Ten years ago on Labour Day weekend, the South Edmonton, Alberta, Church of Christ had its first Sunday assembly. After months of planning, and an encouraging send-off by the north-side congregation, all went smoothly. I was their preacher and it was a privilege to give the first sermon there. We carried many supplies into the rented hall, sat on borrowed chairs, used a troublesome PA system, and had Sunday school classes in hallways and corners. But everyone was grateful for what we had. It was a day of great joy and thankfulness.
Christians are to be known as a people full of thankfulness. We’re told in Ephesians 5:20 to be “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” We are to express it to God through Jesus, for it was Jesus who died and rose for us and gave us lives of hope.
There are days when things seem very dark and life has little joy. Stresses can multiply and make us feel like we are carrying an impossible load. Some days seem to be full of things broken, appliances that refuse to work, and unexpected bills that make us throw up our hands in frustration. How can we be grateful “for all things” on days like that?! We can if we remember all the things that aren’t broken and continue to work well. We can be thankful when we think of the promises of God, that He will “never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb.13:5).
Nobody has life perfect. Every single human being alive today (7.4 billion of us) has some troubles. When we see the good things God does for us, we can forego grumbling and “give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God.”
– Tim Johnson
It is interesting that a person who suffered imprisonment, flogging, shipwreck, danger, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and exposure to death should say to Christians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” (Phil.4:4)
The fact of the matter is that the command to rejoice is given to all God’s children. It is one of the characteristics of the true believer’s life. Those who belong to Jesus are marked with joy. It is one of the Christian trademarks.
However, not once does the scripture tell us to give thanks FOR all circumstances. Rather, we are to rejoice or give thanks IN all circumstances. For instance, we don’t rejoice for death or pain or divorce or cancer. In what way then are we to rejoice?
Our rejoicing is to be “in the Lord.” What does that mean? A glance at the Book of Philippians says we are to rejoice in the work of redemption accomplished on our behalf. Jesus humbled himself and became a servant and was obedient unto death, thereby assuring our salvation.
Paul’s conclusion in the book is that the circumstances of one’s life do not take away the joy that the child of God experiences in Christ Jesus. Come what may, the Christian’s reason to rejoice is not altered. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”
– David Johnson
For thousands of years men have spent huge amounts of time and money building cathedrals, shrines and monuments to God. Notre Dame in Paris took 185 years to construct, a building that has stood complete for over 600 years. And what is the motivation for such expensive structures? Often it is to capture the attention of God.
After Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, returning captives wanted to build an even grander structure to somehow secure God’s blessings. They were disappointed when the replacement seemed so small (Haggai 2:3). Through prophesy, God stated in Isaiah 66:1-2 that they had it all wrong. “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,’ declares the Lord. ‘But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”’
Man doesn’t have to build a world monument to get God’s attention. The Lord will listen to people who have humility before Him, who willingly admit their shame and regret for their failures, and who believe His word with all their heart.
This should comfort us, for it is something we can all do. But it should also caution us, to make sure our hearts are healthy. Are you just building monuments with your life, or are you offering God your heart? It’s an important question to ask yourself on this first Sunday of 2016.
Dr. Edwin Slessor said, “The greatest miracle of the Bible is its chemical accuracy.” The Book of Genesis says, “The Lord formed man of the dust of the earth.” (Gen.2:7) This statement is literally true.
In the general area where the beginning of civilization is thought to have taken place, a soil sample consists of 16 different chemical elements. All these are found in the body of man. How could the writers Moses, Job and David have known this? Yet before the science of chemistry was born this truth was declared as a fact. Christians have no difficulty believing these Bible writers were inspired by God. Continue reading
It’s graduation season. Soon we’ll see limousines cruising the streets, and kids dressed in suits and gowns getting their pictures taken in the park. In addition to high school ceremonies, elementary and middle schools are graduating kids into the next levels of education. I even have a grandson who “graduated” from kindergarten! Continue reading