Thanksgiving on the Clearance Aisle

 

img_20171026_1708486801075369525.jpg

One stroll through such retailers as Target, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, etc., and you might be left with the impression that we went straight from Halloween to Christmas! Tucked over in a corner, like it was an afterthought, are the remains of fall decorations already clearance priced. What happened to Thanksgiving?  Did someone misplace it?  Did the Grinch steal it, too?

Aww, never fear!  Thanksgiving is always here!

Thanksgiving is every day.  In the words of Pastor Rick Johnson, “Soak your soul” in the following living words of God:

Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Hebrews 13:15 – Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.

This morning, as I have done in past years, I am daily logging a “note of thanks” in my journal.  A focus on gratitude redirects our selfish hearts to hearts warmed by the goodness of God seen all around us, even in the hard times.

How about joining me this month?  Start a thanksgiving journal. Communicate each day with others your note of thanks.  When asked, “How ya doin’?”— share your thanksgiving note!

Don’t let thanksgiving be on the clearance aisle.  Put it up front for all to see and hear!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100)

The Most Important Word in Running

wp-1469142436821.jpg

That was the title to an article found within the pages of Runner’s World written by Mark Remy.  The subtitle was, “Here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with nutrition, form, or VO2 max.”

So now, you are asking, what did the article say was the most important word in running?  Are you ready?—-“Thank you.”

Often my wife, who power walks, and I remark about how grateful we are to be out exercising.  We both realize that all we are enjoying comes from the good hand of our God.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

So what are we grateful for?

  • The beauty of running in the country!
  • Ol’ Bossie watching us from the cow pasture.
  • Seeing a newborn calf.
  • Quiet.
  • Time to pray, memorize Scripture, and/or listen to sermon podcasts.
  • Fellowship with other runners and the encouragement they bring to keep going.
  • The ability to exercise. I promise you this is not taken for granted!
  • Meeting some our neighbors who are out as well.
  • The benefits of exercise.
  • Safety.  (This can be a challenge when faced with a driver who does not want to lose five seconds of his drive-time.)
  • Goal setting.
  • Being with my wife.
  • Camaraderie with other runners through the MapMyRun app.
  • Finishing the race.
  • Good shoes.
  • Water & Gatorade!
  • Strength & endurance
  • Memories of good and bad races.
  • The opportunity to run again in races that were special.
  • The fall colors.
  • Our Enduracool towels.
  • The Tweetsie Trail.
  • Eyes to see, ears to hears, and lips to rejoice in all that God has created around us.
  • Life in Christ that makes this life worth living.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Gratitude-poster
quotesgram.com

Overflowing Gratitude

Recently, a friend of mine, Ken Turner of Ken Turner Ministries, a frontline outreach to high-risk and fatherless teens in Dayton, TN, sent out the following testimony via email:

The other day I led a Bible study at the Mountain View Juvenile Development Center in Dandridge, TN with a group of high school age boys. Since we are in the Thanksgiving holiday season, I decided to address the topic of… you guessed it… Thanksgiving. To be honest, I had to really pray about this and think it through carefully. How do you teach on the topic of gratitude to a group of high school guys who are locked in a detention facility and will spend Thanksgiving away from family and loved ones? How do you communicate the Biblical truth “in everything give thanks” when there could be so many things to steal your joy? After praying and asking God for help, I was led to share Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3. We studied Ephesians 4:17-32 and Colossians 3:12-17. After absorbing the truth of these passages and seeing a clear and specific list of things God wants us to “put off” and “put on” the guys came to the conclusion that you cannot be truly thankful if your heart is not right with God. Colossians 3 tells us to “let the peace of God rule in our hearts… and let the word of Christ dwell richly in us… and to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to Him.” Once they “got it” I closed the Bible and asked, “Okay, so what do you have to be thankful for?” And that’s when the gratitude began to flow freely. They didn’t struggle to think of things worth thanking God for. The list included, a warm bed top sleep in, three meals each day, a secure environment, family, people like us who care enough to come share the Word with them and even more interesting were things like “eyes to see, ears to hear and a nose to smell.” They got it! As much as I was worried about how awkward it might be to study Thanksgiving from a Biblical perspective I left knowing that on this Thursday morning, a group of boys locked in the detention facility in the mountains of Tennessee are going to wake up and thank God for some very specific blessings He has bestowed upon them. If they can be thankful… so can we.

When you consider the greatness and goodness of our God, overflowing gratitude should pour from our heart and lips every day, and especially today!  As you gather with your family, friends, co-workers, or . . . maybe you are alone, consider the awesome majesty of God!  Begin to praise Him for Who He is and thank Him for all He has done!  I promise you that the praises will begin to overflow! Indeed, if young men in prison can be grateful, so can we.

Psalm 9:1-2

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;

I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in You;

I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

HAPPY, BLESSED THANKSGIVING!!

Ken Turner Ministries

I Rest My Case At the CrossI’m resting in my justification in Christ and praising, shouting, weeping, overflowing with gratitude when I hear this song!

You Are the Best!

