Category: thoughts by John Grant

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“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”  Matthew 25.19

Recently I met an Olympic medalist. He was excited and motivated about the Olympic competition. I was surprised to learn that combining the summer and winter Olympics that there are more than 400 Olympic events each requiring a different set of skills. His comment was there is something for everyone.

The heights of Olympic athletes ranges from 4 feet to 7 feet, each size adaptable to their respective sport. The man I met received a bronze medal in the ice-skating competition. He was thrilled even be on the Olympic team, much less to be a medalist.

He grew up with a background most unlikely to ever be Olympics skater. But he had a dream and his message was simply that everyone should live their dreams and use their God-given gifts to the fullest extent possible.

God has given each of us a multitude of gifts with a simple message of use them or lose them. God has given each of us all the gifts we need to carry out the mission that he uniquely created us to do here on earth.

A large part of our life is discovering the gifts that God has given us, and then using them to the utmost of our ability. If our eyes and our minds are not open discovering those gifts, which sometimes are right under our nose, we will pass them by and never be able to live our dreams and the dreams God has created us to enjoy and experience as we life.

Take time today to seek God’s presence and asked him what gifts he has given you and how He wants you to use them for his glory. Live life to the fullest. Use your gifts. Get ready for God to give you more than you could ever imagine. Live your dreams and get ready for new and more joyful ride through the journey of life.

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

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“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:8-10

She was one of the great leaders of the 21st century, playing a vital role in the end of the Cold War in Europe. She was a strong woman in a man’s world. The movie entitled Iron Lady was recently released depicting the story of her courageous life.

I thoroughly enjoyed viewing this film captivating the life and career of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England. But, it was one particular quote of hers that resonated with me. In her declining years she looks back and says: “It used to be what we could do. Now it is all about what we can become or who we can be.

What are you living for? What is your ultimate goal? Who are you trying to please? The old catechism answer says that our chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So what does that mean? Simply, it means our goal is to please God.

Who’s in control of your life? Who’s pulling your strings? For the majority of us, it’s other people – society, colleagues, friends, family or our religious community. We learned this way of operating when we were very young, of course. We were brainwashed. We discovered that feeling important and feeling accepted was a nice experience and so we learned to do everything we could to make other people like us and to be a big dog in the kennel of life.

In Ephesians 5 we are told that our goal is to “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” If we try to live by the opinions of others, we will build our life on sinking sand. The person who tries to please everyone will only end up getting exhausted and probably pleasing no one in the process.

To be successful in God’s eyes is to do God’s will for our lives. After all, he created us with a purpose and for a reason. If we are driven by these values and not by the changing opinions and value systems of others in this secular world, we will live a more authentic, effective, purposeful and happy life. We will be actualized and successful.

Life is not about who makes history and headlines or who acquires the most power and possessions. Life is about pleasing the Creator of all of us.

Only one question remains – do you really want to be free?

By John Grant
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“Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 5:8 (NLV)

We live in a world where some people find hope, but few things are certain. People change. Circumstances change. There is always the question of what lies ahead tomorrow and thereafter. This uncertainty often causes us angst. There are so few things we can rely on confidently.

But one thing we can count on as Christians is eternity with Jesus. Yes, we can be “fully confident,” as Paul says, that when we are absent from our earthly bodies we will be at home with the Lord forever.

The saved can count on this with absolute certainty. But being saved is more than belonging to a church or having head knowledge about the Bible and the Christian faith. It comes from a personal relationship with Jesus.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Salvation comes when we confess our sins and invite Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and live within us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Today, as someone who is saved, you can have full confidence that what awaits you in heaven is far better than anything this earth has to offer.

Lord, thank You for the invitation to live with You forever. I confess my sins and surrender my heart and life to You again. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and impart to me assurance of salvation. Amen.

By John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney
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He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm“. Mark 4:39

As our boat pulled away from Tiberius headed for Capernaum on the North end of the Sea of Galilee, it was a clear, calm and sunny way. Suddenly when we were in the middle of the sea, a tremendous storm suddenly hit. It was fierce. The boat rocked and I could only imaging what it would be like to be in a small fishing boat.

