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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Verse 26: “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.”

Imagine you were preaching to crowds; many were coming to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by the apostles. Then, in the midst of this successful ministry, reaching masses of people, the Lord calls you to go minister…to one person. What’s more, instead of being in a nearby locale to where you are now, He says go to the desert…and wait. You and I might be wondering “what did I do wrong? Am I being punished?” Not Philip; he followed the Lord’s angel’s instructions without question or doubt. There, he was about to have an encounter that would be most memorable.

You never know when God is going to give you an assignment you weren’t expecting. One December, while my family and I were stopped in Auburn, we ate at the local mall. While getting some Chinese food, the Oriental young man behind the counter asked me, in broken English, about what did Christmas mean. I politely explained that there were two differing reasons for the holiday…the secular one that includes Santa Claus, and the real reason: the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this earth, come to live as a man and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, dying for us and rising again. Then he asked something that was about as direct a question as I’ve ever gotten: “who is this Jesus?” I did my best to witness to him and to tell him; I even left my wife’s pocket New Testament with him and instructing him to start reading in John. We couldn’t stay long unfortunately, as we were travelling…but I did contact a local church in the area to seek him out. You never know when God is going to give you an assignment…are you ready for yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Verse 2: “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;”

As they lift the large, heavy coffin from the freshly dug grave, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced FRONCK-in-steen) comments disgustedly to his assistant Igor (pronounced EYE-gore), “What a filthy job”. “Could be worse.” Igor replies cheerfully. “How?” retorts Dr. Frankenstein. “Could be raining.” Igor says, at which point, a torrential downpour starts, heralded by lightning and thunder. Dr. Frankenstein just slowly looks at Igor with that “you-just-had-to-say-it” look, as Igor just smiles weakly.

I thought of this scene from Mel Brooks’ movie, Young Frankenstein. Some people always look on the bright side of things, no matter how grim their current circumstances. Some people always praise God in addition to their requests; this is in stark reality to many Christians who open their prayers with requests and hopefully even remember to thank God for His many blessings.

Paul urges the Colossians in this closing chapter to continue earnestly praying but also with thanksgiving. Hard to do, especially when times are rough? Sure it can be…but here’s an example to think about: I just found out after being out of town for the weekend that our church’s pastor of near 17 years is leaving us. He is following God’s call to another church in South Carolina; part of the decision that was a factor was also that he is moving closer to aging family members. Now while our congregation will be crying tears of sadness on that last Sunday he’ll be with us (I’ll probably be leading the crying procession :-)), I know he is being faithful to God’s will in this…he wouldn’t leave otherwise unless God was leading him. So, I am thankful to God for all he had given us through the blessing of our pastor, just as I’m thankful that God is taking him into the next season of his life…and taking our church into its next season. Times and people may change…but God doesn’t. And…I’m thankful to him for that, too!

Something to think about.

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