Today I was reading in Exodus of God's mighty deliverance of His people from the hardened-hearted Pharaoh. The day before I had re-listened to a sermon by one of our pastors, Chris Wilson, about how only that which is within us can defile us...we are quick to think our biggest enemies are "out there" somewhere be it other people or our circumstances or whatever, when in reality our very own flesh produces passions of all kinds that wage war against our own souls and are in opposition to the King of all kings. I do not sin because Suzy said something mean to me first or because the snow outside is messing with my plans or because someone else got what I wanted and I didn't or any other excuse I might try to justify myself with. I sin because by nature I am a sinner...that's what messes me up....that's what defiles me. We confess at church our sins that we each commit as being "my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault." Yep, that's right. I'm my own biggest enemy.
Today, as I was considering the Exodus in connection to Pastor Wilson's sermon, I was overcome with gratitude TO GOD for His mighty deliverance of me from myself. He has made me a new creation in Christ Jesus which is no small feat, and promises to continue the good work He has begun until it is completed. I can guarantee He's not finished with me yet, but how thankful I am to know He is at work. Apart from His grace, I am a hardened-hearted pharaoh with my own little kingdom of me which stands in opposition to Him. From the Exodus story, it is clear just how foolish a notion that is. No one can stand against the Lord and win, but until the Lord delivers us by His mighty and merciful hand, we sure give it our best shot. Apart from His grace, we are so far removed from any appreciation of Him or fear of Him, that we go about our business suppressing His truth in all our unrighteousness without batting an eye. When He graciously opens our eyes and we begin to behold Him in all His glory and power and wisdom and love and mercy and His every other perfection, He is delivering us from an enemy as powerful as Pharaoh...with His outstretched arms, He begins to deliver us from our own sinful selves as He brings us into His glorious Kingdom.
I'm a pilgrim bound for the Celestial City because the Living God has rescued me and continues to deliver me from all my stumblings...He is drawing me to Himself and it is to Him I am thankful. Every good thing I enjoy is a gift from His hand. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and many will gather with loved ones and share with each other things they are thankful for. Great. But let us also remember to Whom we owe all thanks.
I'm thankful to God for...
- making me His child and giving me His Word to live by.
- my loving and faithful husband.
- my beautiful and joy-filled children.
- a great church to be a part of , and for our elders and deacons.
- my extended family.
- wonderful friends.
- kind neighbors in a beautiful neighborhood.
- clothes to wear.
- tasty food to eat and utensils to eat it with.
- popcorn (yes, it get's its own listing!)
- opportunities to serve and bless others.
- indoor toilets.
- clean water to drink that comes right out of a faucet in our house.
- conveniences like stoves and washing machines, etc.
- our cars.
- great books to read.
- our house with a working heater while it is below 20 degrees currently outside.
- doctors and nurses who study so many years so they can help us when needed.
- stores stocked with all kinds of useful and decorative things.
- our garden.
- the seasons of all kinds (Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall; seasons of life such as childhood, parenting, etc; and the seasons of joy and sorrow all in their God appointed times).
- the beauty of His creation...plants, animals, etc. in all their variety, color and wonder.