I know you’ve witnessed this scene. A person is trying to prove he is no threat or danger and moves forward with hands down, palms exposed, nothing hidden or held back. Yes, his hands are empty. He is helpless if the One he approaches would take advantage of his surrender and his drawing near.
But, nevertheless, the person moves forward.
Then, the person realizes suddenly how beautiful the One he approaches is. Why hadn’t he come forward sooner? How could he have missed the glory, the beauty, or the splendor that now is so attractive?
It’s simple really. The person had never before dared to come this close.
This is the invitation of Psalm 100. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures unto all generations.” (Psalm 100: 4-5)
Are you thankful? How do you show it? I am asking something more than are you in a good mood? The Hebrew word for thankful refers to the hand and what we stretch out to the Lord. Being thankful is us acting as a tenon in a mortise and tenon woodworking joint. The mortise and tenon woodworking joint has been used around the world for thousands of years—for good reason. It’s considered one of the strongest woodworking joints for attaching two pieces of wood at 90 degrees.
The mortise and tenon joint functions by inserting one end of a piece of wood into a hole in another piece of wood. It’s that simple. The smaller end of the wood is the “tenon,” and the wood with the hole in it is referred to as the “mortise.” Thus, being thankful is emphasizing God’s strength and not our own. Being thankful is “casting all our care upon the Lord because He cares for us.” (I Peter 5: 7)
I understand that sometimes we don’t feel like being thankful. We definitely feel like the ‘smaller’ piece in things and we are prone to get spiritually depressed and depreciate what the Lord can do in us. We’re the problem and we know it. Yet, it is this particular situation that God recognizes and knows about us and His work in us. God explained it to the Apostle Paul this way, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Do you see it, yet? Being thankful means we acknowledge we are on the receiving end of grace or better yet, grace will receive us even when we feel small and out of joint.
(I apologize for going so long without posting to my blog. Me, being thankful going forward is stretching forth my hand to type something useful and helpful for the growth of our faith in Jesus and something that reminds us of the big picture of God’s grace under which we live. Happy Thanksgiving! Norman)
The churches of Route 5 and Varina community gather together for worship and thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00 PM at Antioch Baptist Church, 1384 New Market Rd, Richmond, VA 23231. We’re expecting our revival choir to be back together for this special service. The Rev. Norman Ramsey of Laurel Hill United Methodist Church will be preaching.
This Sunday, we celebrate the grace that God gives through many hands working together. John 4 tells us the harvest is plentiful and ready for harvest but requires laborers. That’s you and me! Many hands for the Lord to use to manifest the Son who sits at His Right Hand.
Thankfully, Laurel Hill is no stranger to this way of doing things and in the future will continue to walk in the grace of many hands.
The pictures here are from our ministry with HEARTH, providing Thanksgiving boxes to 15 families. Special thanks goes out to Susan Nowell and the Weekday School for their help.
Monday, people from the churches in our community gathered at Four Mile Creek Baptist Church to pray together for our nation and the elections. Yesterday, Tuesday, the elections were held and with, what many viewed as, surprising results. Today, I wanted to lift up the same prayers that were prayed on Monday and ask you to continue praying them into the future.
Just like these prayers, our absolute need for the Lord and His grace remains unchanged. The call remains constant: “The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15) The Apostle Paul says it this way, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” (1 Tim. 2: 1-6)
These are the prayers that are worth repeating.
- That God will glorify His name in the nation after this election.
- That the president and president-elect will listen to council from God’s Word.
- That the president and president-elect will follow the Constitution.
- That God will protect the new president from the influence of the evil one.
- That God will teach the new president to know and trust the Lord.
- That God will influence the decisions of the new president to bring godliness, justice, and peace to the nations.
- That God will protect the new president and his family from any harm.
- That God will enable the new president to carry out his duties with humility towards God and all the people of this nation.
- That God will give the new president a tender heart towards those he leads and
- That God will give the new president courage to make choices that are pleasing to God in defense of the nation.
- That the pastors of this nation may be filled with the Holy Spirit to proclaim God’s truth in power and conviction.
- That the churches of this nation may experience a revival.
- That the youth of our nation will turn to God.
Remember and repeat: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16: 34