Be Thankful For A Biscuit Without Butter

Several years ago, I was in a McDonald’s for breakfast.  There was a lady standing not far from me who was eating a biscuit. As she took the first bite, she realized the biscuit wasn’t buttered.  She said, “Well, this is going to be a crappy day; there is no butter on my biscuit.”

       As I listened to her I thought, “Lady, if the only problem you have today is that there is no butter on your biscuit, you will have a pretty good day.”  Actually, I started to ask her for biscuit and I was going to butter it for her.  But I refrained.

       I thought about what that lady said for a while.  “This is going to be a crappy day.. there is no butter on my biscuit.”  But if we aren’t careful we can be like that lady.  We can focus on things that are minor… things that are trivial and overlook the blessings of life.

       Today, be thankful for what you have.  Your house may not be as nice as someone else but, it provides shelter for you and your family.

        You may not have as much in your bank account as others but, you have enough to pay your bills and put food on the table.

        Maybe you aren’t wearing the latest fashion but, you have clothes to wear.

        Be careful and don’t focus on the lack of unimportant things.  

        Jesus loves us. He died on the cross for our sins.  We live in a great nation… Let’s be thankful for what we have.  Are things perfect in our lives?  Maybe not… But, they aren’t terrible either.  Our happiness should not depend on whether there is butter on our biscuit.  A biscuit tastes ok without butter.  In fact, lots of folks would love to have an unbuttered biscuit this morning.

       So today, give thanks for what we have.  Maybe some things need to change in our lives.  Ok, get started trying to make them change.  But we should be thankful for what we have.  

       Someone has said that if you don’t like something, work to change it.  If it can’t be changed, deal with it but stop complaining.  

       I read a quote recently that spoke to my heart.  It is; “I had the blues because I had no shoes until on the street I saw a man who had no feet.”  

       Maybe there is no butter on your biscuit… that’s ok… be thankful you have a biscuit to eat to begin with.

Gratitude: The Greatest Of All Virtues

Cicero said, “Gratitude is the greatest of all virtues, and the parent of all the others.”     

        With that in mind, what are you thankful for today?  

        Yes, 2020 has been a challenging year.  But, we still have much… MUCH to be thankful for.  It’s easy for us to point out the things that are wrong in the world. It’s easy to point fingers and blame someone for something.  But instead of complaining… of blaming… of focusing on the negative, we should give thanks to God for the blessings of life.  

        In Luke 17, there is a story about a time when Jesus was was in a village and there were ten men who were lepers.  There was no cure for leprosy.  But when these men saw Jesus they cried out for Him to heal them.  The Bible says that Jesus told the men to go and show themselves to the priest.  As they turned to go to the priest, they were each healed.  

          At this point, you would think that all ten would come back and bow down to Jesus for healing them, right?  Instead, nine of the men moved along and only one man came back to thank Jesus.  Jesus asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”  

         Ten lepers were cleansed, only one came back to thank Jesus.  This Thanksgiving, let’s learn a lesson from this story.  Be careful to give thanks to the Lord.   

         Folks, we exist because God put us here.  We owe our very existence to God.  Today and tomorrow, make time to contact people who have helped you and encouraged you.  Express gratitude for the blessings of life.  

Our Sins Can Be Forgiven

When we mess up, we may have a tendency to not want to tell anyone.  We may be ashamed and we don’t want anyone to know what we have done.  Even though we are told that God forgives, we may not confess our sins because we are afraid we can’t be forgiven.  

In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says that they were ashamed and hid themselves.  When we sin, we may not confess our sins because we believe we can’t be forgiven.  But we can.  

Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”

Maybe you have unconfessed sin… you haven’t confessed it because you are afraid you can’t be forgiven.  But there is nothing any of us have done that we can’t be forgiven for if we will ask.  

A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot.  He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target.

As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck.  On an impulse he took aim and let fly.  The stone hit, and the duck fell dead.

