Being Thankful, Pt. 2

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:20-21

This is Thanksgiving week, and so we are looking at some verses dealing with thankfulness and thanksgiving.  These verses give us some insight on what happens to a person (or a nation) who becomes unthankful.

The end of Romans chapter one is filled with the depravity of man.  It is filled with the things that man without God is capable of and will do, when given the opportunity.  The list given is one of heinous sins and pure evil.  But all of that sin and depravity starts here in verse 21: “…when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.”

When a person knows God and refuses to glorify Him, they become unthankful.  When we start looking at ourselves as the source of the blessings in our lives, we lose our thankfulness to God.  And when we lose our thankfulness, we start to elevate ourselves above God.  And doing that will lead to just about every sin imaginable.

We need to be thankful.  Not being thankful is a sin.  We may not look at it like a “big sin,” but it is a terrible sin that will soon lead to other “worse” sins.  God says at the end of this verse that “their foolish heart was darkened.”  That will be our fate if we refuse to be thankful for what the Lord has given us, and none of us want that!

Being Thankful, Pt. 1

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Psalm 35:18

During this “Thanksgiving week,” we will look at some different aspects of thankfulness that will hopefully help us to be more thankful.  Sadly, thankfulness seems to be dying trait in our modern world, but we as Christians should always be thankful.  We have no excuse after all the Lord has given us to be thankful for.

In this verse the Psalmist identifies two different places he is going to “give thanks” to the Lord.  The first place is “in the great congregation.”  The second is “among much people.”

It is a fine and good think to thank the Lord while we are praying.  It is right and proper to thank Him for His daily mercies when we lay our heads on our pillows at night.  Silently bowing our heads and thanking Him for His provision before we eat our meals is wonderful.  But we should also, like the Psalmist in this verse, praise and thank Him in front of others.

Our families and friends should know that we are thankful to the Lord.  Our co-workers and the members of our church should know that we are thankful to the Lord.  We should thank and praise Him everywhere we find an opportunity.

When we hear someone else thanking the Lord, it helps us to look at ourselves and be thankful for what He has done for us.  Thankfulness begets more thankfulness.  If you start with one person being truly thankful and expressing it, you soon end up with many people being thankful and expressing it.  And that creates a whole “spirit” of thankfulness, which leads to a host of other blessing!

We know that being thankful in our hearts is the main thing, but we also need to let that thankfulness come out of our mouths!  How are we doing today?

Joy to the World (Hymn)

Joy to the World
Isaac Watts (1719)

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

It’s getting closer to Christmas (my favorite season of the year!) so I thought we would start looking at some Christmas hymns today!  To me, this is one of the most encouraging of the Christmas hymns.  Doctrinally, I believe that it is dealing more with Christ’s second coming and His millennial reign than with His first coming and Christmas, but it is a great hymn nevertheless.  He does bring joy to the world, and He is the only One Who brings joy to the world!

 

Psalm Saturday (7b)

O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; ; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy: )  Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust.  Selah.

Psalm 7:1-5

In the first verse of this Psalm, the Psalmist reminds us that he is putting his trust in the Lord.  He then asks the Lord to reward his faith and save him from all them that persecute him.  The Psalmist understood what is at stake in this battle.  We need to be sure that we understand it too.

“…Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.”  The Psalmist understood that, if the Lord does not save him and deliver him, there will be no one who can help him.  If the Lord doesn’t help him, there will be no help.  Without the Lord, his life is going to be destroyed.  The same is true for us.  Without the help of the Lord, our lives are going to be wrecked and annihilated.  Stronger people than us have had their lives destroyed because they did not put their trust in the Lord.

Who are we trusting in today?  Is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or is it in ourselves?  The answer to that question is vital.  The right answer can help and deliver us; the wrong answer can destroy us.

The Crossroads of Faith and Wisdom

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

I Corinthians 1:21-24

The preaching of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for our sins was, to the Jews, a stumblingblock, and, to the Greeks, foolishness.  Both groups just couldn’t accept it, but for different reasons.

The Jews lacked faith.  They wanted a sign.  They couldn’t accept His Word.  They couldn’t accept the preaching of the cross of Christ.  They wanted to see something with their own eyes and handle it with their own hands.  They wanted God to send down fire from Heaven or something.  They stumbled at the idea of accepting Christ by faith.

The Greeks, on the other hand, were obsessed with obtaining wisdom.  They were always looking for something new.  To them, the preaching of the cross and the very idea of Jesus Christ dying on a cross for their sins was foolishness.  There wasn’t enough “wisdom” in it.  They expected something far more complex and mentally demanding.  But, in their search for great wisdom, they walked right past the simple wisdom of the gospel.

Those two groups of people missed the Saviour.  But He is there – right at the crossroads of faith and wisdom.  We need to have faith to believe in Him Whom we have not seen, and we need wisdom to understand who He is and what we are.  When those things come together, we see our need of Him, and we put our faith in Him.  And that is a beautiful thing!

 

The Foolishness of Preaching

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise?  where is the scribe?  where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

I Corinthians 1:19-21

After showing us that the wisdom is, in reality, foolishness, the Lord here gives us some insight into the way He does things.  He says “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

God tried to give the world wisdom.  He gave Adam a great deal of wisdom, and Adam rebelled against Him and disobeyed Him.  He gave the Israelites a great deal of wisdom and even tried to lead them Himself, but they rejected Him and rebelled against Him time and time again.  So, he decided to use “the foolishness of preaching” to “save them that believe.”

The dictionary definition of “preaching” is this: “to publicly proclaim or teach (usually a religious message).”  When you think about what preaching is, it really does sound kind of foolish.  It would especially sound foolish to a person who does not know the Lord.  Someone stands up and tells you what a terrible person you are.  They tell you how you have failed and that some of the things you like to do are actually sin.  Who would want to hear that?  That goes against everything that the “wisdom of the world” would tell us today.

That would sound a bit like foolishness to the world.  But, as the Bible says later in this same chapter: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”

The Wisdom of the World

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise?  where is the scribe?  where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

I Corinthians 1:19-21

Paul here gives us a reminder about the so-called wisdom of the world.  This is what God says about it: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”  That is pretty easy to understand.  The passage goes on to ask us this question: “hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

It is easy to look around and see people who have a great amount of “wisdom.”  There are people with high IQs.  There are people who have spent half of their lives studying one thing or another.  There are people who have too many degrees to even remember.  There are people who are “experts” in every field imaginable.

But we need to remember that, even when faced with all of the world’s “wisdom,” we know that there is a far greater source of wisdom.  We know the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has all wisdom and is willing to give us all of the wisdom we need for living.  The wisdom of the world will come to naught.  The wisdom of the Lord is eternal, everlasting wisdom.  The wisdom of the world will be made foolish.  The wisdom of the Lord is perfect.

If we are looking for wisdom, there are only two options: man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom.  Which wisdom are we following today?  Which wisdom do we put our faith in today?

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