Thanksgiving

Unless you live under a rock, you know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day of over-eating with relatives (some of whom may drive you crazy), watching a parade with lame commentary and trying to stay awake for the football games. It’s a grand ole holiday that ushers in the unofficial start of the Christmas season (even though Christmas decorations and commercials started a while ago).

None of this is new information for you.

For me, this holiday is the unofficial start of my Christmas ranting; one where I lament how commercialized Christmas has become, but I will spare you the ranting rhetoric this year and simply refer you to the Word of God. As you gather with family and friends, let’s keep things in perspective and remember the reason we can truly be thankful.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
[Psalms 136:1-9]

And the list goes on and on. Give thanks to the Lord for Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection we have through faith in him. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast loves endues forever and ever and ever and ever and…

Have a safe and God-glorifying Thanksgiving.

The Pastor -|—

Master Artisan

To anyone who says there is no God; that we are just a cosmic accident; or that life/creation just happened, I say hogwash. Check out God’s handiwork from today:

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalms 8 (ESV)

God is awesome!
All praise to his holy name!

The Pastor -|—

My Rock; My Fortress

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalms 62:1-2 (ESV)

Oh, God,
my soul waits for You,
from You comes my salvation.
Therefore You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

Many assail against me,
this culture condemns my trust in You.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

Satan seeks to draw me away,
he’s wily in all his ways.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

Many say, “put your trust in the princes of this world“;
find your fortress in them“.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

The rulers of this world say I must be quiet;
that I must acquiesce to their demands.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

False prophets speak elegant words;
drawing many away from the Truth.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

Ill health or injury may bring despair;
bringing frustration and hopelessness.
But You are my rock; my fortress
I shall not be shaken.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalms 62:5-8 (ESV)

The Pastor -|—

Blessing Others

Oh Lord our God and Shepherd,
You feed us
and restore us
and guide us into all righteousness.
You give us hope in the midst of death
and lead us with Your mighty right hand.
You have chosen us
and have blessed us to overflowing.
You have given us a home through faith in Jesus Christ.
May we bless others with the blessings You have given us.
May we not hold back
as we joyfully bring glory to Your holy name
through our giving.
It’s in Jesus name that we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Our Longing

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. [Psalm 27:4]

Watch the news
Peruse social media
Read the paper…

…and it doesn’t take long to get depressed or angry or worried or concerned about the direction of our nation and society. Culture seems to plummeting faster and faster into the abyss. Satan seems to be setting up his throne for a tyrannical reign.

And then there are those stories of the government reaching farther and farther into the religious liberty camp in order to destroy it. Can the government really legislate what the church teaches? It sure seems like they are trying. Being a Christian is getting more and more uncomfortable in this world.

But thankfully this world is not home.

For the Christian, your focus should not be on worldly comforts but rather on the longing that the psalmist talks about:
Dwelling in the house of the Lord
Gazing upon his beauty
Inquiring in his holy temple.
I reflect on these and suddenly I feel at ease. I feel excited and hopeful. I feel empowered and encouraged as I remember that even though this world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, Jesus still reigns.

For…

…through faith in Jesus Christ the Christian can have the hope of dwelling in God’s house, gazing upon his beauty and inquiring in his temple. And when you reflect on this and ask God for the faith to receive this promise, then and only then, can you put everything in perspective. For you see, it’s not about putting our faith in our leaders to save us and provide for us but rather praising and worshiping God for already saving us and providing for us. And therefore it’s our job and joy to share this Good News with the world in order to give others hope, because it doesn’t take long to see that one can not put their hope in this world.

Don’t long for things and people of this world, but rather long for God.
Don’t worry and get depressed, but rather long for God.
Don’t get scared or concerned about what the world can do to you, but rather long for God.

Ask and seek
Dwell
Gaze
Inquire

And…

…praise God always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

Chasten Us, oh Lord

A prayer excerpt, from Charles Spurgeon, that I read this afternoon. His prayers challenge me and help me go deeper in my relationship with Christ. And so I share this with you in hopes that you too will continue to search out your relationship with God in Jesus and go deeper and deeper with him.

Lord, we ask that Thy Word may chasten us whenever we go astray,
may it enlighten us
whenever for a moment
we get into darkness.
May Thy Word be the supreme ruler of our being.
May we give ourselves up to its sacred law
to be obedient to its every hint,
wishing in all things, even in the least things,
to do the will of God from the heart
and having every thought
brought into captivity to the mind of the Spirit of God.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. [Psalm 119:9]

The Pastor -|—

Dwell

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord , make me dwell in safety.
[Psalm 4:8 ESV]

Meditate on this verse tonight as you prepare to retire for the evening, and if you are not lying down in peace, then why? What is it that is preventing you from seeing and knowing the Lord? What lie is Satan telling you?

Whatever it is…

…stop it.

Turn to Satan and say, “Go back to hell. I belong to Jesus.”

Now, lie down in peace and trust that God has your life.

Sweet dreams.

The Pastor -|—