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!

The Quest – Day 40!!! – FB Podcast Episode 100!!!

This is the devotional for Saturday, November 4, 2006 which is the 40th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery! Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Frank Moore’s excellent book, The Power To Be Free. Thank you for sharing these 40 Days of Discovery with us! If you have found this journey to be helpful, please let us know!

 

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.

Today’s podcast marks the 100th episode of the FaithBuilders’ podcast! Thanks for helping our podcast site at buildyourfaith.net close in on 10,000 hits!

 

Day 40 – A Lifestyle of Service

 

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a life of service.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

Your attention on this 40-day quest has focused primarily on a personal spiritual journey and your involvement in the community of faith. We’ve talked about the need to consecrate everything to God and receive the gift of His sanctification. However, the quest cannot be complete until we focus attention away from ourselves and onto others and their needs. Serving others is as vital to spiritual growth as praying or reading your Bible.

In the chapter of our Scripture focus for today, Paul teaches a key principle of service and ministry. Even in the midst of very difficult circumstances, we can experience the blessing and grace of God to the point that we wouldn’t want life to be any other way. Now to be sure, God is not the primary giver of the difficulties; Satan gets that credit. However, God finds ways to bless Paul and us in spite of Satan’s best efforts to defeat us.

Paul also teaches us one of the key mysteries of service and ministry here: God’s power sometimes works best in our lives at the point of our greatest weakness. We may prefer not to have the weakness, but somehow God’s light may shine brightest through it. So why does Paul endure the weaknesses and hardships in serving others? For the sake of Christ!

I’ve waited 40 days to say this. Are you ready? The life you long for is not about you! It’s about Christ and His example. The aim and focus is on others and the ways you can serve them in His name. It’s not about finding yourself; it’s about losing yourself. It’s not about becoming strong; it’s about coming to terms with your own weakness and finding your strength in Him. It’s not about what you become; it’s about what He becomes through you.

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a reflected life. You are like the moon. The moon is not a source of light. It only reflects the sun’s light. In like manner, as you spend quality time with the Spirit of Christ, you reflect His life through yours. Over time, Christ is formed in you (Colossians 1:27).

So does your quest for discovering life in the Spirit of Christ end today? No, quite the contrary! It’s only the beginning!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by living a life of service.

The Quest – Day 18

This is the devotional for Friday, October 13, 2006 which is the 18th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 18 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

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 18 – Love’s Not Always Easy

It’s not always easy to love; God can show us the way.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

Loving God and others sounds manageable as we begin our Christian walk. It gets a little tough, however, as we begin to interact with people who are a bit hard to love. We are disappointed to discover that even the saints at church remain fully human. They’re sometimes as hard to love as sinners in the world. What’s that all about?

Even saints continue to live with their human natures; they still must use free will wisely every day. They face temptation. They have blind spots and prejudices. They lack insight and understanding about certain areas of life. They have unique personalities. They continue to deal with areas of immaturity. They still have human frailties and weaknesses. In no way do these realities diminish the grace and mercy of God at work in the believers’ lives. Nor do they depreciate God’s plan of salvation in our lives or His work among us. But if we fail to realize that we are still all human, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

But then one look in the mirror reminds us of our own imperfections. We realize that God cuts each of us a great deal of slack with His grace and mercy. We are called to imitate Him. As we become more like Him, we extend to others the same grace and mercy we received from God.

While we do not alleviate ourselves of the responsibility to grow in areas of weakness and immaturity, we are reminded that we are called to treat others with the same compassion and forgiveness God has showered upon us.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by letting God teach you how to love others.


40 Days of Purpose – Day 11

This is the devotional for Wednesday, May 10, 2006 which is Day 11 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 chapter 11 with us today.

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

Day 11 – Becoming Best Friends with God

God wants to be your best friend!

Jesus says, “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you … and here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me.” John 15:12-14 NLT

Your relationship to God has many different aspects: God is your Creator and Maker, Lord and Master, Judge, Redeemer, Father, Savior, and much more. But the most shocking truth is this: Almighty God yearns to be your Friend!

Friendship with God is possible only because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. The old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” but actually, God invites us to enjoy friendship and fellowship with all three persons of the Trinity: our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)

The word for friend in this verse does not mean a just casual acquaintance but a close, trusted relationship. The same word is used to refer to the best man at a wedding and a king’s inner circle of intimate, trusted friends. In royal courts, servants must keep their distance from the king, but the inner circle of trusted friends enjoys close contact, direct access, and confidential information. Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure.

Thank you for visiting FaithBuilders Blog 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 becoming best friends with God