The boy panicked.  Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see his sister watching.  Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”  But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today.  Didn’t you Johnny?”  And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!”  So Johnny did the dishes.

Later, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing.  Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.”  Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of.  Johnny wants to do it.”  Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.”  Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it.  He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.

“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug.  “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing.  Because I love you, I forgave you.  But I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

We don’t have to let Satan make a slave of us.  We can confess our sins knowing that Jesus forgives.  One of the things we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that Jesus forgives.  

The Power Of Self-Discipline

There are things that we need to do but no one is going to make us do. For example, we need to exercise…we need to save money, we need to watch we it but, no one is going to make us do any of those things. We have to discipline ourselves to do it. Legendary boxer Mohammad Ali said he used to hate every minute of training for a fight but he told himself, “Work hard now and live like a champion.”

The same is true for us. There are some things we need to do but may not want to do but, if we will do them, we will be better for it. Making ourselves do these things is known as “self-discipline.”

Self-discipline is the ability to motivate yourself to do things you know you need to do.

Self-discipline gets us up in the morning to exercise or read our Bibles.

Self-discipline leads us to save money.

Self-discipline leads us to read and study so we can grow.

I Peter 1:13 says, “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.” How are we to develop self-control? As Christians, we do it by being filled with and led by the Spirit of God. We must discipline ourselves..we must push ourselves.

We must have self-control to get up and read our Bibles or exercise. We must have self-control to eat properly. We must have self-control to refrain from saying something we may not need to say.

Today, ask the Lord to help you have the self-control you need to do the things you need to do.

Jim Rohn once said, “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.” Today let’s exercise discipline.

The Power Of Prayer

“Please say a prayer for me.” Or, “remember me in prayer.”

I’ve heard those requests numerous times. It’s because people believe in the power of prayer. A person may not be regular in worship attendance but they believe in the power of prayer.

In James 4, James spoke on the power of prayer. He asked, “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”

In these verses James talks about praying for strength when facing hardships and he talks about praying for the sick.

So today, whatever we are facing, we can take it to the Lord in prayer. God is available 24/7/365. We can talk to God about anything and when we talk to God, we have access to the greatest power in the universe.

As the old hymn goes;

“Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted?

Tell it to Jesus, Tell it to Jesus.”

Today the Lord invites us to come to Him in prayer.

The Sin Of Doing Nothing

One idea of living the Christian life is not doing certain things. So if we don’t do bad things, we are considered a good Christian. But is that the way we are to live the Christian life? Is it all about not doing certain things?

Let’s look at the flip-side of that; we can not do certain things and feel good about ourselves. But what if we know someone needs help…needs ministry and we don’t help them? Is that bad? Now remember, we are not doing certain things but we are failing to do some good things we know we should do.

James talked about this. James said, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

This is called the sin of doing nothing. You know someone needs help but you don’t do it and that is sin. Maybe you know someone who needs help. They need ministry. We need to help them. Failing to do things to help others, is just as much sin as NOT doing bad things. You know someone needs help but you do nothing to help them.

Today, maybe there is someone you know who needs help. If you are financially able, help them. Someone might say, “I’m not going to help them…they have blown all their money.” They may have, but they still need help. Let the Lord judge their lives not us.

Today, give someone a hand. Help someone out. If we see a need but fail to help we have sinned.

Years ago, a person came forward during a revival and told the Minister, “I ain’t been doing nothing and I’m going to quit it.”

Today, stop doing nothing. Help someone. Do something good.

A Life Filled With Godly Wisdom

Everyone needs wisdom to help in making decisions and choices. But James tells us that if we  are “wise and understand God’s ways, we should prove it by living and honorable life, doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom.”  Think about that verse…

James says if we are wise and understand God, it should lead us to live an honorable life..  This means a person has good character.. a person deserving of honor.  

Then James adds.. “doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom.”  Good works means doing good things.  James is not saying we can work our way into heaven… but that as a result of our faith, it will lead to good works.  James had talked about “faith and works” earlier in the text.  He said that works grows out of our faith… We don’t earn salvation through works but, if we have faith in God, it will lead to works.  

What are works?  Works means helping others… it means worshiping, it means giving, it means demonstrating compassion.  It means serving Christ.  So, if a person has given their life to Christ, Jesus changes our lives and that change should lead us to work out our faith.  Again, James isn’t saying we can work our way into heaven… but that works grow out of faith.   

Then, James focuses on humility.  He says “… humility that comes from wisdom.”  Anyone who walks with God should be filled with humility.  In the sermon-on-the-mount, Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  He was talking about humility.  Before anyone can receive Christ, they must recognize a need for Christ… that grows out of humility.  

So, Godly wisdom leads us to live an honorable life and to do good works with humility.  Today, each of us should ask the Lord for Godly wisdom that will make a difference in our lives.  It leads us to live honorably… with integrity and compassion for others… and to help our fellow man through good works.  

What Does It Mean To Be Religious?

What does it mean to be “religious?”  

Most people would say that someone who is religious attends the church or place of worship of their choice and maybe is a student of the Bible.  But, a person can attend church regularly and maybe even read the Bible but it doesn’t change their habits or the way they live.  So, if that’s the case, what does it mean to be religious? 

In James 1:26-27, James writes, “ If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” 

Notice that James says a religious person must control their tongue.  Then, he adds, “Pure and undefiled religion means caring for orphans and widows and not being corrupted by the world.”

Pure religion means helping those who can’t help themselves.  Worship is important… Bible study is important… but if your worship and Bible study doesn’t give you compassion for the helpless, your religion isn’t worth much.  An orphan is someone who is dependent on others for help.  They have no parents or, their parents have given them to an adoption agency or a home for children.  

This Christmas season, I encourage you to care for the less fortunate.  There are all kinds of ways to do it.  Our car dealership, Krause Family Ford is a deposit location for Toys for Tots.  And many churches will participate in Operation Christmas Child.  

James also says we are to keep ourselves unstained by the world.  This means not taking on the habits of the world.  We live in this world.  We are supposed to become friends and develop relationships with people in the world but, we shouldn’t become like the world.  

So, pure and undefiled religion means helping those who can’t help themselves and not becoming like the world.  

George Washington Corver once said, “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.  Sometime in life you will have been all of these.” 

How Temptation Works

The movie “Blue Chips” is about a college basketball coach whose team was good in the past but the team had slipped because the coach had missed out on some of the better recruits because other schools were cheating. So, the coach began cheating and got some of the better recruits. But in the end his team was put on probation.

Temptation is something we face daily….at times…several times a day. When we are tempted, we are faced with the desire to do something that is wrong….the desire to sin.

How does temptation work?

James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”

Notice the progression in temptation….it comes from our desires. When there is something we want, we may cut a corner or do something unethical or maybe even illegal to get it. We justify it by telling ourselves that we deserve it so, we act on our desires.

Because of our desires, we are enticed….that means we are drawn…we are tempted to act. Then, these desires give way to sinful action. We sin because we are entices by our desires.

Maybe someone’s marriage isn’t the best. They meet someone and there is some chemistry between them. There marriage isn’t the best so, they are enticed by their desires and they sin.

Every day we face temptation. We have to know what our desires are and be strong enough not to yield to temptation. And it’s not easy. Temptation is powerful. But we have to ask the Lord to give us strength.

Jesus Is The Same Yesterday, Today & Forever

We live in a rapidly changing world. Business changes. The way education is done may change. Technology changes. And, people change.

You may see someone you haven’t seen in a long time and you walk away thinking, “They have changed! They weren’t like that years ago.”

Or, maybe a friend let’s you down. Someone that you have known for years, changes and let’s you down. You begin to ask, “Who can you trust?”

In this world of change, Jesus Christ never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Jesus Christ loves everyone. Jesus forgives. Jesus cares. Jesus is the Savior of the world. None of that changes.

It doesn’t matter how much the world may change; Jesus never changes. He is the Savior of the world.