8 People to be GRATEFUL

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(1Thess 5:18)

In a previous article I listed some things for which I am grateful. (v8 #45 Nov 6, 2022). Today I’d like to make a list of the People to which I am grateful.

Many people claim that they are self-made and in need of help from no one. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The scripture says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Everything we have in life will come through or because of others.

We need people. We’re not going to be able to grow all our own food, refine our own gas, nor sow our own clothing. Our needs in life lie at the root of all economies.

Therefore, it is of great necessity that we are grateful to others. Have you taken the time to thank them personally? Do you recognize who they are? Let’s consider who it is that deserves our gratitude.

Certainly, first on our list is GOD. “…He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45b). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17). Every good gift comes from above, ought not we give thanks?

Some of the most important people in our lives are often the worst treated of all people, and these are our RELATIVES. We certainly need to show them gratitude. Our parents birthed us and provided for us. Our children bring us a sense of purpose. Our extended families bring us comfort and belonging. Spouses aid one another both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While this is the ideal, it may have it rough spots. Nevertheless, let us be grateful to those we love the most. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:1-4).

Another group of people to add to the gratitude list are the AGED. These are those who have been through what we have yet to experience. These can be a source of good knowledge on how to live good lives. Not because they always did it right, but that they sometimes did it wrong and learned from their mistakes. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:2-5).

I’m also grateful for those who have educated themselves with those highly TECHNICAL skills that makes civilized life possible. This would include doctors, surgeons, and engineers, but it must also include those with TECHNICAL skills in the blue-collar fields; ie., mechanics, plumbers, and electricians to name just a few. How would life be without these TALENTED people? “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1Tim 5:18; cf., Le 19:13; De 24:14-15; 25:4).

Let us also be grateful for those service EMPLOYEES who are often overlooked or looked down upon. These folks prepare our food, make our clothes, and also make civilized life possible. “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph 6:9; cf., Rom 2:11; 1Co 7:22; Col 3:25-4:1).

While we’re making this list of people let us never forget our FRIENDS & Co-Workers. It’s self-evident that we desire FRIENDS. These are people we choose to make a part of our lives because of common values and interests.  “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). Are these not worthy of our gratitude?

An odd one that I put on my list are those that are UNFRIENDLY. We can be grateful even for these. Our savior told us that He loved us while we were enemies, and commands us to love our enemies (Rom 5:8-9; Luke 6:27), but can we also be grateful? I think so. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1Cor 11:19). The unfriendly, the unkind, the unruly, and the other “uns” become a contrast to help us recognize what is good. I know it sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can understand this verse.

Lastly, would be our LEADERS. It is a direct command to pray for them, and it is clear that God rules in the kingdoms of men, therefore let us give thanks. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:1-4; cf., Dan 4:17).

One more thing; The above is a general list of the groups of people to whom we could show thanks. I urge you to take it a bit further and to specifically identify individuals in each of these categories that you could recognize with thanksgiving. I began making a list, years ago, of people who have made an impact in my life. Names are constantly being added to it. Then I make a point to thank them in person, or with a note, and I certainly give thanks to God for them.

If you do this, you will be amazed at how much people change when we begin to be grateful for them and show it to them.

Spencer

Paul’s Defense to Agrippa

Paul’s defense to Agrippa is very powerful, and something all Christians should study to understand, and be able to recite.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

I OPENLY DECLARE

  • I Worship the God of the Bible. John 4:24 God is Spirit: then let his worshippers give him worship in the true way of the spirit.
  • I Believe all things which are written in the Law (of Moses) and the prophets. Luke 24:26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to go through these things, and to come into his glory? 27 And he made clear to them all the things in the Writings, from Moses and from all the prophets, which had to do with himself.
  • I Have Hope toward God. Heb 6:19 And this hope is like a strong band for our souls, fixed and certain, and going in to that which is inside the veil;
  • I Hope in the Resurrection of the dead, (both of the just & unjust). 2Cor 5:10 For we all have to come before Christ to be judged; so that every one of us may get his reward for the things done in the body, good or bad.
  • I Strive to have a conscience without offense toward God. 1Thess 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
  • I Strive to have a conscience without offense toward mankind. Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

None of the above is to be separated from the New Testament to make a creed we recite in a rote manner. These are the words the Apostle Paul came to know and Believe through inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he gave his defense before Agrippa.

