Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Godly Legacy: Fearing God, Worshipping Him, Obeying Him

As we have seen in previous posts, King David set a Godly example for his son Solomon to follow as a believer in God, as a wise man, and as a ruler over God’s people. Despite David’s sins, beginning with idleness, then snowballing into lust, adultery, and deception, and culminating with murder (2 Samuel 11), he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), showing genuine repentance and asking God to cleanse him of his sins (Psalm 51:7-17). If God could forgive and use David so powerfully, there is hope for every one of us!

During his reign, David defended God’s chosen people against her enemies, honored God in his daily walk, and provided Solomon with what he needed to build God’s temple, including precious metals, building materials, and semiprecious stones. His example inspired similar gifts, offerings and service for God’s house from the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and the rulers of the king's work (1 Chronicles 29:1-8).

Moved by the willingness of his people to serve God, David blessed, praised and thanked God for His greatness, abundant provision, and power. He recognized that he and his people were strangers, sojourners, and mortal before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (1 Chronicles 29:9-16). Even though the Israelites were God’s chosen people, they had to be saved through faith before God could call them His friends, for faith is the common theme underlying salvation through all periods of Biblical history (Hebrews 11:6).

Obedience is the outward sign of faith, which is why “trust and obey” go hand in hand (1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15,21; 15:10). As a missionary preached a few days ago at our church, when Jesus tells you to do something, just do it! (John 2:5). David prayed that his people would always be willing to serve God, that they would prepare their hearts to receive Him, and that Solomon would have a perfect heart, to keep God’s commandments, testimonies, and statutes; to do all that God would have him do, and to build the palace (1 Chronicles 29:17-19).

Again following David’s lead, the people prayed to God, worshipped Him, and offered Him burnt offerings and drink offerings, in addition to the material sacrifices that they donated to build His house. They celebrated the transition in leadership from David to Solomon by joyfully feasting before the Lord, a second time making Solomon to be king, and anointing Solomon to the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest. As Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king, all the princes, the mighty men, and all David’s sons obeyed the new King Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:20-24).

David’s shortcomings prove that he is human and a sinner like all others (Romans 3:23) and that the Bible is true, rather than glossing over weaknesses of heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11). Despite David’s sins, he left a Godly legacy for Solomon, his nation, and for all of us to learn from by reading God’s Word. God rewarded David’s faithfulness by answering his prayers for Solomon.

The Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel. Of the forty years that David had reigned over Israel, seven years (the number of perfection or completion) were in Hebron, and thirty and three years in Jerusalem. David’s reign, marked by longevity, riches, and honor, was recorded in the books of Samuel the seer (wise man or sage), Nathan the prophet, and Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:25-30).

Even if we are not rulers or in positions of power or leadership, may we be like David, good stewards over what the Lord has entrusted to us. Once we realize that we are sinners saved by God’s grace through our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)  in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), He immediately blesses us with forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), eternal life (John 3:16), and abundant life (John 10:10). May we share Him with our families (Acts 11:14; 16:31) so that they too accept God’s freely given gift of salvation!

Our inheritance as children of God (1 John 3:1), joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), and part of His bride (Revelation 21:2) includes opportunities to serve Him as His stewards (1 Corinthians 4:2), fellow-workers, and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). May we be an example of faithfulness, obedience, and honoring God to our children, families and those who come behind us. May we always remember to thank, praise and worship God for His abundant blessings to us, our family, and our nation!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Top Ten Thankful Thoughts

Photo by Ms Jones 2005

As Christians, we have so many blessings for which to thank God, not only at Thanksgiving but every day, that a list of only ten cannot even begin to describe it! Every good and perfect gift comes from God above (James 1:17), for the unsaved as well as for born-again believers (Matthew 5:45; John 3:3-8). The Psalms repeatedly echo what was first said in 1 Chronicles 16 (v. 34; 41): “Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1,29; 136:1,3). So let’s use this verse as a departure point!

1.God is good. Only the Triune God (the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is good (Lamentations 3:25), meaning holy, without sin, righteous (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). Because He is good, He desires only the best for His children (Romans 8:16-17), meaning those who are saved by our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Because He is righteous, God sees all who have trusted Him as righteous, for He has clothed us in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 132:9).

2. God is merciful (1 Kings 8:23; 2 Chronicles 6:14; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 52:8; 66:20; Micah 7:18; Luke 1:78; Romans 9:16; Ephesians 2:4; 1 Peter 1:3; Jude 1:21; etc.). It is great news that God is good, but it is also the worst possible news if we cannot meet His standard of holiness, and none can (Romans 3:23). Holy God cannot allow an unsaved sinner into Heaven, for that would defile Him. Because of His mercy, He does not give us what we deserve, which is eternal punishment in hell (Psalm 86:13).

