“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Being presumptions in my view, many have a lack of regard for the intricate magnificence of the world we live in. Much of the world around us is taken for granted, and the understanding of it is left to the study of few among us. I would be one of those who don’t, as I have not the education to even know where to begin to understand. But I do not begin to think the universe began in the chaos of an explosion and resulted in perfect order. I do think there was a superior intelligence far beyond man’s ability to fully comprehend what caused all that is known to happen and exist in harmony. That superior intelligence is identified as God and seems to satisfy most. The truth is that this God has an identity and told Moses he was sent by the “I Am” to Egypt to free His people. In the book of Revelation we have defined the meaning of “I AM” “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:1-8)

Without God, the “I AM,” there would be no heavens, and there would be no earth. There would be nothing on the earth, as it would be like most known planets barren. But each planet holds its own creative beauty to behold when mankind can arrive there. For us we were blessed by the “I AM” to have been placed here on this planet earth to enjoy and have dominion over. (Genesis 1 and 2) Sadly, as I walk about in the creation by God’s handiwork of amazing creatures and vegetation, of tall mountains and deep valleys, creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, and the marvels of the sea all filled with teaming life, I hear the crown of His creation mankind, in complaint that God would allow the trials and tribulations abound upon them. Still, there are few, the humble that bow and give thanks for life and the place they are given to live it. “This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

When mankind received this world, in the beginning, it was in perfect harmony with the plan and purpose of God. The scriptures don’t tell us how long passed before man fell to sin by disobedience to God’s Word. We do know there was no pride of life, not lust of the eyes, and no lust of the flesh. Thoughts of evil never entered into the mind of mankind or God’s creation. All were in unity to the will of God. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

On a fateful day in the Garden of Eden, man fell to the deception of Satan who appeared as a serpent. The man broke the rule and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and sinfulness entered creation. Harmony, unity, righteousness, and all of creation was fractured. Mankind was inflicted with the venom of Satan’s poison and since filled with a sin-nature. Still, to this day, the majesty, magnitude, and beauty of God’s creation can be seen, and the evidence of His love can be viewed everywhere. Mankind cannot help but see the glory of God. Those many have no excuse not to praise God for the gift of creation and give thanks for His love of mankind. Thanks to God, the Creator “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 1:20)

For the followers of Jesus, as ambassadors of His Kingdom, and for the great and mighty works that He has done for us, we should offer offerings continually of thankfulness. As the heavenly host we too should give praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. “Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!” (Psalm 148:2) Imagine if the world could see God’s children praising Him for all the love He bestows upon them daily. God is worthy and deserves our praise as a thank offering. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

We were created to serve, and all of mankind is in service to one thing or another. But what does it profit if we do not serve the King of kings and Lord of lords? God has placed us where we are or can use us wherever we are for His purposes. If we remain faithful and abide in Christ the vine we as branches can accomplish His purposes. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, then we should willingly walk with Him. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:7)

When Jesus is directing our path, we still have struggles and temptations, but if we stumble He can turn that fall around into a positive good event to increase our faith and ability to move the mountains in our lives. Jesus carries us through where we fail to walk He is worthy of our gratitude. We know that if we stay true we will have the victory through Him. “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)

We have been placed in a world that is filled with trials, struggles, and challenges to overcome. It is not of our Lord’s making, but of that of our disobedience and the resident sin around us. Rather we bring our trials upon us, or the world persecutes us by tribulations. We have been placed here to overcome by the example our Lord has given us to receive the victory He has assured us. We can go our way filled with uncertainty, or we can follow our Lord in the assurance of His provision. We can choose to live in the promises of His word and faith to live it into reality. In Paul’s confidence, we have this promise that we will be lead to the triumph in Christ.

When we submit and live in the work field of His ministry, we have the confidence that He has prepared the way ahead of us that we can walk in the footsteps He has planted before us to follow. The purpose of our creation is to do the good work He has created us for. It is never easy, as the world opposes us, and it is never futile, as all things work for our good. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

By our Lord’s lead, we move in the overwhelming power of the Spirit of Truth, submitting to the truth and through repentance denying the desires of our weak flesh. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) We adorn ourselves in the good fruit of His Spirit that the world can see the example of the Good Shepard’s love shining through our lives. No longer living as the wicked, but wearing the jewels of our Master’s attributes that the world will know we are His children and living in His reflection. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22:23)

Our Lord has already overcome our greatest enemy death, which is the penalty of the sin He has removed from us by dying in our place, as a result of His love for us. Our enemy is not the world, is not our fellow man or the evil they do, our enemy is Satan who comes to steal, kill, and destroy all the good work that God has given to us. Our Lord has defeated all three, Satan, sin, and death on the cross. Because of Him, we can have victory, we can be set free by His truth, and we can have eternal life in His Kingdom. This triumph Christ has given to us. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)

It is too great a privilege to not grab ahold of, too great a responsibility not to fulfill, and it is too wonderful not to share with all who will hear. We are the points of light in a darkened world of wandering sheep in search of love, peace, and joy. The world was, in the beginning, dark and void, and God caused light to come out of that darkness that mankind could find their way, could find the truth, and could find life in a world of death. The Christians carry that light in their hearts that the world may see Him through us and seek His path to salvation. “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

The greatest gift we have received is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the greatest gift we can give from our love to another is our testimony of what He has done for all of mankind. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:150 Our thankfulness is this loving-kindness for our neighbor. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 27, 2019

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