PASTORAL PRAYER AND BLESSING ~ November 2017
Just Say No!
This is the month we focus on thanksgiving. There are many things for which we give thanks; the love of God, the love of a spouse, the love of a family, the love of our local church and leadership.
For the blessings and provisions we give thanks. For our health and the wonderful life we enjoy, we give thanks. For our friends and lasting relationships, we give thanks. It is a time to take inventory of all the gifts God has given us as we journey through the challenges of this life.
So why would I title this devotion of prayer for November, Just say NO?
When it comes to the Perfect Roast Turkey, Honey Baked Ham, Cheese Grits and Corn Pudding. Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole with Pralines, Marvin Woods's Brussels Sprouts, Red Pepper and Avocado Salad. Potato and Celery Root Gratin, Green Beans with Bacon, Cracked Pepper Dinner Rolls, Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Crust, Pecan Pie with whipped cream, Banana pudding, Blue Bell Ice cream, well you get the idea. After the variety of foods and deserts and one too many helpings, we should have said NO long ago.
Saying NO to some of the above menu items and overload has its advantages for sure.
I want us to look at another menu that saying No to is necessary and has eternal ramifications if not taken seriously.
For the wonderful blessings of God to continue and the grace and mercy to flow on the rivers of His love, we have a mandate to say No to certain activities that would mar the landscape of a believer, a child of God, our testimony and silent witness. God calls us His righteousness, His Saints, Sons of God, His Bride, His Body and much more. As His ambassadors, we need be aware of our responsibilities and the lifestyle His love commands with our new heavenly supernatural divine nature. We represent the King and His Kingdom as we go through our daily routine.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14, NIV).
At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7, NIV).
“In order for believer’s behavior to please and glorify God, it must be based on right beliefs and grounded in a right relationship with God. Our primary reason for doing good and living right should not be out of religious duty. It should be the response of our love and gratitude toward God. His undeserved love shown to us through Jesus Christ while we were still opposed to him should be our motivation for serving God and saying NO to anything that might compromise his standards or take away from our devotion to him. The same grace that saves us apart from any efforts, achievements or religious acts on our part also teaches us that our spiritual salvation should produce godly discipline and good works”. (from Fire Bible™: Global Study Edition, Copyright © 2009 by Life Publishers International. All rights reserved.)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Although we cannot be spiritually saved and made right with God by good works, God still desires that the lives of Christians be characterized by good works. It is part of what we are created to do. He has even prepared good things for us to do. We do not do these things to gain God’s favor, but to show our love and gratitude to God for the favor He has already shown us by his gracious gift of spiritual salvation through faith in Christ. Our good works for God also provide an opportunity to influence others for Christ, showing them an example of his love and goodness and leading them to the point of receiving Christ’s forgiveness and new life for themselves. (from Fire Bible™: Global Study Edition, Copyright © 2009 by Life Publishers International. All rights reserved.)
Father God, Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit,
Thank you for all that You do for us throughout the year. As You guide and provide for us. As you lead and believe in us. As You protect and correct us. You know our every thought, desire, need and intention. For all of these things, we give You thanks. You are always there to listen, to advise, direct, and understand. You make us a priority as a Father does His children when we cry out to you in pain or laughter. Thank You. You come to our rescue when we sound the alarm of fear or panic. What a great God you are! You never leave nor forsake us. When we ask, seek and knock, You will respond. You love us O Lord, like no other. Thank You for patience, perseverance, grace, and mercy. Thank You for salvation, an abundant life, freedom from sin, and the authority over all power of the enemy and all manner of evil. Most of all thank You for loving us. For helping us to see what You see when we look at ourselves. We are the Righteousness of God. Thank You, One and All.
In Jesus Name, Amen
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God….
Dr. D.L. Kelso
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