Category: thoughts by John Grant

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“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” James 3:5

The Chicago Fire of 1871 burned for three days, and destroyed thousands of buildings, killed an estimated 300 people and caused an estimated $200 million in damages. It all happened when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern in a barn and started the fire.

Seemingly little things can lead to big things and not always good things. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Consider what great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can set in motion great things, both good and bad. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.

Words, delivered at the right (or wrong) moment, can change the course of history.
Consider Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” oration on the eve of the American Revolution. This was the most influential speech in inspiring the war of independence against Britain.

General Eisenhower on the eve of the Normandy invasion turned to his staff and said to his staff “Let’s go,” and Operation Overlord was set in motion committing 156,000 troops.

But, it is not only the great and historical events which are guided by the tongue. It guides things like telling someone you love them or telling your children you are proud of them. As the tongue can change the course of history, it also can change the relationships in a family or fellowship in our churches.

We should use caution with how we use our tongue. Words from the mouth are like messages after we hit the send button. We can’t get them back. One kind or unkind word can change someone’s entire day. We should be careful with our words, because once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten. We can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.

The tongue does a lot of physical things for our body, but I believe that the prime gift God gave us with our tongue is to edify the saints and spread the Word to the sinners.

Perhaps the greatest use of the tongue was given to us by Jesus:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
– Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:7

By John Grant
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“The Angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert. And He said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai” she answered. Then the Angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.Genesis 16:6-11

My friend was driving and I was in the passenger seat. Heading eastward, we were stopped at a red traffic light, while traffic was headed southbound on the green light, when all of a sudden a westbound car ran the red light and collided with a southbound truck. Both vehicles received considerable damage, but were still drivable. The car that ran the red light kept going and we gave chase.

I called 911 with the tag number as we continued to follow the car that had by now exited the main road and was winding its way through a rather unsafe area of town. We continued to follow until the car abruptly stopped and backed into a parking space in front of a dark building. We waited patiently for the police to arrive and when they did, they apprehended the wayward driver, who by then must have been thinking that it would have been better to remain at the scene of the accident rather than running away and only compounding her problems.

It may seem elementary to us that in a similar situation we would have waited at the scene of the accident. But aren’t we guilty of running from God when we get in a jam? I know that I am. And, when we do, don’t we just compound our problems?

Hagar tried to run away from her problems, but the Lord told her to return to her bad situation and even to submit to Sarah, who had mistreated her so harshly. Because of the Lord’s personal care and encouragement, and because of His promises, Hagar was able to face her problem and see the Lord working in her situation. Rarely can we run away from problems without experiencing negative results.

God wants us to face our problem situations and work them out. With His personal presence in our lives, and His wonderful promises of help and encouragement, we will begin to see His hand at work in our lives, even in the midst of our problems. As we work though the situation with the Lord at our side, our trust in the Lord will grow stronger and deeper. God can and will work out His purposes for us, even in the most desperate problem situations we may face.

Sailors are taught that when they are in a storm – always face the storm head on. Keep the wind at your bow and don’t run. That’s good advice for us as well as we face the storms of life.

By John Grant
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“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

It was about midnight and time for the shift change, when the nurse entered my hospital room and quietly wrote her name on the board. After she left the dimly lighted room, I could see her name and then below it. “Our goal for today: Keep you comfortable!”

For someone who was experiencing some pain and discomfort after surgery, those words gave me encouragement. There was actually someone whose prime goal it was to keep me comfortable.

I then thought about God’s many promises that He cares for me and wants to make me comfortable. The word comfort appears many times in the Bible, because our comfort is God’s concern. In Psalms,

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”  Psalm 119:49-50.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God“.

As I drifted in and out of sleep throughout the night, I kept looking at that note board and then turning my thoughts to God. He is my comforter. I am comforted as I read His Word. I am comforted as I pray to Him and listen for His response. I am comforted as I see God provide the needs for my life. Indeed He is the great comforter, the God of peace, the author of assurance.

What do you look for when you look for comfort? Is it in people or things? The reason the world is so uptight and stressed out is that most people are looking for their comfort in all the wrong places.

God, Himself through the person of Jesus Christ is the author and source of all comfort and peace. Try reading Psalms when you are uptight. The message will do wonders for you. Try drifting off to sleep to Psalms 4:8,

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety“.

