Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving of Your Own Free Will


Last week I became nostalgic, thinking of Thanksgivings past. I remembered the song we always sang at this time of year “Over the River and Through the Woods”. However, as I reviewed the lyrics in my memory, I found it hard to relate to Thanksgiving. Turns out, I only remembered the first verse and I bet you do too.

Verse 1 
Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way
to carry the sleigh,
Through (the) white and drifted snow!

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

I thought it strange a song we sang at Thanksgiving seemed better suited for Christmas, so I did some digging. The second verse actually mentions our wonderful holiday and the third pays homage to the one dessert everyone in America associates with Thanksgiving – Pumpkin Pie!

Verse 2
Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Verse 3
Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

But, in all seriousness, as great as this song is, it does not tell why we celebrate or to Whom we give THANKS.

As children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we know to Whom we give thanks. It is He, the great I AM. He owns it ALL, the land, the sea and all that is in it, as well as the beasts in the forest and the cattle on a thousand hills. He also owns us. He created and formed us declaring, “…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

So on this Thanksgiving Day, offer to God thanksgiving. “And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will.” (Psalm 50:14; Lev. 22:29). Enter into His gates; come before His presence, proclaim with the voice and sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, and finally, magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Ps 100:4; Ps 95:2; Ps. 26:7; Ps 147:7; Ps 69:30)

Why should we do this, because only Our God is worthy.

Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book of Ruth Series - A Serious Decision - Lesson 3

Ruth 1:1-2:  “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion--Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.” (NKJV)

Bethlehem, Judah, was their home, their God-given land and to leave was a serious decision.

Judah, meaning “Praise”, was the fourth son of Jacob and Leah. His descendants, including Elimelech, filled this territory. Bethlehem, or “House of Bread” also known as Ephrath, was the burial ground of Jacob’s
                                     most beloved wife, Rachel.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book of Ruth Series - A Way That Seems Right - Lesson 2

Ruth 1:1:  “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land…”

Think for a moment about what you would do as a farmer, a husband, and a father of two ailing sons, when no rain has fallen for a year or more. You have a good size field, but crops don’t grow without rain. Irrigation would be an alternative if water weren’t so scarce. You’ve sold everything of value except your field. But, even if it were to rain this moment, it would take months for crops to grow.

How did drought and famine happen in a place whose names literally mean “House of Bread and Praise”? Moreover, how can you let your children and wife die of starvation?

Today you take your final trip to town where you will fight the crowds and use the little money you have left to buy a meager food ration. Still, this will last only a short time and then what.

What would you do?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book of Ruth Series - Setting the Stage - Lesson 1

 Are you ready to see how God works in the midst of rebellion, pain or anger, and are you ready to learn of great love and redemption? Fabulous, because today we begin the study of the Book of Ruth, a touching and true story much better than Cinderella.

Ruth, a Moabite, lived in the time when Judges admonished Israel, approximately 1100 BC.

So, to begin, we need to set the stage.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Miracles In The Wilderness Series - Lesson 25 - The Voice Of God In Ten Commandments

It was the 6th day of the month Sivan, exactly fifty days after Israel slew the lamb and applied its blood to the doorposts and lintels of their homes in Egypt. This lamb’s blood had caused the destroying angel to pass over their homes when delivering God’s last plague.

Now, here they are standing at the base of Mount Sinai anxiously awaiting God’s commands.

Out of the billowing smoke and fire boomed the voice of The Almighty, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (#1 – Exodus 20:2-3)

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