A Thanksgiving

What is being genuinely thankful? Is it buying things for another? Possibly. Is it expressing your thankfulness with words or writings? Possibly. Why just possibly, you might ask. Well, because genuine thankfulness comes from your heart and it is always unconditional. Being born fallen in nature, we are not programmed to give genuine thankfulness to others and least of likely to God.

Thus many “thank you’s” are hollow and meaningless. We inherently know we should be thanking another, so we naturally mouth the words with our heads, not our heart. It is “I better thank them, or they might get mad at me”, done out of guilt, the words are given and we believe we fulfilled the appreciation. And most of the time, the recipient knows whether the thanking was genuine or given from a guilt position.

Now think about it, if we can’t genuinely thank other human beings naturally, how in the world can we give any appreciation to God? The answer is we DON’T! Any thankfulness to God is hollow, meaningless, and done out of guilt. One may know He is the sustainer of all things, so He’ll get a half hearted thank you when He gets them through a misery.

Instead of asking God for things constantly, we should be THANKING Him constantly! For all those things He is doing that we take for granted. You woke up this morning for example to see another day, did you immediately thank God? Or was your first thought on other things, namely yourself.

If saved by Jesus Christ, every moment you live since you were reborn should be in GENUINE thanksgiving to Him! People have asked “how do you know you have been born-again?” My answer would be the discernment in thanksgiving. Because if you fully realized who Jesus is, and what He did on your behalf, indeed every minute of your life should be spent in thanking Him. Am I being too dramatic? If you think so, you probably have NOT been saved nor realized who you are in God’s sight, a dreadful rotten sinner who deserves Hell, not eternal life.

You see, if you have been saved by Jesus, He gave up His life so that you might live! He paid a debt on your behalf you could never in a zillion years pay and satisfied the pending WRATH from God all for you. And what did you do to deserve it? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! He chose you in spite of your rotten self and pardoned you, not based on who you are, but who He is!

The analogy to this is if a person or persons helped you unconditionally with a dire financial debt. You most likely will appreciate these people for as long as you live. Whenever they are present, you will have a genuine feeling of appreciation for them. The same holds for those saved for Jesus, who paid the ULTIMATE debt in your life. So if saved, your appreciation coincides, He should MEAN something to you now, just as those people I described. If He doesn’t? Well you were deceived, not saved. Because those not saved have really nothing to be thankful for in their minds and hearts.

So as you gather around your family and are asked “what are you thankful for?” Really THINK on this question, don’t mouth the words they want to hear, but what is in your heart. What are you truly thankful for?

The ONLY THANKSGIVING DAY which truly matters, is that day of redemption of Jesus, the day He took away your sin debt and proclaimed YOU ARE MINE!

Trusting God’s Plan

God’s AWESOME plans are sometimes hard to understand, they make us anxious, they cause some worry, NOT because of Him, but because of our limited knowledge and finite brains. We fret, we kick and holler at times, but He says “stand STILL and see My sovereignty and ALMIGHTY power”.

When we try to add or help the plan, we fail just like Sarah failed when she didn’t trust God and Ishmael was born. God couldn’t be blamed for her instant jealous and strife with Hagar, it was Sarah to blame. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t God’s plan all along though. God uses our limited capacity in His plan or nothing could be accomplished or determined. The heretic open theists which are prevalent would love you to believe that God is making it up as He goes, based on reacting or cooperating to what you decide.

As we grow closer to God, we trust Him more! We know everything has a reason to Him, nothing is unknown, and nothing it outside of His sovereignty. It give GREAT comfort when we let go, and let God be God. Again, not that He wouldn’t be God, but in our brains and our hearts is where that realization must be made.

Three years ago this month, I was greatly tested! You see, my plan was that my beloved 7 year old dog Leo would remain with me for 7 more years or longer. But he was given a death sentence. I had thought since Leo was a true blessing from God, that my plan should work. God had another plan and there was nothing I could do but trust in Him.

Things are still being revealed to me after 3 years of this particular event. A friend lost her dog Mojito just recently, and I made him a custom memorial board. I did this without thinking, without a single condition, and felt an instant connection to her loss and to Mojito whom I never even met. And then there were two blankets my Mom gave Leo 3 years ago this month after she learned about Leo’s prognosis, a small gesture but paid huge dividends.

As I mentioned, sometimes the revelation comes later from God, but His plans are always perfect. Trust in them! We don’t need to figure it all out right now, just stand still and see His salvation, see His power, see Him for who He is! Whether the major sad event or happy event, there is always a purpose, there is always a reason. And 9 times out 10, we miss what those purposes and reasons were because we are too consumed with OURSELVES.

Exodus 14:13

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

Sudden Tragedies

In life we all will be faced with the sad reality of sudden tragedies. A job loss, a death, a dire health diagnosis, a car accident, a divorce, a relationship loss, financial hardships, a natural disaster, etc. The sudden nature of these circumstances can JOLT our system into immediate stress, anxiety, panic, and heartache. After all we are only human!

Three years ago today, I was faced with one of the sudden events. My beloved dog of 7 years old, the symbol of my new life in Christ, was diagnosed with incurable lymphoma. Leo was his name and was all that I had in this new life. My heart and mind raced with questions such as trying to find him the help and possible cure he needed as well as the dreadful question of how life is going to be like without him.