Or just close your eyes and imagine that God too has a message board in Heaven and on it each day He writes that His goal for the day is to make you and me as comfortable as possible.

by John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney
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God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. Hebrews 13:5

Having major surgery is no small feat, even in the best of hospitals. I am amazed at the teams that prep you for surgery, as well as those in the operating room, at least those I saw before slipping off to “La La Land“.  Then there are all sorts of people in the recovery room. Finally when you get to your hospital room, there is another team of people, each with their assigned task. They go from bed to bed and from room to room. But what is missing is the patient’s very own person assigned especially to you and to no one else.

That person is called a ‘private nurse‘ I was fortunate to have one, even though insurance doesn’t cover the cost. But, I got one for free and she was the best. She was there when I woke up in the recovery room, beside my bed and holding my hand. She accompanied me to my room and remained there beside my bed for five days and nights, sleeping on a small cot in the room.

When I was able to get out of bed and take my first steps, she encouraged me every step of the way. There are a lot of needs a patient has ranging from painful to personal and she helped with them all. Whenever I needed something, she made sure that I got it. When I came home, she stayed with me to take care of my needs and encourage me through my therapy. If you are going to have surgery, it’s the only way to go.

When I thought about how blessed I was to have this lady at my side, I thought of a spiritual parallel. From the time I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He has always been at my side, saying that I should not worry because He will never leave or forsake me. He is always there to carry my heaviest burden or to care for the least of my needs. Scripture often refers to our relationship with God as being like a marriage. The way our society has perverted marriage into a disposable item robs us of the security that concept was divinely intended to portray.

As I am sure you can guess, this ‘private nurse’ was my wife of more than forty years, my best friend, my lover, the mother of my children and next to Jesus, the one who means the most in my life. She never ceases to amaze me with who she is and what she does for me. This new experience in surgery was just one more reminder of how she is as close to me as Jesus and how blessed I am to have both always at my side. I am indeed a most blessed patient, husband and sinner saved by God’s merciful grace.

by John Grant
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“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

What does that say to you?

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.” Malachi 3:2-3

After changing into some coveralls, we entered the mine shaft elevator and descended some two miles below the surface of the South African earth. As we exited the elevator and boarded the mining train, I was surprised that the temperature exceeded a hundred degrees. After travelling what seemed like miles at such a slow speed, but was probably only a few hundred yards, we arrived at the mining site. Miners with heavy hydraulic tools were chipping ore from the vein. As the hoppers of the train cars were loaded, the gold ore began its long trip to the surface.

Once on the surface, we followed the refining procedure. First, the ore was broken into smaller pieces with a giant machine and then through a water screening process and finally crushed as fine as sand between giant rollers before once again being filtered through water to separate out the pure gold. Two piles of material were produced, one was a giant pile of processed ore and the other a small pile of pure gold.

The ore was hauled away and the gold was put into a hot fire. Heated at exactly the right temperature in the right amount of time, the gold turned into a reddish gold colour. The impurities floated to the top and were skimmed off and discarded leaving the pure gold that was slowly poured into a mold, where it was allowed to cool. Gold cools quickly and in a short time, the gold brick is snapped out of its mold and someone handed me the seventy-five pound brick to hold and admire.

As I looked at this beautiful and valuable ingot of precious metal, I thought of all I had seen it go through to go from being trapped in rock two miles below the earth to being subjected to the toughest of physical procedures and then being melted into a viscous state so that it could be pure and be molded to the mining master’s precise specifications.

God is like the mining master and we are His precious gold, but before we can become pure, we too have to be forged by fire, separated from our natural impurities and then molded to His specifications for serving Him. It is not easy and it is not fun, but when it is all done, it is so beautiful. Is God waiting to purify and sanctify you?

by John Grant
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“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.”  Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)

Scripture and history show us that as goes the home, so goes the society. And generally speaking, as go the fathers, so goes the home. The moral and spiritual condition of the society is always the offspring of the family.

We live in a day and in a culture that tries to minimize fathers, who are so important in the development of their children. The Bible is clear that fathers are to be spiritual leaders in the home. Dads have a vital role in bringing strength and stability to the home.

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-10. It has been called the Magna Carta of the home, which would guarantee the happiness and well-being of the family in the purpose of God. It tells us to love God with all our minds, beings, and strength, and to teach that to our children.

Proverbs 22:6 says this: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” And in Proverbs 13:22, it says: “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.” Most people think of that as a monetary inheritance, but it applies to leaving a spiritual legacy as well.

