Dear Friends in Christ,
It is definitely a chilly start to the day (27*) as I write this newsletter article for November. Even though it is quite nippy outside, I can still see a beautiful blue Michigan sky spreading out in the heavens, as I peer out of my office window. With such a magnificent view before my eyes I cannot but thank Almighty God for all he provides for you and me as his creation.
Speaking in general terms, when we think of the month of November we often think of the Thanksgiving holiday. This holiday brings memories of family gatherings, huge meals that cover our dining room tables with turkey and all the fixins, football games, hunting expeditions, and the possibility of being able to experience our first snowfall of the season. Such pleasant memories, of years gone by, have a way of lingering in our minds as we approach another celebration of Thanksgiving. What a blessing these fond memories are for us to reflect back on.
As your Pastor and fellow brother in Christ, I hope that as we enter November and approach the onset of Thanksgiving, you and I can take time to intentionally focus on all the blessings our Lord has so richly poured out on each one of us. We are especially blessed because we are members of God’s family, His beloved. He has chosen you and me, and through the water and words of Holy Baptism has adopted us to be His very own children.
And because our Heavenly Father dearly loves us, He made a way for you and me to be able to experience heavenly glory with Him, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit for all eternity. How thankful, how utterly grateful, we should be that our gracious and merciful Father sent His one and only Son Jesus into this world, to sacrifice His body and shed His blood, so that we might enjoy abundant life now and everlasting life later.
How can you or I ever be able to offer enough thanks to our great God for such an unbelievable gift? We can start by being in worship service each Sunday. As people of God, who gather together in His holy house, we can offer up ourselves as living sacrifices through our acts of confessing, praying, praising, and singing. In Psalm 141:2 King David called out to God, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” We can do it by our reading and studying of God’s Holy Word on a daily basis. Paul tells us in Acts 1711, “Now these Jews (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were true.” We can do it by being faithful Disciples of Christ, who willingly and boldly share the Gospel message of salvation with those the Lord places in our path. May we hear and grasp Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:18-19, “To the end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” And, we can do it by being Jesus’ hands and feet in this world, as we reach out in love to help our neighbors who are in need. We here in Paul’s letter to the Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one calling, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
As we look forward to November and the celebration of Thanksgiving, may you and I, as God’s loved and saved people, be among those who live out the words of Hymn # 806, “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son. And now let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks, give thanks. Have a wonderful November and a thankful and blessed Thanksgiving celebration.