Recently, a man was cleaning our pool on a very windy day. The water was so blown on that he couldn’t see the bottom. Then, he pulled out a little vile and sprinkled a few drops on each end of the pool and suddenly it was calm. What a difference a few drops made.

The Bible tells us about storms, especially one on the Sea of Galilee one time when Jesus was aboard a small fishing boat. Everyone but Jesus was scared. The waves were breaking over the boat which was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion, but the disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” The Gospel of Mark 4:39 then states that: He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”

Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

We all go through storms in our lives. Some are fierce and we feel like we are about to sink. We look for places to run and hide and avoid the storms, but they follow us everywhere we go. We can’t escape.

Our life can often feel so chaotic. Juggling a stressful job, a number of relationships, financial woes, our present pandemic and a host of other demands can sometimes be just too much. It’s no surprise that we find ourselves internally screaming and begging for a moment of peace.

The Bible offers us a host of verses about peace. A goal that any careful reader of scripture will recognize as one of God’s deepest desires for every one of us and for the world at large.

The message of these Bible verses is pretty simple: slow down, take a deep breath, open yourself to the presence of God, and He will reward you with the peace you seek. Spend some time with the Bible and it will point the way to the serenity we all need so desperately in these hectic days.

Only Jesus can calm the storms of your life.

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

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“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  Psalm 56:3

In his book, “What Are You Afraid Of?” Dr. David Jeremiah writing on what God calls us to do says: “God has never called anyone to a task and then abandoned him or her by the side of the road. So if we fear what God wants us to do, our perspective needs adjusting so that we focus not on the size of the job but on the size of God.”

How do you know what God’s calling you to do?

Here are seven ways:

  1. There’s a burden on your heart you can’t shake.
  2. There is a specific person you know of who needs your help.
  3. The Scripture passage that you read encourages you to have faith and step out.
  4. When you pray, you have a sense that God is asking you to act.
  5. You don’t have time, but you have a seed of faith.
  6. God brings someone into your life to encourage your calling (your spouse, your pastor, a godly friend.)
  7. You feel as if you can’t do it alone.

There are many things that can occupy our time—there always will be. There are good things we can devote our lives to, but the most important things are the God things.

When you do decide to step out, your schedule won’t automatically clear. It never does. Instead, God will show up. He will give you extra wisdom, energy, resources and strength. But mostly He will give you Himself!

And when you have Him, you have everything. And when you give others the knowledge of Him, they can have Him too. And when lives around you are transformed, all the stuff you were busy with doesn’t seem as important any more.

And God is glorified because it’ll be clear to everyone that it’s Him doing the work!

How about you?

What do you feel God calling you to?

What are you doing about it?

By John Grant
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“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)

If you are struggling or stressed with life’s obstacles, look to scripture to feel God’s love and gain His perspective on the situation. The Bible is full of scriptures that show God’s unfathomable love for us, and discovering that His love is everlasting is the most important of them all.

The Bible tells us that His love is far greater than any human love imaginable. Nothing we do (or anyone else does to us) will ever separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39)

He loves us so much that He gave His only son, and promises, that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. (John 3:16)

When we were dead in our own sin, through His mercy and grace He has made us alive together with Christ. By grace we are saved. (Ephesians 2:8) While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Not only does God love us, He also cares for us and wants to reveal Himself in the midst of all our troubles. He invites us to cast all our cares on Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

He is a God of mercy and grace, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)

No person can love or even understand the depth and breadth of God’s love, but we can accept it.

No matter what our circumstance may be or how great our sin, God’s love is always unconditional and His Power is always available to help make us more like Jesus.

Father I don’t fully understand Your love, but I freely accept it as a gift of Your grace and mercy. Thank You for loving me no matter how badly I stumble. I cast my cares on You and accept all the love You have for me. Amen.