The role of the father is to plant acorns to grow mighty oak trees. It is more important to leave a spiritual legacy than a financial one.

Fathers should love their children as much as their heavenly Father loves them.

Father, I pray for all fathers that they may rise up and instill the gospel in their children, for the sake of this generation and for generations to come. Amen.

By John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney
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“Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. “ 1 Peter 3:3-4

As I walked through the neighborhood, I noticed a for sale sign in a front yard and below it hung another small sign that said, “I am beautiful on the inside.” I pondered the meaning and thought how often we use worldly standards of beauty to judge, but God judges beauty on the inside.

It is not what we wear or put on, but it is what is inside that counts. The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:28) Man looks at the surface, but God sees what is underneath.

Unfortunately we live in a superficial world where people do judge on appearance. We would all love to say that we are not in the majority, and that we all look beyond what’s on the outside, but virtually all of us are influenced by appearances.

Yet, we need to keep appearance in perspective. The Bible tells us that it is important to present ourselves as nicely as possible, but God does not call us to go to extremes. It is important that we remain aware of why we do the things we do to look good. Ask yourself two questions:

Does your focus on your appearance take your eyes off the Lord?
Are you more focused on your weight, clothes, or makeup than you are on God?

If you answered, “Yes,” to either of the questions, then you may need to take a closer look at your priorities. The Bible tells us to look closer at our hearts and actions rather than our presentation and appearance.

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

By John Grant
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Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine”. Psalm 16:5

“The man who is content to sit ignorantly by his own fireside, wrapped up in his own private affairs, and has no public eye for what is going on in the church and the world, is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian. Next to our Bibles and our own hearts, our Lord would have us study our own times.” J. C. Ryle, 1879.

How much is enough? When asked, John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and one of the world’s richest men said “just a little bit more.” How much is enough money? If John Rockefeller always needed a little more will you ever have enough? And how will you know when you have enough money to make you happy?

What does the Bible say about abundance? Abundance is frequently mentioned in the Bible as something God offers to those who trust in Him. Scripture says that God will provide an abundant life to those who “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Abundance in this sense means a life full of everything you need to sustain yourself in joy and purpose.

It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance, and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in any endeavour.

Unfortunately we live in a power driven, self-centered materialistic world. Prosperity and abundance is measured by power, position and possessions. On the other hand Jesus said that He came to bring abundant life.

Of course, we all want an abundant life, but what is it? It’s not about materialism. It’s about the more important things like faith, family and friends. The key to an abundant life is satisfaction and satisfaction is knowing and feeling that you have enough. Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.

To really have abundance and satisfaction, put first things first and the rest will follow. As St. Mathew said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
(Matthew 6:33)

By John Grant
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“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

It opened in theaters recently and my wife and I attended the second night. It was an incredible presentation about the horrific consequences of abortion. It affects not only the unborn child and the birth mother but also many other people as well, The movie spells that out so clearly.

The movie is October Baby, a story about a college girl who learns she was the product of a failed abortion and goes in search of her birth-mother and her life. Depressed beyond relief, Hannah walks into a catholic church and is confronted with the priest to whom she tells her story.

But he tells her that the greatest need is forgiveness and that because Christ forgave her, she has the power to forgive others and that put a new perspective on her life. I’ll stop there as to not give away the story’s incredible ending. I hope you will go see it, as we need to support Christian movies. Don’t miss it, but Kleenex is recommended.

I believe forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive. The Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian woman who survived a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you.

We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us.

This answer by Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is not easy for us. It’s not a one-time choice and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart.

When we refuse to forgive others we become the prisoner and only Christ-like forgiveness will set us free. Christ forgave me to that I can and must forgive others.

By John Grant
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Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:1

Recently Alex Honnold made “the ultimate climb” …… without a rope. His stunning climb up the 3,000 foot granite wall known as El Capitan came after meticulous planning and training. He clung to the side of the granite wall with nothing more than the tips of his fingers and two thin edges of shoe rubber.

He attempted to do something that professional rock climbers have long thought was impossible—a “free solo” ascent of the world’s most iconic cliff. That means he was alone and climbing without a rope as he inched his way up more than half a mile of sheer rock. He made it to the top in less than four hours.

His press interview after the climb was informative and interesting, but the one thing that hit me was when he spoke of the dangers, one of the greatest being to look down to where he had climbed. Never look back. It’s a killer.

