Greetings from Texas...sort of - haven’t actually left yet, but will be there by the time you read this.
So, here it is, Thanksgiving week. Another year, another day set aside to thank God for all His goodness the whole year through.
Is that all this holiday is about, though. Is God pleased with our taking one day out of each year to thank Him for what He does for us 365 days a year?
In Luke 17, Jesus is traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee when 10 men with leprosy meet Him. They beg Jesus to have pity on them and heal them. Naturally, Jesus does just that.
As they are on their way to show themselves to the priest, they are cleansed of the “various disease of the skin” was affecting them.
I’m certain all 10 were grateful. I know all 10 truly appreciated what Jesus did for them. I am convinced that all 10 knew beyond a shadow of a doubt where their healing came from.
Never-the-less, only one of the 10 turned around and made the extra effort to tell Jesus “Thank you.”
And, mind you, he was not ashamed to tell Jesus thank you. He was very demonstrative in thanking Jesus, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.” (Luke 17:16)
Jesus healed us from a disease with far more devastating consequences than leprosy...He healed us from the disease of sin.
Please think about the example of the Samaritan leper the next time you experience a blessing from God and are tempted to just accept it without truly thanking Him.
There, right there, you just experienced a blessing from God. You inhaled a breath of air and your body processed the oxygen and you are alive! So thank God for even the “little” things in your life.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back...no, wait, I’ll be in San Antonio, thanking God for my family in San Antonio. But I will also be thanking God for my family in Siloam Springs!
Have a happy Thursday...and a happy “Thanksgiving Day” EVERYDAY!
The church office purchases some of our office supplies from an online company. Typically the supplies are less expensive, the online company has a greater selection of products, and when we order supplies, typically they arrive the next day.
Recently (by “recently” I mean just a few minutes before I started writing this article) this company sent me an email. The email basically said they noticed I had been buying ink cartridges for an older printer and they sent me a $50 coupon good towards the purchase of a new printer (provided that printer was $199 or more).
Faster speed. Improved efficiency (use less ink). Smaller, quieter, higher level of security. Save paper with 2 sided printing (available on some models). Increased flexibility with wireless printing. These are some of the “selling points” the email mentioned.
That seems to be what our culture is all about: faster, more efficient, economical, flexibility. As I thought about putting a new printer for my office on my 30 day wish list (the coupon expires in 30 days) I realized I was nibbling at their bait.
Then I started to think about how Satan uses the same “selling points” to try to bait us. Take our worship assemblies, for example.
Satan wants us to believe that our worship assemblies are all about us rather than all about God. Satan says, “If we just do __________, then we’ll make our worship more appealing to people and they will come to our services.”
Most of the time the “_______” is mostly entertainment: something to please us. Adding things that will “help” us enjoy the service more.
The problem is that God has told us what HE wants in our worship services. The worship assembly is not about me and what I want...it is about HIM and what HE wants.
When I add something to what He has said or change something He commands be done a certain way to make it more appealing to me it is not a “better way of doing things.”
Upgrading a printer to a newer model is good (hint, hint; wink, wink). Upgrading our worship to go along with the latest fad or what we like is not pleasing to God.
Well, we survived yet another election cycle. Maybe your candidate won, maybe they lost. Maybe the ballot went the way you wanted, maybe it did not.
If you use social media, you have probably become very tired of you “friends” (or “followers” or whatever the social media site calls them) talking politics, posting memes about politics, sharing articles from this “news” site or that “news” site supporting one candidate or the other...I know I am.
And now that the election is behind us...the political banter has continued: one side pouting that the results must mean that Armageddon is upon us and the other side gloating about their victory (coupled with some third and fourth sides clamoring about how they caused the election to go the way it did).
There was a lot at stake in yesterday’s election. We voted on people and we voted on issues. And the end result is that some changes were made.
But, at the same time, there are some things today that are the same as they were yesterday and will be forever.
What is right is still right and what is wrong is still wrong. No matter what a majority of people voted for or against, it doesn’t change right and it doesn’t change wrong. These things are constants and, even if voted into law, right and wrong do not change.
Something else that did not change is that the world (and our little corner of it) still needs the gospel. If some were half as enthusiastic about sharing the gospel as they are about sharing their political views...why church buildings would be full at every service. But, alas, we seem to get more excited about our potential president than we are about our Forever King.
And that, too, has not changed: Jesus is still the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus is still in control; Jesus is still our Master; Jesus is still seated on His throne at the right hand of God.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Have you driven on South Mt. Olive Street (from the Kenwood intersection north) lately? WOW! What an incredible drive. A road never rode so smoothly...not since Lightening McQueen resurfaced Main Street in Radiator Springs in “Cars” has there been so smooth a surface!
But if you think back a month or so, the road was getting a little rough. Then the road crew spent some time working on it and it seemed to make it worse! Instead of a few rough spots, the whole road was a rough spot.
Then they put a new surface of asphalt down and the road was smooth, but there was a major “bump” getting on or off of (or across) Mt. Olive.
But now the edges have been smoothed, the lines repainted and it is absolutely wonderful. Somehow we look back and all of the inconvenience during the resurfacing project was worth it.
Life is sometimes like that as well. We start to be in need of a little “work” if you will (a few rough spots and potholes). Our life seems to be getting off course.
Then God comes along and, well, sometimes it seems His fixing it makes things worse. But in the end, we look back and we see that everything He did was worth it and our lives are smooth and heading back in the right direction.
I think this is what James means in James 1:2-4 when he writes:
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV)
And David writes, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, ESV)
No matter how painful the process; no matter how seemingly unpleasant the situation may seem - God has a plan an a purpose for what you are going through.
So don’t give up! Things might be bad now, you might be going through a trial...you might be weeping. But remember that God is still in control and He has a reason and if we will but stay the course, that newly surfaced road may be just around the corner.