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Thanking God for What Wasn't

Often,  we find ourselves thankful for God's outward blessings in our lives.  Good things like financial boons, a new car, or relief from a burdensome debt can create a euphoria of thankfulness in our lives that we can and should express openly.  However, what about the things that never happened?  I'm thinking of our past, perhaps long ago pasts that never took place or happened the way we might have wanted at the time?  Have you ever stopped and thanked God that He orchestrated the events in your life the way He did even though you didn't get what you wanted at the time?  You should.

In I Thess 5:18 Paul the apostle commanded us to:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

 I can give you a list longer than my arm of things that I pursued that never took place before I became a Christian.  As I look back I can see from my vantage point today that God spared me from some of the worst possible decisions I could have ever made.

Voices from the Grave

Most of us, if we have been alive for any length of time, have had to experience the loss of those we love to death.  Whether it’s a husband, wife, mother, father, sibling or even those for whom we cared deeply, we have all known the loss of someone special.  Many of us, including me, have experienced these losses at a very young age.  These can be very difficult.  Perhaps we feel that we didn't get enough time with them or that we are waiting for our own death so that we can join them.  The hope is that we will have all the time in the world at that point to catch up and really enjoy them.

I have an acquaintance who holds to his father's religious views which unfortunately are not Christian.  My friend believes that if he breaks his religious tradition to become a believer in Christ that his father will never forgive him.  The thought of hurting his father's feelings, even though his father has been long deceased, keeps him from really considering Christ's claims for …

The Jew and Isaiah 53

There are over three hundred prophetical references to the Messiah in the Old Testament.  They are all powerful reminders that an omniscient God has not just sent a Savior into our world but that this Savior was foretold hundreds of years prior to his coming.  One of the classic examples of clear prophetic testimony regarding the coming Savior is found in Isaiah 53.  Living 750 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus from a virgin in 7:14.  In 9:6 he laid out His true identity as God who is the everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

However the most shocking and deeply perceptive prophecy of Isaiah is found in Isaiah 53.  Here the prophet lays out in meticulous detail for the Jewish reader the reason the Messiah came into our world.  Herein is a personal identification of the man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief.  Then as the prophet identifies the coming Savior, Isaiah lays out the redemptive plan for His coming into our broken world to the peo…

The Determining Factor

One of the easiest things a Christian believer can do is to lose sight of what is important.  Why?  Probably because it’s our human tendancy, like water to follow a path of least resistance.  We know that as followers of Jesus Christ we are going to be judged one day as to our faithfulness in service.  But somehow, we are easily distracted and easily moved away from our sense of duty.

I remember as a young boy being sent out into our large yard on the farm to clip grass along the buildings and sidewalk.  I would be out there clipping along until I saw a big grasshopper jumping around me or a butterfly that appeared catchable, and I was on to better things!  At least that’s what I thought, until my parents would come out to check on my progress.  I was always convinced in my own mind that my side interests were just as important or at least more interesting than the job I was given to do.  Unfortunately, they weren't, and I came to realize this when inspection time came. Inspectio…

Why This World and not Some Other?

Many of us at one time or another have asked the question, "Why did God create the world the way He did?”  In other words, people really want to know why evil, war, murder, genocide, etc., exist in the first place.  This is a very good question and has to be taken seriously if we are to have a reasonable explanation for existence as we know it.  We have to have an understanding of what could have been as well as what actually is.  I believe that there are essentially four different scenarios for what kind of world we could live in, however, only one of them can be actually true.  Apologist Ravi Zacharias provides these same explanations in one of his own lectures on creation and the existence of evil.  I will provide them here.

The first of the four possibilities is that God could have created nothing at all.  In that case God could have eternally existed as infinite God without having created anything as we know it in the physical world.

Secondly, God could have created a world …

Be Faithful: Honoring Warren Wiersbe

In whatever area we desire success, the most important key in reaching it is faithfulness.  It doesn't matter what it is or how long it takes, faithfulnessis the key to a successful life.  Edison was known to say that of all of his accumulated genius only 1% was inspiration and 99% was perspiration!  So whether it's light bulbs, phonographs, or a difficult path of life, you can mark it down, being faithful is the most important component of anyone's success.  But there is one major key within faithfulness which is emphasized in the last sentence of Paul's reminder.  Don't miss it!

And let us not grow weary in doing good,  for in due season we will reap,  if we do not give up.   (Gal 6:9)

We are constantly reminded of those around us who have or had soaring gifts of talent and inherent powers that make us sometimes feel inadaquate and weak.  But many times, those same people end up being like shooting stars or meteors that race across the sky and are gone before we k…

How to Slowly Read the Psalms in One Month

Whereever GBTF travels to teach classes around the world, one of our joys is to share practical tools with the pastors and church leaders we encounter.  Most of them have not had the training they desire for ministry and yet in many case lead significant churches in their local areas.  One of the practical tools  the foundation shares with them is how to read the Psalms.  The book of Psalms is in the poetry section of the OT and is a great storehouse of wisdom for everyday living.

The Psalms are some of the most experiencially rich literary sources in the OT.  The Psalms or Songs were written by everyday people who had something important to say about their life situation or a parrticular event or trial through which God had brought them.  The Psalms are varied and were often written by individuals who recorded not only their emotions but critical life lessons they had acquired in the midst of their experiences.

One of the reasons people don't read more of the Psalms than they do …