Psalm 69:30 “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
David was a man that was very thankful to God. Before he was king, though, he had a very rough life under King Saul.
David was determined, though, to keep on giving glory to God for His working in his life. Although there were many blessings and hardships, David did not allow them to make him bitter.
Did you read the part of the verse where he had a song? It was a song of praise, too. Many of these Psalms were written while he was going through times of hardship. Yet he was determined to be always thankful.
Being thankful to God helps us to remember that although circumstances may not always be to our liking, God is still in control. We can certainly thank Him for that.
There are many things that I am thankful to God for in this year. It has been a little rough for me as well, but my God is good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Among many other things, I thank Him for:
A Savior Who can take me to Heaven.
A church that is like a family.
A Bible that leads me and offers many promises.
A free country that I believe to still be the best in the world.
My family and friends.
Opportunities to minister the Word of God.
The opportunity to work.
The health I do have (underwent cancer surgery in mid-summer).
And many more.
Like David, I also know that God is good and He does put a song in my heart, too. The song is especially there when I praise Him and am thankful – for all things. Praise His Name!
II Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God cares immensely for the people of this world. What is often misunderstood is the role that God has chosen to take in the affairs of mankind. Many think that God should take a more visibly active role in the problems of our world. However, this is not what He is most interested in.
Instead, He is more interested in helping people to get right with Him and to restore a relationship with Him that was broken by sin. Indifference to God and His claims on peoples’ lives are evidence that there is a problem.
Trouble in our world causes people to seek God because their world, whether personal or on a national scale, is shaken. This happened very noticeably when 911 occurred. After that, churches in America were suddenly filled. Once again, however, God must send trouble to disrupt lives so they come back to Him.
The above Bible verse indicates that some people mistakenly think that God either does not exist or does not care about life on planet earth because He seems distant or inactive. Although He has promised to come and straighten out our world, He seems to be taking a long time to do it, they say.
Again, as the verse indicates, they are sadly mistaken. The reason he waits is so that they, and more people, may be saved from Hell and destruction. He does not want to cast them or anyone into Hell, but sin cannot be allowed into Heaven. He has promised a righteous judgment. He is giving them time to repent (turn from sin), and to trust Christ to be their Savior.
Although Christ appears to be patient today, He will not wait for you forever. If you are not saved, the Bible tells us, in II Corinthians 6:2, that now is the best time: “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” Won’t you call on Him today for salvation, and have the matter settled forever? There is no need to wait – do it now and ask Him to forgive you, change you so you can do His will, and to save you from Hell. He will do it, according to His promise.
If you would like to know more about God’s sure salvation, I invite you to download my eBook for free: it’s entitled How to Be Saved and Know It(no log-in required, PDF). It explains Bible salvation in clear detail.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
In Psalm 23:1, we saw the promise that when the Lord is truly leading us that we will be able to say – “I shall not want.” This verse is similar. It promises that the Lord will give us the desires of our heart.
Just like the verse in Psalm 23, this verse is conditional. That means there is a part for the believer to fulfill before God does His part.
The condition is to “delight” in the Lord. Many people are religious, and some are glad to be saved, but not that many truly delight themselves in the Lord. Think about things you really like. Some like football, some like cars, and others may like computer games or making money. Now ask yourself which you would rather do: watch a football game (or whatever you like to do), or read your Bible and pray? Be honest.
The answer to that question will reveal your real delight. It is likely that other things prevent a real hunger for God and His Word.
Now God made the promise, and He means it. He also tells us, in James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” This means get close to God, and put away anything that prevents it – then He can be free to give you your heart’s desire, and then He can trust you with it. Drawing close to God is necessary for any kind of real Christian growth.
Remember, though, that as we draw close to Him, we will find that some of those desires will change. After all, what can compare with being able to talk with the Creator of all things, and the Savior Who gave Himself for us?
Being that today is Sunday, I am sure that many people will be going to church. This is a good thing, and I hope that many more people will go, too, even those who have not been in a church for a long time.
The thing that I want to focus on this morning is the issue of “why” some people go to church. Of course, many people have been brought up in church. They plan on going and are often faithful to every service. Again, I think this is a good thing.
For those who may look at going to church as a part of going to Heaven, however, I want you to pay attention to this post. Salvation does not come to people through the local church.
Don’t get me wrong. It certainly can be valuable in showing people how to go to Heaven – but it cannot confer the gift of salvation to you.
I have met a number of people who have gone to church all their lives. They thought they were saved and on their way to Heaven, but one day they discovered they were wrong. What brought them to this conclusion?
A number of them just thought it was kind of automatic. They knew the lingo, the songs, were faithful and some had even been serving actively in the church for years. Others around them thought they were saved, too.
The plain truth, however, is different than that. You see, just because you go to a pool or lake and start swimming, does not at all make you a fish. Walking into a garage won’t make you a car either. Likewise, going to church, no matter how often, will not make you a Christian.
The Lord Jesus tells us how to be saved. He said in John 3:3 that every person needs to have a new birth. We were born into the wrong family and our sin proves it. We love to go against the laws of God. Every one of us is guilty of breaking His laws. God’s Word tells us: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Because of our sin, we all are on our way to Hell: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
The only way this situation could be changed was for God to do something about it. He loved us, and proved “his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Notice that Christ, the Son of God died for us. Not the church.
Participating in religious ceremonies and services cannot wash away sin. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. It can wash away all your sin.
In order to be saved, you need to come straight to God. You must confess your sinfulness to God and be willing to turn from it. There is no one else Who can save you: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).
The reason the church members I mentioned earlier were not saved is because they realized they had never actually asked God to forgive them and save them. They had been baptized, joined the church, and did more – but this cannot save you.
Salvation comes only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be a deliberate decision on your part and it takes places at a specific point of time. Have you deliberately chosen to trust Christ to be your Savior. Can you point to a time when you did that? Consider what Christ said: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
I hope and pray that you have called on Him for salvation – or will do it now.
Evangelist Mike Valles
P.S. – If you have still questions about salvation, I encourage you to download my free eBook: How to Be Saved and Know It and read it carefully. It will answer many questions.