Going Up To The Feast

(Our daughter and her family will be coming for our Thanksgiving meal today, so there is not much time for writing, but I wanted to share these thoughts.)

When we think of our family feasts, are they just traditional ~ spending time with our family, eating and drinking to satisfy our human desires ~ or do we gather for a purpose beyond the physical?  Do we, as God’s people, understand the meaning of thanksgiving and feasting from a spiritual and eternal viewpoint?

During Jesus’ time, one of the feasts of the Jewish people was set for families to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. They gathered as God’s people to remember the end of their bondage in Egypt. The Passover lamb was sacrificed and offered as atonement for their sins. Even as a lamb’s blood was slain in Egypt and painted on the doorpost of the houses of those who belonged to Him, the same sacrifice was being performed in Jerusalem year after year.

Going Up To Jerusalem

As Jesus spent three years with His disciples, He continually spoke of their “going up to Jerusalem.” He also said on different occasions that His “hour had not yet come.”

The last Passover celebration for Jesus, when His hour had come, He went up to Jerusalem. He instructed His disciples to prepare the evening meal, and then during their meal together He established the Lord’s Supper, a meal that would be for us a means to celebrate with Him as our once, and for all time atonement and the end of our bondage to sin.

From this dinner, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane where He prepared Himself to become the sacrificial Lamb. While the world was sleeping He was basting in prayer and tears. Then in the secret chambers of the enemy, He met “the power of darkness” and willingly submitted to be offered up as our sacrifice.

Jesus was crucified, and on the post of the cross the Father saw the blood of the Lamb. We look, in faith, to the blood of the Lamb of God, sacrificed for our sins, high and lifted up. We look to Him, partake of His sacrifice, and live, free from the power of the enemy and sin, now and for eternity.

42df8f2cf4c69a547c8b0b47f2a896caIs there anything for which we should be thankful, anything that would supersede our feasting on the Lamb that was offered for us.

Dear Father, such gratitude is beyond our offering, for such a sacrifice that is beyond our understanding. Work in the hearts of your people that we may taste, see, and experience the life of freedom and joy that is ours in Christ, your Son. Work your Spirit in our spirits to set forth praise and thanksgiving to you, to our Lord Jesus Christ and to your Holy Spirit for the work of our salvation. Keep us always rejoicing in you, with a daily celebration of praise and living to your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Related Article:  The Feast

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A Year of Thanksgiving

1-Thessalonians-5_182014 was a year of humility. 2015 was a year of meditation.   Last year ended with Jerry in ICU after his heart attack, so he and I spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital. There were no fireworks ~ just the two of us with grateful hearts celebrating life and God’s blessings as another year was opened to us.

Before then there was no indication of where our concentration should be this year. But, we didn’t have to wait long. This has been a special year to be thankful, even in the middle of emergencies, the everyday perplexities and abnormalities of this life.

In our reading and meditation this week we spent time in one of Paul’s letters.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, I had to take the time to let these things sink in, again.

“Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

This is how I had to stack these. They rest together on the foundation that Christ laid for us. We understand that God, our Father planned through the life and the atoning work of His Son the means in this world for our rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving. This is not a natural thing.  We all know that in the middle of difficulties, thanksgiving is not our first thought. But, just as we learned in the year of humility, we first desire to do His will, realizing that it is possible with His Spirit supernaturally working in us.  We desire, we pray and continue to pray that He do His will, His work in us. Paul spoke to the Philippian church that it is God who works to will and do in us, according to His own pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) We have in Christ this relationship with Him, so as to know His will, and how, by His Spirit, He works it in us. In Christ, we are enabled to rejoice, to pray, and to be thankful.

Whatever the circumstances of this life, nothing is greater than what He has prepared for us in His Son. Through our study and meditation of His Word and the truths of Christ, He continues to grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, and through our circumstances to conform us to His image. (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29)

Dear Father, you know how forgetful we are, and how prone we are to complain. Forgive us, and lead us as your people, your family, to be your image bearers.  Thank you for providing the means for us to rejoice, to pray, and be thankful in the middle of a chaotic world. By your Spirit, witness through us to others of your grace and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Related article:  The Glad Rule

The Words I Speak Most Often

The words I speak most often:

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“FATHER, HELP ME!”
  ~  Isaiah 41:10

“FORGIVE ME, LORD.”    ~  Matthew 6:12

“THANK YOU, LORD!”   ~  Psalm 100:4

~ because He promises to hear and answer; to be with me; and  show me His way.

“Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD
who formed it to establish it—the LORD is His name.
Call to me and I will answer you,
and will show you great and mighty  things that you do not know.”
Jeremiah 33:2-3

Morgennebel “Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach my thy paths;
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me;
For thou art the God of my salvation;
On thee do I wait all the day.”
Psalm 25:4-5

In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Thanksgiving Day

Olivia’s Thanksgiving Greeting  ~  2007

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Last week as William was bagging our groceries he asked, “Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving Day?”

When I answered, “Everyday is thanksgiving day!” he said, “I wish….”

Not hearing what he had wished, I asked him on our way out, “What did you wish?”

He said, “That everyday was thanksgiving day for me.”

Close enough to whisper the secret, I said, “It can be—in Jesus Christ.”

I had never seen William, and don’t know if he will be there on our next visit, but   enough was said to give him hope. A seed was planted with the prayer that the Lord will water it, and lead this young man to His Word, give him a new heart, and a spirit of thanksgiving for every day of his life.

There was an open door, and a humble heart desiring only what Jesus Christ can give. We praise the Lord for the short times in our lives when we can witness of His grace to others; and leave the results to him.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;” 1 Corinthians 1:4-5  

A Day to Worship

Who and Why We Worship                                        Where and How We Worship

                                                                PSALM 100

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,
all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence
with singing.
 

3Know 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.

 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.

5For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.”   MusicMake a Joyful Noise

Dear heavenly Father, by your own heart and word, draw us to worship.  Lord Jesus, “declare His name to your brethren.”  Lead us “in the midst of the congregation.” (Hebrews 2:12-13)  Holy Spirit, fill us; “inhabit our praises.”  Keep our hearts, minds and focus on you today.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen