Dear Church Family,
November is almost here and with it the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of this season. During the Thanksgiving holiday I also find a very important reminder. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,” (Psalms 92:1-2 ESV) It is indeed good to praise God! WE are blessed by doing it, and He is worthy of so much more praise then we give Him. “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?” (Psalms 106:1-2 KJV) The final verse of the hymn “The Love of God,” echoes this beautiful truth;
Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
We cannot possibly praise God too much or even get close to what He is worthy of! I challenge you this Thanksgiving season and beyond; develop the habit of praise, if you haven’t already. Maybe start by spending a few moments every morning praising God. No requests, no complaints, no problems, just praise Him. You could write your praises in a journal every day. Start each prayer with thanksgiving and praise. Then after you have brought an offering of praise, bring Him the burdens, requests, and concerns of your heart. I am certain you will be uplifted as you develop a habit of praise.
Praise and thanksgiving is something I haven’t always been very good at. Most of my life I have had a very critical heart. When I first realized how damaging a critical spirit was and that it was placing me on the side of the “accuser of the brethren” I knew I needed to change. However, I felt like the people of Israel looking at the giants, and fortified cities on the edge of the Promised Land. It was so hard to even think of a single genuine praise because I had spent so much of my time on criticism. Of course it’s easy to give praises like the Pharisee of Luke 18, “I thank you God that I am not like these sinners all around me.” That isn’t exactly the kind of praise God is worthy of and it only pleases Satan. The accuser of the brethren is diligently working to keep us on His side and to distract us from the awesome, glory, love and power of our Lord. If he can keep us looking at the bad and away from Jesus we will never find victory over a critical heart or any other sin. Just like the walls of Jericho, Jesus can break the strongholds of sin in our hearts. So I encourage you to start walking around the walls. Join the angels and elders in heaven in habitual praise. The saved will be spending eternity praising God. Let us leave the accusers camp and start enjoying the blessing of thanksgiving NOW. Don’t stop with a few moments in the morning, or the start of each prayer. Let us keep growing until the Love of God is written across the parchment of our hearts and lives. It is woefully inadequate to express the whole, but it brings a smile to the face of Jesus.
Maybe you don’t battle a critical heart but anger, pride, selfishness, gossip, music, entertainment or all of the above and more. No matter our sin or sins, we do not have to huddle in helpless fear and defeat, or sit in resigned complacency because we “can’t overcome”. Our High Priest is there to give us grace and help in time of need. Remember Jericho? Get up and take Jesus’ hand, He may only lead you around the wall one time a day to start out with. You may not even have the strength to start walking. Reach out to Jesus and say, “HELP, please Lord, change my desires.” Like Jacob, don’t let go until He blesses you. Before you are done you will march hand in hand with Jesus around those walls seven times (seven symbolic of completeness) and they will come crumbling down. “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalms 34:1-4 KJV)
I am looking forward to the month ahead! But before we get to November we have a very important church business meeting on October 28th at 5:00 pm. We have been blessed here with a wonderful church building and an even more wonderful church family. There is a great deal of potential for us to serve God and minister to our community. In order for us to be as effective as possible we need to pursue God’s will in an orderly and united fashion. Our desire is to come together with prayer, asking God to guide us in how He wants us to use what He has given. By the grace of God we will compile a list of priorities, so we can focus our abilities to the greatest glory of our Lord. Please come and be part of this process. We will have a “Soup and Sandwiches” potluck supper.
In the month of November I will start a series of the life of Gideon. I remember the childhood stories of Gideon’s 300 putting the armies of the enemy to flight. But the story didn’t start there. Sabbath, November 3 we will be start the 11:00 o’clock service with “Home First” I want to talk about preparing for the great victories God wants to perform in our lives. When you study the scriptures, there is not the slightest doubt that God wants to bless His people. How might we go about preparing for His blessings? What might we be doing to prevent them?
November 10th we will talk about “When Not Enough is Too Much.” This again will look at preparing to receive God’s blessings and victories in our lives.
November 17th the message will be “Victory by Bread.” What does victory through God look like? What can we learn from Gideon and his 300’s battle with the Midianite army for our battles today?
November 24th with be a special praise and thanksgiving service. The message will be entitled “Why Me?” Make sure you work on your thanksgiving and praise skills to get ready.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. Please pray for us as we pray for you.
Pastor Jeremy McCombs
Lubbock Seventh-day Adventist Church