|The Secret Source of Strength||1st May 2013 (Thanksgiving)|
Psalm 16:7, 11 (NIV)|
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken...You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
You will recognise Nehemiahís tactics- you know the kind of techniques that are needed to keep the troops going? They are designed to boost morale and act as an antidote to despondency. In these modern times we find that such methods of encouragement have been rebranded as "man made" and any trace of "God" Our Creator and sustainer of life have been erased from human memory. I find these days that God is hardly mentioned outside of religious circles- He was not even mentioned in the Queens Speech!
Christian worship and reference to God has all but disappeared from schools and workplaces in the United Kingdom: He is no longer politically correct. We are perfectly happy to use our theories of evolution and the big bang to explore the mysteries of creation and the intricate complexities of how, when and why we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God has been relegated to the realm of theory. It appears that we are more worried about offending the sensibilities of those whose civil liberties may be compromised than to consider the feelings of our Creator. We are no longer willing nor are we able to be in "awe" of God. What must God think of us? He who knows the end from the beginning has already characterised our Laodicean tendencies in Revelation 3:14-22.
I am also amazed that many modern theories and philosophies about positive thinking, happiness and wellbeing have their origins from the bible- you would never think so in this modern age that demands "proof" backed by a body of research before it can be considered to have any merit. It is Godís word that tells us that "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones", (Proverbs 17:22); In Philippians 4:8, we are advised to "think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy"; whilst in Proverbs 4:23 we are counselled to "above all, guard your heart, for out of it are the issues of life".
According to Tozer, "the natural man must know to believe; the spiritual man must believe in order to know". We (mankind) should be deeply ashamed of ourselves. Hundreds of years of theorising and scientific experiments have not to date (and I am no scientist!) produced anything original- everything created is God made, anything; produced by man is just an inferior counterfeit.
What has all the above to do with Thanksgiving? I am disappointed in our efforts of Thanksgiving. We are missing those countless showers of blessings that God has promised to those who are attuned to His will. Our beloved Father: The Lord, The Lord God, is indeed Merciful, Gracious, Longsuffering and Abundant in Goodness and Truth (Exodus 34:6); if He wasnít we all would be history!
Let me remind you then of the opening verse we are to praise the Lord- He is the Wonderful Counsellor and Everlasting Father. He is Almighty God, El Shaddai, He is our Saviour, Deliverer and Protector- He is at our right hand as our source of strength and because of this, we will not be shaken! Thank God for His Mercy for withholding from us what we deserve, namely death. Praise God for His Grace for making available to the whole of mankind (both believers and non believers) what we do not deserve, that is Eternal Life. He Loves Us, while we were yet sinners and sent Christ, "His only begotten Son", to this no-good planet Earth, specifically to save us by His sacrificial death.
If that isnít enough for our worthless undeserving selves (me included) "He will save, He will rejoice over us with joy, He will rest in His love, He will rejoice over us with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). We are not worthy of Godís love, yet He pours it out upon us in abundance. Can you imagine Godís joyously singing over us? Now that is LOVE. God Loves Us and that should be enough for us to be daily filled with Thanksgiving and Praise for His wonderful, unconditional acts of unmerited favour for us. I am as hard on myself as I am on you.
May we be filled with deep contrition and humility as we contemplate Godís Love for Us. As we do, let us seek His forgiveness, crying out for His love to fill our hearts until we overflow with Thanksgiving, uniting with our lips to speak His Praise.
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