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Nine Things I am Thankful For - Thanksgiving Message

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2021 5:00 pm

Nine Things I am Thankful For - Thanksgiving Message

So What? / Lon Solomon

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November 23, 2021 5:00 pm

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Now you know I have been a follower of Jesus for 43 years. And during that time, when things have gotten really tough, I have found great wisdom in the words of an old hymn that goes like this. You know the chorus. Sing it with me. What God has done.

Hey, give yourselves a hand. That was great. That was good.

Okay. Now I have learned from the words of this song how amazing it is that our perspective changes when we take our eyes off of our problems and we put our eyes on all of God's blessings that He's given us. And over the years, I have a list at home that I keep of all the many blessings that God has given to me. The things I'm thankful for. And I add things to that list from time to time. And when I take that list out and I look over it, man, it just really lifts my heart.

It just really blesses my life and it lifts my spirits. And so I did that this week, Thanksgiving week, and so decided that I would share a few of the items on that list with you today. And so the title of the message today is nine things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

And you go nine, you'll never make it. Oh, yeah, we'll watch. Yes, I will. Here we go. Number one, I'm thankful. First of all, that 43 years ago, I came to Jesus Christ. That 43 years ago, I responded to God's invitation in the Bible.

And here it is. Revelation 22 17. Whoever is thirsty, the Bible says, let him come and whoever wishes, let him take of the water of life freely. The Bible repeats this invitation in Isaiah 55. All you who are thirsty, come to the waters and you who have no money, come without money and without cost. And in John Chapter six, verse 37, God makes us a wonderful promise.

If we will come to him, Jesus says, whoever comes to me, I will never cast out. You know, 43 years ago, I had long hair. I had dirty clothes. I had a dirty mouth. I had a dirty mind. I had a dirty life. I was using dope.

I was pushing dope. I had no morals. I had no ethics. I had no character and I had no honor. I was a liar. I was a cheater and I was a thief.

But you know what? In spite of all of that, I was still a whoever. And what is the promise of the Bible? Whoever comes to me, Jesus said, I will never cast out. And I am so thankful that in 1971 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Holy Spirit removed the blindness from my eyes. The Holy Spirit convicted me into my heart of my need for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit brought me to true repentance in my life. And the Spirit of God gave me the good sense to come to Jesus Christ and accept what he did for me on the cross as final and total payment for my sin. And I'm so thankful that as a result of that, the Lord Jesus did what he said. He didn't cast me out. Amen.

I'm telling you, man, I'm thankful for that. And just let me say, if you're here, if you're here and you've never come to Christ in that way, I want you to listen to me. God's offer to you is just as good today as it was to me 43 years ago. And God's promise that he will never cast you out is just as good today as it was 43 years ago. And what God wants you to do is to come to him. You don't need to fix yourself up. You don't need to dress yourself up.

You don't need to clean yourself up and you don't need to pick yourself up. You just need to come to the cross and accept the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as payment for your sin and come to Christ. And the Bible says he will never cast you out.

Friend, I promise you, you do this and it will always be the tree topper on your list of things that you are thankful for the rest of your life. Number two, I'm thankful second of all, that because I came to Jesus Christ, my eternal destiny is settled. Jesus said, John Chapter 10, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, nor can anyone snatch them out of my hand. The Bible says, 1 John 5 11, and this is the record that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the son has eternal life.

I mean, how can you say it any simpler than that? When I accepted Christ into my life, I got the son into my life. And once the son of God was in my life, I have eternal life and all the eternal life I'm ever going to have.

I got right now, Jesus said, my eternal destiny is settled forever. You know, when we were in Israel a few years ago on a tour, we arrived in Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon, Shabbat, of course, Friday night for the Jewish people. And we had a couple of people on the tour who said we were staying at a hotel right across the street from the great synagogue in Jerusalem, one of the largest in the city. And they said, Hey, we've never been to a synagogue service before.

