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Thanksgiving

Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I opened this morning's paper and there was very little on Thanksgiving.  Why is it so hard to be thankful?  Why is it so hard to be thankful to God?  The newspaper had an editorial saying we had much to be thankful for, but there was nothing about being thankful to God.  Yes, we should give thanks, but the real issue is to whom?  Indeed we must be thankful to our parents for raising us, to the firemen and the police for protecting us, to our employers for providing us work, to our employees for working hard, to the farmers for raising bountiful crops and plentiful herds, etc.  But first and foremost we must be thankful to God who created us, who ordained the way we would have families, and provided the world with stability.  So please give thanks to humans - who do so much for us.  We need to live thankful lives.  But also, and more importantly, we must give thanks to God  - not only today, but every day, not only for our daily material (read comfort) blessings, but also for our spiritual blessings - our salvation from hell and our sanctification as we try to live more like Christ every day.  We must thank the Father for providing for us our world and our Savior.  We must thank the Son for dying, rising from the dead, and ascending to heaven so that He can intercede for us.  We must thank the Holy Spirit for enabling us to follow His commandments.  Praise be to God.

If the Lord wills - weather vs. the Navy

     The other week I went down to Camp LeJeune to do some training aboard a navy ship.  I had asked them when the first Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), a hovercraft that takes marines between the ship and the shore, would arrive.  They said that the first one would touch down at 9 AM.  When I arrived at the beach at 0915, there was no hovercraft as the visibility was about 100 yards.  I waited all morning and still the fog was there.  Finally about 1 PM the fog began to lift.  But still no hovercraft.  So I called them up and asked them what was going on.  The seas were too rough for the hovercraft to fly.  At 2 PM I got a call and they were on their way.  At 3 PM they landed on the beach with a beach team to direct the hovercraft.  Then they loaded a M1A1 tank onto the craft.  However, there were some delays as we waited for another ship.  Then the plans changed and they offloaded the tank and loaded the M88 retriever.  Then they found that the seas were still too rough and they would never be able to make it, so they offloaded the retriever and loaded the original beach party team.  Then at 7 PM we left the beach with exactly the same load that they had when they arrived, not having picked up a single piece of equipment. 
    The ride out to the ship was the roughest ride I have ever experienced.  The craft was slamming into the water as we rode the waves and after an hour of a very rough ride, we arrived at our intermediate destination to get fuel.  However it was too rough to go any further that night. 
    The goal was to start the next morning at 9 AM but once again the weather was too rough.  So we were going to fly in a helicopter.  The helicopter was supposed to arrive at 3, but due to a variety of circumstances it did not arrive until 3:45.  The LCAC never did sail that day. 
     The following day they were supposed to start LCAC operations at 8, but could not start until 12 noon.
    Why the long detail?  Simply because we think we are in control of our destinies, and it should have been, "If the Lord wills."  We can not control the future, and even with all our modern technology, we were shut down by the weather.  This is just once example of many from every day life.  We have plans, we think we are going to go here and there, but someone will get sick, the car won't start, the airline can not meet the schedule.  As James wrote "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."  Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  As is is, you boast and brag.  All such boasting is evil.  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."  James 4:13-17

Politics and Christianity

 {Because I have been on the road for the last several weeks, I have not had an opportunity to write.  I could have published some drivel, but that is not what you want.}
Obama is now the President-elect of the United States.  Although he says he is a Christian, he feels no problem in murdering the unborn.  While he is against the war in Iraq where 4,000 Americans have been killed in four years, he is not against the war in the abortion clinics where 4,000 are aborted every day.  So what are Christians supposed to do?
   First and foremost, we must pray for our leaders.  Paul writes that we must "Pray continually" (I Thessalonians 5:17).
   Second, although we may strongly disagree with the President-elect, we must still "Show proper respect to everyone.  Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king" (I Peter 2:17)  He is our king, and therefore, even if we disagree with him, we must honor the position.
  Third, we must not confuse politics with life.  Politics is only a small segment of life.  The government, even a very expanded government that we saw under Bush and will see with Obama, is very limited in what it can do.  Obama can not solve marital issues, can not heal, can not save.  While Obama will be the ruler of the most powerful nation, his real influence will be very limited.  Further, you will not be able to talk to him on a daily basis like you can with the real Savior.  When you pray to God Almighty, you are praying to an all-powerful, all-loving God who is really interested in you.  He can heal you from your diseases, solve marital problems, and save you.  So while we should honor the king, let us fear and love the King of Kings.