Thought: Seek to understand and experience the love of God more deeply. Write some of the verses from today’s devotion on sticky notes. Then post them around the house in obvious places (the fridge or cupboard door, your night table, mirror, etc.) Then let the truth sink deeply into your soul each time you read the verses. God loves you so much!

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

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“As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.” 1 Samuel 17:48

During training exercises, the green lieutenant was driving down a muddy back road. He encountered another car stuck in the mud with a red-faced colonel at the wheel. “Your jeep stuck, sir?” asked the lieutenant as he pulled along side. “Nope,” replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. “Yours is.”

Now that story might give you a chuckle, but isn’t that the way most people want to handle their problems, but handing the keys to someone else? By nature we neither want to admit that something was our fault nor do we want to take the imitative and responsibility to fix it. Our tendency is to run from it and hand it off to someone else to solve.

One of the fundamental principles of sailing is that when you get into a storm, head into the wind. If you run from it, you will be caught from behind. If you turn sideways, you will capsize. But, by meeting it head on, you have the best chance to ride out the storm and overcome it.

Life is that way. We will never conquer our fears, sins, problems, the giants in our lives by running away. Those giants will always be there just like Goliath was there every day taunting, challenging, badgering. The only way that we can overcome and conquer the giants in our lives is to do as little David the shepherd boy did. He quickly ran out and faced his giant. So we must face our problems. Face your giant. Acknowledge it and address it. Only by facing the giant can we overcome.

But there is more for you between facing your giants and personal victory. We have to turn from facing to focusing. Don’t focus on the giants…focus on God. The miracle of overcoming giants is to trust in the Lord…focus on Him!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5&6)

Face your giants, rather than running from them, but then focus not on your problem but rather focus on God. With that formula for dealing with life’s problems, we can overcome anything that we may face in life. Just remember to focus on God in all times, in all situations and in all ways.     (a thought on life from John Grant )

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

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But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Life is balanced between hills and valleys. It is not all honey and no bees. It is not all roses and no thorns. There are good days and bad ….. high experiences and low ones.

The view from the top of the mountains of life is awesome, but the growth comes in the valleys. Sometimes God puts us on our backs in the valleys so all we can do is to look up.

Recently I heard a story about one man who told another: “I wish you enough.” When asked to explain, here was his response.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

Our life is often like that. God gives us enough difficulties to help us appreciate the joys of life. He gives us the hard times so that we may enjoy the good ones. Times of trouble are times for spiritual growth.

God gives us times of weakness to develop the spiritual muscles needed for times of strength. God gives us a balanced life to prepare us for an eternity with Him where there will be no more tears and an eternity of joy with Him.

By John Grant
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“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”  Jeremiah 23:24

The lady sitting next to me pulled out her electronic tablet and said she wanted to see who showed up to work and what they were doing. Her business was several hundred miles away. She explained that she had cameras throughout the business and key by key she took role and observed what people were doing, as she cruised from department to department. It was indeed a new kind of surveillance system, but it made me think of and older and more comprehensive one.

God sees every single thing we do. He even knows what we think! God is omniscient, a big word that means all-knowing. God sees the good things we do – those things please Him. He also sees the bad things we do – those things displease Him. God wants us to do the right things, like telling the truth, being helpful, using kind words, forgiving people who hurt us, and obeying authority. God sees us make right choices and is pleased when we follow Him instead of others who want us to do wrong.

On the other hand, each one of us has done wrong things that displease God. God has seen our sins and must punish us for them. In love, God sent Jesus to take the punishment for the sins of those who turn from their sin and trust Jesus.

Proverbs 15:3 tells us The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”  He knows and sees all.

God has given us freedom of choice and is grieved when we sin against Him. He wants us to do right and most important of all, He wants us to accept His Son so that we may have eternal life with Him.

Yes, Jesus sees everything we do.  It is useless lying to God or trying to hide from Him because He knows everything and He sees everything. He can see right inside your heart. As my pastor recently said, “Aren’t you glad others don’t know what Jesus knows about you?”

