Detailing the “Everything”

Guest Article-by Dr. A. W. Tozer  

It is important that we trace our benefits back to their source and express our thanks to the One “from whom all blessings flow,” rather than merely to feel a vague stirring of gratefulness that results in nothing real. I once lived with a fine old couple, neither of whom was a Christian, and I was impressed with the profound sense of gratitude they felt for everything they possessed. When the winter winds moaned through the trees and made the old house tremble, the old man would smile and say, “Ah! How good it is to have a warm place to sleep on a night like this.” And the mother would often speak of her large family, now grown and scattered: “How grateful I am that they are all healthy and all mentally sound. I am so thankful.” Their gratitude was genuine. Of that there could be no trace of a doubt, but I often wondered who was the recipient of it. Whom were they thanking? They never said.

The irreligious world has its own way of reacting. When things “break” fortunately for a businessman, an athlete or a politician he will slap his hands together and shout, “Great! Wonderful!” He is thanking someone; but whom?

It could be that the old couple of whom I speak were actually meaning to express their thankfulness to God, and that the modern man who shouts his pleasure at his lot in life secretly feels his indebtedness to God; the trouble is that they were and are ashamed to direct their gratitude pointedly to One with whom they are not acquainted. They flee like Adam and hide among the trees of the garden rather than face up to the God they know they have offended. Fear of being thought queer sometimes leads people to express religious ideas in generalities instead of in concrete terms.

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A Good Perspective on Being Thankful

WE have a lot for which to be thankful. Today’s blog is different but gives us pause to think.

If your arteries have hardened and arthritis slows your gait,
If your tired blood is stubborn, not inclined to circulate;
If your aerobic days are over  and you cannot do the “twist,”
If your time is spent in brooding o’er the many things you’ve missed;
If you’re constantly complaining on your rocker or your couch;
If you’re ornery and cranky and becoming quite a grouch;
Well, if this is your condition and you get no sympathy,
Then it’s time you started trying a new kind of therapy.
Though you have your share of trouble, think of others with more pain,
Like that fellow in his wheelchair who will never walk again.
Take time to write a letter and while pen is in your palm,
Thank the good Lord up above you for the use of that right arm.
Try relaxing in the sunshine, note each flower, bird and tree,
Then appreciate your eyesight; there are many who can’t see.
When you tune in television and each sound is loud and clear
Just think of those who’d give a lot, if only they could hear.
Yes, I’ve practiced what I’m preaching and I’ve learned there’s joy to reap
If you stop and count your blessings and just “think before you weep.”

 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us (with benefits, even) the God of our salvation. Selah” (Psalm 68:19).

Number One Focus!

We have so many things to give thanks for, it would take quite a long time to list them. However, if we decided to make a list like that, would we lose sight of that for which we should be most grateful? Let’s take a few moments to think on what should be the number one focus for our thankfulness. God loves us! Jesus died for us! God offers full and free (to us) forgiveness and cleansing for our sin(s)! God is constantly perfecting all whom He has forgiven! He gives to all who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior knowledge, wisdom, guidance and direction for all of life! He provides wonderful companionship and counsel to all His children! All who are truly born again will be with Him forever! One day, He will end all sin, evil, suffering and death! It will never be a part of our lives again. Paradise forever for all His own! How different it could and would be, if God didn’t love us! Oh that (men) would praise the LORD (for) His goodness, and (for) His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:8-9). In the hymn, “Thanks to God for My Redeemer,” August Ludvig Storm gives us many reasons to put our “thanks-giving” focus on God and His love: “Thanks to God for my Redeemer, thanks for all Thou dost provide!  Thanks for times now but a mem’ry, thanks for Jesus by my side!  Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime, thanks for dark and stormy fall! Thanks for tears by now forgotten, thanks for peace within my soul! Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered, thanks for what Thou dost deny!  Thanks for storms that I have weathered, thanks for all Thou dost supply!  Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure, thanks for comfort in despair! Thanks for grace that none can measure, thanks for love beyond compare! Thanks for roses by the wayside, thanks for thorns their stems contain! Thanks for home and thanks for fireside, thanks for hope, that sweet refrain! Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow, thanks for Heav’nly peace with Thee! Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, thanks through all eternity!” Selah! These things for which we should give thanks to God are but a sampling of all His blessings!    Ron

