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Archive for November, 2012

Cattle on a Thousand Hills

“For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
and perform you vows to the most high.”
– From Psalm 50.

God owns all that we think we possess. He doesn’t need our things, he wants our lives. He wants our thanksgiving. Our gratefulness doesn’t help God. Rather, it helps us to see that all that we have is a gift from God. Giving thanks removes our eyes from our own efforts, and focuses on God.  In the end our giving of thanks brings us a return of happy confidence in our Creator and Provider.

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Psalm 77 is an intriguing passage. It starts out with complaints to God about the Psalmist’s current circumstances. He says “…my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints.”  At this point in his life, thoughts of God did not bring him any comfort.  He goes on to say “Then my spirit made a diligent search: “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?” Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are all his promises at an end for all time? We’ve all felt like this. Sometime it seems that our life has fallen apart and  God is either unwilling or unable to put it back together again. At this point we would identify with the Psalmist’s next line: “Has God forgotten to be gracious?  Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

Thankfully, the Psalm doesn’t end there. He goes on to say, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.”   The writer then goes on to tell of how God brought Israel through the sea and onto dry land in the Exodus story.

If we are in the midst of a dark season in our lives, its ok to cry out to God and ask serious questions like “Has God forgotten to be gracious?” God knows our pain, and he wants us to be honest about it. However, he also wants us to call to mind the great victories of the past, so that we may experience the grace of God in the act of praise.  Often, we will find our God’s grace to be most amazing when we our worshiping him with a broken heart.

As individuals and as a church, what great victories of the past can we celebrate – even if we are currently in the midst of darkness?

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A time to Remember

November is a month of remembering. The church begins the month by remembering all the faithful who have gone on before us as we observe All Saints Sunday. On Veteran’s Day,  the nation remembers its veterans as we honor those who have served their country. And of course, we remember God’s faithfulness to us as we celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of the month.

It seems quite fitting that we should observe All Saint’s Day and Veteran’s Day shortly before we have our great Thanksgiving feast. As Christians, if we have nothing else to be thankful for, at least we can remember the long line of Godly saints who have carried the Christian torch throughout the centuries. They have been faithful to Christ, proclaiming the Good News through their words and deeds. They have left us a legacy and a faith that cannot be shaken – not because they were extraordinary people, but because they were ordinary people who believed in an extraordinary God who is able to do far more than we ask or think.

As Americans, if we have nothing else to be thankful for, we can at least remember those selfless heroes who have sacrificed so much so that we could be free. Many gave the ultimate sacrifice as they laid down their lives in the service of our Country. As the saying goes, “Freedom is not Free.” Our freedoms are indeed not free, but regrettably, they are so easily forgotten.

As we approach the thanksgiving season, remember those saints who have gone on before us, lighting the way with the Gospel of Christ. Let us be grateful for their wisdom and devotion. And may we always remember with thankful hearts those who have sacrificed so much to secure our liberties.

This Thanksgiving, I’m sure that everyone has many blessings to count. If you are reading this blog post, it means you are still alive and have at least some vision and mental capacity. It also means you have access to the modern marvels called computers and the internet.  Even more importantly, it means you have access to the Gospel, the good news that Christ has died and has risen again, defeating the powers of sin and death.

This month, we remember. Next month, we wait in hopeful expectation.

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