Saturday, November 5, 2011

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart!

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart!

Eph. 5:15  ¶ So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving day is soon approaching here in the USA. Like most in my nation, my thoughts are turning to seasonal images of family gatherings, great feasts, and an expression of gratitude for all we have.  Yet there are many-- so very many across the world-- who have so much less.  But more and less are relative concepts. The passage of God's Word in my mind just now, however redirects me from thoughts of quantity or quality of my life style to the quality of God's life being lived out in mine. I see that my expressions of thanks are to be given TO God.

Next, I see that these expressions are to be given THROUGH or IN THE NAME OF our Savior, Jesus Christ. These statements of gratitude are to be expressed recognizing that the greatest of all we have received was given because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on our behalf.  Our gratitude is to be expressed in Christ's name, not in our own.

Lastly, I see that these expressions are to be given FOR EVERYTHING.  Are we to thank God for everything-- even the challenges and difficulties of life?  Yes, everything!  Because through the challenges and difficulties we face, we learn to expand our trust in God. We learn to stop trusting in our own abilities and resources and discover how much deeper and wider are the matchless resources of God-- far bigger than we previously imagined! So as you may be lead to express gratitude, whether or not you are in a national holiday time, I encourage you to focus year-around on giving thanks to God, through Jesus Christ for everything in your life today and for all that God has in store for you!
Your servant,
Rev. Daniel C. Elliott, Ed.D.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Faithful Ones, Whose Souls will be Saved

Heb. 10:31-39 NLT  
   31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 
   32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. 
   35  So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 
   37 “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.  38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.  But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” 
   39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

A powerful passage like this should be read prayerfully and repeatedly to seek God's insights. With those insights we can life the Life of Christ more effectively. The writer had earlier outlined how God's chosen Hebrew people, even after repeated miracles, yet rejected His supremacy in their daily decisions. And they paid a terrible price for their self-will. Their impatience came at great cost.

What God has done for the rest of humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ makes the old testament miracles pale by comparison. It is a terrible risk to turn one's back to the God of creation when He has reached out to you in unconditional love. For, in the end, the price you pay will be unbearable for eternity. Yet people resist. Even Christians who claim to be Christ-followers neglect to make God's call, God's purposes, and God's plan for living their priority. They resist by holding tightly to their own will and preferences. They fool themselves only for they cannot fool God.

If you are one of "the faithful ones' rejoice. If you know in your heart that you are not faithful, please don't stay in that condition but ask God to change you. He is ready to do it now. Do not be like those who turn away from God. Do not go back to the life you had before you met Christ, it will never do, and you know it. Trust in the Lord.

Your servant in Chirst's love

Friendship With God Restored

Rom. 5:8-11  
 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

How exciting it is to read in scripture that our faith in Christ has restored our 'friendship with God.' You are a friend of God.  You have a friend who is the Creator of everything, everywhere, for all time, and the creator of time itself. The most amazing discoveries of nature, and of science are only sneak peaks into the mind of our Supreme Friend. With God as our Friend we need not worry about other friends. We need only to be the Friend to others that God is to us. Even while you and I were wrapped up in sin and self-- as enemies toward God, He befriended us. He sacrificed on our behalf.  How then should we be toward others, even others who, at the moment, might be acting like an enemy toward us?  Are you ready to rejoice in this "wonderful new relationship with God?" You can, if you wish to.

Your friend in Christ the Lord

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You are controlled by the Spirit if . . .

Rom. 8:1-9 NLT  
   1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 
   5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 
   9  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

We've been talking about our new life in Christ. The Apostles, including Paul, had much to say to the early church and to us too about this wondrous new life-- this new creation. In the previous chapter (you can read it again for context) Paul lamented the fact that, left to our own devices we can never do 'good' we can never do what is totally right and righteous. We want to but are incapable of doing so. It requires a supernatural change of our nature. And that supernatural change comes when we, by faith alone, trust in Christ as our Savior. He already did the work but it is up to us to reach out and receive his gracious gift.

In the Old Testament, it was all about trying harder, waiting until the righteous one would come and abolish sin. He came. He abolished the consequence for sin to those who would be willing to receive Him. When we decline his offer we tie ourselves back into verse 6 of this passage and we let our old nature control our minds. That only leads to eternal death. When we trust in Christ then we are letting the Spirit of God control our minds and that leads us to eternal life, and eternal peace as well. Unless we trust in God's Spirit to control our minds we are choosing to remain under the old nature with the old evil and the old ways.