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Basic Human Desires

There are some basic desires that most, if not all, people have. Let me list some: 1) the desire for recognition;  2) the desire for security; 3) the desire for love; 4) the desire for purpose; 5) the desire for acceptance. It is a rare human being, indeed, who has all desires met! When someone does have all those desires met, it’s only for this life. However, for those who have entered into a saving relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior, the satisfying of those desires are available for time and eternity. The Psalmist gives us this inspired promise: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). For example: Recognition – God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love” (From Hebrews 6:10); – Security I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any (man) pluck them out of My hand” (From John 10:28); Love – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life;” – Purpose present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, (which is) your reasonable service.” (From Romans 12:1);-  AcceptanceHe hath made us accepted in the beloved” (From Ephesians 1:6). Jesus grants these desires in proportion to the level of commitment we have to studying, applying and obeying His Word. Give careful thought to this stanza from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” by Joachim Neander: “Praise to the LORD, Who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth! Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been granted in what He ordaineth?” Selah! Our self-centered desires, even when met, never begin to compare with the joy and fulfillment that comes from the granting of Godly desires!   Ron

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The Danger of Shipwreck

There are those who skirt the edges of genuine Christianity. They may “taste” it; they may “give it a try,” but they don’t fully embrace it. Their curiosity, their experimenting, their “tentative” approach only ends in shipwreck. They may respond to a strong presentation of Truth or something they read or saw. However, it may only be an emotional impulse on their part. While emotion is apt to be involved, receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior is primarily an act of the will to trust Jesus and yield control of our lives to Him. It is completely supernatural. It starts with the inspiration of Scripture. Trusting this source of the Truth, we move on to trust all of the Word of God. We believe all the major doctrines of the Bible and will not stop believing them. One major doctrine is that of the resurrection. Without that, there is no living Savior and no living Bible; shipwreck is just over the horizon. Paul in I Timothy 1:19 explains the need for faith and a clear conscience : “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” Even the new birth is supernatural and full trust in Jesus and His resurrection is what makes it available to us. (See Romans 10:9). Evidently, Daniel Whittle had this necessary faith. He testifies to it in his hymn, “I Know Whom I Have Believed.” In his own words: “I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me He hath made known, nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own. I know not how this saving faith to me He did impart, nor how believing in His Word wrought peace within my heart. I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin, revealing Jesus through the Word, creating faith in Him. I know not what of good or ill may be reserved for me, of weary ways or golden days, before His face I see. But I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Selah! Biblical faith never stops. It may encounter doubts, but understanding will be sought and true faith will continue trusting God’s Word until faith becomes sight!    Ron

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Decreasing Regrets

As we look back over our lives, there are things that we’ve said, things that we have done, or things that we should have said or done that we regret doing or not doing. Sadly, we can’t reverse the past, but we can learn from it. From this moment on is like a clean slate where we can do things right. In the spiritual realm, this is even more important. There is, however, a very important difference. While we can’t reverse our spiritual sins and failures, Jesus’ shed blood cleanses all who know Him as Lord and Savior from all sin(s). We have a clean slate and can now live with the guiding, teaching aid of the Holy Spirit. As we align with God’s Word, we have less and less to regret. This must be a part of what Paul had in mind in Philippians 3:13-14 when he wrote: “…. (this) one thing (I do) forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” After Paul committed himself to Jesus and came under the discipline of Scripture, He was able near the end of his life to testify to Timothy; “I have fought a good fight, I have finished (my) course, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7). Charles Price Jones has given us a prayer hymn, “Deeper, Deeper,” in which he has given a prayer that we would be well-advised to make our own: “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus daily let me go; higher, higher in the school of wisdom, more of grace to know. Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit, take me deeper still, till my life is wholly lost in Jesus, and His perfect will. O deeper yet, I pray, and higher ev’ry day, and wiser, blessed Lord, in Thy precious, Holy Word.” Selah! As we have less and less to regret, we have more and more for which to rejoice!   Ron

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A Habit to Keep and to Break

Bad habits need to be broken; good habits need to be kept. However, there is a good habit that can damage us spiritually. To avoid this we need to stop and think. Ask yourself: Am I entering into this whole-heartedly or is it just a habit. I speak of church service(s) and personal devotions. We can go from these being fresh and meaningful and allow them to degenerate into a habit only. If we resist just doing what we are supposed to do and determine to put our whole heart into what we do, we may experience revival. These provisions of grace for all who know Jesus as Savior and Lord are not just responsibilities, but holy and blessed privileges! We have a personal audience with Almighty God and should be filled with joy for, and in, His Presence. When our minds are enlightened to grasp the reality of the Living Word, our hearts should be filled with praise and thanksgiving. In Jeremiah 29:13, God tells us that: “And ye shall seek Me, and find (Me), when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Let’s seek to be fully engaged with our Savior as “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting” by Jean Sophia Pigott shows us that we can be: “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, as Thy beauty fills my soul, for by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole. O how great Thy loving kindness, vaster, broader than the sea! O, how marvelous Thy goodness lavished all on me! Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is Thine, know Thy certainty of promise and have made it mine. Ever lift Thy face upon me as I work and wait for Thee; resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee. Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face, keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace. Jesus, I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.” Selah! Be vigilant in refusing to let the reality be lost in the routine.    Ron

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