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Archive for November 25th, 2014

 

You’re one or the other, you know. A thermometer or a thermostat.

Those are your only choices.
This is a time in our nation when the media rules—either whipping you and me into a frenzy or stirring our emotional pot while, like a frog, we simmer or burn—not even realizing our peril.
So stop! This is Thanksgiving week, folks! Take a break. Look around and name your blessings. Count them. Make a List. Don’t look at me like I’m from another planet, dismissing me with your “what a moron” glare and return to whatever is momentarily captivating your heart.
You say, “I’d just like to pull the covers over my head and sleep ‘til January 2nd. You have no idea what this year’s been like for me.” Okay, you’ve had a bad year by all standards. You’ve lost a loved one, a job, perhaps a marriage, or your health. And you’re sad beyond belief.
Things never remain the same. God tells us “there is a time for everything under the heavens. A time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to dance, and a time to sing.
But God calls us to always give thanks. In all things. And He furnishes so many names between those Holy covers to serve as examples to us today. Folks whose circumstances make ours look pale by comparison.
Yes, I know, in our opinion everything in America is out of control. But is it really any different than it’s always been throughout the history of the world? Let’s take a short trip down memory lane this morning. And I promise, I will keep it short. My teen edit group arrives in four hours and my house is a disaster and lunch isn’t prepared…yet.
Job acknowledged God’s sovereignty and gave thanks the morning after all his kids were killed in a storm and he suffered financial ruin. Afterward God used Job as an example for all time and restored to Job all the blessings the evil one robbed him of.
Abraham gave thanks on his way to sacrifice his only son…per God’s direction. And God made an eternal covenant, a promise with Abraham and his seed.
Moses gave thanks while on the backside of the dessert watching stupid sheep. God chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt into a land of promise. And this man of God witnessed the backside of God. One glimpse that rendered others unable to look at his face.
Joseph gave thanks and served as an example of a servant of God while spending years in a filthy Egyptian prison. Then in one day he ended up becoming second in command of that great nation.
Jacob gave thanks to the Lord God Almighty while his brother was chasing him over a wrong Jacob had perpetrated years before. And God placed Jacob in that birthright line.
Rahab the harlot gave thanks and bowed before the Lord God Almighty when everything she knew—her home, her friends, her city were destroyed. And God saved her and placed her in the bloodline of Christ.
Deborah, the only woman judge in Israel, gave glory and praise to God when all the men of her time refused to take their rightful place as leaders. She went into battle because the commander of the troops was afraid to go into battle without her. God gave Deborah the victory and praised Jaeel for her part in Israel’s victory.
Daniel and his three friends honored God and praised His holy name in the middle of a foreign land when their lives were threatened. And God brought them through jaw-dropping, life-saving experiences and they served in high offices in the land of their enemies. And we still remember their names and lives today.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the other prophets gave thanks and honored God when all about them rejected and profaned His holy name. Their names are forever memorialized in God’s Book of Records and their reward will be eternal.
David wrote Psalms of Praise while running for his life from King Saul who sought to kill him. God honored David by calling him a man after God’s own heart and giving him an eternal kingdom.
Paul gave God glory, honor and praise and wrote much of our New Testament while confined by Rome, awaiting beheading. God made him an apostle to the Gentiles and gave him the privilege of seeing the resurrected Christ.
Jesus gave thanks to God the Father and prayed for you and me, knowing He was on his way to a tortured death on the cross. God raised Him and sat Him at His right hand, and gave Him the keys to the Kingdom of God.
I’ve left out so many others who chose to obey by giving God thanks in all things.
What challenge, hardship, trial, or tragedy has God called you to this Thanksgiving of 2014?
Like all those witnesses who’ve gone before us, let’s choose to make this a time of sacred worship. Worshipping our Lord God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ for who they are…not what you and I have or are going through.
Let’s take this opportunity to become the thermostats God has called us to be. A holy people who change the temperature around them by pointing others to Jesus, who show love and grace to others, a people who give thanks in all things.
The world around us reacts to situations that cause temperatures and tempers to rise. Will you choose to be an instrument that reflects the mood of the culture?
Or will you bow your knees and bring an attitude of joyful praise and worship to our Sovereign God and precious Savior on all those in your realm of influence during this season of remembering? This blessed season of thanks giving.

 

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lost heart”  (Hebrews 12: 1-3 NAS).

 

What poignant, sweet, funny stories of Thanksgiving do you hold as precious treasures in your heart. Let’s share these memories with each other of this special day.

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