Paul in writing to the church at Philippi cautioned the fellowship about looking back. He said to forget the past and focus on the future. Jesus said that no one with a hand on his plow is fit for the kingdom if he looks back.

In life looking back is not going to help you. We have to look forward. We can cry over spilled milk or we can look for another cow. The longer we keep looking back in the rear view mirror it takes away from what is moving forward. Never look back; nothing ever changes there. Don’t look back because you are not going that way.

The next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. Through prayer and spiritual growth, we can more easily put our past behind us and move forward to achieve the great things God has planned for us. Isaiah 43:18 tells us through prayer and spiritual growth, we can more easily put our past behind us and move forward to achieve the great things God has planned for us.

All of us have had bad things happen in our past that we would like to go back and change – some because of outright mistakes that we made (“poor choices”) and some due to circumstances beyond our control. Regardless of the reasons why, we have a tendency to look back, reflect on these difficult moments and wish that things had been different. Sometimes, this “rear view” thinking can weigh so heavily on our feelings that it interferes with our current choices and our ability to effectively move on with our lives.

Like the rock climber, if we look back we are likely to fall and get snared into the sins of our past. Look ahead and see what great things God has in store for us and when we finish this great climb of life there is glory for us waiting at the top.

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Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. James 1:12

The cleaning product, Formula 409 didn’t get its name from the area code where it was developed. And it’s not the birth date of the creator’s daughter. Formula 409 got its name from perseverance. The two persistent scientists didn’t get the formula right on the 101st, or even the 401st try. Only when they created the 409th formula were they satisfied that they’d created the ultimate cleaner. Perseverance pays off in life.

What does the Bible say about perseverance? The Bible teaches that we must trust God and persevere in difficult times. God is faithful He will never leave us or forsake us. The Bible offers comfort and hope when we go through hardships and trials. We must remain in Christ stand firm and continue to do the work that God has called us to do. God loves us and He will always be with us. Continue to trust in God and in His will for your life.

The writer of Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us  to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Life is more like a long run than a short sprint. Christians can run the race of life well only by laying aside any impediment that hinders one from putting forward their best effort.

People who persevere undertake their tasks in spite of difficulty and refusing to give up or give in.

Think about what aspects of life do you persevere in? Lowering your handicap? Increasing your income? Winning an election?

What about perseverance in your spiritual life? Do you press on for spiritual growth and maturity with the same zeal as you pursue the secular goals and focus of your life? Only when we keep persevering in our quest to be closer to God do we really come to understand that He is faithful to deliver on all of His promises.

As you run the race of life, remember to persevere and never give up or give in.

by John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney
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Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5

Recently we acquired a new puppy. She is cute as a button and full of energy. Puppies are fun, but come untrained, so these past few months we have been training her. She has her own dog crate, where she goes for the night and whenever we are gone or she needs to stay out of trouble.

The problem has been getting her into the cage. When she knows it is time she is hard to catch. Sometimes I wish I had an old-fashioned dog catchers net. But then we figured a better way by putting a treat in the crate so she would go in. We could then shut the door behind her. Now she knows a treat will be there and even when she is far away and we say “kennel up” she will run to it.

Satan is much like that. He baits the trap with goodies for us to follow and sooner or later the door shuts behind us. He uses all types of things…. People, money, power, etc. It is like baiting the mousetrap with cheese.

At some point, we have all fallen into the snares of evil. Oh, the bait looks so good. Surely the world won’t label the traps from Satan, but the Bible will. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:9,

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

Satan’s three greatest temptations are flesh, tempting God and discontentment. Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Discontentment is a clear pathway for Satan to capture and place you under his command. We live in a world where billions are spent on advertising each year and the main goal is to make you unsatisfied with what you have. Easy credit, keeping up with your next door neighbor and the like are all used by the devil to lead you into destruction and once you get there, he slams the door behind you.

If you are not content, you want to own the whole world, all what is in the world, you are on your way to falling into Satan worship. Whenever you are tempted by good things or bad, ask what Jesus would do.

Temptation is mentioned thirty four times in the Bible and similar words many more. Whenever you are tempted, turn first to the Bible for guidance. It will save you many a heartache.

By John Grant

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Grant Thoughts by Men

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Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

The first month of the year is the month of resolutions, most broken by the second month of the year. What are your resolutions? Maybe they are things like losing weight, getting in shape, reading a book a week, etc. How many, if any, of your resolutions deal with spiritual matters, like daily quiet time and Bible reading, discipling fellow believers, leading one lost person to Christ each month, etc.?

