Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 25, 2014

Thought for the Week November 30, 2014

I saw an interesting editorial article written by Greg Laurie, the founder and senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, in Riverside, CA, one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990.

On Saturday, Greg’s article entitled, The Church’s Griping Grumblers, offered some sobering thoughts that are worth considering during this season of thanks and celebration for the coming of our Savior. Here are some excerpts:

“In the Old Testament, the bread-like substance God gave the Israelites for food in the wilderness was called manna, or literally, ‘What is it?’ The Israelites…took for granted this incredible substance God supernaturally provided for them. They ate manna every day and grew tired of it and basically said, ‘We’ve read Moses’ book, 101 Ways to Prepare Manna. We’ve had bamanna splits, manna meat loaf, and of course manna-cotti. We’re fed up. We don’t want it anymore.’

“Today we can do the same thing they did and take the blessings of God for granted, especially as we enter into this time we call Thanksgiving. We can fail to appreciate all that God has done for us. Every morning, the manna would be waiting for the Israelites. And just like the Israelites’ manna, God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23). When we get up each day, we have a choice. We can read the Scriptures, or we can neglect them. We can pray and seek God, or we can forget about God and call on him at a later time. But we have a choice as to what we will do with our day. We set the course for it. And just as the manna was waiting every morning for the Israelites, God is waiting every morning for us.

“Not only would the manna be waiting for the Israelites, but it also would be lying right outside their tents. So if they didn’t want it, they literally would have had to step over it. They would have had to make the decision whether to utilize it and appreciate it. It is the same for us with God and His Word.

“Another interesting thing about manna is that it wouldn’t keep overnight. They never had left-overs to take home. The manna was only good for that particular day. In fact, if you tried to keep it overnight, it would be infested with worms by the next day. God uniquely designed that supernatural substance to be given to the people on a daily basis. They could not live off the previous day’s manna.

“While we can be thankful for what God has done for us and thank him for the blessings he gave us yesterday or a month ago or 10 years ago, we can’t live off what God has done in the past. The question is what is God doing in your life today? What is going on right now?

“Sometimes I run into people who tell me they remember the old days, back when they were among the original Jesus people. That was a great time, and God did a wonderful work. But that was then and this is now. I rejoice in what God has done in the past. But now I’m interested in what God is doing in the present.

“The Israelites grumbled time and time again, but why were they complaining? The Bible offers this interesting detail: ‘Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”‘ (Numbers 11:4–6 NKJV)

“The mixed multitude was a group of people who were not Hebrews but had joined with Israel in their exodus from Egypt. However, they had a detrimental effect on the Israelites. They didn’t know the God of Israel, and they began to drag the Israelites down spiritually, even causing them to long for the old days back in Egypt. At best, the mixed multitude represents people who are in an arrested state of spiritual development. They have too much of Jesus Christ to be happy in the world, but they have too much of the world to be happy in Jesus Christ.

“Sadly, churches are filled with people like this. They are always griping and complaining. They are never satisfied. The church is too big. The church is too small. The church is too hot. The church is too cold. The pastor talks too long. The pastor doesn’t talk long enough. They are never happy.

“God tolerated the Israelites’ grumbling for a while. But then he essentially said, ‘That’s it. You’re not entering into the Promised Land. You went too far this time.’ This should serve as a warning to us. We can become just like Israel, complaining and murmuring like spoiled little children when we’re not satisfied anymore or don’t like the way things are going. The apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth, ‘And do not grumble, as some of [the Israelites] did – and were killed by the destroying angel.’ (1 Corinthians 9:10 NIV). God wants to work in our lives…to make his mercies new to us every morning. The question is: Are we going to take advantage of them?”

As we remember Thanksgiving and the marvelous gift of the Savior, it would do us well to examine ourselves to see if we are taking any of God’s rich blessings for granted. Maybe ask the Lord to catch us the next time we begin to grumble and turn that into thanksgiving. I know I need to do that, very often. What about you?

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