What I am thankful for

Thanksgiving is a special time that we set aside for the purpose of showing our gratitude to God and to each other. In the midst of a busy world with all of its strenuous demands, it is good for us to pause and take time to reflect on the good things of life. I would like to share with you seven things for which I am thankful.

1.       I am thankful that I was created in the image of God. This is something that we tend to overlook and forget. But, being created in the image of God is the foundation of who we are. If we were not created in His image then nothing else really matters. We have the blessings that we have because of who we are. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” No other creature is created in the image of God. We are very special. We are very blessed. We as mankind are the crown jewel of God’s creation. All of creation was created for His glory. But, yet man is special. We are above all of the rest of creation. We are greater than the animals. We are greater than the trees of the forest. We are greater than the crashing waves of the ocean. We are greater than the stars above us. We are created in the very image of God!

2.       I am thankful for Godly parents. At the beginning of time, God established the institution of marriage. The purpose of marriage is to bring Glory to God and to demonstrate Christ’s love for us. Those of us who have Godly parents are very blessed. There are very few people today who have such parents. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children the Word of God and to bring them up in such a way that their lives would bring glory and honor to God. It is the responsibility of parents to set a good example for their children and to be a good role model for them. I am personally thankful that I have Godly parents who loved me enough to train me in the ways of the Lord. I am thankful for their teaching. I am thankful for their discipline. I am thankful for their time. I am thankful for their love. Without them I would not be where I am today.

3.       I am thankful for my wife. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I, for one, am very blessed to have a Godly wife who loves me and cares for me. There are many times when I have hurt her and let her down, yet she is always there for me. She works hard to care for me and our children. The little things she does behind the scenes often time’s go unnoticed. Without her I would be completely lost. Men, if God has given you a Godly wife who loves the Lord and loves and cares for you, be sure to show your gratitude and thankfulness. To have such a wife is like a rare jewel. Cherish her, love her, respect her, listen to her, take care of her, and thank God for her.

4.       I am thankful for my children. God has given to me the most wonderful children anyone can have. They are all growing up to love Jesus and they have a desire to bring Him glory. Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” There is nothing like hearing the noises of children in the house. There is something special about hearing your child call out to you and tell you they love you. Children bring joy and laughter. I know one thing, if it were not for my children; life would be rather dull and boring. They bring so much excitement and fun. When you’re having a bad day and your children walk in with their big smiles with no care in the world, it brings such relief and comfort that words cannot describe. Children are truly a blessing.

5.       I am thankful for my job. Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much….” If you are blessed to have a job, you should be very thankful. There is something special about coming home after a hard day’s work. The feeling of accomplishment is very rewarding. For me, I think I have the best job in the world. It’s not an easy job. It requires a lot of work and long hours every day. It requires mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical strain. But, the rewards are amazing. Being a pastor is not just a one day a week job. It involves much more than that. On call 24/7, ready to bring encouragement and hope to those in need. It can be very stressful and physically draining. However, the feeling of knowing you are doing God’s work as His herald is truly humbling. The ability to work is a gift from God. He wants us to work. Our work brings glory to Him. Whether you are in a job you enjoy or dread, keep in mind that you are not working for your employer or for yourself, but you are working to give glory to God!

6.       I am thankful for my church. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the day approaching.” Church attendance is vital to the life of the believer. We need to be involved in a community of believers that will encourage us and strengthen our faith. The purpose of church is to worship God and to ‘stir one another to love and good works.’ The church is a school of Biblical training. It is a spiritual ‘boot camp’. It is a place where we learn how we are to live in the world and how we can make a difference. I don’t know about you, but I love going to church. I am not saying this just because I am a pastor. I really love going to a place where God’s people are worshipping Him in one accord. I love the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. I love seeing families coming to church together. I am especially thankful to be a part of Spruce Head Community Church. The fellowship we share at Spruce Head is inspiring and refreshing. Spruce Head is the first church I have been in where it seems that people truly understand what the church is all about. It would take many pages to describe all the blessings of being a part of such a great church.  Praise God for a church that teaches and preaches the Bible. Praise God for a church that really loves and cares for one another. Praise God for a church that prays. Praise God for a church with a vision and a heart for missions and ministry. Thank God for Spruce Head Community Church!

7.       I am thankful for Jesus. Of all the things I am thankful for, Jesus is above them all. Where do I begin to talk about my Savior? He has done so much for me. There are three things that sum up why I am so thankful for Jesus. The first is the cross. It is at the cross of Jesus that I receive forgiveness and salvation. The cross is the perfect picture of love. The creator of the world humbled Himself and became one of us and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Because of the cross we are justified. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justification is God’s stamp of pardon on our lives. We were dead in our sins, doomed for hell, but through the cross of Jesus we are pardoned. The penalty of sin is completely removed from our lives and our record in made clean. Because of the cross we are also reconciled to God. Romans 5:10 says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His sin, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Before I knew Jesus, I was an enemy of God. My sin separated me from God. But the cross bridged the gap between me and God and now I am a friend of God! The cross is also the propitiation for our sin. Romans 3:25 says, “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood…” Propitiation is to ‘appease the wrath of God.’ We deserve God’s wrath. We deserve God’s judgment. But, the cross satisfies the payment for our sin giving us God’s mercy and grace in place of His wrath. The cross also redeems us. Romans 3:24 says, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” To be redeemed is to be ‘bought out’ of the slave market of sin. Imagine if you were a slaved being auctioned off. Suppose someone makes the highest bid and buys you. Your owner then takes you aside and takes off your chains. He brings you to his house and says that you will have your own room in his house. He tells you that you will not be a slave. He tells you that instead he is adopting you as his son. But not just ‘a’ son, but ‘the’ son. You will live as if you are the first born son. All of the blessings and inheritance that ‘the’ son would receive, you now receive. This is what it means to be redeemed. The cross buys us out of the slave market of sin and makes us God’s son. Praise God for the cross! I am thankful for Jesus not only for the cross but also for the resurrection. If Jesus stayed on the cross or in the grave, there would be no hope. There would be no justification, reconciliation, propitiation, or redemption. The resurrection gives validity to the work of the cross. There is no gospel apart from the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and the He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once…”  It is an historical fact that there was a man named Jesus who died on a cross and rose again from the grave. We serve a risen Savior. He is alive and well, and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Because of the resurrection we have life and life more abundant. Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! A final reason I am thankful for Jesus is the fact that He is coming again. There is coming a day when Jesus will come to take all those who believe in Him, home to be with Him for all eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Praise God, He is coming again! As the old song says, “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me through that promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be!” Imagine folks, there will be a day when we will see Jesus!

The list could go on and on of all the things I am thankful for, but most of all, I am thankful for Jesus. What about you?Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Without Him, there is no hope. Without Him there is no salvation. Without Him there is no heaven. Give your life to Jesus today, it’s the best thing you could ever do.

 

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