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Punch your Ticket...Fill Your Plate!

It is a land that the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”- Deuteronomy 11:12

It’s hard to believe that we are now in November, which means the holiday season and 2019 is well within sight! As we come into these final weeks of 2018 and become more attune to all the blessings from this calendar year, we should remember and rejoice in all the Lord has done for us. In this season of “harvest” and “holidays” I am happy and humbled by His faithful love, His constant care, His abundant provision, and His daily mercies. As I shared in a recent message, I am so glad that the Lord does not divvy out mercy on the first of the month and then requires we make it last for those thirty or thirty-one days. As Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

With this merry mindset I want to provide an image to help us better APPRECIATE all God does in such a manner that it motivates us to APPROACH Him for even more! Let’s think about our favorite places to shop, get a bite to eat, and fill the tanks of our vehicles. If you are a frequent visitor/shopper to these types of places, more than likely you have taken advantage of their rewards and savings programs. At your favorite grocery store the cashier informs you (even by circling the receipt) how much you saved by entering your rewards number. At your local gas station, you can take advantage of lowering the cost per gallon through various promotions and purchases (i.e.- getting a car wash or paying with cash). We have a primary credit card often based on the miles or points we can redeem for travel or other cool stuff. And finally, some food joints have a card that they punch with each meal, so that on the tenth visit you get it for free! I think that is my favorite one, because not only do I enjoy the grub, but trust me when I say this, it tastes even better/sweeter when it is on the house! Think about how the God follower/worshipper describes the delicacy of God’s Word in Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

As I write to you, the sense I have from the Spirit of God is that we are needing to find ourselves continually in God’s presence and continually satisfied by what He gives to us. As I think about the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in the Gospels, one of the things that is evident is that the multitudes were more impressed by, focused on, and hungering for physical blessings than spiritual truths. It says that the very next day they were searching for Jesus, so they could get more food, yet the Savior of the World was offering a “Happy Meal” that even the Golden Arches (McDonald’s) couldn’t supply. In John 6:26-27, 35 Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.”

As we are a few weeks from our Thanksgiving celebration I want to encourage each of us that it is totally cool to be thankful for the material blessings that come our way, but even more than that we are to be focused on the spiritual blessings and realities that Jesus gifts to us and calls us to see with, walk in, and take hold of. Because of the faithfulness of God over these past ten months (and really since the moment we came into existence), let’s keep coming to Him in prayer, let’s keep trusting and surrendering our lives to His will, let’s keep searching His word for direction and hope-filled promises, let’s keep expecting “out of this world” answers to our most basic and most pressing needs. Let’s live out the words of Hebrews 10:22-23, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Dear brothers and sister of the faith LET US GIVE THANKS!

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