Today’s verse speaks of who truly honors God – “whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (NASB). The Message translation calls this living the “praising life.” The Bible says that we were created to glorify God (see Isaiah 43:7). Psalm 50:23 makes it clear that we are living out our purpose to glorify God when we live “in the gratitude of grace.” The real question is how well are we bringing God glory with our gratitude of grace?
If we are honest about this question, if we are honest about the thanksgiving we have lived out today, it is likely the thankfulness is not very evident. We spend so much of our time thinking we have earned what we have, that we are entitled to certain things. We overlook our daily blessings because we do not spend time considering life without them. When something good comes our way, our initial response usually isn’t to thank God for provision, for blessings, for protection, etc. Though God is alive and active, and very much moving in the world today, we oftentimes allow God to be boxed up, whereas we only need interact or thank Him when we have a grand request. Everything is separate. Everything else we can handle in our own strength.
Without our life lived in the gratitude of grace, our testimony of the Gospel is silenced. If we do not spend time praising Him, pointing to Him, honoring Him, etc., what does everyone see? When we aren’t pointing to God, our fingers are always pointing elsewhere—to ourselves, to others, etc.
How can we truly live in the gratitude of grace? We can devote more time listing reasons we are thankful, spending each day trying to find more reasons God deserves all praise and glory. We can receive the Gospel daily to remind us of the free gift of God’s grace. We can pour out that freshly received grace to others as we go about our day. We can pause to breathe in God’s grace and meditate on His goodness. What are you thankful for today?
“The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace, always choosing to walk with me in what is right. This is the sacrifice I desire from you. If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you.” – Psalm 50:23 [TPT]
The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.
Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.
Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?
Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]
The Psalmist declares hate for every false way of life. Other translations translate this as hating the wrong path or false propaganda. The Hebrew word “sheqer” is used here, meaning falsehood or deception. The complete verse says that the commandments of God result in understanding. When we have this understanding, the result is then hatred towards deception and falsehood.
We can better understand life and move forward living for Jesus by following the commandments of God. As we do this, we grow in our understanding and in our faith. In time, we begin to detest that which is false. God reveals to us His Truth. We aim to live by His Truth. Anything apart from that is no longer acceptable as our eyes are opened.
There are still people today who live the false way of life. Some of these people have always been blind to the Truth, while others have traded the Truth for a lie (see Romans 1:25). Today, pray that God would reveal to you hidden things to grow your understanding. Take some time to pray for those who are still on the wrong path, that eyes may be opened to the deception. Thank God for His commandments who are just, perfect, and true.
“Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.” – Psalm 119:104 [NLT]
We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.
Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).
“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]
What controls you? That’s a good question and one that needs to be asked. Some will say that nothing controls them. They control themselves. But if that is the case, there is something within the person that is controlling them. Each of us are controlled.
In Romans 8, we read about those who are controlled by a sinful nature and those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Here we are given the two possibilities. If you are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, then you are controlled by your sinful nature. Therefore, there is such a struggle with life. If you are not being controlled by the Holy Spirit, your sinful nature controls you and this leads to death.
Today, consider what controls you. Are you controlled by your sinful nature or by the Holy Spirit? If you are controlled by the Spirit, this will lead to life and peace. If you allow the Spirit to guide you and to move freely within you, this will result in a life and peace that does not change with circumstances. This is the life only God can provide, the peace only God can give. If this is not where you are at in life, you are not Spirit-controlled.
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-6 [NLT]
After weeks of not having a light at the top of the stairwell, we finally replaced the light bulbs. It took so long to remember to buy the right light bulbs, and then to get the time when we could be together to take on the cringeworthy task of switching out bulbs at the top of the stairs. We wait until all three bulbs are out before we attempt the feat. I still do not understand why the light couldn’t be closer to the far side of the landing, instead of right at the edge of the stairs. We need Spiderman to simplify the task.
The Bible tells us that God is light. Jesus even says that He is the “light of the world.” When we look around the world during the daytime, though we can see all around us without the need of a flashlight, it is still filled with darkness. You see the world is filled with the darkness of the grave. God’s Word tells us that the wages of sin is death. We are all dead in the grave without Jesus. He is the One Who provides the light that leads to life—life-giving light. All around us, there is sin, brokenness, and chaos.