Would you mind if we go over? And I said, No, of course not. And so they went across the street to the synagogue and when they came back for dinner, I said to them, you know, what do you think? And they said, Well, one man said it was it was different, you know, it's like they went through all these rote prayers and all these ritualistic things they did. But like at the end of the service, it's like nobody had any greater idea what was going to happen to them after they died than when they started. And I said, Bingo, man.

I said, Bingo. Friends, there are millions of people, not just Jewish people all around the world today, going through all kinds of religious rituals and even non religious rituals. And after it's all said and done, they don't have the slightest clue what's going to happen to them on the other side of the grave. I am so thankful that I have Jesus's promise that my eternal destiny is settled for ever. Praise the Lord. Number three, I'm thankful that I. Yeah, you can clap for that. That's important.

I'm thankful. Number three, that I have a reason for living that transcends the grave. You know, we're smart enough to know that everything this world system tells us to live for fame, money, power, notoriety, piling up material stuff.

Friends, none of that's going beyond the grave with you and me. I love what Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame said. He said, What good is it if you're the richest person in the cemetery?

And he's right. You know what? I'm so glad that in Jesus Christ, we get a reason for living that transcends the cemetery as followers of Christ. We are living to serve Almighty God every day as followers of Christ. We are living to be ambassadors for Jesus every single day and every Christ like action we do here on Earth generates eternal rewards for us in heaven. This is why the apostle Paul said and we learned this verse, we memorized it together earlier this summer.

First Corinthians 15 58. Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Say it with me for you know that your work is not in vain in the Lord. Why isn't our work in vain in the Lord? Well, it's because on the other side of the grave, God's going to reward our work on the other side of the grave. God's going to reward our living for him. That's why waking up folks every day to serve myself and pile up junk for myself is a miserable reason to live. But waking up every day to serve the living God and to generate and pile up treasure in heaven.

I want to tell you now that's worth getting up for in the morning. Number four, I'm thankful fourth that God is in absolute control of every detail in the universe. Jesus said, Matthew Chapter 10 are not two sparrows sold for a penny, meaning they're not worth much. Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from the will of your heavenly father. God controls the world down to that level, Jesus said, why even the very hairs of your head are numbered.

So don't be afraid. And I am so thankful that I have God's absolute promise that I am not the victim of some random senseless universe. No, but God assures me that he is in absolute control of every twist, every turn, every event that enters my life. And more than that, that all of these twists and all of these turns have already been integrated into a flawless plan for my life and for my good. In Jeremiah 29 11, the Bible says, For I know the plan I have for you, says the Lord, a plan for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. And I tell you, the thing I really like about this is that God doesn't make this plan up as he goes along. You know, he doesn't sit up in heaven next to Gabriel and go, OK, now this happened to George and that happened to George and this just happened to George.

Gabriel, what do you think we ought to do next for George? No, no, no. Psalm 139 says that all the days ordained for me were written in your book, God's book, before there was one of them in time and space. Friend, before you ever breathed your first breath on this earth, before you ever came down the birth canal and introduced yourself to your mother, before all of that happened, God's plan for your life was already done. Every detail down to the tiniest thing was already planned out. And everything that's happening in this world is just fitting into that plan for good. Man, am I thankful for that.

Number five, I'm thankful, number five, that God gave me a road map to show me how to live a safe and healthy life. We call it the B-I-B-L-E, the Bible. Psalm 119 verse 105 says, Your word, the Bible, is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

And it goes on to say, Your commands have made me wiser than my enemies and I have more insight than all my teachers because I meditate on your statutes. You know, in Israel, I don't know how much you know about the politics of Israel, but up until 1967, the Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee was controlled by the Syrians. And they used to shell artillery shells down to the Israeli communities down around the Sea of Galilee. But in 1967, the Israelis conquered the Golan Heights as part of the Six-Day War and they now control it.