Verse 9 tells us that for us it can be, it should be, it will be different. Is the Spirit of God living within you? He wants to be. He's willing. Are you willing? If He is not there then you do not belong to God at all, even though you wish you did. It is all a matter of your surrender of the will to His will.  And with that surrender comes limitless joy.
Your servant in Christ's Joy

Monday, May 9, 2011

Your New Life Will Last Forever

1Pet. 1:21-23 NLT 
   21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 
   22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 
   23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

There is so much to draw joy from in these three short verses. They attest to several important truths. The first on is that you and I have arrived at a place where we do, in fact, 'trust in God.' Second, it attests to the truth that having trust in God would not have been possible except for Christ's redeeming work on our behalf and how that has made it possible for us to have trust in God. Third, we see that in our personal lives a heart cleansing has taken place-- cleansing from the guilt of past sins, and cleansing from the bondage to that process of continuing sin. Fourth, we are told that we are able to display the truth of our inner cleansing by allowing ourselves to love other believers as brothers and sisters, with our whole heart, rather than in limited ways. And finally, we learn that all this is possible because of our new birth. This new life we now live is very different from the old one. This new life is eternal. This new life is capable of unconditional lover for others. This new life is capable of enduring sacrifice and persecution even while loving our persecutors. This new life has been given to us by none other than God's Living Word." Focus on your new life in Christ and reflect what He could do through you today as you obey His call.

Your servant in Christ

Friday, May 6, 2011


  • Matt. 7:12  ¶ “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
  • Luke 12:3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
  • 1Cor. 7:17  ¶ Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you.
  • Col. 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 
I've made a short study of some selected 'whatevers' from the New Testament. We use that word a lot today, sometimes an an 'expletive' when we don't like what others have told us to do, and sometimes as an expression of confusion. But God's word uses it more precisely for our understanding. In Matthew 7:12, for example, Jesus advises us that we can do 'whatever' we might wish to others. However the caveat is that it must be what we would wish others to do to us! We need to avoid doing that which we would not like done to us, that was the old Jewish saying. However Jesus went further by saying our action should be proactive. Whether they do well by us or not, we should do well by them. And 'doing well' means that we treat them according to our desired standard for treatment.

Luke recorded Jesus telling us all that there will be no secrets in the Kingdom. Therefore we need to confess and purify our hearts and minds now before our secrets become shouted from rooftops and cause us much embarrassment.

Paul reminds the Corinthians, and us as well, that we who follow Christ in all things are placed where Christ plans for us to be, in order to do what Christ desires for us to accomplish. Therefore, we should apply ourselves with eager enthusiasm, where we are planted. We should not sit around dreaming of being somewhere else, doing something else, but should engage in that which God has placed into our hands to do, with our whole heart, soul mind, and strength, just like we love God.

Similarly, Paul reminds the Colossians that everything we do, every deed, every conversation, every thought, every plan should be done as though God directed it. If we cannot do it in the name and authority of Christ then, perhaps we should reconsider doing it.

What do you think about Whatever?
Your servant in Christ

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From the Beginning to the Present

John 1:10-18 NLT  
   10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 
   14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. 
   15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” 
   16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.  18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

John continued in his first chapter to unpack the very beginning of humanity and the solution for sin-- Jesus Christ, God made flesh, sacrificed, and ascended to His rightful place as eternal King. He who created everything allowed Himself to become subject to the creation and its creatures-- that were fallen into sin. He who was all powerful endured the torment of fallen evil people and loved them nevertheless. Those who believe in Him are re-born into a new life form-- one that can be in unity with the Creator. John makes clear that Jesus is God, and God was in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was empowering Jesus in all that He did.

So, for people today to suggest some other type of deity is beyond what can be tolerated. They are just wrong. Can we accept others as though they are correct when we know they are wrong.  Is it sinful to give credence to the stated false doctrine of another faith by saying or doing things that affirms them in their error? Can our government force us to say that a false deity is God and force us to deny that Jesus is the one and only God? There is tolerance of false information but is should not be accompanied with our affirmation of it for the other. To do that causes us to deliberately lead others astray and to deny the one true God. Regardless what today's anti-Christian political and cultural leaders say, we must never accede to the demands to confess a false God. We must live for God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength every moment of every day of every month of every year that God grants us to walk on this earth and breathe its air.

Your servant in Christ's authority
DreamHost reviews