November 7, 2012
He Took My Place
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever - (Psalm 106:1, NIV).
Friend to Friend
In a few short weeks, friends and family across America will gather around beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day. However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.
Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for our freedom while their families back home long for word of their safety. The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance. An empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost not long ago. A worried husband and dad will sit at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is endless.
We convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised or build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation or when we retire. We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and things.
Jesus Christ is life. He is Joy and Love, and He took our place on the cross. That’s why we can give thanks when it seems as if there is nothing for which to be thankful.
One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, "I always park there. You took my place!" The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome but said nothing.
After Sunday school, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment but still said nothing.
During the worship service, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied, "I took your place."
Yes, we live in a broken world and life is filled with pain, challenges, dark times and trials, but today can still be a day of thanksgiving and praise because praise and thanksgiving have little to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and everything to do with our inner attitude toward God. It really doesn’t matter how much we lose here, my friend. I have read the Book and we win … for all of eternity! We just need to take the time to remember … and give thanks.
Father, we come to You today, praising You for meeting our needs this year in ways that we may or may not have understood at the time. Looking back, we see Your hand of mercy and love. We recognize Your presence and your power and we celebrate You. We celebrate the life You give us now and for all eternity. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 68:4 and make it your prayer.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts; whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him (Psalm 68:4).
What does it mean to you when the psalmist says we are to “cast up a highway” for God to ride through the deserts in our lives?
Consider the following questions:
- Are you known as a woman who praises God?
- As you begin each day, take time to position your mind and heart for praise.
- Look for opportunities during the day to praise God – then voice that praise aloud.
- Begin keeping a praise journal in which you write your praises to God.
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