Well, every year when we go to Israel, we go up on the Golan Heights to a place called Kersey where Jesus cast the demons out of Legion, the demoniac. But on the way up, we drive by these fields that are all surrounded by barbed wire and they have big yellow signs where it says in Arabic, in Hebrew, and in English, danger mines, M-I-N-E-S, mines. And what they're talking about is land mines that were put in these fields by the Syrians and the Russians in the early 60s when they controlled the Golan Heights. And these signs are warning people, Don't go in this field. There are live mines in here. Now, without exception, every year a few cows and a few wild animals wander in there and get themselves blown up. You say, Well, why don't they just go in there and clean these fields out?

Well, it's real simple, friends. They don't have a map of where the mines are in these fields. There's no road map to walk them through the field and say a mine's here, a mine's here, a mine's here. And it's just way too dangerous to go in there trying to find those mines. And every time we ride by one of these fields, I remind myself, You know what, Lon? Life is just like that field.

It is full of mines, all kinds of places that people step on all the time and blow their lives up. How glad I am that God has given us a road map through life. And, folks, if we follow this road map, if when God says, Do this, do this, do this, we do. And when God says, Don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, we don't. You know what? You cannot step on a mine and blow yourself up.

It's impossible. I need one of these to get through this life. I don't know about you, but I need a road map. And would to God all of us listen to it more than we do. All right, number six. I'm thankful, number six, for God's promise that in the end true justice is going to prevail in this universe. Galatians 6, 7 says, Do not be deceived, nobody makes a fool out of God, for whatever a person sows, that's precisely what they're going to reap. And I think we understand what God's saying here, don't we? What God is saying is that if you could sow unrighteousness, injustice, evil, unkindness, and every kind of ungodly behavior, and then reap blessing, God would be a fool. And God says, Nobody's going to make a fool out of me if you sow good things, honest things, righteous things, just things.

Yeah, you're going to reap good things, but if you sow injustice and evil, you're going to reap the rewards of that. And I'm going to see to it, God says, because you're not making a fool out of me. And I love how Jesus put this. He said in Luke chapter 12 verse 3, Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner room shall be shouted from the rooftops. I was driving along talking to my wife, Brenda, about this verse, and she said, You know, that's kind of a scary verse.

And I said, Well, Brenda, it all depends what you said in the dark. It all depends what you did and whispered in the inner room. If what we said in the dark and in the inner room are good things, righteous things, godly things, holy things, this verse isn't scary. This verse is exciting because it's going to be seen publicly. But if the things we did in the inner room are not so nice and they're evil and they're scheming and they're treacherous, then yeah, it is a scary verse.

It's all about what we did in the inner room. And, you know, I got to tell you, folks, that it really discourages me sometimes here in Washington, D.C. to see people do things that are unkind, that are untrue, that are unfair, and then see them get away with it just because they got a lot of money, just because they got a lot of influence and a lot of power. And it bothers me, and I'm sure it does you, to see injustice in our world and unrighteousness in our world. And see people get away with this as though they're never going to be held accountable. Ah, but let me say to you, friend, this is just a temporary situation because we have the promise of God's Word, that when all the dust settles in eternity, every single thing is going to be made right.

Nobody is getting away with anything. Boy, I tell you what, I am so thankful for that. Amen? Amen. All right.

Number seven. I'm thankful that God gives sufficient grace for every day. You know, Paul was talking to the Lord in 2 Corinthians 12 about his thorn in the flesh.

We don't know exactly what that was, but it was some kind of physical malady, we think. And Paul says, three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, and the Lord said, no. He said, I'm not going to do it, Paul, but my grace is sufficient for you.

I'm not going to take your problem away, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you sufficient strength, sufficient stamina, sufficient grace and wisdom to be able to walk through it. Boy, I'm sure glad the Lord offers to give that to us. You know, this Thanksgiving week, just this past week, Brenda and I went down and spent the week with my youngest son, John, and his wonderful wife, Kristen, in Durham, North Carolina, and our two youngest grandchildren, Natalie's two, and Catherine is four months old. And so we were there all week, and by Thursday, you know, by Thanksgiving day, we had played every game known to man. We had colored every piece of paper in the house. We had read every book in the house. We had done it all.