You see, since he was just 7 years old, thoughts of losing him did not enter my mind up until that dreadful day. The sudden nature sprung all sorts of emotions. But I didn’t question God’s will in this. However I asked Him “why?”, “why now?”. Having understood Scripture, I knew I deserved nothing from God, but it was OK to ask why and then to just trust in Him.

No, you aren’t going to receive a letter or email or text from God explaining “why”, but through His word He will help you understand. And in my case, all I needed to do is view Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. Tradition says He was crucified when He was around 33 years old, quite young. So that answered my “why Leo, he is so young” question.

And then all I needed to do is reflect on Job and the test of his faith. Job suddenly lost EVERYTHING including his health, yet he never condemned God for this. Like myself, he and his friends questioned God as to “why”, and God responded with that He was sovereign, explaining to Job the sheer VASTNESS of His omniscience and omnipotence, this answers the question of “why”. God will do what He pleases and just because we don’t understand everything does not mean His purposes are IMPERFECT.

So when you look to sudden tragedies in your life, just contemplate for a few seconds on the most sudden tragedy in all of history of which God Himself endured. And that was the death of Jesus Christ for sinners who were born with absolute hatred for Him. We can’t know the sheer sadness, based on God’s holiness, but take all the sudden tragedies since the world began into just one event, and this is what God went through.

God realizes and completely understands what you are going through! So instead of running away from Him, run towards Him, stay close to Him during these times and you will sooner or later realize He is right there with you! Don’t turn to other people, or try to figure out things on your own, turn to Him!

In my case, I had to look back and SEE the wondrous things God was doing to comfort me. Leo would be taken from me, but He showed me for example WHO my friends truly were, who actually cared about Leo, and some I didn’t realize until this event. A very nice acquaintance and friend of Leo and myself, Chloe, for example sent me a hand drawn picture of Leo and encouraged me to be there for him. Derek, a long time friend and client called me on his birthday to offer a room in his house where Leo and I could stay through his treatments. Dana Perino, a former U.S. Press Secretary and now a National news correspondent messaged me to encourage me. My Mom who had just gone through a tragedy of her own, offered two blankets to Leo to comfort him. A cousin who I did not see for a long time sent me $15. The very first Christian, Joni, whom I met online stepped up with the first big contribution towards our trip and she had not even met Leo. Many others also contributed, clients such as Charity and Jeremy who knew Leo also supported us. Whether big or small, God SENT THEM!

There is always a PURPOSE from God, these sudden events are not news to Him. But we need to look to Him, to His word, to grasp what that purpose is and was. And then THANK Him for seeing us through them, that He alone sustained us! He is GOOD! Always see Him first and foremost, and although the sudden event is a SHOCK to your system, it is God who manages that event!

Seekers of the Light

Psalm 43:3 “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle.”

Mankind in their natural condition does not seek the Light, which is God. Rather we naturally seek darkness, SIN. Jesus states this in John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” This passage is often overlooked for the most often cherry picked previous verse of John 3:16.

And there is no further evidence from Scripture than Jesus Christ, the man-God walking this earth, looking sinners in their eyes, indeed within physical grasping distance, and even seeing firsthand His many miracles, and they rejecting Him outright. Do you think you would have been any different?

The seekers of the Light are those God is calling to His Son Jesus Christ or as Scripture says “drawing” and then regenerated by God at which time they SEEK the Light in full force. Their hearts and mind regenerated by the Holy Spirit, born-again, their whole physical and mental being as transformed from seeking darkness to seeking the Light.

Before one is born-again, they can imitate seeking the light externally. They have various reasons and motivations for doing so. It might be vanity, or an external moral piousness they seek to be accepted by man, but internally they seek darkness. They could be Sunday churchians, they might even sing in the choir and get along with the church, but they do this for vastly different reasons as they are not seekers of the Light. They might be the superstitious type as Simon the sorcerer in Acts and want in on the perception that God is some sort of cosmic ATM machine. That by consorting with actual believers might bring them “good luck” or more worldly adulation.

The discernment for a seeker of the Light has a INTERNAL disposition of this seeking. They do not seek sin any longer, they seek Jesus and His word. And some externally might not LOOK to the world as this seeker, but they definitely are. The casting call for a Christian from a worldly standpoint differs greatly externally from the internal. So look closely. The seeker of the Light and the fraudulent seeker can be discerned if you pay attention. What is their true priority? Who do they turn to always? Do they love God and His word, not some of the time, but ALL of the time? Are they embarrassed to speak about Jesus in public? Do they say “my faith is between me and my God” as frauds will invariably state? Do they share the Good News, seek that Good News?

The natural condition of man is to NEVER seek the Light. And only by God’s supernatural work, He can and WILL change that darkness disposition to now giving that sinner the DESIRE to now seek the Light!! Once you submit God as sovereign, your understanding of Him and His word and His promises all start to make sense! If you see man as naturally seeking God? You will always misunderstand and then boast in your seeking, “I believe in God, you don’t, so what’s wrong with you?”. Whereas if saved, we could NEVER boast, because YOU DID NOT GIVE YOURSELF A REBIRTH, that was ALL God!