This weekend we talked about the Grace of Thanksgiving. From the choice of worship choruses, to the Pilgrim and turkey humor video, to the children filling in their own outlines, we tried to focus on the themes of grace and thanksgiving. I would like to know what stuck in your memory. Did the message make sense? Do you have a question regarding baptism (we had five people get baptized in the 10:30 service)? What are your thoughts about having the children in with us? I’m interested in your comments.
Archive for November, 2010
This morning in Staff Meeting we asked everyone to tell us the worst thing and the best thing about their Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone had a lot more good that bad to report. My worst thing was eating the casserole corn my wife made (she makes the world’s best casserole corn dish).
During my radiation treatments I had to stay on a strict diet because of the side effects on the digestive system. I’ve been slowly working myself back into a regular diet the past month and doing well. So when I saw that casserole corn dish at the Thanksgiving dinner, I dug in. The next day I was in trouble with serious cramping and dashes to the bathroom. My Radiation Oncologist had earlier warned me about eating corn specifically. So, I guess I still must avoid that.
There’s so many things the Bible tells us to avoid, but, sometimes things look and taste so really good that we forget what we once do. Pain comes along with a fall.
Today is Thanksgiving Day! And I am truly thankful to God for His provision in my life.
I have a memory branded into my memory of Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving Day, 1967. I was serving in the US Army stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, working in the basement of Post Headquarters with a lot of brass around. I had a 4-day holiday pass, so I bought a Greyhound Bus ticket to the old bus station in Fort Wayne. I left base about 4PM and arrived in Fort Wayne about 2AM. Dad drove down there to pick me up.
After Thanksgiving dinner, Dad and I took our shotguns and went rabbit hunting together. The rabbits all survived that day, but what a memory I still have of my Dad mentoring me. Whenever I think of Thanksgiving I recall that time I had with my Dad.
What’s a memory etched in your mind when you think of Thanksgiving Day?
God will wean you from dependence on any hand but His. He’ll allow the Pharaoh who fed you last year to abuse you this year. Then He’ll bring you into the wilderness and teach you to trust in Him alone. Note:
1) At first, you may not recognize your provision. The word manna means “What is it?” (Exodus 16:15). They’d never seen anything like it. It required faith to receive it. Don’t be afraid of something because it doesn’t come prepackaged the way you like it. Instead say, “Lord, if it’s according to Your Word I’m going to receive it, thank You for it, enjoy it and start living off it.”
2) It had to be gathered first thing each morning. Why? Because by noon the sun had melted it. Before you do anything else, go get your manna. Feed yourself on God’s Word before the enemy gets a chance to hit you. Once you’ve done that, you can handle whatever the day brings.
3) You receive according to your need, not your neighbor’s. God won’t bless you so that you can keep up with the guy in the next tent; if your neighbor has more kids to feed, he gets more manna. Stop measuring your blessing by what somebody else has. Your blessing is predicated on 2 things: a) The amount needed to fulfill your God-given assignment. b) The degree to which God can trust you with it. So quit comparing and complaining about what God gave your neighbor; and start being grateful for the “What is it?” that He’s placed at the door of your tent.
God will use different people at different times to meet different needs in your life. He used Pharaoh to feed the Israelites. Imagine that! When famine hit, He led His people down to Egypt and made Pharaoh feed them for 400 years. Get this: when you ask God for something, don’t dictate to Him who He’ll use to meet your need.
Notice the words of Jesus: “Shall men give into your bosom” (Luke 6:38). When God wants to bless you, sometimes He’ll send a person! But if you’re too proud to accept their help, you won’t get it. Or, if you limit Him to working through people you know or like, you’ll miss the boat again. God used Pharaoh because Pharaoh’s not the kind of guy you’re apt to fall in love with. God doesn’t want you getting hooked on anybody but Him. He can bless you through your boss, the IRS, the car dealer, the mortgage lender, or even those who mean you no good!
It was betrayal by his brothers that eventually caused Joseph to become Prime Minister of Egypt. People will enter your life and people will leave it. Praise God when they come and praise Him when they go, and remind yourself: “If He blessed me before, He can do it again.”
Egypt only became a problem when God’s people stayed there too long! Don’t lean on the arm of the flesh too long, or the instrument of your blessing can become an idol (or a source of control). And that’s a problem, for God said: “You shall have no other Gods before me.”
I just finished reading The Book of Heroes: Great Men and Women in American History, by George Roche. This is a fairly short book giving brief biographies of George Washington, Daniel Boone, Louisa May Alcott, George Washington Carver, Robert E. Lee, and Andrew Carnegie. These men and women had nothing in common in their huge contributions to American society and its development. What they did have in common was their common humble beginnings.
In each story, they each rose up from a common lifestyle, and some even from abject poverty, to make something great of their lives. None of them ended up where they planned, but were able to adjust to the circumstances around them to accomplish great successes in spite of the odds against them. They didn’t hide from difficulties, but charged into them confidently.
May we all have the self-confidence and faith in God to see opportunities when they appear before us. God will lead us into such opportunities.
This weekend we finished our Desert Discoveries series with the topic of Bitter Herbs. Bitter definitely is a characteristic of the spiritual walk both in the Old and New Testaments. First we die, then comes the resurrection. Our journey is called a walk of faith because when we trust in God as we go through the bitter experiences, and don’t get mad at Him as if it is His job to make us happy, God then matures the bitter into sweet.
What was your take on the weekend services? What went well and what could we do to improve?