And so then on Thanksgiving day, as we were finishing the meal, my wife, Brenda, said to John and Kristen, said, hey, why don't you all go out to a movie together, and Lon and I will watch the children? I was like, what? But I, you know, it was already like out of her mouth. You know, it's like, I couldn't get it back in. So they said, oh, great, sure.

They put their coats on and out they went. So I was like, okay. Well, there was one good thing about it.

Catherine, the four-month-old, was sleeping. And so I thought, well, you know what? This won't be too bad. We'll just kind of double team Natalie, and it'll be all right. Honestly, can I be honest with you?

Can I? Confession, yeah. Honestly, what I really thought is that Brenda could watch Natalie and I could lay on the couch and watch football. That's what I really thought. But I didn't dare say that. Well, anyway, 15 minutes after they were gone, guess who wakes up?

Yeah. And she woke up in a really rotten mood. And she screamed, Catherine did, for over an hour, nonstop, absolutely screaming. And nothing, nothing, nothing you could do could stop this baby from screaming.

I tried everything. Meanwhile, little Natalie's going, Mimi, can we draw? Mimi, can we play? Mimi, can we get a piece of paper? Mimi, can we color?

Mimi, can you read to me? And she's doing that, and I'm watching this baby. And I tried everything with this baby. I tried walking this baby. I tried bouncing this baby. I tried holding this baby. I tried rolling this baby, you know, like on the floor. You know, roll her over a little bit. And maybe, you know, well, nothing else was working. Come on.

I thought maybe she might just enjoy a little activity on the floor. That, no, that didn't work. So we were about a half an hour into this, and Brenda says to me, how long do you think the movie is? I said, I don't know. I'll look it up on the internet. So I went to the internet, looked it up.

This is a three-hour movie. Oh, my gosh. We just said, oh, Lord Jesus, give us strength. When those people got home, we handed one baby to one of them and one baby to the other one. We said, let us pray with you because it's time for us to go. And that's right, we did. And we headed back to the hotel.

And as we were driving back to the hotel, for a moment, nobody said anything. And finally, I said to Brenda, I said, how did we do that? You know, we had three boys, and then we layered on top of that my daughter with disabilities and all of her needs. How in the world did we ever do that? And I loved my wife's answer. She said, Lon, God gave us grace.

And that's true. God gave us grace. We needed three hours of grace on Thursday, and we got it, barely. But we needed years of grace raising our family.

And you know what, we look back now, God gave it to us. Some of us, you know, we're not out of all that yet. Some of us have raised our children, but now we're caregiving our parents or some other relative that really needs care. Some of us have special needs children with disabilities that we're going to be taking care of them and needing special grace all of our life. Some of us have jobs where when we walk into that job, we need the grace of God when we walk into that job. And folks, let me just tell you, the thing I'm so thankful for is that the grace of God is always sufficient. I don't care how big the need, God's grace is bigger. Amen? It's bigger. And we had the words of a hymn that we taped in our bathroom back in some of the toughest days of our life.

And it's still there, and here's what it says. It says, He giveth more grace when our burdens grow greater. He sendeth more strength as our labors increase to added afflictions. He addeth His mercy to multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. When we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength is failed ere the day is half done, when we reach the end of our hoarded resources, our Father's full giving is only begun. And the chorus says, His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power has no boundary known unto men, for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again. Folks, no matter how great the need, God's grace is greater. Depend on it, and I'm thankful it's always there.

Number eight. I'm thankful, number eight, for the privilege that God has given me to lead McLean Bible Church for the last 34 years. I'm thankful for you as a church family, for all you wonderful people, for having put up with me and having loved me in spite of myself and having given me the tremendous privilege and honor of leading this church for the last three decades. And I just want you to know, I do not take this for granted.

