"And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time"
MEDITATIONS & WEEKLY SCRIPTURES
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God, it is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good; his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100:1-5
All across our nation, Thanksgiving is a day that we set aside in order to do one thing….Be thankful.
And usually what goes along with it, is lots of food, family and friends, laughter and fun, times of giving to others in need, maybe some football, or traditions that you’ve recognized through long years. And sometimes too, there is also loneliness. And struggle. Or deep loss. Feelings of hurt and painful circumstances that you’re still trying to hurdle over.
Whatever you’re facing this Thanksgiving Day, in the midst of all of it, may we remember again that God gives us the opportunity each and every day, to give worship and thanks to Him. Every morning He gives us breath, is His invitation to come joyfully into His Presence. He reminds us that He alone is God and we belong to Him. He assures us that His plans in our lives are for good, that his love covers us securely, and His faithfulness extends from generation to generation. No matter what, He’s given us so many reasons to choose thankfulness and joy this day. Let’s do what the Psalmist of this great chapter says:
- Shout for joy. - Worship the Lord with gladness. - Come before Him with joyful songs. - Know that He is God. - Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. - Give thanks to Him and praise His name. - Recognize His goodness, love, and faithfulness, through all the generations of our family.
The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.
—Psalm 34:18 (TLB)
It is the custom of many Christians to bow their heads in public places and give thanks for the food that has been placed before them. I have had scores of waiters and waitresses tell me that when we bowed our heads, it was the first time they had ever seen that happen in their restaurant.
Millions never pause to give a word of thanks to God for the food provided. Few homes have a moment of thanksgiving at the beginning of the meal or at any other time of the day. Even at Thanksgiving time only a minority will pause and give thanks to God.
Thanksgiving is recognition of a debt that cannot be paid. We express thanks, whether or not we are able otherwise to reimburse the giver. When thanksgiving is filled with true meaning and is not just the formality of a polite “thank you,” it is the recognition of dependence.
Lord Jesus, I know that apart from You I can do nothing of lasting value. Help me to come to the end of self and allow You to control the reins of my life.
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
It is among popular "Christian" belief that an abundance of material and other blessings follow those whose hearts are truly after God and that those who seem to consistently struggle to that end, cannot possibly be in God's perfect will. I want to submit to you a realization I had about this very thing. I think we might have it all backwards. Almost all the great men of faith I've read about in the Bible had to spend some time in the wilderness. Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, just to name a few. God had to make them desperate. He had to cause them to be quiet and undistracted enough to hear His still, small voice. He had to make them hungry and thirsty enough to cry out for a miracle.
Interestingly, the word for wilderness, in Hebrew, is "meed-bahr". And meed-bahr comes from the word "leh-da-behr", which means to speak. Hmmm. Some of us are walking through the desert right now. It's hot by day -- there is only rugged, thorny, sandy terrain for miles and miles and there seems no end. By night, the wind is unbearably cold and we stumble over things we can barely see. Snakes and scorpions live here. It seems like a lonely place.
But this is actually a place of blessing! It is for our growth, and ultimately for our prosperity that God has brought us here! Like it or not, the wilderness is where He can speak to us most effectively. It is the place He can most easily get our attention. It is the place we will cry out to God and truly listen for His voice. Know that God is with you today! He is walking along with us through this wilderness and longing to comfort us! Let's cry out to Him and heed His voice! The promised land awaits!
Exodus 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt I'm sure several million people were wondering, "How am I going to be fed? How am I going to survive in this wilderness?" Imagine the logistical nightmare. An incalculable quantity of food and water were needed to survive in the desert. Where would it come from? Yet, in this seemingly impossible situation, God provided!
He provided Manna from heaven. When the people first saw the Manna on the ground, they wondered in amazement saying to each other, "What is this?", which is exactly what "Manna" means in Hebrew -- "What is it?" They were receiving the food of angels, [Psalm 78:24-25] which sustained them the entire time in the desert.
But we know what happened as time passed...the people got used to this miraculous provision, began to take it for granted, and even be bored with it, and, of course...the wonder of God's supernatural provision evaporated. Israel lost sight of the miracle that God was doing in their lives each and every day.
Each and every day is a miracle from God. Each day of our lives we walk through a world filled with the wonders and glory of the Lord. But we, too, can become dull and lose the wonder of all that He has done and provided for us, even our very salvation. We need to awaken to the daily miracles of life, and to the never ending opportunities the Lord is opening, to pour His love into us, and through us. As we do, may we always be saying to ourselves, "Wow -- what amazing love is this that's been given to me!"