Gratitude is important. When someone does something nice for us, we need to be grateful and also express that gratefulness to the one who performed the nice act for us.
So, on behalf of my family, I want to say “Thank you” for the gift card presented to us on Sunday. We truly feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful, warm, giving family of God here at Eastgate.
Our lives are filled with different types of people. There are some who are just, well, there. They have neither a positive nor a negative impact.
Then, there are some who are put into our lives to test, try, and build our patience. They are always pointing out the negative, never seeing anything positive in any situation. If they were to inherit $100,000,000, they would only think about the taxes they would be paying.
And, of course, there are some who are put into our lives to bless us with love, laughter, and add quality to our lives. They are a joy to be around.
So what type of people do you listen to? Who do you hang around with? Who do you pay the most attention to? The people who are not even trying to impact your life or the people who are always negative or the ones who are always striving to build you up into the person God wants you to be?
Another important question is what kind of a person are you? Do you just mind your own business and go through life not trying to impact others? Do you drag others down, even if by accident? Or do you seek to build others up?
In Ephesians 4:29, Paul tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
You can “accidentally” destroy something (or someone). You cannot “accidentally” build something (or build up someone). It takes effort and intent to build others up.
As Paul points out above, our speech is one way we can either tear others down or build others up.
How we talk to other people and even how we talk about other people can contribute to the type of person others see us as.
So if you thought about what you said to and about others in the past few days...what type of person are you?
It takes a concentrated effort to always be looking to build others up. But it is effort that is always well worth it.
Again, let me just say thank you for building me and my family up for the last 3¼ or so years. We look forward to many more!
Today is, “A day that will live in infamy,” according to Franklin D. Roosevelt. 75 years ago today, Pearl Harbor (and the US as a whole) was attacked by the Empire of Japan. 353 Imperial Japanese fighters attacked and damaged all 8 of the US Naval warships in the harbor, sinking four of them. 188 US aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded (figures taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor).
The US and Japan had been in formal negotiations to hopefully keep peace in the Pacific during World War II. Well, when Japan attacked, this pretty much ended those negotiations and the US officially entered World War II.
For the most part, everyone in the US was surprised by the attack. For the most part, everyone in the US thought negotiating with the Empire of Japan would be the best course of action to avoid entering World War II. For the most part, everyone in the US was mistaken.
We learned a valuable lesson from the attack on Pearl Harbor. It seems we “let our guard down,” if only for a moment, and paid a heavy price.
As I contemplate this, I can’t help but think about another war we are involved in...our war with Satan. Too many Christians are trying to negotiate with Satan. Too many Christians believe that all they have to do is assist and support those actively fighting Satan (i.e. ministers, missionaries, etc.) and impose sanctions to limit Satan’s involvement in their life, and, well, that’s all they have to do.
Unfortunately for too many Christians, Satan doesn’t honor treaties. Unfortunately for too many Christians, Satan doesn’t fight fair. Unfortunately for too many Christians, Satan just cares about himself and his own victory.
Just before asking Congress to declare a state of war with the Japanese Empire, FDR made this statement: “Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that we are truly at war and that our fight is spiritual in nature. That we fight against the rulers, authorities, and powers “of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
He also warns us to put on “the full armor of God” so that we can “stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11-18).
Peter cautions us to, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Hostilities do exist. Our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in the fact that God has already won the ultimate victory through Jesus Christ, I urge you to claim that victory.
Don’t negotiate with Satan, don’t entertain his ideas of what the Christian life is, don’t think that he’s a harmless kitty cat.
He is your enemy! Declare war on him!
Do you ever wonder if whether or not you attend our worship assemblies and/or Bible classes matters? Have you ever just felt like you just didn’t want to attend? Maybe you were tired from a long day/week of work. Maybe you had just returned from a vacation and had so much to do around the house to catch up. Maybe you just plain didn’t want to attend.
Larry Dawdy was kind enough to forward me an email this past week. I’d seen the story before, but I wanted to share it with you...
A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.
He wrote: "I've gone for 30 years now, and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons, but for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time, the preachers and priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all".
This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"
The point is that attending our assemblies is very important. You may not think that anybody notices when you are not here...but we do. You may not think that missing a service here or there (when there is no real reason to) will impact you spiritually...but it will.
We are coming up on the time when we think about Resolutions for the coming year. Why not resolve to make church attendance a priority in 2017?