This has been one of the greatest privileges in my life, and I am so thankful for it. So thank you for that very much. I appreciate that. Thank you.

Number nine, and finally, I told you I'd make it. I am so thankful for Brenda, my wife of 39 years. And Proverbs 19, 14 says, houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is a gift from the Lord. And I want to tell you, 39 years ago when God gave me the gift of Brenda, I had no idea what He was really giving me back then, but I do now. She has been a faithful, loving wife, an amazing mother, I think pretty much a near perfect pastor's wife, and she has been true north for me for the last 39 years. You know, I will come to her and I'm headed east or I'm headed south or I'm headed west. I'm going in every direction. And Brenda, without exception, whether it's fiscally or spiritually or just common sense, she has always pointed true north. And she'll say, no, Lord, no, that is not the way we ought to do it.

And sometimes I hate that because I want to go west or south or east, but no, that woman is always on true north. And what a blessing it has been in my life to have a person like that. On our Israel trip this past fall, a gentleman came up to Brenda and said, you know, Brenda, now that I've gotten to know Lon better, I'm going to really up my praying for you. That's what he said.

I'm serious. She thought that was great. I wasn't all that thrilled about it, but she thought it was wonderful. But you know what? I got to tell you, I don't know how I got Brenda to marry me, but I married over my head, ladies and gentlemen, and any smart man does. Amen. Fellas. Fellas. Wait a minute.

The women are all clapping. Wait a minute. Fellas. Fellas. I'm throwing you a softball.

Listen, any smart man does. Right? There you go. You guys are going to have a much better afternoon.

Okay. Now, let's conclude. What am I thankful for? Some things at Thanksgiving. Number one, that 43 years ago I came to Jesus Christ. Number two, that because I came to Christ, my eternal destiny is settled. Number three, that in Jesus Christ, God gives me a reason for living every day that transcends the grave.

I'm thankful. Number four, that God is in absolute control of the universe and of every detail in my life. Number five, I'm thankful that God gave me a road map, the Bible, to help me know how to live a safe and healthy life. Number six, I am thankful that I have God's promise that true justice will prevail in the end in this universe. Number seven, I'm thankful that God gives sufficient grace for every day. Number eight, I'm thankful for the privilege of being the pastor of this church for 34 years.

And number nine, I am so thankful that God blessed me with my wife Brenda for the last 39 years. And I want to suggest to every one of us that we make a list like this. Your list may have some of the things on it. Mine does.

It may have some different things on it. It doesn't matter. But sit down and go through the discipline of saying I'm thankful for this. I'm thankful for this. God has blessed me with this. You'll be able to write down a lot more than you think once you get started. And friend, every time you take that list out and you read it, three things will happen. First of all, it'll lift your spirits.

Second of all, it'll put your everyday problems into much better perspective. And finally, every time you read it, it'll cause you to break out in thanksgiving to God for all of His blessings. Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, I'm reminded of the verse in Psalm 103 that says, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. And you know, Lord, so often we do forget all of the blessings that You give us.

Lord, we have a tendency to take them for granted. And sometimes we're like the nine lepers that Jesus healed in the New Testament who even after they were healed never came back to say thank You. So Father, indeed, make us like the one leper who when he was healed turned around and ran back to Christ and fell at His feet in thanksgiving and appreciation. Lord, forgive us for so often taking for granted what You do for us. Help us to be more grateful for all of Your goodness, none of which we deserve. Remind every one of us here that You are better to us every day than we deserve. And Lord, may that thankfulness be a constant and everyday part of our life. Take the Word of God and challenge and uplift our hearts today, we pray.

And we ask these things in Jesus' name. And what did God's people say? Amen. Oh, that was paltry. That was terrible. What did God's people say? Amen. Alright, now, have a great Thanksgiving weekend. We'll see you guys. You
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 18:17:24 / 2023-06-11 18:29:09 / 12

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