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  • Dave Emery

With A Grateful Heart

This Sunday is Thanksgiving Sunday. We come together to praise God and remember all that God has done for us. We are God's people, the sheep of His pasture. What a privilege and joy it is to live in Christ's love.

I am thankful for you folks. I am thankful for your handling the service last Sunday by sharing praise and testimonies of God's love and grace. What a wonderful expression of joy, what a marvelous service of joy and praise.

I am happy for God's healing power not just for me with a minor illness of a cold, but for those of us that are going through a time of recovery and restoration of health dealing with much more serious afflictions. Still, in big and small God's steadfast love endures forever.

I can't help but think about one of my earliest childhood memories. I remember my mom telling me I could offer gum to my friends that were playing with me in the back yard of our house. I was so excited so I grabbed the gum and went outside and gave it away. Later that night, my Mom saw that I had given everyone a package of gum instead of a stick of gum each. She wasn't happy because we didn't have much money growing up and that gum was to last all month. She wasn't mad long because she realized I was just being generous. The generosity of her heart took over and my guilt and shame was absolved.

With gratitude and thanksgiving we seek and find ways to be generous to others. We give to the food bank and to the disaster relief fund of the Presbyterian Church. We give to those in need in our neighborhoods and community and help make our elementary school children's Christmas a little brighter this year.

This is always a special time of year. And even though these continue to be challenging times to be together over the holidays, we find ways to celebrate and give thanks.

We all look forward to doing things more like we have done them in the past. We all look forward to a joyous and new realization of being the church anew in our town. Still, even today, even this year, even this holiday season we are blessed and called to be a blessing to others.

May we continue to look for ways to creatively care for one another. May we continue to lift one another before God in prayer. May we continue to be responsive to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our church.

We are told in Luke 4:16-22

And as was Jesus' custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth.

Jesus said he came "to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Do we believe this? Are we encouraged by this? Are we strengthened in our faith by this truth?

This is the acceptable time of the Lord. I am instructed that I am to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. So, then, when is this acceptable year to arrive? It is this year. It is every year. For we are told that God has chosen us before the foundations of the world. And we can be absolutely certain that God is using us for His purpose today and everyday.

As the psalmist writes in Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,

the world and those who dwell therein,

2 for he has founded it upon the seas

and established it upon the rivers.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to what is false

and does not swear deceitfully.

5 He will receive blessing from the Lord

and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,

who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, O gates!

And be lifted up, O ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

8 Who is this King of glory?

The Lord, strong and mighty,

the Lord, mighty in battle!

9 Lift up your heads, O gates!

And lift them up, O ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

10 Who is this King of glory?

The Lord of hosts,

he is the King of glory!

This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. It is Thanksgiving Sunday. It is the Sunday we are to be grateful and praise God that He is the King of glory! So, I pray you will join us this Sunday in worship in person or online praising God and grateful that He has called us and that we have heard His voice and responded in love and praise.

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