For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life- John 3:16
The Bible is full of things we should can be thankful for but I feel this verse is the best to highlight today, Jesus didn’t just come for Christmas, He didn’t just come for Easter, He didn’t just come for Sunday, He came for every day of your life. We can be thankful that He has surrounded us with His love everlasting and know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Today and every day He is our truth and our reason to celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving! Love the VanBeeks❤
What are two things you are Thankful for today?
We as people always want to give back. We want to give back to our neighbors, our co-workers, our family, our friends. So of course we want to give back to God. But we can’t. We can repay a cup of coffee with a cup of coffee, or having our grass mowed by baking some cookies or so on… but how do we give back to God?
In giving fully of ourselves. But is that enough? It is to God.
But say In full measurement of the ‘equal gift calculator’ do they add up to the same? No.
Think of it like this.
Your dad buys you a new CD. You’re eight years old and super excited and want to give him something in return, so you run to your room and grab your second favorite Super Star doll and give it to him as a present, what is a grown man going to do with that doll? From anyone else he would probably tell you politely that he doesn’t want it and you should keep it, but you are his child and thus are special, so what does he do? He takes it to work, puts it on his desk and when people ask about it he says with a smile, “my daughter gave it to me”.
We want to give back to God because He gives us so much, we have nothing to give Him that He wants except our hearts, but we still dish out things that we think will make God happy, even though it’s like a little girl giving her dad a doll, God still smiles seeing us trying so hard to give to Him. Our gift will never equal His, it can’t, but the giving we try to do makes Him smile because He loves us.
One person does not define you.
Five people don’t define you.
People don’t define you, God does.
Jesus defines who you are, He directs who you are.
Look at your life through the eyes of the man on the cross, the man walking out of the tomb, God sitting on His throne. If He was willing to die for you, the you who you are right now, then what person has earned the right to try and judge you? If God loves you enough to give up everything for you, then isn’t that enough to show you your value? Because you do have value! You right now reading this, God wants you to know that you have value and are valued by Him.
People don’t define you, God does.
Jesus is the God of somehow.
Somehow the disease vanished, somehow the pain is gone, somehow they got the job, somehow they survived it, somehow it was all okay.
Jesus is the God of the amazing and unexplainable, the things that happen that don’t make sense- the impossible. When the doctor says, “I don’t know how, but the colitis is gone” -that’s God. When the police say, “there is no reason they should have survived that accident” -that’s God. When the addict says, “I don’t know how but I managed to turn away from my addiction”- that’s God.
God is the God of the unexplained.
He doesn’t prevent suffering all the time, sometimes He let’s us go through something that we need Him to help us through or rescue us from so that we acknowledge His wonders. You may say, “what about when God doesn’t heal or rescue?” That is a painful but fair question, sometimes God’s miracle is simply being sustained through suffering or trial. I know that for some that isn’t good enough, but when you have God the burden is lifted. That doesn’t mean that it is gone, that means that it is raised so that you can keep walking. Someday, somehow God will end the pain, and when He does you will probably say, “somehow, I’m still okay.”
Somehow she kept her faith.
Somehow she persevered.
Somehow she held on to Jesus so tight that she feared at times her hands would give up, but she kept on and saw her redemption.
I know many of you are in the pain moments right now and I would like to take a minute to pray for your somehow moment.
Dear Jesus we ask in your name that you will touch every person who is in pain right now oh, that you will touch them and heal them from there pain and suffering whether it is physical and emotional, psychological, whether it is an outside suffering that is plaguing them or an internal suffering. In their families or in their bodies or in their daily lives. Jesus whatever the painful is help please we ask, and give these people who you love their somehow moments, their moment of ‘somehow I made it through’, ‘somehow I was delivered’, ‘somehow it’s all okay’ because somehow you always manage to work things out for our good even if we can’t see it from where we stand now, we ask these things in your name of Jesus, Amen.
Reach beyond your cages and praise God!
