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Thanksgiving Stepping Stones

November 24th, 2010 No comments

In 1647, William Bradford, the Puritan leader and devout Christian Governor of the Plymouth Colony wrote in his famous historical work, Of Plymouth Plantation:

“Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least making some ways toward it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in performance of so great a work.”

As we prepare to celebrate another Thanksgiving holiday, may we be inspired by the faith and vision of those who gave birth to our great Nation and may we faithfully build upon the “good foundations” which have been established. Our strength as a nation rests upon our great Cornerstone, Jesus Christ and our faithfulness to His command to “advance the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world.”

Our forefathers built the foundation and laid the stepping stones for us to follow. On this Thanksgiving, may we re-commit our lives to loving Jesus with all our hearts and to sharing His greatness with our family, friends and with those who have neve heard the good news.

William Bradford left us with a solemn warning etched upon his gravestone. Inscribed in Latin are the words:

“What our fathers with so much difficulty attained do not basely relinquish”

As we celebrate together in the greatest nation on the planet, let’s not forget the tremendous price that has been paid by those who have gone before us, and may we never shrink back from the duty we have to preserve these great liberties.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilgrims & Providence

November 22nd, 2010 No comments

In 1620, after having lived as religious refugees in Holland for a dozen years, Governor William Bradford and 103 Pilgrims boarded a ship bound for America. While their intended destination was Virginia, the providential purpose of God had another plan. After encountering a terrible storm, they were blown off course and actually landed in what is now Cape Cod on November 11, 1620.

Why this unexpected course correction from the One who controls both the wind and the waves? (Psalm 107:25) Here we see superintending providence of God over both men and nations. Had the Pilgrims made their surprise arrival a few years earlier, they would have been greeted by the Patuxet Indians, one of the fiercest and most violent tribes on the American coast. The Pilgrim’s experiment with liberty would have been short-lived indeed. For some strange and unexplainable reason, this blood thirsty tribe was completely destroyed by a plague in 1617, just three years before the Pilgrims landed!

Upon arrival, Governor Bradford and those aboard the Mayflower knelt in prayer and dedicated themselves to the “glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”
The amazing and unseen providence of God protected them on their journey and prepared for their safe landing. While they thanked the Lord for his mercies, they’ll have to wait until eternity before they fully understand God’s unseen goodness and providential care.

We’ll spend eternity doing the same! Thank you Lord for your goodness to us!

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Give Thanks for God’s Gracious Providence

November 19th, 2010 2 comments

As we take time each year to pause as a nation and to give thanks to our God for His many blessings, it is fitting to reflect on the glory and goodness of God expressed in His providential care over our lives. The doctrine of providence is a neglected one in our day. It’s easy to see why. In our increasingly secularized American culture, where God is minimized from sight and marginalized from significance, the truth of His sovereign authority is much maligned.

However, those who acknowledge and worship Him as the all-powerful Creator understand that He is now actively involved in that which He has created. Providence refers to the fact that our sovereign, all-powerful King is even now governing and directing all of history to fulfill His purposes. This means that the day will come when we will fully see and understand all the times the unseen hand of our heavenly Father saved us from evil and protected us from harm’s way. Why did He do these things? Because He loves us and He has called us for a unique plan and purpose (See 2 Timothy 1:9). It’s His plan working through us and he preserves us until that plan is accomplished.

In my next blog entry, we’ll talk about some of the amazing examples of God’s providence in the forming of our great nation. In the meantime, take a moment right now to praise the Lord for His providential care in your life. Thanks Him for his mercies, both the know and the unknown. And let’s live lives worthy of our great calling!