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Archive for the ‘Giving Thanks’ Category

“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation” Psalm 18, v 46. 

Bob Gass writes in the Word for Today (available from UCB) that when the number 40 appears in the Bible, it always represents struggle.  Prior to starting his ministry on earth, Jesus went out into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  I can’t imagine a worse place to be tempted.  If I’m without food, proper rest and sleep, I’m not hard to tempt.  Yet that is where Jesus went, and as a man experienced the same hunger, tiredness, loneliness that makes all of us easy to prey to sin.  He chose the hardest location for the most intense period of testing of his life.  Could he have failed?  God cannot sin, but man can.  Jesus was both, so he could not, and yet could have.  I can’t give a better explanation than that. Hmanity, you and me, had only one hope for salvation, and that was Jesus making it to the cross as a perfect human being who had never sinned.  One slip up in that desert (or at any other time – as a child, when humiliated or abused for no reason), and it was over.  He would not have been perfect and would not have been able to take the punishment for us. Yet he didn’t give in, he did not sin and he went to the cross in perfection and secured our salvation.  Now we can shout out from our hearts: “blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation”.  Thank you, Jesus.

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Psalm 50 – 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,  for the world and its fullness are mine…14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

God asks us to serve Him.  He will show us in what way he wishes us to do so.  It may be to go, to give or to pray.  We are all called to serve in some way, and usually in many ways.  When opportunities to serve come up it is easy to think that we are needed.  If we don’t respond to the call for help or funding or prayers, who will?  But the truth, as shown in this Psalm, is that God does not need our sacrifices, or service.  He has everything covered.  He has no need of our service, our efforts or our money.  But God goes on to say in this Psalm that this does not mean we should not do these things!  Far from it, God calls us to give, and serve.  The key is our attitude to such things.  We do these things from a thankful heart.  We are giving back to God a little of what he has given us our of our thankfulness for what He has done for us.  It is not because we think he needs our efforts.  God gives us these opportunities to serve Him for our benefit as a method to say thank you and express our love for Him.  Let us not be slow to take up the opportunity today when it arises.

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“So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.” 2 Kings, chapter 8 and verse 6.  The Shunammite woman was wise.  It was her, rather than her husband, who suggested making room for Elisha the prophet.  They regularly used to host him, and when famine came to the land, he suggested the move out.  This they did, avoiding the worst of the hardships that came on the country.  It was seven years that they were away from home and when they returned they found their land and house had been taken by another.  They went to the king, who was talking with Elisha’s assistant.  They happened to be talking about this woman and how she used to look after Elisha the prophet.  This was no coincidence.  God works through circumstances and he is often preparing not only situations but people’s hearts before we even arrive.  When she arrived and presented her request to the king; that her land be restored to her, the king was only too pleased to grant her request.  He not only did so, but went far beyond what she asked for or deserved, giving her not only what was due but also the profits of the produce of her land for the last seven years she had been absent!  For those God loves he loves greatly.  He takes joy in giving us so more than we deserve.   We for our part should recognise His abundant blessings and give all the praise and thanks due to Him.

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