This week we will gather as family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time that has been specifically set aside for the purpose of “giving thanks”. We give thanks to God for providing our daily needs, our health, our homes, our families, our church, and our nation.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 states,
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We especially thank God for sending His only begotten Son Jesus to pay our sin debt, and providing eternal life [salvation] to all who will through repentance and faith receive it.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This past week while I was deer hunting, I had the opportunity to be out in the woods; to “hear” and to “see” the wonders of God’s creation – for which I am very thankful. As I stood in the woods, I observed squirrels gathering nuts for winter, turkey vultures flying overhead searching for dead animals to consume, a myriad of bird types (blue jays, finches, crows, wood peckers – to name a few). As I attentively listened, I could hear leaves falling from the trees on to the ground, and the wind working its way through the trees, as the trees swayed back and forth as if to let the wind pass by. Everything was working in perfect harmony. Yes, you have to be very quiet and observant when you are deer hunting – for they too are looking for you. (I do give thanks to the Lord for providing a deer – for it provides meat in our freezer for the coming year.)
From standing in the woods I was continually reminded of how God cares for all of His creatures – especially all who are “made in His image”.
Matthew 10:29-31 states,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
But even more so, observing all that were in the woods, I was reminded of the wonderful church that the Lord called me to pastor. As I stand amongst our people – listening and observing – I thank God for each member; their uniqueness, their respective ethnicities, their heritages; but most of all their united love for the Lord and His Word. As the Lord’s Spirit moves amongst our congregation, His affect is felt on one and all – guiding us in God’s Word and leading us in the ways of the Lord. While it is true that Satan is the hunter, stealthily seeking whom he may devour, the Lord is always there watching over us.
1 Peter 5:8-9 warns us,
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
But 1 John 4:4 reminds us,
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Sometimes it is prudent that we step into the woods – and be very quiet – to listen and to see all that the Lord is doing; especially through our church.
Psalms 46:10 calls upon us,
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we do so, we will “give thanks” unto the Lord; for it is He who provides our victories.
1 Chronicles 29:11,
“Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”
1 Corinthians 15:57,
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
May we ever be known as a congregation “giving thanks” unto the Lord.