans 12:15.  As we consider the word, “BURDEN” there will be some thoughts will help us as we help others and thoughts that will help us with our burdens.

Burden Bearer:  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2  We are to be burden bearers.  We must not distance ourselves from others, but we must invest our lives into the lives of others.  This means that we will be moved emotionally.  

Unbearable:  There are many things that we will encounter that will be greater than us, but never greater than Jesus.  

Real:  Do not make light of the burdens others are carrying, nor of the ones you are carrying.  What do I mean by that.  Is it true that if you were close to God you would not carry any burdens.  No.  In fact the closer you get to them the more burdens you may end up facing.  When we get to the letter “E” we will talk more about this.

Discouraging:  David faced discouragement.  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.  Psalm 56:3  We like the second part of that verse, but do not ignore the first part.  The man after God’s own heart faced fear.  That is discouraging.  Instead of focusing on His fears he trust God.  The sin is not in being discouraged, but it is in not trusting God with our discouragement and our burdens.

Endure with God’s help:  The book of 1 Peter can be entitled, “A Call to Faithfulness.”  Peter was helping a church that was facing difficult trials.  1 Peter 5:6-7 gives us some help in this matter.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  This church had real burdens.  Peter did not make light of them.  He just told them something that helped him in his personal life.  He said humble yourselves, then cast your burdens.  Why was humility mentioned?  Because we think we can handle it.  We believe our silence is strength.  It will not be long before we have to much to handle and become overwhelmed.  What we need to do instead of carry we need to cast.  We will not cast our burdens to Jesus until we humble ourselves.

Not in Heaven:  We can debate all we want about the fact that the Lord will dry all of our eyes when we are in Heaven.  The fact is when we enter Heaven’s gates we will deposit all of the burdens we have now.  We can look forward to Heaven because we know we will have no more burdens.  Until then we are to be burden bearers.  Until then we must be moved to tears with those who are broken and battered by life.  May God help us see that we must weep with them that weep.

Lessons I Am Learning.

I am glad God speaks to me.  What good is it if I do not listen?  I believe that this is what is missing from our walk with God.  He speaks and we do not listen.  I want to share with you a thought that God has been dealing with me; hopefully you will be able to use it.

I want to be a better Christian, husband, father, soul winner, preacher and pastor.  I have felt like that even though I know that these are my God given roles in life that I have not been able to find much direction with them.  I want my life to count for eternity.  I am tired of average preaching and average service.  I want God’s blessing on my life.

I have been reading a book by Dr. Paul Chappell entitled, “Stewarding Life.”  I would encourage you to read it too.  I believe God has brought this book to my attention because I have been praying and asking God to help my life and my preaching to count for eternity.  This book is not the Word of God, but there are Biblical principles that I have needed to apply to my life.

God has helped me to identify my God given roles in life.  They are as follows:  a Christian, husband, father, soul winner, preacher, and pastor.  These are the things that God has given me to do for Him.  This is my only time that I have to do something for eternity.  I must make sure that what I do everyday helps me accomplish my God given roles.

What are your God given roles?  This life, this time you have, is the only time you have to do something that will matter in eternity.  Life is short.  We cannot get it back.  Don’t waste it on things that will not matter when we stand before God.

life is short

 

Gratitude can change your life.

Gratitude can change your life.

Psalm 136:1-4, 23-26

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.

The Psalmist is reminding us to give thanks.  Being thankful is a command.  We should say that it is the will of God for us to be thankful.  We did not read the whole Psalm, but it is praise directed to God.  He gives some reasons for his gratitude.  Let me reread the last few verses again.  He is grateful for God’s goodness to him.

There is also a recurring theme throughout this Psalm, it is the mercy of God.  He never forgot what he was (sinner) and he did not get what he deserved.

I want to make a point.  We tend to take for granted the good that is already present in our lives.  imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.  We need to appreciate each day’s gifts.

Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”  The Bible teaches this.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thes. 5:18

There are a number of ways that we can express our gratitude.  We can keep a journal.  A written of the abundant blessings of God will help us not to forget.  We can write a thank you letter to those who have been a blessing or an influence.  We can tell others.  We should set aside a time every day to practice “Thanksliving.”  

I believe that attitude is everything.  Life is what we make it to be.  When we are thankful it affects our daily lives and those who inhabit it.  When we are unthankful it does wear on us and others around us.  Look for the good and not the bad.

There are 12 until Thanksgiving day.  I would like to issue the “Thanksgiving Challenge.”  Let the next 12 days be filled with praise.  Make your homes a “No Complaining Zone.”  We cannot complain if we are grateful for the goodness of God.
Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.