Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Grateful Group! Part #3

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

It should be a priority that we express our gratitude to God for all that He has given us. In one of his sermons on Thankfulness, Miles Seaborn states “Ingratitude is as widespread as the human race and is as old as mankind.”

The concept of Thanksgiving involves being fully conscious that we have been blessed. We learn from the Bible that God always expects us to be grateful for our blessings. However, in today’s society, we are guilty of not expressing gratitude in a constant way.

In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one leper came back and expressed his gratitude for being healed. All of the lepers knew the authority and deity of Christ and acknowledged that He was the one who healed them. However, only the one leper publicly thanked God for his healing in the true spirit of gratitude.

Many people look upon blessings as just coincidences. Those people do not see the power of Christ. However, many of those same people will also quickly blame God when anything negative happens in their lives. As Christians, we know that all blessings come from Christ but we need to remain steadfast in thanking Him.

ThankfulForA recent online visit and study of Massachusetts’ restored Plymouth village, by way of Google Earth and Search, brought God’s leading of pioneer men and women in past years into focus. A casual survey of the early events connected with the founding of Plymouth Colony discloses two seemingly unrelated elements prevalent among these stalwart settlers. One was an unrelenting wave of hardship, disappointment, privation, and persecution which consistently plagued them. The other was a spirit of praise and thanksgiving which permeated their lives in spite of outward adverse circumstances. One gets the impression that the more trou­bles these people had the more praise and gratitude they gave to God.

In spite of betrayal and ‘persecution in England; in spite of leaving homes and pos­sessions behind when they fled; in spite of be­ing forced to learn new trades; in spite of a forced landing on the cold forbidding coast of New England rather than the more ac­commodating climate near the mouth of the Hudson River; in spite of death claim­ing 44 of the 102 settlers before six months had passed—these people continually thanked God for the blessings they had. Their mature Christian experience helped them to sense the blessings attached to pres­ent, though calamitous, circumstances.

Consider their landing place. Because of storms which drove their tiny ship far north of their original goal, they landed at a spot where Indians formerly had lived and cul­tivated the land for years. Some unknown disease two years before had caused the en­tire tribe save one to die. This fact in itself is remarkable. Of the thousands of miles of primitive wilderness coast line where they could have landed, the Pilgrims cast anchor at a place where land had already been cleared and cultivated!

A second blessing came in the form of a mild winter for that region. The end of December on the Massachusetts coast line is not the best time to start building houses, but the winter weather of 1620 permitted building to go forward.

Another remarkable blessing was the friendship of certain Indians whose names, like Cyrus’, were known by God before birth. In the spring of 1621 an Indian named Samoset walked boldly into their set­tlement exclaiming in good English learned from British fishermen, “Welcome! Welcome!” The Pilgrims were naturally terrified. Samoset’s next visit proved to be a miracle blessing. He brought with him another Indian named Squanto. Some his­torians claim that Squanto was the only one left of the wiped-out tribe that had once lived at Plymouth. Furthermore, Squanto had been carried as a captive to England, where he learned a good amount of Eng­lish. After his return he joined Massasoit’s tribe some thirty miles to the west. Squan­to’s visit brought together Massasoit and Governor Carver which resulted in a solemn treaty that endured for more than fifty years. This treaty declared that Pilgrims and Indians should live as brothers, doing everything possible to aid one another.

Squanto along with Hobomack, another Indian, made his home with the colo­nists and practically saved them from de­struction by acting as their guide and in­terpreter. He taught them how to plant corn with a shad “as soon as the oak leaves were as big as a mouse’s ear.”

Recapitulate a moment. A cultivated spot in the wilderness! One Indian survi­vor who had learned English as a captive in England joining the Pilgrims, bringing about a peace treaty, then teaching them how to live in a strange new land. I won­der how many times the Pilgrims praised God for His direct leading in small but ex­tremely important details.

If the early colonists had counted only the hardships during that first year, a sol­emn funeral-type memorial meeting would have been held rather than a joyous thanks­giving service. Let’s join these pioneers with a spirit of Thankfulness! Yes we have difficult days ahead to fulfill God’s plan for us, But oh how God has blessed!

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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A Grateful Group! Part #2

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all of the blessings that God has provided to us. In his sermon “A Psalm of Thanksgiving” Robert Walker states “When we make our lists of blessings we can come up with many things, experiences, and people we are grateful for. But certainly the greatest blessing to give thanks for this Thanksgiving Day is the gift of His grace.”

In the Bible, Psalm 100 is an Old Testament song of thanksgiving. It encourages us Let Us Come Before Him with Thanksgivingto praise the Lord with a thankful heart and also explains the true nature of thanksgiving to us.

Psalm 100 reminds us that we need to thank the Lord publicly. When we worship, we should be filled with unbridled joy to praise God for His everlasting greatness and goodness.

We also must always serve the Lord with gladness. When we are thankful for God’s blessings, we should be more inclined to serve Him wholeheartedly.

When we face hardships, it might sometimes be difficult to focus on our blessings. However, as Christians, we all have a reason to praise Him because of our eternal salvation that He gave us.

November is rapidly passing. The holiday season is quickly approaching! Here’s a fun idea to help your family remember the blessings that have come your way during the month we set aside to be thankful.

Think back to November 1st and going through Thanksgiving Day, have each member of your family write what he or she is thankful for on a piece of paper and place it in a special bowl or container.  You can use a bowl that was given to you as a gift that has the word ‘blessing’ written in different languages on it or any type bowl will do.  Don’t tell the others in your family what you have written down.  If you have younger children, mom or dad may have to help write down what the child is thankful for; Even children as young as two and three year olds can participate in this activity.  On Thanksgiving Day, take out the pieces of paper you have collected during the month and read them aloud as you celebrate the day set aside for us to be thankful.

The things you write down don’t always have to be serious.  For example, one child said he was thankful for his fish; other times he said he was thankful for his family members.  By the end of the month, you begin to think of things that you may not think of on a daily basis to be thankful for!  It is always fun to read what each person has written as you gather around on Thanksgiving Day.

You can do this with just your immediate family, but you could also involve your extended family and use it as a way to celebrate when you get together for your big Thanksgiving meal.

This is just one of the small things you can do to celebrate Thanksgiving each year.  I’d love to hear how your family makes Thanksgiving special, too!

WORD FOR THE WEEK

Bible Verse of the Week :

Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV) 1  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

KID’s CORNER

Hey kids, here is a little something for you!  Color your Thankfulness to the Lord!

 I Am Thankful Color Page

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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