It is important to remember that Jesus loves you. He wants to spend time with you and for you to spend time with Him. That’s why He died on the cross and pay for our sins. We all do things we’re ashamed of at different times. But we can turn to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us and to help us not to do those things any more.

By John Grant
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“And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

The headline caught my attention: “Wealthy Plan to Shun Materialism.” I was drawn to the article that went on to say that wealthy shoppers, according to a recent survey, plan to refrain from scooping up expensive handbags, shoes and other discretionary items, even as the economy recovers.

The rich say they will reign in their spending of material things and seek out experiences that may garner more satisfaction. The study found that people are less interested in expensive personal items and more interested in building “lasting memories.” Apparently luxury goods and services are considered less important in today’s economy. Pricy designer items seem to have lost some of their appeal.

The road they are travelling is nothing new. It has been in the Bible for years. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have. Hebrews 13:5.

There are many verses warning about materialism, but they are summed up in five major conclusions:

1. It is idolatry. Materialism puts something other than God as an idol to be worshiped. Materialists make sacrifices to their idols in terms of time, money, energy and passion.

2. It is all consuming. A person who obsesses about owning possessions will become too consumed with pursuing it that they will neglect more important matters in life.

3. It is counter-productive. The whole point of materialism is supposed to bring happiness by possessing, but in the end it only causes deeper and greater unhappiness because it produces only temporary bouts of superficial elation, much like a sugar or caffeine high. There’s always a crash.

4. It is unsatisfying. There is never enough. Having wealth or being rich is not a sin, but putting it above God is.

5. It is ultimately futile. In the end, everyone is going to die. When they do, all the money, possessions, education and whatever else they have accumulated will be left here on earth, regardless of where they ultimately go. The Rembrandt painting will stay on the wall. So will the collection of rare coins or the library of first editions. But, most importantly, none of these will be there for eternity. Everything material will be destroyed.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21.

Question: Have you considered these points and evaluated your priorities?

by John Grant
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“If the anger of the ruler flares up against you, do not resign from your position, for a calm response can undo great offences.”  Ecclesiastes 10:4

Many items of computer software have an “undo” button. It allows us to erase forever your most recent action and redo it the way you first intended or should have attended. It allows you to dismiss mistakes and proceed as if nothing wrong had happened. It also allows you to restore something you mistakenly deleted. It is so easy.

Real life is so much more difficult. You can’t un-cook an apple or take back and forever erase words you have said and things you have done. We all make wrong decisions at some point in our lives. What’s worse is that no matter how much we repent and ask God for His forgiveness, what’s done is done and cannot be undone. While God in Heaven will forgive us, the consequences on earth are still there.

Many of us feel condemned by what we have done.

We fail to understand when God forgives our sins, He also forgets them. He never condemns us for something He has already forgiven.

What many of us do not understand, however, is the fact that while God’s forgiveness erases our offences from His sight, we still have to face the consequences of our wrong decisions. Life is not as easy as a computer program.

When we have done or said or written the wrong thing, we need to do what we can to right the wrong.

Often is not easy and something the world says is unnecessary, but the Bible teaches us it is. So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

One thing I learned as a pilot is that I should always be looking for a place to land. Life is like that. Whenever we make mistakes, we should always be looking for how to right our wrongs as best we can. Sometimes it is embarrassing. Sometimes it is expensive, but it is always the right thing to do.

We go through life making mistakes, some accidental and some foolishly intended. I have done my share and so have you. To err is human; to forgive, divine. (Alexander Pope 1711). The key is how we follow up. Young sailors are taught how to ride out a storm by heading into the wind, not from it. Don’t run from your mistakes; confront them head on. Try to undo as best you can.

As you ask forgiveness of others, ask forgiveness also of God, the ultimate forgiver. We do not earn our forgiveness. We do not pay for our own forgiveness. Jesus died for it before we ever committed a wrong. Unlike our forgiveness of others, He blots it out forever.

