Come, Ye Thankful People, Come


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“For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands” Psalm 92:4).

Come, ye thankful people, come,

Raise the song of harvest home;

All is safely gathered in,

Ere the winter storms begin.

God our Maker doth provide

For our wants to be supplied;

Come to God’s own temple come,

Raise the song of harvest home.

 

From Come, Ye Thankful People, Come by Henry Alford, 1844.

Joy of Daughters!


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I have three daughters.  Daughters are the berries!  They love to talk, stay up late, shop, watch chick-flicks, and share things we have in common.  I guess that is logical—I raised them, and I like all those things!  They are all unique in their own special way—one has red hair, one has brown hair, and one is a blonde—that is how different they are in personality as well.  Some share commonalities—two of them really like sports, two of them really like running, two of them love to cook, all three of them love to sing—but we all love the four children my oldest has—her own children for one, her niece and nephews for the other two!  They are each special . . .

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But this time of year I think of my middle daughter who was born on Thanksgiving Day back in 1983.  We stuffed a turkey the night before and had it in the oven; and our little turkey (10 lbs., 13½ oz.) was born at 8:13 AM on Thanksgiving morning!  She is currently on deputation raising funds to go to England as a missionary.  The Lord used her over the years as she taught school and is now using her as she presents her work in churches asking them to partner with her as she launches out to a foreign mission field.  Her dad and I are proud of what she is doing and pray God’s richest blessing upon her!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Thursday, dear!  May God bless you ALWAYS!

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth” (Psalm 127:3, 4).

 

The Right Way


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Genesis 18:18-19

18) “Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?”

19) “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

No matter what the situation in our life, seemingly good or bad, we must always trust the Lord.  In this chapter, we see the promise of a child which is great and then the destruction of a city where Abraham’s nephew lived which seemed bad.  How was Abraham supposed to react to the news of both of these things given to him by the Lord Himself?  In the right way–that is to see the Lord for who he is, believe what he says, and then truly trust Him and put our faith in Him.    In verse 19, we see that the Lord said that Abraham would keep His ways.  If we are to keep the ways of the Lord as Abraham did, and believe what the Lord shows us, then we have to realize He knows the outcome when we do not, and we just must trust Him.

In verses 2-8, we see that Abraham knew it was the Lord.  He gave Him his best and he wanted the Lord to stay.  Do we always see the Lord, or do we miss Him because we aren’t walking with Him as we should.  We have to stay in the Word, on our knees and be ever so looking.  Then do we give the Lord our best in the areas of tithes and offerings, our time to help at church or a fellow brother or sister in need or in the way we carry ourselves in public and profess to be one of his followers?  The Lord deserves our best in all areas because He gave us His best.

In verses 9-15, we see that Abraham believed, but Sara mocked.  In verse 13, we see that the Lord pointed out her laughter even though He was not with her in the tent, which shows us that He knows our hearts, thoughts and everything else.  There is no hiding from Him, so we must do right.

In verses 19-33, we see that Abraham trusted the Lord completely when He told of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  We know this by the plea of Abraham not to destroy the city for the faithful.  There was no doubt or wonder in what he was told, and there should never be in our lives as well when we are told the truth from God’s word.  We can see the truth through His Word, through preaching and through circumstances that may arise in our lives.

If there are questions that we may have about what God says in His Word or about what a preacher has showed us from God’s Word, we all have the opportunity to study ourselves and find out the truth.  When we do, we need to take that truth and live it for Him and help show the world Jesus Christ.

God of Our Fathers


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God of our fathers, whose almighty hand

Leads forth in beauty all the starry band

of shining worlds in splendor through the skies

Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past.

In this free land by Thee our lot is cast.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,

In this free land by Thee our lot is cast.

Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, and Stay,

Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

“…O Lord, God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven?  and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? …” (II Chronicles 20:6).

God’s Gift of Anger


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You may ask why I call anger a gift of God.  God made us in His image.  Even our emotions reflect Him.  He is perfect in His use of the emotions He expresses and has.  The Scriptures say that “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalms 7:11). God knows how to use His anger wisely.  He is holy and so does not sin in the use of His energy from anger.

This election gave people a reason to get angry.  I saw several people who were angry with the results of the election including some of the news commentators.  It shows on their faces even though they try to say the right things.

Many times the news is full of someone who misused anger.  People get weapons and use them to kill others because of anger built up with in them which turns to bitterness and results in explosions of violence in some ways.

Even the first family was plagued with this emotion.  When Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, Cain reacted in anger and killed his brother.

God gives definite instruction with regard to the right use of energy from our anger.  “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).  This verse states that when we are angry we should not use the energy to sin. We should be using the energy from our anger to solve problems on a daily basis instead of using the energy to lash out with words, and/or hurt someone in a physical manner.

There are many constructive ways to use our energy which will please God.  When we are angry, we can pray about the challenge before us.  We can search the Scriptures for answers to solve the problems we are facing.  God gives definite instructions which will fit any situation we are going through if we will but use the energy in following the Biblical commands and directives.  Then we need to get busy with God’s help and work through what challenge is before us at the time.

 

 

Music – Worship or War?


