As our Nation completes this special period called Thanksgiving, let’s take stock, again, of just a few more things (in addition to those we noted last week) for which we, not just as Americans but as children of God, can be thankful:
1. That our God is THE GOD –JEHOVAH, YAHWEH - Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Controller, OMNI;
2. That we are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).
3. That the Spirit of God dwells within us (Romans 8:11 & Galatians 4:6);
4. That God hears and answers our prayers(Prov.15:8&29; Matt.21:22; Jas.5:15-16);
5. That we are children of God, part of His family, and members of His body, the
church of our Savior, Jesus the Christ (Rom.8: Col.1:24; Acts13:26);
6. For our physical family - remember that God instituted family (Gen.1-4);
7. For our material blessings because they, too, come from God (Matt.6:31-34);
8. That we are citizens of a kingdom whose King gave His life(2Thes1:5;1Tim1:15ff)
9. For the blood of Jesus - seal of the New Covenant - that continues to cleanse our
sins (Matt.26:28 and 1stJohn 1:7);
10. For eternal life, the gift of grace from God extended to us because of our faithful
obedience to Him, through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, His son (Eph.2:8).
This body of believers has endured some tough times over the past couple of years. As things were "set in order" and as we have endeavored to move forward, our patience has been tested many times. Throughout, however, we have maintained a persistent attitude to stand in the truth of God's word and not allow the actions of others to sway us from staying the course. Now, our patience and endurance are beginning to "pay off" and we will see things come to fruition very soon. Because we are family, we will be able to endure all things (1Cor.13:7) and do great things (Phil.2:14&4:13) for our Awesome God as we stay united around His Truth and allow our Savior to be our one - and only - LORD! As we do, let's keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul in Eph. 3:20-21: "Always giving THANKS FOR ALL THINGS in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ to God and the Father, and be subject to one another in the fear (reverence) of God (Christ)." Let's remember ALWAYS whose and what we are as:
Did you know that thanksgiving, or one of its synonyms, is one of the more common words or themes in the Bible, appearing over two-hundred times throughout scriptures? While our society and culture emphasize being thankful for who and what we are as a nation once a year, it is apparent from scripture that being thankful or grateful is an attitude that we Christians should exhibit year-round. Listed below are some of these passages as a means of reflecting on what we should be thankful for and developing a more consistent attitude of thankfulness (I'll finish up the rest next week). The passages are in no particular order nor any level of importance, but, simply, are some that I find encouraging and that, hopefully, will encourage you as well. May God be glorified and honored!
Psalm 95:2&3 – Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving…For the LORD is the great God and the great King above all…
100th Psalm – Make a joyful shout to the LORD…serve the LORD with gladness…Know that the
LORD, He is God; it is He Who has made us…We are His people…Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
Heb. 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace [show gratitude], by which we serve God acceptably with reverence…
Col. 3:15-17 – And let the peace of God [Christ] rule in your hearts…and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…with grace [thankfulness] in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do…do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
2nd Sam. 22:50 – Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O LORD…and sing praises to Your name. Psalm 9:1&2 – I will give thanks to You, O LORD with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous wonders…I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
And one that I believe is appropriate now that our Nation has recently voted in a new President and administration:
1st Tim. 2:1-4: Therefore, I exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men…and all who are in authority [prominent positions], that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence [dignity]. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
On behalf of Chuck, David, and Jack, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving Day holiday period and encourage us all to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving throughout the year. We want you to know how much we love and appreciate each, and every, one of you. We are so very, very thankful for this congregation of God's people, whom we are honored to serve!
The Ripon Church of Christ: A Family of God Rooted in Christ
We continue to be confronted, time-and-time again, with obstacles and roadblocks as we work toward getting our new facility built so that we will have a place to call our own "home" and our own for assembling together. All of this, of course, is only the first step in fulfilling our primary mission and our goal of reaching the community that God has entrusted to us. Furthermore, we also continue to be hit with other distractions and diversions which are unsettling as we look toward the future.
We have not - we cannot - let these hinder us from the goal! Especially, now that the means by which we will accomplish this first big step is within our grasp! We must look forward to what God will do for, and with, us and move on with a positive outlook. We must continue to believe that we can do this and allow God to work through us!
