Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

The word Thanksgiving or Thanks is an interesting word in Scripture. In Greek it is the word: Eucharist. Eu in Greek is an adjective meaning good, and charis is the Greek word for grace. So it literally means good grace. Or: declaring God’s grace as good. We might just say it is: giving of thanks to God for His good grace. Some have made this a ritual, a sacrament to remember Jesus’ death on the cross. But it is far greater than a single event, as great as that single event was, it is the life that resulted from what Jesus did. It is the unexplainable goodness of God in behalf of His children.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor—the undeserved, unachieved, freely given blessing of His goodness to us.

It is God giving us what we don’t deserve—the blessings of favor.

Gen 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Exo 33:16-17  "For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" The LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name."

Psa 30:5  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime…

Psa 30:7  O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong…

Psa 89:17  For You are the glory of our strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted.  Horn – our reputation.

Psa 90:17  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Psa 119:58  I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. Favor is the promise of God working in our lives.

The favor of God, God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves, becomes the source of our thanksgiving. The focus of our thanks is on what He has done in us and through us. How He has shown Himself faithful and accomplished good things on our behalf.

George Washington gave us Thanksgiving as a day to remember our blessings. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

He went on to mention God’s name 16 times in this proclamation. He had the right spirit to direct us to know who it was who deserved our thanks.

But never was thanksgiving intended to be a single day of the year when we concentrate on what we’re thankful for. We are to live as thankful people.

It affects us, personally:

Php 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Prayer – connecting with God – continuous connection – constant communication
Supplication – Supplicate: to ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly. It is connecting our need with God

The promise is Peace. Not the answer. Peace comes when we know God has heard us.

It affects others: 2Co 9:10-15  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

What gift? The gift of His favor, the work He does in us and through us, simply because He is God and we are His children.

This church is a gift of God’s grace, an expression of His favor. I pull into the parking lot and I see the blessings of God every day. I feel God’s embrace through those with the ministry of hugging. I look out on a crowd of people who fill this place every week and I see the blessings of God each Sunday. I listen to our band and I hear the wonder of God in music. I watch you interact and spread the love and I see God smiling on us. I notice how many are participating in Bible Study groups and Home Groups and I enjoy sensing God’s delight. I read of what is happening through our missions’ partners and I sense God’s hand touching people all over the world through us. I stand in this pulpit and am confident God is speaking to us all and I feel His pleasure.

The Bible speaks of enjoying times of refreshing from the Lord. We are in that time of refreshing. We are in special days. What this church has is rare. It is the exception to the rules of how you do church. God is pouring out His favor and we give Him thanks.

Now, when God works in a church, He is typically working through the people He has brought together. I would like to recognize some of those people and have you join me in thanking God for how what He doing at North Shore Church.

Ministry List 2017

1.       North Shore Church is an incredible church.
2.      The head of this church is the Lord Himself.
3.      He is good and His goodness is seen in every facet of who we are and what we do as a church.
4.      He is blessing this church beyond anything we deserve.
5.      Thank you, Lord, for the incredible gift of Your favor!

Give thanks: For our families and friends – may they see You through me
            For our health, wealth and wellbeing – regardless of what’s going on
            For our church and what God has planned for our future
            For knowing me, loving me and for the plans You have for my life

            For giving me the favor that comes from belonging to You

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