Instead, He loved us so much that He gave His Son (John 3:16) to pay the price in full for our sins, so that sinful man could be reconciled to Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18). When God looks at born-again believers, He no longer sees our sins, but instead sees the perfect righteousness of His Son, which He has credited to our account. If we confess our sins, He forgives us (1 John 1:9), removing us from our sins as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). His mercies are new every morning (Psalm 59:16; Lamentations 3:22-23).

3. God is full of grace. His mercy spares us from what we deserve, and His grace, freely given as unmerited favor, gives us what we do not deserve – eternal life in Heaven with Him and with our loved ones who have trusted Him by faith (Ephesians 2:3-8). There is no good work we can do to earn our way to Heaven, for our attempts to be righteous on our own are like filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6).  

While we look forward to eternal life in Heaven, He gives us abundant life here and now (John 10:10). His grace showers us with blessings every day (Ezekiel 34:26), grace upon grace. His grace is sufficient for us to endure trials (2 Corinthians 12:9) and empowers us to carry out the work He has appointed to us (1 Corinthians 15:10).

4. God endures forever. He cannot change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), so we don’t have to worry about an unstable god wresting our promised future away from us. We are not gambling on the whim of some capricious god finding favor with us when we die, or judging that our good deeds outweigh the bad. We have the blessed, living hope and promise of the One True God, our Rock (1 Samuel 2:2; Matthew 16:18) and Fortress (Psalm 18:2), returning for His children to spend eternity with Him in Heaven (Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3).

There is nothing we, He, nor anyone or anything else can do to reverse that, to rob us of salvation once we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Romans 8:35-39). We did nothing to earn it, and nothing can ever remove it from us. He is faithful and true (Jeremiah 42:5; Revelation 3:14; 19:11), steadfast and constant (Daniel 6:26), always delivering on His promises (James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13).

5. God is love (1 John 4:8). Because God loves us, He not only saved us, but He always acts toward us out of love. We may not always understand His ways, just as a rebellious child does not always understand why a loving father slaps the hand that is reaching for the hot stove (Hebrews 12:6-11). But we can always trust that He is working all things together for those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He loves us infinitely, so He can’t love us any more, and we don’t have to work to earn His love. Similarly, He can’t love us any less, even when we rebel.  Because God is love, His Spirit in our heart teaches us to love and serve Him and one another, and our earthly relationships can thrive when motivated by love (John 13:34-35).

6. God is all knowing and all powerful. Not only does God love us infinitely, but He has all wisdom about all things past, present and future (Psalm 139:1-6). He knows what is best for us, what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8,32), and what must be done to accomplish that. Is anything too hard for God? (Jeremiah 32:27) Can the One Who spoke the worlds into existence (Genesis 1), Who made the sun stand still (Joshua 10:12), and Who parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21) be unable to do whatever is best for us?

7. God is light. Once His Holy Spirit enters our heart at the moment of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13), His Word is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105), showing us where to go, how to follow Him, and to understand His will and plan for our life. He is the Light of the world (John 8:12), yet His light shining through us and reflecting from us allows us to be lights (Matthew 5:14), illuminating a dark and wicked world with His truth.

8. God provides for all our needs. If God cares for the birds of the air and clothes the flowers in beautiful apparel (Luke 12:22-33), will He not provide for His children? We are the crown jewel of His creation (Genesis 1:26-27), made for His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:5,9), and He will provide all we need to carry out the mission He has appointed to us (Philippians 4:14-19). If we seek Him first, and His righteousness, all other needs will be met (Matthew 6:33) – food, clothing, shelter, safety (Psalm 37:23-25).

9. God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). He provides not only for our basic needs, but for special blessings to enrich our life. These may not be financial or material, appealing to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life, for these are of the world (1 John 2:16). Yet the beauty and majesty of His creation, freely available to all, is beyond measure (Genesis 1:31; Psalm 19:1).

The spiritual blessings He gives us of peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and joy in Him (Psalm 21:1; 35:9; etc.) cannot be bought at any price, except for that of His shed blood on Calvary’s cross (Hebrews 9:22). How can we compare to any earthly treasure the joy of knowing that we will see our sisters and brothers in Christ once more and forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), never having to say goodbye; in glorified bodies without tears, pain, sickness, aging or death? (1 Corinthians 15:35-58)

10. God has a plan for our life. Praise God, He has freed us from the bondage of sin, death and hell! Praise God, we are no longer His enemies (Romans 5:10), but His children (Galatians 3:26), joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17) to His inheritance of eternal life, and united as the body (Romans 12:5) and bride (Revelation 21:2) of Christ! But it gets even better – we are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and His fellow-laborers (1 Corinthians 3:9).

His general plan for our lives is that all be saved (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13), and that once saved, to keep His commandments, to tell others about Him, to pray, study His Word. Beyond that, He has a specific plan for each of us (Ephesians 2:10), which He designed before time even began (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11). If we have faith, He will reveal that plan to us, piece by piece. If we yield to His Holy Spirit and follow that plan, we will have the joy of hearing Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop