The Joy In Serving Others

The Joy In Serving Others                                        September 19, 2021

“… but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28)

What is greatness?  Many people feel it is important to be great in the eyes of others and that is what they strive for in life.  A high position at work, accumulation of material things, getting a name for oneself, achievement awards, etc. are indications of someone who is recognized as achieving greatness.

Jesus had another definition for it.  A truly great person is one who does not live for themselves but for others.  Their goal in life is to serve and to give their life for others like He did.  He is quoted quite often for these words, “… it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). 

Jesus is not remembered for His personal accomplishments in life but rather for what He did for others.  Not only did He die for every human being but He left behind the valuable treasures of how every human being can experience inner joy, peace and meaning to their life.

What does your “greatness” do for others?

Brian Thompson

Letting Go of the Past

Letting Go of the Past                                                                             September 12, 2021

“As far as the  east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Just as a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows our frame (what we are made of); He is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalms 103:12-14)

It’s not easy to let go of one’s past especially when you live under its haunting consequences.  Everybody has a past they wish they could erase but the truth of the matter is – it happened. Things were said and done that we wish we were not involved in but we were.  We’re sorry but that doesn’t change the past.  How we make the future so unregrettable is how we deal with the present.  Today is tomorrow’s past.  We need to make sure that the way we live today won’t produce regrets for tomorrow.

One of the things that helpful with this is to remember that if God is willing to forgive our past, shouldn’t we?  The scripture above teaches us this.  David had many sinful regrets but he realized God had taken those sins away and described that removal as comparable to the distance between the east and the west (so far has He removed our transgressions from us).  When God removes our sins from us then we need to do the same.  We can’t afford to live today burdened and laden with the guilt of our past.  We need to move on and one can but only with God’s help.  Yes, it’s hard to forget the past and it may pop up now and again but remember – we can change our past but changing the way we live today.  Yes, today is tomorrow’s past.

The promise of God’s forgiveness in the scripture above is granted to all those who are a child of God as David was.  The best way to deal with the regrets and sorrows of your past is to become a child of God and have His forgiveness and experience a better life,  full of meaning and hope for tomorrow.  If you would like to know more about becoming a child of God, please let me know.  I, too, have had a regrettable past.

Brian Thompson

The Amazing Lovingkindness of the Lord

The Amazing Lovingkindness of the Lord                                 September 5, 2021

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Our circumstances in life can change at a moment’s notice.  They can go from good to bad just like that.  It could be a phone call that changes our whole life and turns it upside down or our boss calls us into his office to inform us that our employment services are no longer required.

If our only hope in life is in our possessions or our job then we may live a pretty hopeless life from time to time for we can lose all of them very quickly and unexpectantly.

The prophet Jeremiah did exactly as God told him to by telling His people and their leaders want they needed to hear.  They didn’t like what he told them and they mistreated and persecuted him (Jeremiah 20:1-18).  He was even cast down a cistern in which he began to sink in the mud until God intervened (Jeremiah 38:1-9).

However, Jeremiah remembered that God’s lovingkindnesses are so different from his circumstances.  His lovingkindnesses never change; they never cease and His compassions for him never failed.  As a matter of fact, His lovingkindnesses towards Jeremiah were new (fresh) every morning.  Imagine that and because of that Jeremiah said that he had hope every day.

What do you have in life that never changes; that is so fresh and new every morning?  Jeremiah’s life turned upside down from time to time but he had a God who was faithful and constant in expressing His loving care towards him.  Do you have such a God in your life that will help you get through life, one day at a time?

Brian Thompson

Who Decides What Is Right Or Wrong?

Who Decides What Is Right Or Wrong?                                                      August 29, 2021

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Have you ever wondered where the good old days of morality have gone?  You know, the days in which people knew what was good or evil; right or wrong and lived their lives accordingly.  But today it is completely a different story.  If you stand against evil then you’re labelled as being evil.  And those who practice evil expect, if not demand,  your acceptance of the evil they practice. 

Well, think about this.  Who decides what is good and evil; what is right and wrong?  Is it you or is it me or is it someone else?  And what happens if what you decide is against what I would decide?  Or is it up to only those who exercise political power?  And where did the concept of right and wrong or good and evil originate in the first place?

When a country abandons its moral origin then it begins a moral decline to the point that just about “anything goes.”  A godless society will always reap what they sow.  Unfortunately, many who practice such are unaware of what awaits them.  The prophet Isaiah simply puts it this way, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who make moral substitutes (before God).”  You see, God is the origin of morality.  He is the One who defines what is light and darkness; what is righteousness and unrighteousness.

When a nation departs from morality and has dived into every aspect of immorality they have abandoned God.  Morality and immorality have met on the spiritual battlefield many times before, both in heaven and on earth.  The way to defeat immorality is to remain morally focused and committed to the only true and living God and to the moral guidance found in His holy word.

Do you know why wrong is wrong and right is right? 

Brian Thompson

Living For Greatness

Living For Greatness                                                                        August 22, 2021

“And an argument arose among His disciples as to which of them might be the greatest.  But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.'” (Luke 9:46-48)

I suppose if everyone were to define what “greatness” is there would be a lot of similar answers.  Much would be centered around one’s personal achievements or their connection to someone regarded by many as being great.  Wayne Gretzky is referred to as the “great one” because of his tremendous achievements in professional hockey in which he has surpassed the records of many great hockey players before him. 

God does not condemn one’s achievements or successes but He does look down on any who basically say in their hearts, “Look what I’ve accomplished in life” as if they were solely responsible for their “greatness.”

Certainly there has never been anyone as great as Jesus Christ.  Yet His accomplishments were not based on what He did for Himself but on what He did for others.  If you want to be great in life then be the least noticed by men and if you want to great and first noticed by others then become the servant of others (Matthew 20:20-28). 

Jesus is remembered by what He has done for others.  After you’re gone will you be remembered as Jesus was or will your accomplishments be only centered around what you have done for yourself?

Living for greatness is living for God and for others.

Brian Thompson

Is There A God?

Is There A God?                                                                                August 15, 2021

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)

Can you explain the existence of this earth and its place in the universe?  What about the design found in the four seasons?  Why does mankind rule over all creation?  What is our purpose here on earth?  Why is there death and what happens to us when we die?  What exists beyond the stars and how do all the planets stay in place?

These are only a few questions that are asked by most people concerning life here on earth.  There are many more.  But where does one find the answers to all these questions?

Without the Bible we would be at a lost to know why we live on this planet.  It starts off with these words … In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and it goes from there with the answers to our questions (Genesis 1:1ff). 

Whether we want to admit it or not the design found in creation clearly indicates a designer and Creator.  The Bible reveals to us what the Creator expects of us while we live on earth.  Together they provide purpose and understanding to our existence and to our death.

What are your answers as to your existence on earth?  It is not just “happenstance” is it?  Seek the Lord with all your heart (He knows your heart) and He will let you find Him (Hebrews 11:3, 6).

Brian Thompson

Letting People In

Letting People In                                                                                           August 8, 2021

“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” (Proverbs 11:13)

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip.”  (Proverbs 20:19)

People who have lived a private life are likely to find it very challenging to confide in others after they have become a Christian.  Yet, it will be very difficult for them to live their Christian life without the encouragement and advice from their brothers and sisters in Christ.

The New Testament has many scriptures that speak of the necessity of having good, healthy relationships within one’s church family.  We all need one another to get to heaven.  We all need to pray for one another and yet this is difficult to do without knowing what to pray for.  Certainly it makes a world of difference to know that others are thinking of us and are expressing concern for us.  But to let people into your personal life and reveal some of your struggles is not a very easy thing to do.  Yet, at times. it is absolutely necessary for the sake of one’s healing and recovery.

However, the problem that often arises when one confides in another is when their confider doesn’t keep your discussions in private but rather relates them to others without your permission.  Your trust has been broken and it will be very difficult to ever confide in another person again.  What a shame because we need those in whom we can confide in and those in whom we can trust.  There are untold blessings in having such people in your life.

So, when it come to letting people into your life, may I suggest that you first pray about it before you just pick anyone and get to know the person very well before you let them into your life.  It can be a life-changing experience either for the good or for the bad, so choose wisely.

Brian Thompson

When It’s A Sad Day

When It’s a Sad Day                                                                   August 1, 2021

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)

Have you ever known someone who is always smiling whenever you meet them?  They have this glow about them and you wonder if they’ve ever have a sad day in their life.  You, on the other hand, find yourself smiling less and being serious a whole lot more. 

I don’t believe sadness falls only on some people and not others.  I believe every human being will face sad days from time to time and some will experience more than others.  But it’s how we face those times that is important.

Just because a person is always smiling doesn’t mean they’re not having a bad or sad day.  They just value the joy that comes from smiling more than the down in the dumps kind of feeling that comes when they’re sad.

How we handle sadness influences how others will handle it.  If we’re optimistic while enduring it then others will be as well.  However, if we’re negative and pessimistic then few people will not want to be near us.

It’s normal to be feel broken when times of sadness come our way.  It’s natural and a God-given response to shed tears during those times but healing begins when we learn to smile in the mist of our sadness.  There is always something to smile about whenever you face sadness if you look for it.

Brian Thompson

Finding Comfort When None Is Available

Finding Comfort When None is Available                         July 25, 2021

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

I’ve never known anyone who has ever lived their life devoid of affliction.  Have you?  Nobody enjoys going through troublesome times but it sure helps when there is someone who is there to help you and advise you as you go through them.

But what about those who face affliction alone?  That’s especially tough.  No one to open up to and no one to offer you advice.  Loneliness is an affliction in and of itself but having to go through a difficulty all by yourself is to be doubly afflicted.

The apostle Paul knew affliction well (II Corinthians 11:16-33).  He also knew what it was like to be alone (physically) during those afflictions.  Yet he informs his readers that as a Christian he was never alone and he found comfort and strength in that truth (Hebrews 13:5-6).

God is always aware of the afflictions of His people and is ready to comfort them through those times if they seek His comfort.  Not only that but He comforts them in order that they may comfort others with the same comfort they have received from Him. 

What a blessing to know that comfort is always available to Christians when they are afflicted.  Are you a Christian?  Don’t face affliction alone.  God wants to help and comfort you physically and spiritually.  If I can help you become a Christian then please let me know.

Brian Thompson

The Anchor of the Soul

The Anchor of the Soul

A ship securely anchored seldom drifts from its harbor and a life firmly fastened to the will of God is not easily shaken from its moorings. In spite of life’s uncertainties, there is a God upon whom we can depend. He inspires hope in the human heart, saying, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you…” (Heb. 13:5). Such hope is the Christian’s spiritual anchor. The inspired writer offers a most beautiful description of Christian hope when he says: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20). Ours is a hope both sure and steadfast.

Our hope is sure because it is grounded in the word of God. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Mt. 24:35). Because the word of Christ will be our standard of judgment on the last day (Jn. 12:48), it is imperative that we closely and carefully study and apply its teachings.

Our hope is steadfast because it is inseparably connected to the nature and presence of God. The nature of God provides strong encouragement in as much as it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18). We can trust God’s promises completely. Our hope is anchored in heaven, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us and always lives to make intercession on our behalf (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).

As Christians, we do not need to despair in the storms of life. We have an anchor to keep the soul, one that is both sure and steadfast. Our God, who cannot lie, has promised that, if we remain faithful, we will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). This is our calm assurance, a peace that passes understanding (Ph. 4:7).

–Glen Elliott–