Perhaps you are thinking of honoring God with your generosity, but feel that your financial position lacks the ability to give much. Giving is important and a tithe is a tithe whether you make a million dollars a year or try to live on a minimum wage.

But there is more than money involved. The word “Lord” is the most common word in the Bible. Will it be the most common thought in your mind as you live out the coming year?

We are admonished to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Hebrews 12:2

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne.

What will you give as you keep your focus on Him in this new year? Let me suggest the L.I.F.E acrostic:

  1. LABOR – God gives us a body to be used for Him. You may not be able to give a lot financially, but you can give your labor, in missions, constructions, walking your neighborhood and a lot more.
  2. INFLUENCE – God gives us power and position and I refer not to just important people. You might exert your influence on the person in the cubicle next to you at work.
  3. FINANCE – Share your financial resources. Got gives some much, some little but all enough to give.
  4. EXPERTISE – Each of can do something well…. very well. What is your gift….. administrative, music, second language, etc.?

Take your life’s talent, resources…… and give it all to Christ this coming year. I’m not a poker player, but I understand that when a player builds of a big war chest and feels he has a good hand, he pushes his entire resources and shoves them to the center of the table and says “I’m all in.

How about you? Are you ready and willing to push all you have into the center of your life and say to God: “I’m all in?”

By John Grant
Used by Permission
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Grant Thoughts by Men

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Philippians 4:8

As the New Year begins, people make resolutions, most of which are broken by the end of January. But, strangely they are all about what people are going to do, rather than what they are not going to do.

Have you considered making a list of what you are not going to do during the coming year? If so, I suggest that you begin with your thought process.

One of my favorite quotes is from an unknown person: “Sow a thought and you reap an act. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Some decisions lead to amazing destinies!

It is said that we become what we think about all day long. The seedbed of sin is in the brain. What you think about you do and what you do becomes a habit that becomes a part of your character.

Bad thoughts conform us to the world and lead us to sin. Paul, writing in Romans tells us to rise above the world in order to discern the will of God.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. Romans 12:2

Yes, God calls us to rise above and be transformed with a renewing of our mind and to think about whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, things of excellence and anything worthy of praise.

So as we usher in this new year, let’s make a list of things we won’t think about and concentrate on the renewing of our mind.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

As our mind is stayed on Him, we grow in faith, grace and character. May this coming year be a blessing to you and may you concentrate on being a blessing to others.

By John Grant
Used by Permission

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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practising attorney.

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Grant Thoughts by Men

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The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15

Christmastime is a season when many people are more interested in the present than the past. But, it is the past that Christmas is all about. It started over two millenniums ago with a baby in a manger when God became incarnate in man.

There were shepherds in the fields attending their sheep. They were itinerant in that they had no home and lived a nomadic lifestyle following the green pastures and cool waters, such as they were, in the barren lands around Judea.

Sheep are defenceless animals and the only protection they have comes from their shepherd. Consequently, if left alone to fend for themselves, they are in great danger. On the flip side the only net worth a shepherd had was in his sheep. If he lost them, he lost everything he owned.

One needs to understand this to comprehend the risk and commitment the shepherds made to leave their flocks and journey to Bethlehem. It was more that a casual evening walk to town.

They were minding their own business, keeping watch over their flocks when an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” In (Luke 2:16) we learn that made no delay as they “hurried off” and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

How about you this Christmas? Will you be answering the call to the mall, hustling off to buy gifts, thinking of the present or will your thoughts be aimed at Bethlehem of years gone by?

God is calling you to go to Bethlehem to see the Jesus of whom the angels spoke. No, he is not still in a feeding trough and you don’t have to literally travel to Bethlehem, but through His Word you can follow the star and find Jesus.

The shepherds left with no delay and in full obedience to find the Lord of heaven. They left everything of worth and let the sheep fend for themselves. Have you been putting off this going to Bethlehem? Have you not wanted to risk losing what you have to make the journey? Are you delaying to not risk what you cannot keep for the sake of missing that which you cannot lose?

So let’s all celebrate the season by focusing not on the presents but rather on the Lord of the manger. Let’s all go to Bethlehem this Christmas.

By John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practising attorney
Used by Permission

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Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-grant_go-to-bethlehem/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Grant