Today my beautiful mom was worshiping God behind a covid safe screen in our church this morning and it made me realize that God is reaching down behind many walls and cages, He’s reaching for us. There are people in prisons, in underground churches, in basements, in flood and fire areas, in churches that are restrained by the government, in their own homes- afraid to go out. In hospitals, In sick beds, in care homes. Whatever your cage is. If your cage is literal or figurative. God is reaching down behind your walls and your cages to grab your up reached hands, up reached hearts and to lift you out of your cage. Sometimes Jesus enters in and if you look around you can see Jesus in your cage with you.
Your cage is not God’s cage.
God is working even when you can’t see past the bars. My dad’s old school mate Billy Richards said that faith is a muscle, you need to use it to make it strong. You can either let your cage defeat you, or you can let it grow you and your faith. Believe that Jesus can save you, He has already saved you, trusting His will can hurt- but it is always the right path to take.
No matter your cage, remember that Jesus loves you, and you have the savior with you.
Jesus, we know that you can save us from our cage, no matter what it is, we use our Faith in you and know that you are with us even in our cages- amen.
Read Paul’s letters from prison and see how God can work beyond the bars of your cages❤
I once heard it said, that the reason we give so much up in our lives for other people is because they are what we leave behind when we are gone, through them our lives continue. It sounds a little strange until you think about it. When I mention a ‘but God’ moment, it’s my poppa speaking through me, when I struggle and find myself putting scripture in my shoes so all day I am standing on the word of God, that’s my nana. Those who are gone leave their legacy in us, and if they hadn’t taken the time and effort to teach me, serve me and be with me I might not have the strength that their words gave me. Nana is gone to Heaven but she still lives and guides and teaches through all the people she put effort into. We live in a ‘serve yourself first and then you will have the strength to serve others’ theory in this world, even evangelist speakers have said this once in awhile, and not that serving yourself is wrong, but if the only one you serve is yourself then that is wrong. Jesus didn’t say ‘love yourself, that is the greatest commandment,’ He said ‘love the Lord your God, and your neighbour as yourself.’ If all we ever do is serve us we miss out on the true Joy of serving others and through serving others serving God. Our joy comes from fellowship with Christ, you cannot serve yourself only and have fellowship with others. This sounds really discouraging I know, but I’m not saying drop everything and give up all your time for others, I mean we should actively aim and strive to be servants. If you want to spend a day sitting on the couch watching TV that’s fine, but if while sitting on that couch somebody calls you in need and you refuse to go because you’re busy taking care of yourself isn’t that wrong? As in all things there’s a balance, you can’t only serve others because you’ll hit burnout, but you can’t only serve yourself because that’s not how Christians Act. It always comes back to the old adage, what would Jesus do? Would he say no cuz he was too busy taking care of himself? Or would He go to help those in need? I guess that’s a dumb question, considering the answer is so obvious.
There are times when my Faith makes me feel like I could walk out to Jesus on the waves without a doubt, and there are times when my fear makes me not want to even get into the boat. We are all afraid in part of going deeper into God. We like to have control of our lives just like we like to have control of the TV remote, when we go deeper into God we start giving up control. Stormie Omartan said ‘we let God into one room of our hearts and tell Him to stay there, but soon He starts knocking on the door to another part of our hearts, then another, then another until He fills our whole hearts. We hate losing control so we shove God in a corner and say we are Christians because we have Jesus, but that’s not what God wants, in fact that behavior is probably to blame for so many people claiming to be Christians but not acting like it. You can’t act like Jesus until He holds your whole heart. We have to trust God and be guided by our Faith so that we can fall so deep in God that we see nothing but Him.
The tones of laughter drifts up the stairs and a small bark from a white poodle shows the little girl that her mom is taking care of her dog so she doesn’t need to rush. It’s Sunday, Mothers Day, and she wants to look good for mom. Her black satin shoes click as she climbs on to the stool at the bathroom sink. She has her mommy’s makeup kit, and had watched mommy put it on so many times that she was sure she could to do makeup on her own face, she wanted to look her best for Mommy. So she leans in close to the mirror and ‘poof’ face powder sparkles over everything, ‘it’s like fairy dust’ she thinks as she poofs more powder on to her face. Next mommy would use the red stuff, she finds the blush powder brush in with the powder and dabs some on each cheek. What next? Now the stuff for the eyes. She can’t find the eye shadow brush, frustrated but determined she grabs her tooth brush and uses it for the eye makeup. She looks at herself, ‘close enough,’ she decides. ‘Now, how do you work the curling iron?’ Thankfully this is when mommy comes in, alerted to her daughter’s bad idea by the silence from the bathroom. “Oh no!” Mommy shrieks, “sweetie what have you done?” The question is rhetorical.
