Throughout November, my sister-in-law (sister in Christ too) has been posting a fill-in-the- blank statement on her Facebook page: I am thankful for ________.
It got me to thinking, so much so that I changed my sermons for November. What is Mike MOST THANKFUL for? After sorting through a huge list of things that I was thankful to God for, I settled on these 3: Christ’s Sacrifice, Father God’s Restraint & Peace That Surpasses Understanding.
Christ’s Sacrifice makes perfect sense to head the list of things I’m most thankful for. His sacrifice began the moment He was the one who was to be the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. It continued into Him taking human form inside of Mary and never stopped during His 30+ years here on earth. His earthly sacrifice climaxed at Calvary. So much for Mike to be thankful for; how about you?
Seeing the Peace That Surpasses Understanding on “The Most Thankful List” won’t surprise anyone. I talk to more people about fear, anxiety and worry than any other concern. When I do, we eventually end up at Philippians 4:5-7. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Being thankful is the key to deliverance from fear, anxiety and worry. So participating in my sister-in-law’s Facebook posting, actually blesses Mike with another item on my “Most Thankful List”. I’ll bet diving into the THANKFUL pool when you pray, would bless you too.
Now to the one that sounds a bit strange. I am MOST THANKFUL for FATHER GOD’S RESTRAINT.
How would you respond if someone threatened one of your children? What if that person turned those threats into action? What if they began to hurt your child? What would you do? What if they hurt your child over and over again? What if, when you went to the authorities for help, you discovered that they were in on it too? What would you do? What if you learned that those abusers were planning on murdering your child?
What if your child was so broken and hurting that he/she cried out to you for help? Would you? Would you be able to resist their tears?
What if they illegally arrested your child for something she/he had not done, what would you do? What if every court hearing was rigged against your child? What if they whipped your child with so many lashes, that you almost couldn’t recognize them due to the amount of blood? Would you stand by and do nothing? What if they then took your child and in the most horrible way possible, began to murder them? And not quickly, but in the most agonizing way possible? What would you do?
Then what would you do when you came face to face with the truth that you had the power and authority to stop all of the abuse, even before it all began. How would you handle the truth that you RESTRAINED your power and authority, rather than help your child? How would you live with the truth that you did nothing for your child, for the good of all humanity, even those who hurt and murdered your child? How would you accept that? How would you live with the truth that your child knew you could have helped, but you didn’t?
Conclusion: If Father God had not RESTRAINED His power, if He had chosen rather to deliver His Son from all the abuse and from Calvary and if He had poured out His wrath on His Son’s enemies, then you and I would have no eternal hope, we would have no Savior, no forgiveness, no home in heaven. All of those blessings and much more are only possible because Father God RESTRAINED His power and chose rather to love all of the fallen ones who were made in the image of His Son, His Spirit and Himself. This is why I am most thankful for God’s RESTRAINT; I hope you are too. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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