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Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Sounds pretty basic, mighty straight forward, and at least on the surface, very simple; doesn’t it? It’s a beautiful morning here in Norwalk, California (usually is, hard not to love the weather in SoCal) and while it will surely get mighty hot before the day is over, the nights will turn even more beautiful! I’m thankful for that!

Plus, while “this old house” is showing plenty of wear-and-tear (Song: This Old House. Probably nobody remembers Larry Hooper singing that one on the Lawrence Welk Show) I know I’ll be getting a brand new one quite soon. I’m thankful for that!

The Democratic convention just ended last night – no comment needed there.

Church is going well with a whole bunch of very nice people who are sincerely serving the LORD Jesus Christ. Bills are being paid, the Governor hasn’t raided our services, we have our own personal copy of the written Word of God, we’ve got fantastically firm friendships, and happiness generally abounds. I’m thankful for that! Yup, I Thessalonians 5:18 makes perfect sense. It fits in nicely with Romans 8:28, which probably most reading this can quote in their sleep. We can all be thankful for that!

But I’m wondering about the parents of the 5-year-old boy who was maliciously shot and killed in an event that is absolutely unreasonable and unexplainable apart from Satan, drugs, or both. Doesn’t the Bible fall apart right there? We at Pioneer Baptist are praying for Paul Arellanez who is having a fierce battle with cancer, affecting his quality of life as well as that of his dear wife, Lyngra. I’m just thinking that it would be a lot less challenging to thank God for a complete recovery than for the brutal battle going on right now.

This life is full of heartache. The Bible tells us to “…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” (James 1:2) but I’m remembering that God “counts” our faith as righteousness even though there are times when we are anything but! Can we sometimes employ God’s counting system? Can we “count” times that are anything but joyful as joy because we know the goodness of God, the future home guaranteed us by God, and the happiness that awaits us in eternity thanks to God! Is that how we can be thankful for everything, through God’s counting system?

Is that it? Could that be it? Maybe that is it! We can thank God, not only “in everything” but sometimes “despite everything” because of a holy triune God Who has done the things for us that we could never do for ourselves. Let’s just tell it like it is- we’re in a mighty good position when we look at the big picture, particularly knowing that the brevity and temporal nature of this life provides the ultimate contrast to the unspoiled, flawless, seamless, perfect eternity and happiness of our life with Christ. The future is absolutely bright! That Shining City on a Hill is the New Jerusalem, that Jerusalem that “is above” (Gal 4:26) and that one day will come down from God as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2).

I’m giving thanks for everything today!

Love and Prayers to all,

Pastor

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