God’s love can never be taken away from you, ever. Romans 8:37-39

By John Grant
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“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Being a servant in our world means being suppressed, even trod-upon. But in the Biblical context, it takes on a totally different meaning: one of freedom and devotion. It describes those who are more like Jesus.

The quality that so completely characterized the life of Jesus was the quality of His unselfish servant-hood. The Apostle Paul added to this focus when he wrote, “In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Pointing to the Savior as our great example, he quickly added, “You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had.”

If we, as Christians, are going to grow and mature into Christ-like character, we must experience progress in giving of ourselves in ministry to and for others. Servant living stands opposed to the primary concerns we see today — where the focus of our culture and society is more on our own personal happiness and comfort.

The preoccupation with self today is readily seen in slogans like, “Be all you can be.” Simply put, our modern day society (and this includes a great number of Christians) is focused on making satisfaction its goal.

Pleasing God is more important than self-fulfillment. We must be careful to not take the focus off what is truly at the heart of Christianity: knowing and loving God. Out of that resource and relationship, we are able to live as servants in the power of the Spirit, according to the example of Christ.

Lord, may I decrease so that You may increase. Help me to back away from the standards and trends of the world and become more like You. Amen.

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

Christmas time 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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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

Out in space two alien forms are speaking with each other. The first spaceman says, “The dominant life forms on the earth planet have developed satellite-based weapons.” The second alien, who looks exactly like the first, asks, “Are they an emerging intelligence?” The first spaceman says, “I don’t think so…They have them aimed at themselves.”

Now that’s a cute little story, but one that ends with more truth than humor. As we approach that season of the year when people talk about peace on earth, we soberly note that there is anything but peace on earth. Civil and international wars and conflicts are being fought all over the globe and the threat of the unseen enemy of terrorism is ever present.

The root cause of it all is greed and sin, something God sent His Son to free us from, but before He came, when He came and ever since He came, people have rejected both Him and His Father. In 1 Samuel 10:19 we read

You have rejected God…and asked for a king“.

As long as people are looking for earthly power (a king) and not heavenly power (God), nothing will change. As we look around the world, people are aiming their weapons as one another and even shooing their own, all in the name of greed, power and international control.

As we enter this yuletide season amidst a fallen world of strife and conflict, we should be reminded about what Jesus said about peace.

In Matthew He said,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (5:9) and “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (11:28-30).

In John, He said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (14:27) and “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (16:33).

The prophet Isaiah said,

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). It has yet to happen, but most assuredly it will. God said so.

When we read or watch the daily press it seems to be all focused on the strife war and threats of war in the world, but as we celebrate this coming remembrance of the birth of our Savior, may our focus be not on the world, but on the manger that held the true agent of peace on earth…… real peace …….. and eternal peace.

By John Grant
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“From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.Jeremiah 30.19

We were slightly hesitant as we drove to an economically lesser part of a strange country. We were there on mission to help refugees who fled from their neighbouring homeland. They appreciated our work to help them and one family invited us to their less than modest small apartment for dinner with the family.

Their home was impeccably clean, and they so welcomed us. While the husband was cooking over charcoal on a grill on the balcony, we visited with the wife and two ever so polite teenage sons. As we ate, they told us their story, how they fled their homeland on foot, each with a small child in one arm and a bag of belongings on the other. They left everything, but they gained freedom in a new land. They exuded thankfulness for what they had.

I listened with tears in my eyes, as I thought of all I had back home and thought of what it would be like to leave it all in order to be free. I have so much, and they have so little, but they had and were thankful for that which mattered…. Faith, family and freedom.

This week, all across America, families and groups will join to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is my most favorite holiday. No commercialism, no last minute shopping….. just family time together to stop and give thanks.

As Christians we should give thanks in all things, and at all times to God the father through Christ Jesus. He has given us all we have and saved us from our sin. Giving thanks is the least we can do.

Psalm 107:1 (NIV) -“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) – “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 4:2 (NIV) – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

What will you thank God for this Thanksgiving?

By John Grant
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