Spencer.

30 Days of Thanksgiving pt 2; CONTENTED

30 days of THANKFULNESS

day 10.

I’m grateful for CHILDREN.

Psalm 127:3-5 KJV

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [4] As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. [5] Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

HERE IS OUR LIST OF GRATITUDE SO FAR.

Grace

Rain

Advocate

Transportation

Invocation

The Temple, the church.

Understandable word of God

Debt paid by Christ

Election

HERE IS OUR LIST FOR BEING CONTENTED.

Children

OPEN doors of Opportunity to preach the Gospel

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

NUPTIALS.

Prov 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

TIME.

Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

EATING & Enjoying company with Family & friends.

Ecc 2:24; 3:13; 1Tim 6:8

1Tim 4:3-4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.

NEEDS being MET.

Phil 4:11-13; Ps 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

TALENTs (ability).

Matt 25:15. Each according to his ability.

EFFORTS (wages according to my effort.) Luke 3:14. 1Cor 7:17; Matt 25:15

DOCTRINE of Christ.

2John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Why are you GRATEFUL?

Lessons from 1Peter 5: ELDERS

Instructions from a fellow elder.

be Examples. Do as I do. Phil 3:17

not Lording (not) cf. 3John 9-11

not for Dishonest gain 2Peter 2:1-3; 1Tim 5:17

Eagerly (willingly) 1Tim 3:1; 1Cor 9:17.

Readily cf. Rom 1:15 “I am Ready”.

Serve as a shepherd. cf. Chief Shepherd John 13:1-17.

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

How to LIVE in this world

Living in the world without becoming part of this world is difficult. Yet, we need to live among them so we can reach them. Paul said,

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1Cor 5:9-10).

He also wrote, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18).

here are 4 ways we can LIVE in the world peacefully:

  1. LOVE Always. (Luke 6:27-36; cf; John 3:16; Rom 5:8-10)
  2. be INDEBTED to them to love, which requires being grateful. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)
  3. live VIRTUOUSLY among them. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1Tim 2:1-8; cf. 1Peter 3:1-6; 2Pet 1:5-10; Romans 12:14-21)
  4. EXPECT less from people, Except Christ and Him crucified. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1Cor 1:2)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas.

Who is TIMOTHY?

TRUE son. 1Tim 1:2; 1Cor 4:17

IMPRISONED. Heb 13:23; w/ Paul Phil 2:19-23

MODEL / EXAMPLE. 1Tim 4:12

OBEDIENT. 1Tim 4:6-16;

TRUSTWORTHY. Phil 2:20 “likeminded, Sincerity”

HOLY SPIRIT gifts. 2Tim 1:6

YOUNG. Not to be despised. 1Tim 4:11; 2Tim 1:5; 3:15

Who is TITUS?

To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Titus1:4)

A TRUE SON; Titus 1:4; 2Co 2:13; 7:6-7,13-14; 8:23;

If any INQUIRE; 2Cor 8:16, 23

TRUSTED: 2Cor 12:17-18; 2Co 7:15; 2Co 8:6,16-22;

UNWAVERING (was not compelled); Gal 2:3

SINCERE SERVANT; Titus 1:5; 2Cor 8:16; 7:13-16; 2Tim 4:10; Titus 3:12

Lessons in 1Peter: 4:4 STRANGE

1Pe 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Why do those from our former lives think it STRANGE that we no longer run with them in wild living?

SINFUL In deeds. 1Peter 4:3-4

TALK EVIL about others…curse. 1Peter 2:12

RELIGIOUSLY wrong. Mark 7:1-7

ARROGANT and obnoxious. 3John 9-11

NEVER STUDY God’s word. Matt 22:29-32

GREEDY for gain in this life. 2Pet 2:1-3

ENTERTAINMENT driven \ worldly. Rom 14:17

Spencer

Lesson from 1Peter 2: by your Good WORKS

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your GOOD WORKS, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

(1Peter 2:12, emph seb)

What are the good works. There are 5 key things to remember about good WORKS.

