Giving Thanks

Many families will gather around a table filled with food this Thanksgiving, and will pause to give thanks before they begin eating.  Did you know that apparently Jesus made a habit of giving thanks to the Father before a meal?  Several times the New Testament records instances Jesus giving thanks before a meal:  Matthew 14:19, 15:36, 26:26-27 and parallel passages in the other Gospels.  Also, it is recorded that the Apostle Paul offered thanks before a meal as well (Acts 27:35).

Why is this tradition of giving thanks to God for our food important for us to continue?  Let me suggest some reasons:

1) Giving thanks reminds us that every good thing comes from God (James 1:17).

2) It reminds us that we need more than physical food to live:  we are kept alive by God’s Word (Matthew 4:4).

3) We need to be reminded to follow Jesus in everything we say & do (1 Corinthians 11:1).

4) We cannot reach personal & spiritual maturity without developing the attribute of thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).

5) Actively giving thanks defeats the temptation to complain (Philippians 2:14).

So as you gather with others for a Thanksgiving meal, remember that you are joining in a soul-shaping tradition with other Christians and with Christ Himself…and be thankful!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 14

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Saturday, May 13, 2006 which is Day 14 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 14 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 14 – When God Seems Distant

God is real, no matter how you feel!

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” Job 19:25-27 NLT

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life—when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant. How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears?

You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” Job 1:20-21 (NIV)

And remember what God has already done for you. Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything. He died so you could live forever. That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise.

Let’s review our verse of the week: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 NIV

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by trusting God even when you can’t sense His presence.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 6

This is the devotional for Friday, May 5, 2006 which is Day 6 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read daily one of the 40 chapter of the book along with us. We are scheduled to read Chapter 6 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 6 – LIFE IS A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT

Life on earth is a temporary assignment!

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.” Psalm 39:4 (NLT)

To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths:

– First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief.

– Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.

In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life—longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their promised reward in eternity.

When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home—you’ll go home.

Our memory verse for this week is Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Soul Food

What’s on your menu today? What do you do when you’re hungry? Are you spiritually hungry? What should you do to prevent spiritual starvation? Pastor Bill talks about Jesus’ soul food in today’s podcast.