Isaiah 52:12 “…for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

The Hebrew meaning for the words “rear guard” have a completely different connotation than what we would think. In my mind, a rear guard watches and protects the back part of the army. But the Hebrew word for rear guard also means to bring in or gather. So in this scripture the Lord will not only go before us forging the way, but He will be behind us too, gathering up the weary and those lagging… so none will be left behind.

Psalm 100:4 ” Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

First, I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. May the day be filled with love,family and friends…not to mention lots of great food! As you are gathered around your table giving thanks for the bounty before you, when someone asks what you’re thankful for, think beyond the obvious…health, living in a free nation, family, etc, etc. I encourage you to be thankful for the simple and often overlooked things…the things you take for granted day in and day out. The Lord wants us to be thankful in all things, from a sunrise to a miracle…from a wonderful blessing to a great trial…thank Him for it all.

Song of Songs 8:6 ” Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.”

When we married 26 years ago today, we had a most unusual wedding. It was the second marriage for both of us, so the wedding was going to be small and simple. The church we were part of had no building, we met on the campus of the University of Idaho. I had mentioned my lack of a venue to my Administrator of the Nursing Home where I was a Dept. Head, and suddenly the plans were launched for the wedding to take place there. I included many of the residents in the planning and preparation, and that evening a great number attended the service. So unique was the celebration, that a reporter from the local newspaper was there…so you can imagine our surprise when a picture and story was on the front page of the paper the next morning stating…”Nursing Home gives away Bride.”

John 8:12 ” I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Flip a light switch in a darkened room and what happens? Suddenly, you can see clearly what was before just shadows. You can walk confidently into the room without fear of tripping over something laying on the floor. Jesus said He was that same kind of Spiritual illumination for humanity. By trusting in Him, we have assurance that God’s truth and light will penetrate even the darkest areas of our life, bringing joy and the wonderful light of eternal life.

Matthew 11:28 ” Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Do you suffer from “Super-Woman Syndrome”? Do you have a big red ” S ” on your chest? Those of us that admit we do, usually have unfortunately placed it there ourselves. We think that we can be all things to all people…but reallistically we can’t… but this doesn’t deter us from trying. In the end, we are left stressed, exhausted, and upset with ourselves if everything isn’t perfect. Only the Lord can be our all in all, only He can be someone’s Savior. It’s time to take the ” S ” off our chests, hand our cares and burdens over to Him, and enjoy the peace He offers.

Proverbs 13:13 “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.”

Growing up, every Saturday morning there would be a list of chores waiting for each one of us. The rule was as soon as your list was completed to Mom’s satisfaction, you were free to do what you wanted. Now, I was an early riser, and could get most of my chore list done by the time my little sister was getting up, but we were both completely done by the time our middle sister rolled out of bed around Noon. Needless to say there was plenty of complaining on her part as we were off to do something fun while her chore list loomed large in front of her. Whine as she did, there was no getting out of the chore list, and sometimes it would take her all day to finish it.

Discipline is to not reject the Lord’s instruction, but to rather face it full force, with everything you have, until completed.

II Samuel 24:24 ” But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’ “

The Lord told King David to build an Altar to stop the plague brought about by his disobedience. The owner had not only offer his threshing floor, but his oxen, threshing sledges, and yokes. But King David refused…he knew that the Lord was looking for an acceptable sacrifice and not one that he had not paid a price for. The Lord is still looking for that type of offering…worthy sacrifices, full of blood, sweat, and tears that have cost us.

I Corinthians 15:33 ” Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

As my Grandmother use to say…”You hang around the pig pen long enough and you’ll come out smelling like one!” You keep company with questionable people, and even if you don’t partake in ________ (you fill in the blank), others will find you guilty by association. Don’t be deceived and lead astray by the arrogant notion that you are too discerning, or too intelligent, or too spiritual to not be ensnared and lured in by sin. Sadly, your good character can be tarnished by the company you keep.

I Corinthians 3:11 ” For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ.”

What is your life built on? Maybe its education and career, or your family name, or self-made success. Conversely, it may be built on a shaky base, like a house of cards ready to fall at anytime. For our lives to be firmly established we need a “Jesus” shaped foundation. We are all part of God’s family, built on the precious saints that have gone before us, with Jesus as the solid foundation.

I Peter 3:9 ” Do not repay evil with evil or insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Most of the time when someone gives us a snide remark or an unkind,hurtful comment, we become offended. Anger rises up, and we feel slighted, disrespected and belittled. At that very moment, the Lord is asking us to stop our inclination to confront and trade insults with the person…and instead, to be kind. We are called of God to bless rather than curse, to show integrity in the face of intentional wrongs, and to rise above petty annoyances…that we might acquire favor.

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