The little girl smiles big, “look mommy, I made myself pretty for you.”
Mommy is a mix of emotions, she is relieved, horrified, a little irritated, but loves her little girl so much. She picks her daughter up and kisses her -inch thick powdered- cheek, “you are always pretty sweetheart!”
Mommy sits the little girl on her knee and wipes her face clean, as she removes the cloth from the pouting lips mommy does what mommies do and offers to show her sweetie how mommies put on make up. This brightens up the disappointed face and mommy and daughter laugh as they put their ‘faces’ on together. Though they walked into church a little late, the little girl in her swishing cream dress with soft pink flowers, holding to mommy’s hand and smiling loved mommy all the more for her kindness that day. The day was about mommy, but that didn’t stop mommy from taking care of her little girl that day, and they had such great memories.
Thank you Jesus for our mothers. We have ups and downs as parents, but if we cling to the happy memories than we will see that our lives really were good.
Jesus being in your boat doesn’t mean you won’t face storms, Him being there means that your storms will not overcome you❤
-Pastor Dennis Shram
I don’t know what storm has hit you, or if you’ve gotten to the – ‘but I have Jesus, so why is this happening?’ – Point or not, but I hope that this encourages you, because it often encourages me. Jesus sometimes has to let is see the storm and feel the waves before saving us so that we are more aware when He causes a breakthrough, now we will see His miracles more clearly because we are looking for them. Sometimes we have to ride out a storm too, because God knows that it is growing something necessary in us. But never forget, that Jesus will never let you drown.
So today I cleaned the trash out of the ditch out front of our house, we are on the highway so we get more garbage than I like to think about. I found myself thinking ‘I wonder if any of this could be worth something?’ None of it was.
Today, I also saw a news report on the growing cases of homeless people in the city. To be honest, it was pretty clear that the government was very politely saying that they had no way to deal with them, and they very subtly referenced them as trash. Oh, that word wasn’t used, but it was certainly implied. I grew up in Vancouver so homeless people aren’t strange to me, and due to my time spent there I learned a lot about the homeless, in fact we had lessons on them in school. Yes some were trouble creators, but many were just people who had no where else to go, and frankly I know a lot of non homeless people who are trouble makers, their status doesn’t make them bad people. I say them, but they could easily be us. A lost job, an abusive relationship, a family that is broken, suddenly you have no place to go and end up on the street. You don’t need anyone else to say you’re trash because you feel it everyday. But even the people that we as other people see as garbage, and don’t stand there saying you aren’t like that, most people see someone as trash; adulterers, addicts, your neighbor, your brother, that homeless guy you see ducking into an ally because people scare him, that prostitute who was born into the brothel and doesn’t know how to get out? Any of these make a bell go off? I’m just naming the ones that I have heard spoken against first hand, I am sure there are many more that people tend to look down on. But even if we see a person as trash, God doesn’t. That atheist who has turned his back on God and ridiculed Him, is still loved by God. The homeless lady who drinks away every dollar she has so she is starving but still uses her hand outs for more drink, she is precious to God. Just because we sin, or make mistakes, or are subtly referred to as waste that the government doesn’t know what to do with, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t value us. He loves all people! Just because the beer cans, random rag, empty cigarettes box, single gross sock and so on that I collected out of our ditch wasn’t capable of being worth anything to me, outside of the satisfaction of knowing that no garbage would blow into our farmer’s fields from our side of the road, doesn’t mean that someone more thrifty than myself wouldn’t find a purpose for them. God is greater than all of us and sees our purpose, potential and possibilities and more than that He sees all of us for us, no matter who we are or what we do. Never forget that.