August 31, 2017 Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5,18

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Jeremiah 4:18 The Results Of Your Conduct

“Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” Jeremiah 4:18

God begins to describe the destruction that was going to come upon the land. He would completely ruin the land and bring a great disaster upon the people. Not all of the people would be destroyed, but there would be a great number of them destroyed. The anguish of pain and suffering would be very great.

As this was happening, many people would be crying out as to why it was occurring. The nation of Israel always saw themselves as God’s special nation. They were supposed to be His people with great abundance and blessing, yet, all they were seeing was disaster and suffering.

In this verse God points out that all of the disaster that was occurring was because of their conduct and actions. It would be bitter and pierce the heart. It pierced God’s heart because He loved the people and did not want to have to punish them, but His holiness and their conduct required it.

Those living in America have often believed that this country was blessed by God. Although there was always sin in the nation, it has not always been so open and accepted. In recent years, the problems of crime, violence, hatred, and uprisings has increased dramatically. Greater disasters arise on a regular basis.

All of these things may be forms of punishment that God is bringing upon the nation because of the actions of the people.

Not every person is guilty of wrong actions, but most are. How many people are truly living their lives for God? Are sold out to God? Are willing to give their lives to be a witness of the gospel message of Jesus to this world?

You may be one of those truly sold out to God. Take a look at your own life and see what your conduct and actions show.

How often are you telling someone about Jesus?

How often do you allow yourself to do something you know is sinful?

How often do you show God’s love over hatred for others?

These are just a few ways to see what your conduct is like. If you are not actively building God’s kingdom, your conduct will be bringing on disaster to this nation, or whatever nation you live in.

How is your conduct today?

I pray today that you will be actively building God’s kingdom; that your conduct will match that of Jesus; that your life will mirror the life of Jesus; and that you will not be guilty of wrong conduct.

Jeremiah 3:19-20 Hurting God

“I myself said, ” ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 3:19-20

God was expressing great sorrow over the nation of Israel. He had brought them up as His children and given them all that they needed. He expected them to love Him back and call Him ‘Father.’ Yet, they did not do that. They gave themselves over to other gods and were like an unfaithful wife.

At this point, many Christians, are very quick to point out the sin of their nation. They like to point out the great sins that are being accepted and done across the land. Sins of drugs, adultery, fornication, theft, violence, pornography, homosexuality and many others are brought up. People rise in anger against these sins.

Yet, many of these same Christians are living in sin themselves. Common, ‘small’ sins are gossip, lying, cheating, and hatred. Some will say they are giving the information, just to pray for the person. Others state God’s word in anger against the person of the world living in sin, with no love being shown at all.

When a person is living and acting like this, one must ask if he is really being faithful to God?

As you see horrible, sinful things occurring in the world or in your community, what are  your thoughts?

Do you have thoughts like many in the world and the church–justice needs to be served, judgment, and hatred against someone?

Or does your heart-break for those involved?

When Jesus came to the earth, His heart was broken for those who were dying in their sins. His harshest judgment was for those who claimed to be believers in God, yet did not live for God.

God wants to give the best to you. He wants to be the best Father that you could ever possibly have. He does not want to punish you or be upset with you and your actions.

How are you treating God today?

With love as a son or daughter?

Or hatred as an unfaithful wife?

I pray today that you will see God as your loving Father; that you will know God’s faithfulness and goodness to you; that you will be faithful to God; that you will show love to all around you; and that you will not live in any sinful way.

Politics, Good Or Bad?

Politics

Political ‘discussions’ go on all the time, everywhere a person goes. Turn on the tv to any channel and you will hear something about politics. Watch any tv show or movie and there will nearly always be some political point in it. Walk into the break room at work and someone is usually there giving a political opinion. Read the FB feeds and people are talking about something political, for or against. Some say it is bad, others say it is good.

Politics are a part of life. All politics are just the activities of a government or governing authority over a given area. Government is required. If no one is overseeing what is going on, there will be chaos.

Judges 21:25 New International Version (NIV)

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

There was a time in Israel when they had no king or ruler. It was right after God had stopped using various people to be judges (rulers) to guide and lead the people in what God wanted for them. During this time that they had no one lead them, everyone did what they wanted. It would bring chaos to the nation.

When everyone is doing whatever they want to do, there is chaos. There is no rules to go by, so anything goes.

Political Chaos

Many today want this kind of life. They want to be able to do what they want, when they want, and how they want, regardless of how it affects anyone else. This is what the world tries to call true freedom.

Now comes the problem for many Christians, how much should they be involved with the politics of their city, state, nation? Some are on the front lines, fighting hard for Christian beliefs and principles. While others refuse to even vote or have anything to do with any politics.

There are good points and bad points about whether or not to be involved in politics. There are pros and cons about being involved with politics. A lot of what makes it good or bad is the focus. Why are you involved or not involved? If you are involved, what is your purpose? If you are not involved, what is your purpose?

Romans 13:1 New International Version (NIV)

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

One of the most common arguments that many believers state about not being involved in politics is that the government is corrupt and not following God. They state that they only follow God and not man.

While it is true that you should follow God, that does not mean you do not obey man. God has placed every person in authority that is currently in authority. The difficult part for many, is this also means that person that is in leadership that does not follow God and does everything that is against God’s ways. Those that are in authority are to be obeyed. The only time you have permission from God to not obey those in authority, is if they are telling you to do something against His word.