PA Trip Sept 2014 893

In keeping with my theme of gratitude for this week, I must tell you about one particular person that tops them all.

  • She prays constantly with great passion and assurance.
  • She studies the Word because she has a personal relationship with its Author.
  • She knows me better than anyone, and yet she loves me unconditionally.
  • She is my number one cheerleader.
  • She is a lady of character.
  • She loves the ministry, especially with children and women.
  • She has always been by my side.
  • She truly fears the Lord.
  • She knows how to make a house a home.
  • She thirsts for discipleship.
  • She memorizes the Word.
  • She lives what she believes and knows about her God.
  • She is unselfish.
  • She loves to laugh and once-in-awhile be ornery.
  • She is willing to try something new and out of her comfort zone.
  • She takes the hits sometimes that are unwarranted, unkind, and directed at me.
  • She has given her life to the best mom possible.
  • She continues to do the best thing for her husband, daughters and son-in-laws, pray.
  • She weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice.
  • She speaks with wisdom.
  • She works hard.
  • She rises early.
  • She is hospitable.
  • She has overcome my unreal expectations and become a humble, faithful servant.
  • She is an excellent teacher and a good learner.
  • She has endured trials that have broken her heart.
  • She sings with a melodic, soothing voice that comes from her heart.
  • She makes me proud to call her mine.

She is my precious wife that God gave me over 33 years ago. She is the mother of our three precious daughters.  She is the “Tonto” that keeps me from being the “Lone Ranger.” Outside of my personal salvation, she is the greatest grace gift God has bestowed on me.  Thank you, Sweetheart, for who you are and what you do.  You are the best!!

Thank You For Serving!

It happens almost every Sunday night.  After a very full day of ministry, at some point between leaving church or an after-church fellowship and getting into bed for a good night of rest, I find myself looking back over the day with a sense of amazement and awe.  So very much happened!!  I can still hear the voices of people sharing their burdens, singing their hearts out, asking life questions, telling me of answers to prayer, sharing a testimony; the chatter, the children, the laughter, the tears, the “Pastor, what about . . .?”, etc.  Then I go back over Sunday School class, the AM Service and the PM Service as well as replay my preaching over and over wishing I had said that or left out that.

Somewhere in those thoughts comes to mind ALL the people involved in ministry throughout the day at BCBC that serve upfront and behind the scenes.  They are those who set up the gym for SS and then put away the tables and chairs, those who come to early prayer meeting, sound room workers doing a multitude of things for sight and sound, greeters ready to welcome and be hospitable, one who gets an umbrella and walks people from their car to the carport in the pouring rain or parks the cars for some of our ladies, nursery workers dealing with precious and sometimes not so precious babies, janitors, deacons who are all over the place doing seven things at once, coffee makers providing that ever-needed java jolt, secretary work that didn’t end on Friday, teachers leading their classes, musicians playing and singing, people being intentional to reach other people with a hand-shake and a smile or the gospel, and on and on it goes throughout a typical Sunday.  The purpose of this blog today is to say to all who serve at BCBC on Sundays as well as Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, THANK YOU!

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:3-6).

So Thankful!!

As I read the following blog post, Undercover At Oprah Conference, my heart responded with gratitude as well!  I am so thankful the Lord has led Boones Creek Bible Church to use the Answers In Genesis Sunday School material to instruct the whole congregation in a harmonious study of God’s Word.  I am so thankful that God’s people are learning to give a biblical response for what they believe (1 Peter 3:15).  I am so thankful that more and more people are getting on board and growing together in community through Sunday School.  I am so thankful that we are learning the Truth, personally applying the Truth, proclaiming the Truth, and watching the Truth change lives.  I am so thankful we will one day stand face-to-face with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and live with Him forever!

Like, Heart It, Favorite

For all who are involved in some level of social media, these are well-known, well-used terms.  If there’s a Facebook status that you agree with or are willing to be a part of, you click “like.” I even see folks say, “I wish I could double-like this!”  On Instagram, if you see a picture that you love, has special meaning to you or you can confirm, you click the heart.  And, on Twitter, you click the star if the tweet is something that strikes you in a positive way.

Now, I realize there are one or two people in the world who are not involved in the world of statuses, touched up pictures and tweets! 🙂   Nevertheless, may I say that we all need to be “Like, Heart It, Favorite” people, especially if we are born again followers Jesus Christ.  Consider your position in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14), your relationship with God the Father (Romans 8:14-17, 28-39) and your future promise (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  Furthermore, think on these words of God:

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 – The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.

We like to be around folks who are encouragers; people who are gracious; people who say things like, “That was a good job!” or “Thank you” or “Keep up the good work” or “Sure appreciate you!” or  “May I pray with you?” or “Let’s read some Scripture together and share a praise or two!” or other words of gratitude, affirmation and joy.  By the way, when someone does something for you or you catch them serving someone else, an old-fashioned but still modern expression of “Like, Heart It, and Favorite” is a handwritten thank-you note!!

Today, be a “Like, Heart It, Favorite” follower of Christ!  Brighten up your countenance (Psalm 42:5,11) and someone else’s, too!