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You are a chosen people

November 24, 2013
Pastor Boyce, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Reinbeck , Reinbeck Courier

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Thanksgiving is an excellent subject for a November article. As we hear the words above, that God records through St. Peter, we hear something fantastic for which to give thanks. "You are chosen people." It is amazing to remember how this came to be! Abraham was called by God to be the father of His people. It wasn't because Abraham was a paragon of virtue or had a history of works to dazzle the Lord and cause Him to name Him Abraham. God called Abraham out of paganism, i.e., idolatry, with many so-called gods that the people sought to shower with gifts to hold off the anger and dabbling of their pantheon of deities. They sought to placate the anger of the gods with various gifts

God called for Abraham to "go" and God would tell him when to stop. Abraham went. He trusted God, no doubt by the power of the Holy Spirit (for there is no other way to faith than by God's "drawing us" and "enabling us" in His mercy and grace according to John 6:44 and 6:55).

Even though Christians seek to live faithful lives in Christ, we stumble and sin daily. If it weren't for God's reaching out to Abraham, he would have been lost in paganism and idolatry. All Christians have come to faith in the same way as he, by God's undeserved love changing our hearts and guarding and keeping us in this gift of faith we have received. Yes, we have much to be thankful for as we look to the Lord and His promises of eternal life with Him in the heavens. But our Creator-Father does not just hold out to us "pie in the sky by and by", that is, the gift of eternal life in heaven. God's blessings come to us "new every morning." Christians rise in the morning, giving thanks to God for His grace and His Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to be faithful and blessed in ALL circumstances (Romans 8:28).

The Children of God celebrate their eternal blessings that God showers them with each day. What joy to delight each day that we are a "Chosen people , a people belonging to God.(vs 9)." We would be gentiles if not for the undeserved and persistent love of our heavenly Father. We are those who would be seen as "far off" and "without hope" before God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all things.

As we give thanks for being born into a nation that has freedoms beyond those of most nations, we are also children of the Loving God who has redeemed us through the death and resurrection of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As the "children of God" we "declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light." Dr. Martin Luther dragged a fir tree into his home to celebrate the evergreen of life that God creates and sustains in all who trust in Jesus Christ by the power of God that seeks to draw them to Himself. He then put candles on the limbs of the tree to be like the stars in the heavens, the stars that declare the glory of God and His Creation. My favorite part of Christmas decorations are the lights that call our attention to the True Light that has come "for us", to deliver us from sin and death, and to enrich our hearts with the joy of His Kingdom. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

So we give thanks this Thanksgiving for the blessings of God's grace and blessings in our lives, our families and homes and all things that adorn our lives. And let thanksgiving be the joy that leads us into the Advent and Christmas Seasons as we celebrate the Light of Christ that has taken us from being "far from God" into the arms of a gracious Father and Lord, through the gift of life and light we cherish in Christ our Lord and our Life.

A blessed Thanksgiving and Advent Season.



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