I thought I’d open this recharge by highlighting some of the blessings you’ve already enjoyed today. First, you woke up this morning. Then, no one helped you get out of the bed; you sat up, stood up, and walked without assistance. If you’re at work, then you drove safely on dangerous highways and roads. These are not just blessings; they’re tangible evidence that HE is good!
Let’s go a little further. If you woke up this morning, then you probably slept with a roof over your head. If you drove to work, then that means you have a car (or access to one). If you drove your car, then you had money for gas and the monthly payment (if you still owe on it). I won’t even mention the blessings we don’t recognize – brain, heart, lungs, and other organs functioning properly. And these are just the blessings you’ve enjoyed this morning – wow, what a list! No wonder the author of Psalm 106 said, “Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise HIM enough?”
It may be impossible to list all the blessings we receive from GOD, but we sure can thank HIM. So as you spend time with family and friends this week, don’t forget to give thanks to the LORD. HE is good and absolutely deserving of our gratitude!
An unfortunate result of the American presidential election is the return of primitive ideology. Some people have used an epic event in American history as a platform for racially insensitive propaganda and remarks. Others have used their freedom of speech to retaliate and silence such heinous comments. It seems we’re more divided than ever – races, classes, political affiliations, and even church denominations at odds with each other. Though we’ve made progress, we’re far from Martin Luther King Jr’s dream: different people joining hands together in love and unity.
In a world where it’s so easy to disagree, I’m glad CHRIST is our spiritual Facebook. HE brings groups together, who otherwise would be at odds. In this text, Paul notes that racial differences are eliminated in CHRIST. We all need HIM as our SAVIOR, and HE accepts anyone who calls on HIM. Better, once we are HIS, our differences become invisible. We lose our polarizing identities in pursuit of HIS!
It’s amazing what a little blood can do! CHRIST’S blood cleanses everyone from sin, and it makes us blood brothers and sisters! So when GOD looks at us, it’s no longer Jew, Gentile, African-American, or Caucasian. Instead, we all look like HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST!
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of CHRIST. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one SPIRIT, and we all share the same SPIRIT (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, New Living Translation).
I’m not sure if you’re a NFL fan, but this season has been rough for the Detroit Lions. Since the season began, the Lions have recorded loss after loss. They’re currently 0-11 and playing so terrible that sports anchors are cheering for them to win. And it doesn’t look like victory will come anytime soon. Their next game is Thursday, versus the Tennessee Titans, who currently have the best record in the NFL.
Unlike the Detroit Lions, Christians are accustomed to victory. While reflecting upon recent missionary expeditions, Paul wrote, “Now thanks be unto GOD, which always causeth us to triumph in CHRIST …” (2 Corinthians 2:14, King James Version). Notice that Paul said he always triumphed through CHRIST. Always even includes his less glamorous moments. No wonder Paul also wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love GOD, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose” (Romans 8:28, King James Version).
I’m glad to serve a GOD who always gives us victory. Even when Satan delivers a deathly blow, GOD resuscitates our spirits. Thank GOD for our triumphant KING, JESUS CHRIST, WHO let’s us share in the victory procession!
Yesterday, I realize how quickly our lives can change. I was driving to work, and I briefly glanced away from the road ahead. Before I knew it, I had rear-ended the car in front of me. My car was a wreck – the front bumper and hood were significantly damaged, and fluids were leaking from the vehicle. But I, and the other driver, walked away from it, without assistance.
I thought about why I survived and came up with a few good reasons:
- The car’s engineering and frame were solid and shock absorbing.
- The airbag deployed in a timely fashion.
- The seat belt restrained me properly.
After I sorted through these reasons, I settled on this one: “For the angel of the LORD is a guard; HE surrounds and defends all who fear HIM” (Psalm 34:7, New Living Translation). GOD protected me, even when I couldn’t detect HIS presence!
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego entered the fiery furnace, the fourth “man” showed up unannounced. Likewise, GOD dispatches HIS protection, even when we’re unaware of HIS presence. Thank GOD for HIS life-saving protection. Like Nationwide, HE’S on our side!
Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers. He was a bit grumpy because some of our co-workers had mistreated him. As he shared his discontent, I said, “Don’t let one bad moment ruin an entire day. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I guess I caught him off guard, for he replied, “That’s why I hate people like you. You’re always so optimistic.” 🙂 I said, “I have every reason to have hope.” CHRIST lives in me, and for some reason, I can’t succumb to despair or disappointment.
CHRIST gives us hope to climb out of the pits in life. The hope HE provides fuels testimonies like, “My dilemma is not my destiny; I will come out of this!” This hope compels us to trust HIM as our provider, even though our economy is unstable. This hope helps us welcome adversity, for we know it will make us better. This hope permeates Paul’s infamous words: “… I can do everything through CHRIST, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, New Living Translation).
I’m glad that CHRIST gives us strength (hope) to make mole hills out of mountains, opportunities of our obstacles. When HE rose from the grave, GOD gave HIM authority over all things; therefore, nothing is impossible for our GOD! Thank GOD for the hope we have in CHRIST!
Have you ever made a mistake? I have, plenty of them, to be precise. One of the challenges that accompany our mistakes is moving beyond them. People can make it hard to leave our mistakes in the past. Some people, commonly known as gossipers, love to let everyone know what you’ve done. Worse, some people find “convenient” times to dig up your skeletons, even after you’ve received forgiveness.
The text cited above highlights the ferocity of people and the gentleness of CHRIST. Some church people – scribes and Pharisees, to be exact – caught a woman committing adultery. Rather than reprimand her mistake privately, they brought her before JESUS and a crowd of worshippers, hoping to humiliate her. But JESUS didn’t co-sign their antics. Instead, HE challenged them to look within: “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (John 8:7, New Living Translation)! And when the accusers left, HE didn’t further her embarrassment. HE gently guided her back on the right path: “… Go and sin no more” (John 8:11, New Living Translation).
I’m thankful that CHRIST isn’t like us. When we confide in HIM, HE forgives us; HE never publishes our darkest secrets. Thank GOD; HE’S such a gentle forgiver.
But if we confess our sins to HIM, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9, New Living Translation).
America has been nicknamed “The Land of Opportunity,” and many people migrate here for that reason. But Americans who have made mistakes might label this country “The Land of Restrictions,” for their opportunities are limited. For example, convicted felons lose their right to vote, and after they complete their sentences, potential employers will review their application for employment skeptically. Or consider the list of fallen celebrities – Richard Nixon, Jesse Jackson, OJ Simpson, Michael Vick, Don Imus, and Martha Stewart – fan favorites one minute, most hated the next. Some people will never forgive them for their mistakes. It’s sad, but glaringly true: one mistake can ruin you permanently.
Aren’t you glad that GOD isn’t fickle like people? When we mess up, HE’S still faithful: “The faithful love of the LORD never ends!” Instead of abandoning us, HE gives us another day, another opportunity to fulfill our purpose. No wonder Jeremiah observed, “HIS mercies begin afresh each morning.” And notice that mercies is plural! In other words, GOD awards us numerous opportunities to get it right!
We can thank GOD for a lot of things, but we should thank HIM for one thing – HIS mercy. Every day you live is another mercy and a sign that HE hasn’t lost faith in you. HIS mercies never cease; thank GOD for numerous chances!