Here are just a few scriptures to think about as we press on:
Genesis 18:14 – “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?...”
Jeremiah 32:27 – “…is anything too difficult for Me?”
Zechariah 8:6 – “…will it also be too difficult in My sight?...”
Jeremiah 32:17 – “…Nothing is too difficult for You…”
Mark 9:23 – “…All things are possible to him who believes.”
So, stay positive and remain vigilant in prayer! We BELIEVE this all will be done and continue to remain positive as we do all of this because of what Jesus said in
“With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
and the Apostle Paul's encouragement recorded in
“…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that
we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (NKJV)
Remember, WE ARE BLESSED beyond measure!
(This is a reprint of the article I wrote Nov. 17, 2013. The thoughts I expressed are as relevant today as then, although I must admit I don’t make it to the gym quite as often as I did when I wrote this.)
There are lots of songs that inspire and motivate me around 5-6 weekday mornings when I hit the gym for a workout, my Skullcandy, “Smokin Buds 2” ear buds in place and my iPhone open to my music app. Some of the songs you would expect (e.g. “Eye of the Tiger”). However, two of the most inspiring and motivating songs for me aren’t even of that genre. A young singer, Josh Turner (the other Josh, with just as powerful, but much deeper, voice) sings two of my favorite songs; songs that start my day out right and keep me going. One, “Long Black Train” has these words: “There’s a long black train coming down the line, feeding off the souls that are lost and crying, rails of sin only evil remains, watch out brother for that long black train. Look to the heavens you can look to the sky…find redemption staring back into your eyes. There is protection and there’s peace the same…Cause there’s victory in the Lord…Cling to the Father and His holy name, and don’t go riding on that long black train.” These scriptures come to mind as I listen: (1st Peter 5:8) “…be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Whether it’s a lion or a huge train engine, you can see it coming, so don’t jump on board or stay around the sin! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). God gives us victory (over sin) “…through the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corin. 15:57)
The other is “Me and God” (okay, now, all you teachers, remember song writers’ lyrical license): “There ain’t nothing that can’t be done by me and God. Ain’t nobody come in between me and God, one day we’ll live together where the angels trod…early in the morning…late at night talking it over Me and God…I am weak and He is strong…He forgives me when I’m wrong…He’s the One I lean on when life gets hard…He’s my Father, He’s my friend…we’re a team, Me and God…” I think of:(Mark 10:27) "…With men it is impossible, but…with God…all things are possible.” “Pray without ceasing.” (1st Thess. 4:17) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive…and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1st John 1:7-9) (2nd Sam. 22:33) “God is my strength…He makes my way perfect.” (John 14:1-4, Jesus says) “Let not your heart be troubled…in My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you…that where I am, there you may be also.” May God continue to bless us all.
Don't miss the boat, has for years, been a way of saying don't be late. You don't want to miss the last ship out or ferry boat off the island or across the river. You don't want to be too late when deciding on things like an investment or a move for job opportunities. Or maybe asking your favorite girl out on a first date. Deciding to make an offer on that first house before it sales. So many things we have to decide on in time to not miss the boat.
Some things we decide we are not sure about the timing of the end result. Like when your first date becomes courtship and someday marriage? When an investment, hopefully, matures and you can build up a retirement someday? Will the job you start take you where you hope to be someday? Will the life you live here get you to heaven? Now suddenly it's getting more serious, isn't it? Our decisions we make today can impact the rest of our life. Or they can even impact the rest of our eternity.
Thankfully, God gave us not only His Son, but a guide full of instructions to get us to our hopeful goal of heaven. If it's not your goal you don't need a guide but if it is, the answers you seek are all there for you. There will come a time when we all have to decide where we want to spend our eternity. Some will, unfortunately, not ever believe in heaven and hell, but if you even think that there is the possibility of a God that created all things then you owe it to yourself to read the guide book. God’s own words put upon men's hearts are written down in the Bible for us to follow. Eternity in heaven with God or decide too late and miss the boat?
Revelation 21:5-8, And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirst from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Don't decide too late and miss the boat to your eternity of your choosing. The choice is ours but the day no one knows. Decide today for tomorrow may be too late.
In Him, Chuck
600 West Milgeo - Ripon California 95366