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Is music important? Does music matter? Does music have a message and purpose? These are all essentially rhetorical questions that can be answered with an emphatic – yes! – with scripture to back each one. Is music important? It is important in worship. Psalm 81:1-4 tells that Israel used both singing and instrumental music in their worship. According to verse four it was “a statute for Israel and a law of God.” Numbers 10:10 states – “ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings.” Does music matter? When the Israelites were preparing for battle, they appointed singers that praised the beauty of his holiness, and God helped them in battle. “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” (II Chronicles 20:22 ). Does music have a message and purpose? Music does have a message. During the worship of the golden calf, what message did the music give those that heard from a distance? And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp (Exodus 32:17). Even though it was “worship” to the golden calf, this music had a specific message – war! Music has a purpose. David played his harp when an evil spirit was upon Saul. “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (I Samuel 16:23). Music does matter; it has a purpose – what about your music? Worship or War?

Trusting God in the Tempest


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Mark 4:36-41

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship.  And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful?  how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The disciples saw the power of Jesus to calm the tempest with merely His words.  Jesus was incredulous at the fear and lack of faith the disciples exhibited.  Our tumultuous world mirrors the tempest that the disciples faced that day on the Sea of Galilee.  In our world today, there are murders, terrorist attacks, physical hardships, and so much more that we face on a seemingly daily basis.  I was asked once during a gospel conversation with an elderly lady why the world is in such turmoil.  That question was a “door of utterance” as Paul speaks of for me to share with an unsaved lady that God is in control and desires to bring us peace.  This world we live in is a scary place for the unsaved who have no peace.  However, how does a Christian reconcile a world full of turmoil with the peace God desires to give us?  I have come to realize that our peace, joy, and comfort in this life can only come from trusting our Savior!  There is no political candidate nor perfect circumstance that is able to bring us true peace, joy and comfort.  Those things can only be found through faith in Christ.  I read the following statement recently: “There is more safety with Christ in the tempest than without Christ in the calmest waters.”  Today’s world has provided a seeming tempest on every side, but we do not have to fear if we are in the perfect will of God!  Instead of being full of fear, we must go the lost people around us with the answer to their turmoil.  The circumstances of our world today should give us much more to discuss than the upcoming election or the current international tragedy.  There is so much more to share with people who do not know the God who can control our tempest!  Christ calmed the wind and the waves with His words.  We can and must trust Him to take care of us through the tempest!

The Crowd or The Christ?


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And every man went unto his own house. [But] Jesus went unto the mount of Olives (John 7:53; 8:1).

Our lonely Lord, beset by the Pharisees, despised and rejected of men, took to the solitude of the Mount of Olives, while men returned to the comfort of their homes.  He had nowhere to lay his head, having come to His own, who received Him not.  Many a night He spent in prayer, while even His disciples slumbered.

This world still goes “every man to his own house.”  Alas, even we Christians do, for “all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”  We pursue our own interests, we live our own lives, we know nothing of the Mount of Olives’ concern for the plight of our hearts, the condition of the church, the state of the world.  We pay God our respects on Sunday, but we return to putter around our own premises.  We sing, “I’ll Go With Him Through the Garden,” when the olive trees would never recognize us, for we never accompany our Lord there.

Our Lord was a solitary figure in His day, and to this hour the deeper Christian life is a lonely life.  You will never “follow the crowd” to the Mount of Olives, for few go that way.

You can follow the crowd or the Christ, but not both, for they go in opposite directions.

 

Day by Day with Vance Havner, p. 223.

Lost Pup, Found!


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Matthew 18:11-14

Reward! $500.00!  So read the little signs put up all over town, in shop windows, on poles, even left at bus stops.  The signs sought to locate the master’s beloved little pup.  Reward, $500.00 for anyone who could find the pup that had dug himself out of his master’s yard.

It seems $500.00 was quite a thing in this little town, there were many folks out looking for the lost pup.  Just an ordinary little pup, not even an AKC.  But he was a little dog greatly beloved by his master!  The master’s heart was grieving and sorrowing for the little lost thing.

Yes, $500.00 is a great sum, but remember the sum paid by the “Master”! His own beloved Son given that we (the lost), might be found and saved!  That very “Son,” which gave His life, a ransom for the lost, is the very “One” seeking us!  (Luke 19:10)

In the end, the “little pup” was found and his master greatly rejoiced!  That leaves you!  Has the “Master” found you?  Have you answered His call, seeking to find you!  Our Lord God is not willing that even one of these little ones should perish (Matt. 18:14).

If you haven’t been found …… call on Him today!

God’s Grace


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God’s grace is so wonderful.  He gives us so much more than we deserve.  It’s pretty easy to realize this when we are blessed in a positive way; but what about in all the trials God allows in our lives?

God allows different people and circumstances to come into our lives to mold us and form us into the people He wants us to become.  We can choose to fight and fuss about those trials, or we can accept them as part of His plan for our life and let God do with us what He wills.

In Joseph’s case…wow!  He had a lot to overcome:  separation from family, betrayal, despair, unfulfilled hopes, etc.  But his focus was not on those things; it was on trusting God.  Genesis 41:51, “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.”  Joseph leaned on God to get him through all those things, and then God made him forget them all!  We might think, “How is that even possible?!”  God.  It’s not through us but God.

Friend, whatever you’ve been through or are going through, God has a plan and a purpose for it.  He is molding you into the servant He wants you to become.  Allow Him to work.  His grace is sufficient.