The world is a dark place but we are meant to live in it right now. God wants us to be light-bearers who point to Jesus. The illumination that shines comes from the presence of God. You see the presence of God is within us—the Holy Spirit. As we walk through this dark world, we can shine a light and share the Good News with those who are still in the dark. We can lead others to know the One Who is Light. Remember, it is His light that leads to life. Share the Life-Giving Light. Share Jesus.
“For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.” – Psalm 56:13 [NLT]
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” – John 8:12 [NLT]
Paul reminds Timothy to keep a close watch on himself—to watch his life and his teaching closely. In doing this, in staying true, in persevering, Paul says, “you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV).
We also need to keep a close watch on our life and our teaching. Our teaching should be something seen as we live our life. This means we should not teach one thing and then live another way. This means what we speak and teach to others, should be evident when we are going through the motions each day, when we are not simply intentionally sharing God’s truth to someone. The way we live our life each day teaches much more to observers than the words we speak.
Paul warns Timothy here to keep a close watch. The big issue is when we always teach and speak one way, but our life shows no evidence of living out the same teaching. Paul reminds us that this is of great importance. This is not only about our salvation, but the salvation of others. Why? If your teaching aligns with your life, people will want to listen and the seed may be planted for God to grow. If your teaching and life are very different, people will label you a hypocrite and close their ears to anything you say. We all fall short. We all have our good moments and our bad moments. There will be times when we do not live up to our teaching. No one is perfect. Even so, remember Paul’s warning. Keep a close watch.
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” – 1 Timothy 4:16 [NLT]
In John 5, we read about the healing at the pool. There was a man that was there for 38 years in need of healing. He said he never had any help to get into the healing pool to receive healing. Jesus commands Him to get up, to carry his mat, and to walk. The man was at once is healed and he rose to his feet and walked.
Later we read that Jesus and the healed man meet up again at the Temple. This time, Jesus notes that the man is well, followed by a command. He tells the man to “sin no more.” Even though the man was healed, it didn’t mean he could continue along on a path that was opposite what God intended.
At the end of the day, it is important for us to realize that anytime we sin, we are going again God. As we walk closer to God, as we receive healing and restoration, we should always keep our eyes fixed on Him. Sometimes when we get a bit of healing in an area we wanted badly to change, we revert back to old ways. God wants to continue to make you a new person—to continue to restore every part of you and grow you into the person you are meant to be in life. It is by your continual obedience that this will be fulfilled.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ …Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” – John 5:8, 14 [ESV]
Whenever I leave the house, I usually grab a pair of my Chucks from the laundry room and head out. There are moments when I am taking a walk and realize that my shoestrings are loose because I didn’t take enough time getting ready. In a pair of Converse, it is my opinion that you can notice loose shoestrings easier. I could easily bend over and tighten the laces; however, I usually continue walking, hoping that the laces will hold out until the walk is finished. Many times, I find myself having to do more than tighten the laces, but retie my shoes because holding out doesn’t work. This takes longer, but I continue with this bad habit every time I feel the laces are loose.
In life, we often see “loose shoestrings” but we let them go. We turn a blind eye. We think it won’t get any worse. We plan to take care of it later. We don’t take the steps we know we should take to get everything resolved. We neglect the shoestrings. We let them come undone and drag on the ground. Sadly, we typically only need to take a few small steps to prevent or resolve the issue.
I am not talking about loose shoestrings alone. Consider the chaos that unfolds in life. Your sinful habits. Your unbalanced schedules. Your explosive relationships. Your lack of boundaries. Your hurtful words. Your life many times is the loose shoestring. But instead of veering back on the narrow path and correcting the issues, we put on Band-Aids. We cover up the issue. We pretend it is not there. Whenever we try to pretend—whenever we try to move forward with the lies and sin and chaos of this world—we are allowing the father of lies to continue to keep hold on us. Instead, bend over to tie your shoes! Grab hold of Truth. Cling to your Father. Allow Him to move in your life and watch what happens!
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.’
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
– Psalm 16:1-6 [ESV]