  • Firstly, they must be according to the WILL of God (authorized through scriptures; 1Pet 4:2; Eph 2:10).
  • They need to be ONGOING in our lives (habitual; cf Titus 2:7; 3:8, 14).
  • Thirdly, we need to be constantly READY & willing from the heart to do them (Titus 2:14; 1Tim 6:18; 2Co 8:12).
  • We can KNOW what they are and be taught them (Heb 10:24; Titus 3:14)
  • Lastly, they are to be SEEN, but not to be seen from pride (1Pet 2:12; 3:1, 16)

The faithful Christian will LEARN, PRACTICE, & MAINTAIN good Works all the days of their life. Here are all the passages in the New Testament that speak about good works.

GOOD WORKS;

Mt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1Tim 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1Tim 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

1Tim 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

1Tim 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

2Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

1Pet 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

GOOD WORK:

2Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

1Tim 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2Tim 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The person that teaches there is nothing for a person to do to become a Christian and to remain faithful has obviously never read the scriptures.

There is a purpose behind good works. Peter says, “which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” He is talking about using our good works to win others to Him (cf 1Peter 3:1-2; 15).

Spencer

Lessons from 1Peter 2: Spiritual Sacrifices

We’ve already talked about being living STONES, now we turn our attention to the second half of verse 5:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

(1Peter 2:5, emph seb)

What exactly are the SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES we are to offer up to God?

Before we attempt to discern what they are, let’s note four things about them.

Firstly, we are to be ACTIVELY doing them, “Offer up…” Being a Christian is not a passive condition, it’s active. Note that we are “LIVELY” stones.

Secondly, our sacrifices must be “ACCEPTABLE to God.” Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2Tim 2:15a; cf. Rom 12:1).

Thirdly, they we are to AIM them “…to God”. Whatever these sacrifices are, they are to be directed toward God.

Fourthly, they are directed toward God through the AVENUE of Jesus; “…by Jesus Christ.” Jesus Himself said, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Paul also wrote on spiritual SACRIFICES, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1). So, what are they? Verse 6 begins a list from Paul, so we shall look at both Peter & Paul’s letters. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether…”

We are to SHEW Forth Praises of God. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9; cf Heb 13:15-16). It reminds me of when Jesus told the healed man to “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:16).

ALL of our BODY, our whole being is a living sacrifice to God. “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). This clarifies how much of our life is dedicated to God, ALL of it. Christ is our life (Col 3:4).

We are to give a CONTRIBUTION for the helping of needy Saints and for the  work of the Church. “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Phil 4:18; cf. Heb 13:15-16). “He that giveth, let him do it with liberality” (Rom 12:8). God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 8:2; 9:7).

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb 13:15-16).

It’s a spiritual sacrifice to submit to Leaders that God has ordained for the local church, and those that RULE are offering up a sacrifice. “He that ruleth, with diligence” (Rom 12:8; cf. 1Tim 3:1-7). This is further supported in Peter’s letter, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1Peter 5:2-3).

Peter’s letter is just as much about how the Saint INFLUENCES the world. “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:12). This speaks to evildoers converting to Christ through the INFLUENCE of good works done by the saints (cf. 1Pet 3:1).

Paul includes Prophecy or FORETELLING in his letter to the Romans. “Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Rom 12:6). While there was a miraculous element in the 1st century, we today can FORETELL through the inspired written word. Peter wrote, “according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:10-11). The future return of Christ is just one example.

It’s a sacrifice to be an INSTRUCTOR or Teacher of God’s word. “He that teacheth, on teaching” (Rom 12:8; cf. 2Tim 2:2).

It’s certainly a sacrifice to have COMPASSION (Mercy) on our fellow man. “He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom 12:8). We have obtained mercy through the blood of Jesus. Ought we not show mercy on others?

EXHORTING (to urge one to pursue some course of conduct) is another important sacrifice. “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation” (Rom 12:8; 2Tim 4:2). Encouraging brethren to better conduct can be a challenge. For example; “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but EXHORTING one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:25).

Finally, SERVING (ministering) our brethren is a Spiritual Sacrifice to God. “Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering” (Rom 12:7). When we serve the brethren, we serve Christ. Jesus listed some things, “For I was an hungred, … I was thirsty, … I was a stranger, … Naked, … I was sick, … I was in prison… Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when … ? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Acts 25:35-40’ cf. Acts 6:1-7).

These are all matters the individual Christian does through their own lives and homes. Some believe we abdicate these to others. These are OUR SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES. May we all offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Spencer