Balancing Preaching, Worship and Fellowship

Thanksgiving for the simple things

During the Thanksgiving meal, our family has a custom.  We have a special tea infuser which contains 5 kernels of dried corn that we pass around the table.  We use this to remind us of the scarcity that the Pilgrims endured and as an opportunity to express thanksgiving for 5 things in our lives.  As we have shared through the years, we have noted that the things that we are thankful for are usually very simple and yet very profound.  I would like to express my five articles of thanksgiving early.

I would like to thank God first and foremost for salvation by grace.   You see if salvation were up to my effort and good works, then I would be in a world of hurt.  So would each of us.  The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that on one may boast” (ESV)  I am so thankful for that grace of God that gives me free and full salvation.

 

Along with the blessing of salvation is the blessing of forgiven sin.  While these are closely linked, I understand that we could have a place in heaven and still continue to pay for our sin.  The Bible tells me that my sin is forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in my place.  We call this the substitionary atonement.  Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for my sin on the cross.  II Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (ESV)  The Lord Jesus satisfied the Father’s righteous demands so that my sin is forgiven.  Psalm 103 tells me that He has removed my guilt as far as east is from west. 

 

I thank God for the promise of eternal life as well.  It is wonderful to know that I have a home in heaven prepared for me (John 14:3).  When I think of the difficulties we face in this life, I understand that the promise of eternal life makes the craziness of this world make sense.  I stand on the promise of Titus 1:2, “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”  The blessing of eternal life is one of the great anchors in this present life.  The Lord Jesus promises eternal life, (“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” John 10:28) and I thank Him for it!

 

I thank God for an interceding High Priest.  The Bible tells me that I have a High Priest that prays for me, even when I am unsure as to what I need.  One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Hebrews 4:14-16.  This passage tells us, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  I thank God that no matter how great the problem or difficult the situation, I can go to the Father in prayer and have the Lord Jesus intercede for me.

The last kernel of thanksgiving is the blessing of family.  Families are wonderful things.  The Bible tells us that family is a rich blessing from the Lord.  When a man finds a wife he finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22).  When the Lord gives children, it is a blessing.  Psalm 127:3-5 tells us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”  It is exciting to realize that as a follower of Christ, I also have family that is not of my physical blood but part of the spiritual legacy that I bear.  I have brothers and sisters in Christ that stand closer even than blood relatives.  I thank the Lord for family!

 

Well, I’ve shared my five kernels of thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?

Thinking About Truth

Almost 2,000 years ago, at a civil tribunal, the judge, a military governor at that time made a statement. He cynically asked the question, “What is truth”. It seems that his view of truth is very similar to that of today’s world. We are deceived by politicians, lied to by news media and deluded by spiritual advisors. There are those who would say that truth is relative or that it cannot be known. Some believe that truth is a statement that is placed on the scale of perception and that perception becomes truth. According to the historical record, the person on trial had previously stated, “for this purpose I have come into the world, to bear witness of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37 ESV) Jesus Christ declared that one of his purposes for coming to our world is to give ultimate truth. Ultimate truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 describes Jesus as God. Existing before creation, He came to this world to display for us genuine truth. The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of truth. When speaking of heaven, Jesus stated that He was the way, the truth and the life. No one could come to the father except through Him. If you want to know truth, you need to know Jesus. In all of the deception of our world, Jesus defines for us truth and shows that truth is found in Him. There is a lot of error out there, but the Lord Jesus gives us truth.

Jesus affirmed that truth is found in the Word of God (John 17:17). The indictment against man is that man changed the truth of creation and God for a lie and worshipped the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1). God’s truth is that which sets us free (John 8:32), sets us apart (John 17:17), and enables genuine worship (John 4:23). I encourage you today to seek truth. Determine that you have had enough to the father of lies and seek truth. Jesus speaks of our hungering that thirsting for righteousness and tells us that as we seek it, we will be filled (Matthew 5:6). My friend, that is truth!