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So Much To Be Thankful For

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Seeing that Thanksgiving will soon be here and (hopefully)the thought of thankfulness is on a lot of people’s minds, I wanted to offer this post as a way of expressing my gratitude for several things.

First and foremost I am thankful to know Jesus Christ as my Savior.In my life,this is the starting point of every good thing that has come my way.Everything I have or enjoy is because of His provision.No one ever needs to tell me that I am nothing without Him,I know this to be true.

The story of how God interrupted my life as I traveled my own Damascus Road is one that most would find hard to believe.To say I was headed for Hell would be a gross understatement,and the power of God’s Love,Forgiveness, and Grace makes my story all the more remarkable.Suffice it to say that to whom much is forgiven…

I am also thankful that God has blessed me with a loving and caring wife.When I listen to other men tell their “less than flattering” stories about their wives it only increases the gratitude that I have for my wife.While the Lord may indeed be my Rock,she is my soulmate and the greatest source of encouragement a man could have.

I cannot remember a day that she hasn’t said something to me of encouragement,hope,and love.She prays for me without ceasing,both for physical healing and also that I would continue to seek the Lord’s direction for our family.She is strong in her convictions and will not be swayed by popular opinion,be it a spiritual matter or otherwise.In this we are identical.

She is a praying wife and mother yet she is also very sensitive to the needs of others.She loves the elderly and I lover her heart for them.Like me,she roots for the underdog and those who society disregards.She loves deeply,and also hurts deeply.

I am thankful to have a great job,material blessings,and pretty much anything I need in this life.I have made many,many acquaintances through the years that I have been involved with in ministry as well as working at a secular job.My friends can be counted on but a few fingers (what does that word really mean anyway?),yet I consider myself highly blessed.

In spite of how I may feel however, the scriptures remind us that there would come a time when people would generally be “unthankful”and it’s pretty safe to say that we are living in such a time.While many wonder why or how things are so out of control in our world today,anyone can find the answers to their questions in God’s word.Which makes me want to say “wow! this Bible stuff that was written so long ago is amazingly accurate isn’t it?”. But that’s for another time.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”  2nd Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV

The awesome thing is that God has made a way that we do not have to be like those described by Paul in his second letter to Timothy.We can choose a different path,one filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for what He has done in our lives.

It really is that simple.God has set before us a door that He invites us to walk through.On the other side is a peace and contentment not found in the world we have created for ourselves.

Won’t you join me this Thanksgiving? Be thankful to God for His many blessings.

Ron

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But what will you do in the end?

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As I read the papers,online news sources,TV news,etc…it is obvious that something is horribly wrong in America.

Now,before you say well duh,there are a lot of things wrong in America right now, let me explain.

There was a time in America when we were known around the world as the most prosperous nation on earth.We gave more to the world because we had more than any other country to give.We have a long standing record of feeding the world with the bounty from our fields and farms.I doubt that a more generous nation has existed.

We helped win world wars and turn back the tide of those who sought to conquer the world.The blood of our soldiers has been spilled all across this globe because of our willingness to support those who desired a better life than what they had.

Our manufacturing might revolutionized the industrial world and our wealth supported countless economies the world over.

But something has changed. Tens of millions of our own people are now dependent upon help to feed their families every month,yet the news reminds us that more jobs are being created than ever before.If that is true,then why can’t we feed ourselves? And if we are creating more jobs than ever before why isn’t the standard of living being increased? Something is wrong!

Listen,I’m no economist, and I’m about as far from being a politician as a man could be,but even I can see that something is terribly wrong in America!

Are we doing something wrong? Are we not doing enough? Is the answer more social programs? If so,who will pay for them? And where is the church in all of this? Why does it seem that in such a time as this the church is largely silent?

Do you attend or have membership in a church? If you do,would you describe your church as one that has a servant’s heart?

Is your church burdened with the needs of the downtrodden and poor of your community? Does your church feed the hungry? Does it clothe little children who otherwise would have next to nothing?

Is your church afraid to roll up it’s sleeves and get it’s hands dirty with the hard work of the ministry?

If yours is a church that is actively involved in the ministry and is truly making a difference in your community,you must count your blessings and give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of being a part of a real community of believers.

I say that because I see America’s greatest problem as a spiritual problem. I see America as having abandoned it’s Creator and is now hopelessly burdened with the impossible task of raising it’s self up from the pit of iniquity it has fallen in to.

And lest you think this is a new thing,or that somehow our actions have taken God by surprise,read along with me in the book of Jeremiah,chapter five. Please read this carefully and see if you don’t agree that the similarities between ancient Israel and America are striking.

22 Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.

23 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed.

24 They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”

25 Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you.

26 ‘For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men.

27 As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich.

28 They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend.

29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

30 “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land:

31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?               Jer. 5:22-31   NKJV   

I find it astounding that God declares that He withholds even the rain because of the iniquities of the people. How can we honestly say that this is not our present condition today? And what’s even more amazing is that for all of this,the people of God did not repent and change their ways.

For the Lord to say the deeds of His people surpass the deeds of the wicked staggers the imagination! Their houses are full of deceit. Israel has abandoned the God of their fathers and they are paying a price that will destroy them.

God declares that He will punish His people for this abandonment-are we so arrogant as to believe that we will not suffer the same fate?

The prophets,or religious leaders prophesy falsely.The leaders,the shepherds,the pastors,are all ruling by their own imaginations.They have not heard from God! The word they declare is their own word!

Yet worst of all is the declaration that the people love to have it this way! Again,are we any different today?

Do we not love to be told that everything is going to be alright? Do we not shop around until we find the church or pastor who will tickle our ears and tell us pleasant things? Do we not surround ourselves with like minded church folks-after all there must be security in numbers,right? Follow the crowd,they must be right!

What I’m about to say will not be received by most but I would be remiss if I did not say it.

America’s best days are behind it.

It cannot be any other way if we are willing to abandon the God of our blessings.We cannot have His blessings if as a nation we reject Him. It doesn’t work that way. Never has,never will.

God is no respecter of persons. If He rejected His firstborn because of their disobedience,then He will surely reject all who follow the same path.How could a just God do otherwise?

I hear the cries of nationalism that say God is for America,not against it.

I hear those who maintain that God will never turn His back on America.

My response to that is to say that you are absolutely correct:God will never turn His back on America. He doesn’t have to.

We turned our back on Him.

And what will we do in the end?