Because I don't want anything to get in the way of this "season of thanksgiving", I am simply going to leave you with these thoughts.....
Few men suffered as the apostle Paul did, yet he learned how to give thanks in his circumstances....even in a prison cell. Look at what he writes in II Corinthians 4:8, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
As a child of God, your days of losing are over. Because of Jesus, it should be our ultimate goal to live every day to its fullest. Every day is filled with new opportunities to live out our thankfulness for Jesus, as we serve Him. We should live every day knowing that our sins are forgiven and that we have a home waiting for us in Heaven. This fact should top everyone's thanksgiving list!
As you struggle to be remain thankful in the midst of life's circumstances, consider the response of a guy named Matthew Henry, who had just been mugged.....
"Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."
Thanksgiving prayer: Our Father and our God, I am so thankful for your abiding joy and peace. In spite of life circumstances, I am not depressed. In spite of life's sorrows, I am joyful. In spite of despair, I am hopeful. Your love, peace and comfort keep me focused on you and I am so thankful to call you my Savior. Amen
See you Sunday.
Thanksgiving is here! In order to help all of us transition into a time of reflecting on God's faithfulness, I would like to share with you a Thanksgiving devotional from Charles Swindoll. I hope you enjoy reading it and feel free to pass it along to others.
"It's coming! That quiet, unheralded day that refuses to be glamorized is just around the corner. If you're not carful, you'll let it slip right on by with only a plate full of turkey and a passing nod. That's right, it's Thanksgiving......my favorite. Why? I prefer it because it's so healthy, so encouraging.....and so understated. No jingles to sing, no commercials to endure, no gifts to buy--just a day to be thankful. To look up and around and within and say, 'Thank you, Lord.'
Maybe these few thoughts will stimulate you to give God your own thanks in greater abundance.
LOOKING UP.....Thank you, Lord for your sovereign control over our circumstances. For your holy character in spite of our sinfulness. For your commitment to us even when we wander astray. For your Word that gives us direction. For your love that holds us close. For your gentle compassion in our sorrows. For your consistent faithfulness through our highs and lows. For your strong "No" when we need to hear it. For your surprising "Yes" when we lack the faith to believe it. For your wise "Wait" when we are impatient and rash. For your understanding when we are confused. For your Spirit that enlightens our eyes. For your grace that removes our guilt. Thank you, Lord, for all you are, all you do, all you say. If we were unable to look up into your face, Thanksgiving would be just another day.
LOOKING AROUND.....Thank you, Lord for our wonderful country, so blessed, so unique. For close family ties, so affirming, so enjoyable. For teachers, mentors, and personal heroes who spur us on. For an opportunity to be of help and encouragement to others. For the embrace of a friend who really cares. For the joy of seeing our children and grandchildren grow and learn. For an occupation that enables us to make a living. For a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat. Thank you, Lord, for such incredible abundance. By just looking around, we are made aware of how rich we really are.
LOOKING WITHIN.....Thank you, Lord for the gift of good health, hidden treasure easily overlooked. For eyes that see the beauty of your creation. For minds that are curious, creative and competent. For memories of past pleasures and recent accomplishments. For ears that receive the world of sounds surrounding us. For the special stimulation of taste and touch. For hands to work and legs to walk with. For heartaches that force us to rearrange our priorities. For broken dreams and lingering afflictions that humble us. For the courage to tell the truth, though it hurts. For the determination to finish a demanding task. For a sense of humor that brings healing and hope.
This is Thanksgiving, O Lord, not Thankskeeping. And so we pause to declare to you these expressions of gratitude. They are merely an overview of the thousands of things for which we are thankful. You are indeed worthy of our highest praise. To you goes all the glory! Amen." (Charles Swindoll)
See you Sunday.
This week's edition of Think, Act and Be Like Jesus revolves around a single question. How would you define the gospel of Jesus Christ? What did Jesus mean when he used the phrase in Mark 1:15, "believe in the gospel"?
What was this "gospel" Jesus was speaking of? Was it the minimum entry requirements for heaven? Was it his pending death and resurrection? Was it the "kingdom of God" that seemed to dominate his teachings? When we hear a pastor or evangelist say, "I want to share the gospel story with you, what do they share? What would you share if I asked you to stand up and share the gospel?
I'm sure some of you are waiting for me to answer this question, but instead, I'm simply going to stop, move on to another topic and allow the question to just sit out there for you to think about and wrestle with.
This next week will be a busy one on our church campus. Next Wednesday at 10:30am in the Fireside room, FBC will host our monthly Adults on Mission gathering. Our speaker will be Randy Adams. Randy is the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention. In addition to providing vision and direction to an organization that serves over 500 churches in the northwest, Randy serves by filling the pulpit for pastors who may be away at a conference or on vacation and teaches at Gateway Seminary. Don't miss this great opportunity to hear how God is moving in the Northwest.
Also on Thursday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving a week early! Our Young @ Heart group would like to invite all of you to join them for a special Thanksgiving meal and time of sharing how God has blessed us this past year. Lunch begins at noon and yes, we will have turkey! For those of you who work, consider spending your lunch hour with us. You won't be disappointed!
Finally, this Sunday we will wrap-up our series on "Glimpses of Jesus in the Old Testament". Having looked at the story of Jesus, the promise of Jesus and the identity of Jesus, all from an Old Testament perspective, this week we will focus on his mission. Why was Jesus sent? Was the mission of Jesus to die on a cross for our sins, or could there be something even more significant that he came to accomplish?
See you Sunday.
"That Day". When I think of how the ancient Israelites spent their evenings, I often wonder if they spent at least a portion of this time, sitting around a campfire, talking about "That Day". Or how often the boys and girls would sit quietly in their tents whispering amongst themselves about "That Day". Old leathered men slowly stroking their beards wondering if "That Day" would come before their own days would end.
For generation upon generation the Hebrews had been waiting for "That Day" the blessed day when he would come! The Anointed One.....the Messiah......the Christ. Because on "That Day", the I Am's saving presence would come in person as the One who was special, who was anointed. The One who would save. The One who would heal. They waited for the promised Messiah, as their language spoke it.
They knew he would come. The only question was when. Through beatings and slavery they waited. In prison camps far from their destroyed homes they waited. Even in times of prosperity, they waited with great anticipation for God to fulfill his promise of a Savior......a King!
Then one day in a dirty barn he came. The story that God had been writing for 40+ generations was complete. The intricate prophecies that had been passed down from generation to generation were exactly fulfilled. The Messiah had finally come! It was just as it had always been promised.
For the last 2 weeks, we have been looking at the story, of and promise of, Jesus as expressed in the Old Testament. Join us this week, as we continue to look for glimpses of Jesus in the Old Testament. This week, we will look at the identity of Jesus. Who was this baby, who would grow up to be a carpenter from an insignificant gentile community called Nazareth? Could he really be the Son of God? What does the Old Testament reveal about his true identity?
DON'T FORGET TO TURN BACK YOUR CLOCKS BEFORE YOU GO TO BED ON SATURDAY NIGHT!
See you Sunday.