Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Think it Through Thursday (a week or so late)

This is what I wake up to every morning. I am incredibly blessed. 

I am so grateful for the three sweet boys in my life and I praise God for the way he sustains us every day.

This Is My Father’s World

 Psalm 69:29-34

But as for me, afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving,
This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad;
You who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise
His own people who are prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
The seas and everything that moves in them.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we have a lot to be grateful for: a nation in which we are free to worship and where we have incredible opportunities; churches and pastors who treasure and proclaim the gospel; a God who is supremely worthy of praise, who is the author of “every good and every perfect gift” (James 1:17), who is “infinite, eternal and unchangeable” and who embodies all “wisdom, power, justice, holiness, goodness and truth” (WSC). We can see His glory in the beauty of creation, trees that are a riot of color and an earth that abounds in good things to eat and drink. He has blessed us with tongues to taste delicious food and good wine, mouths to laugh and sing, eyes to appreciate the beauty around us. We can enjoy and take comfort in relationships with friends and family.

Some of us this year can thank the Lord for good health, others may be battling illness, have lost pregnancies, have sick children or are grieving for lost loved ones. Many people have bills that can’t be paid, have lost jobs and homes, or have a struggling marriage. There is real pain and sadness in our lives and it can be difficult to lift our hearts in Thanksgiving. Some of us are pleased with the results of last week’s election, others are sad, angry and fearful of the future—unable or unwilling to see the hand of God in this decision.

Psalm 69 is a Psalm of David, through the first 28 verses he cries out to the Lord—describing his desolate physical situation, his sadness, shame, and fear. Then, at the end of the passage, he writes: “BUT.” A resounding, “BUT”—a dramatic change from the attitude of the previous verses. A declaration that regardless of pain and affliction, yet will he sing! God’s salvation still raises David from despair and revives his heart. Like David, in the midst of trial, our focus must be on the greatness and majesty of the Lord, who does not change and is always worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. The Almighty is not deaf to our struggles, He hears our prayers and sympathizes with us in our weakness.

Above all else, God is sovereign. He has not left the world to its own devices.

This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world
And let me ne’er forget,
That though the wrong seems oft’ so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

God is the ruler yet! No decision, ruler or government is outside of His sovereign control.  We live in a broken world, BUT our good, loving God is in control. We experience real pain and affliction, BUT God holds us in the palm of His sovereign hand. “I rest me in that thought!”

Lord, this Thanksgiving, let us be reminded that we are blessed beyond anything we could ask or imagine because we have the gift of your Son and the salvation that He made possible by His blood. When we are tried and hurt, remind us that all things work together for good to those who love you. Let us come before you with hearts ready to praise and with gratitude that flows from our lips and hearts in joy and irrepressible song! Amen.

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