Friday, November 29, 2013

God Made Indivuals! by Linden Malki

God doesn't need us--but He went through the effort to make a universe, and a world, and fill it with people, because He wanted to love.  “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!" (Acts 17:24-28, The Message) 
Even more remarkable is that He cares about each one of us, and uses individuals to build His Kingdom.  If you get into His Word, you find that it talks about people--occasionally masses of people, but real, individual people.   Usually we think of the long lists of people--family records,  lists of the Temple staff, kings and politicians--as the most boring parts of the Bible and skip right over them as we read.  I find them interesting for several reasons--one is that they are reminders that these are real people; nobody would have bothered to make them up! They are an indication of the authenticity of the writings, and that they are all known by their individual names.  

We also have the stories of the people God tapped for works well beyond their human capacity--from Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David--and so many more.  And then we see God do something in a whole new way, yet not completely different.  We also see Him calling Tamar, Sarah, Hanna, Rahab, Ruth. and more;   Women, called to do what women have always done (a very odd process, if you think about it), and the results were people called to do amazing things.  

And  then Mary.  A woman called  to do something ordinary in an extraordinary way. God didn't need to do this--He could have just gone on watching people try--or not try;  do the good, the bad, or whatever, but always with a flaw. He could have continued to be patient, and love us anyway.   But He wanted us to Grow UP.  He wanted to share His Home with us--after cleaning us up from whatever isn't fit for His Presence. So He sent a part of Himself--through a human mother, like all of us came into the world. He showed what God is like--loving, forgiving, but also challenging and demanding. He even offered to live in us--so that we can live with Him.  He doesn't need us--He wants each of us, unique individuals--to live up to His original design.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Do Thanksgiving by Pastor Poppie Paul


Over the past few years I have watched Thanksgiving devolve from a special and wonderful time with family and friends into a national day of shopping.  I was almost ready to capitulate and brand myself a crabby old fart when I rediscovered the proclamation, by President Lincoln, which brought our National Day of Thanksgiving into being.  The Proclamation reminds us whose day this is, and what our posture should be.  It is worth remembering why we do what we do on Thanksgiving.

Sadly, we have removed God from our National discourse.
That has changed our Nation.

We have replaced Holy gratitude, repentance, and Thanksgiving for what God has given us,
with a rampaging lust to go buy what we do not have!  

I pray that each of us will reflect upon the words of President Lincoln, 
and remember what Thanksgiving is all about! 

Have a happy, Holy, restful, special, and blessed day
with your beloved family and friends!

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.   [Details of gratitude and civil war have been edited for length.]

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State