Friday, November 11, 2016





      As we count down the days until Thanksgiving Day, are you silently asking yourself, “what do I really have to be thankful for?”  There are many people looking out on the horizon and bemoaning the ominous clouds of doubt, fear and uncertainty looming ever closer. 
      With the Presidential election just a few days away and the outcome very much in doubt, the specter of a greater influx of refugees and others into our country, a 20+ trillion dollar national debt and a laundry list of other challenges facing us, it’s no wonder many people are filled with anxiety.  To whom do we turn and do we have any real expectation, no matter what promises may be offered, that things will turn around? 
      It would be a grave error on my part to place before you the expectation that there is some “easy-peasy, lemon squeezy” way for our country to pull out of the tailspin we’re in and right ourselves in
a couple of months or even years.  It took us a long time to get into this situation and it will probably take a much longer time to climb out.  There is no intention on my part to turn this article into a political tirade or try to convince you which way you should vote.  You will be led, hopefully, to vote your conscience.  It is each citizen’s right and privilege to vote, but the greater responsibility is to be informed before stepping into that voting booth.  If you’ve done that, you’re way ahead of most!  Now, let’s look at a few reasons to be thankful as we “gear-up” for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
      First and foremost, we have been created in the image of God, the creator of the universe.  He has given us the unique ability, among all the creatures on Earth, to reason, communicate through language, make choices and, ultimately, accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  What a marvelous relationship those of us who know Jesus as our Savior have with God.  We have the ability, through prayer, to enter the very throne room of God, to make known to Him our deepest fears, joys, desires and greatest needs.  He listens to us and answers our prayers according to His sovereign will and purpose for each one of our lives.
      Secondly, God the Holy Spirit dwells within each and every believer and gives us God’s direction, strength, comfort and ability to live lives that are, at the same time, pleasing in God’s sight and extremely
fulfilling and rewarding for us.  Did you ever really contemplate what God gives to those who love Him?
You not only get the benefit of His constant love, mercy and grace, but also, His protection, guidance, comfort and peace.  I’m completely confident that the apostle Paul is 100% correct when he writes: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39). 
      The third absolute given to us in our relationship with God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the promise that we will spend eternity with Him in heaven and are considered joint heirs with Jesus in the treasures of heaven.  Paul, again, states: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba, Father” (literally translated—Daddy or loving Father).  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  (Romans 8:14-17).  Think of it, folks, we are sons and daughters of the living God, joint heirs with His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit dwells within each one of us! 
      Yes, we definitely are facing trying times; that cannot be denied.  There are things down the road that
look ominous and uncomfortably eerie.  We have not faced similar circumstances in the history of the United States of America.  We can only guess what the future may hold, yet we know from biblical prophesy that these times will come upon us and all the things prophesied will come to pass.  How much of it will occur during our lifetimes is unknown to all except God.  Jesus, however, made it quite clear that what we are experiencing now is only the “beginning of sorrows”.  Things will get much worse as the Great Tribulation approaches.  With every cloud, however, there is a silver lining!
      We, the true Church, the body of Christ, will be “caught up” (Raptured) some day soon.  Paul, once again, writes:  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words”  (I Thessalonians 4:16-18). 
      If that’s not reason enough for thanksgiving, then I’d say we are not looking at things from God’s perspective and, after all, who has a better perspective than the One who knows exactly how everything will end?  Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

                                      PASTOR  ROD

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