Happy New Year from Shem the duck.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
As we are all gathering with those we love, may our hearts swell with gratitude and praise to the Lord for his never failing faithfulness and everlasting love. This is what Thanksgiving is all about.
Thankfulness: Gratitude to God for what He does.
Praise: Gratitude to God for Who He Is.
Admit it. Beneath the comfort of smiling faces, warm hugs, delectable smells, and cozy coffee cups swarming around plates of pumpkin pie, are hearts with needs. In some cases, hearts that are aching badly with hurts and pain unseen and unknown. The flip side of the rejoicing we are enjoying is still there and is, in some cases, very dark.
But there is a Light that can pierce through the most difficult situation, warming and illuminating the darkest, coldest heart, resulting in growth and eventually, fruit.
This Light is Jesus. He is Emmanuel. God with us. God with us. God with us.
We have so much to be grateful for. Yes, family, friends, food, warm houses, soft lights, soothing atmospheres, sweet relationships, are all gifts for which we ought to return thanks to our Lord everyday. But there’s more, so much more that we are prone to overlook in the dazzling delights of temporal pleasures.
We who have trusted in Christ as our Savior are assured a perfect standing before the God of Heaven (Romans 8:1). If this were not enough, when we come to the Father in Jesus’ Name, we receive the spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). He is Christ’s Father, and our Father, Christ’s God, and our God (John 20:17). There are unspeakable gifts laid up in store for those who love God (1 Corinthians 2:9). For those who are faithful unto death in the midst of crisis, persecution, or even just “ordinary” trials, are reserved crowns of life (Revelation 2:10, James 1:12). Time would fail us to speak of grace sufficient for every need (2 Corinthians 12:9), guaranteed rewards for perseverance (Galatians 6:9), comforts found only in the never-ending presence of God (Hebrews 13:5), life and peace that comes from spiritual-mindedness (Romans 8:6), the assurance that those who ask, will receive (Matthew 7:8), the truth that all of God’s promises are true (2 Corinthians 1:20), and the list could go on for pages. These are things God does for us through Christ. Let us now consider some of who God Is.
He is, first of all, the I AM God (Exodus 3:14). He is our Shepherd (Psalm 23, John 10:11). He is our Sun and Shield (Psalm 84:11). He is our Strength (Psalm 28:8). He is our Song (Exodus 15:2). He is our Father (Galatians 4:6). He is our Blesser (Ephesians 1:3). He is our Director (Proverbs 16:9). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He is our Refuge (Psalm 9:9). He is our Fortress (Psalm 91:2). He is the Creator (Genesis 1:1). He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13). Here again, the list is endless, for God is infinite (Psalm 145:3).
It doesn’t matter where you find yourself this holiday season, whether on the mountain tops of rejoicing or struggling to keep the tears from spilling over into the mashed potatoes you are about to serve: God is enough for your need. He makes all the riches of glory available to you through Christ (Ephesians 1:3), and whoever comes to Christ will in no wise be cast out (John 6:37).
This Thanksgiving, let us all focus our hearts to seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). We have so much for which to be grateful. May we raise continually a voice of Thanksgiving for what God has done for us, and a voice of Praise for Who God Is.
Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
Which executeth judgement for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and wido: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.