Acts 5:29 New International Version (NIV)

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

Peter had been taken in by the authorities, some of whom were of the temple of God, and told not to speak about Jesus in public. His answer was that he must obey God first. This is the only time that disobedience of public authorities is acceptable according to God’s word.

Obey God Over Man

Now the question comes as to how much a person should be involved in politics. Should a Christian be on the front lines pushing for rules to be passed that honor God? Should a Christian be fighting against policies that do not honor God?

Jesus never got involved with any politics. He was focused on doing what God had sent Him to do. Outside of paying His taxes, the Bible does not show Jesus doing anything politically.

Does that mean that a Christian should not be a part of any political party or decisions?

There is no straight answer on that question. You must find out what God has for you to do in this life. The first, and most important thing for you to do in this life is be a witness of who Jesus is and what He has done and can do.

Jesus called the disciples to be His witness:

Matthew 28:19-20 New International Version (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Is that your primary focus in your life? Or is your focus to change the political scene?

Standing against bad policies will only do so much, then it will fall short. All the policies against sin will never change a person’s heart. The only one that can do that is Jesus.

If every person who claims to be a believer was to go out and make disciples of Jesus, how much would the world be changed?

Be My Witness

If every where disciples were being made on a daily basis, those who get into political positions would be believers also. Believers in those positions can make a difference in the policies made.

Changing the heart of a person begins with getting to know Jesus. God will create a new heart in a person and change the way they do things. Outside of that, no one will ever really change, they will still be set for sin.

There is a place for politics in this world and believers have a place with politics. The issue is not whether politics is good or bad, but what you do with what you know. Politics should not be the main focus in the life of a believer. Bringing people to Jesus should be your primary focus, then if God leads you, be involved in the politics of your nation.

As you work in politics, your work should not mirror that of the world, one that crushes or demeans the other person to gain control or get your way. Many that are in the political world bad-mouth or climb over other people. They bash others to make themselves look good.

Every believer is to be a servant, building others up, not themselves. Work politics in the way God would–with love, compassion, and mercy. As you do that, you can allow God to change the lives of many people through you. Hearts can be truly changed, rather than just some more rules made.

Being A Servant

So it is not about whether politics is good or bad, but what is done with politics. How is it used to help others, and not about how it helps yourself. What can you do today to build this world to be better and more ready for Jesus’ return?

Jeremiah 2:1-2 Do You Still Have First Love?

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.'” Jeremiah 2:1-2

When a person is in love to the point of getting married, he is usually in head over heels in love with the bride. The bride is also madly in love with the groom at the point of getting married.

Both of them look at each other as the greatest in the world, that there can be no fault in the other. They desire to spend time together, doing anything and everything together. Often the things they do will include doing crazy little things together. All of this is because of love.

The first months together as a married couple will be seen as fully devoted to each other. They will follow each other everywhere one goes, regardless of how hard it is. This is first love devotion.

The sad part is that many marriages do not stay that way. Many, and often within the first year to two years, fall out of that first love for each other. They begin to get discontented with each other. Many begin to wonder what they ever saw in each other and why they loved each other.

God is looking at Israel in these verses and remembering their first love for Him. They started off dedicated to Him and following Him everywhere. Israel had forgotten their first love and dedication to God. The chose to not follow Him any more.

Take a good look at your life. Remember back to when you first chose to follow God. Think of the reasons why you chose to follow God. Think about how much love you had for God and what you would do for Him at that time.

Is that love for God still the same?

Or have you allowed your love for God to fall away?

Many people, like Israel, have chosen to let their crazy love for God to calm down. They are no longer madly in love with God and begin to not follow Him everywhere He goes.

Renew your first love and devotion to God. Make Him first and foremost in your life, and start following Him again through the wilderness of this life.

I pray today that you will remember your first love for God; that you will be dedicated to God; that you will follow God everywhere; and that you will tell others of your love for God.

Say Yes To White Space

My wife had written this post recently for another blog space. It is written to parents with special needs children in the homeschool world.

Say Yes to White Space

By Cammie Arn

Do you ever feel like life is a blur? Are you just going through the motions? Do you feel like you’re behind before you even start the day? I know how that feels too.

Rest is productive

I have to remind myself every year that white space on the calendar is a good thing. Scheduling off-time is crucial. Our society pushes us to believe that we must always do something and that rest is unproductive. You don’t really NEED to sleep 8 hours do you? Six hours is enough, isn’t it?

Can I persuade you to believe that rest IS productive?  Taking time to rest enables you to be the best version of yourself you can be. It allows you to fully be with your children. They become your mission and not your distraction.

Exhaustion is real

The beginning of the school year looms with all of the activities that it brings. Pair that with appointments, church activities extra-curriculars, and the daily tasks of housekeeping and you have a recipe for exhaustion.  This is especially true in my family of ten!

Plan white space

Can I encourage you to take a day a week, an hour a day or 5 minutes an hour and just do nothing? To just Breathe?  Here are some things you can do to recharge:

  • Pray
  • Take a walk
  • Relax in a bubble bath
  • Whatever it takes for you to unplug

This has helped me so much! I can go into the day with a clear focus because exhaustion no longer rules the day. We are so intentional with our families, but often neglect ourselves.

Welcome rest

So as you go into this next school year, take a deep breath and say no to things you’re not called to (it is okay to say no). Say no to the things that drain you. Say yes to REST.

Remember that white space in your life brings a calming peace. Kids being bored is a good thing. That’s when imaginations come in and creativity abounds.

Say yes to white space…

You CAN do this..

This was originally posted at: Say Yes To White Space