Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Thankful for the Second Kernel

According to a simple story about the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast, every plate had five kernels of corn to remind them of the hardship that they endured. Each kernel had a specific meaning associated with it. The second kernel reminded them that God provides for all of their needs. 

There are a couple of things to realize when you think about what the Pilgrims went through. Their crops had failed and they faced a brutal winter with little to no food. Some saw their neighbors, friends and even members of their families succumb to the cold and hunger. But, they, as a family of faith grounded in the teaching of Jesus Christ and strengthened by their devotion to Father God, continued to meet each day with hope. They knew that God would provide for all of their needs.

As Jesus reminds us, we do not live by bread alone. We live and are sustained by the Word of God. He provides our spiritual food daily. It is only through this living bread that we are able to meet the spiritual challenges of each day with courage.

But, you are thinking to yourself about the failed crops. You are wondering whether or not God provided for their physical needs. They had meager supplies. God did provide for their basic needs. Did they have caviar and Beef Wellington at every meal? No. They didn’t. God provides for our needs. We don’t always get our desires. 

Think about it. Many will ask God for a car. Some will ask for something fancy or even a good used car. But, in the end, what they really need is transportation. God may provide, according to His will and provision, a rideshare as a means of transportation. In providing that, He has taken care of your need for transportation and has given you an opportunity to share your faith with someone who is going through hardship and needs the Word of God as their spiritual food.

During my life, I have seen and experienced this very situation. My family and I have wondered why we were in the middle of some massive problem. We would pray for one thing and receive something else. At the time, we thought that what God had provided was meant for someone else or we just didn’t understand what He provided. Our next prayers were not for a different gift and blessing. Our prayers were for wisdom and help in understanding the gift and blessing. 

James, in chapter one of his book, writes, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

God will never rebuke you or wonder why you are asking for wisdom. It is only through wisdom that we can strengthen and grow in our faith. Wisdom helps us to mature and learn to endure hardship. In short, it builds character and a Christ-like attitude.

James further writes in chapter one, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

As Christians, we know that God is always faithful and that he loves his children. It is not enough to just say the words or mouth them without being grounded in His word and love. We must have faith in Him at all times. We cannot just simply pick and choose when or if we are to have faith. Faith for each of us must be constant and it can never be set aside. 

Does that mean our faith will not waver a bit? I can assure you that it will, but that is when we need to go to the Father and ask Him for guidance. As James eloquently points out, God will not rebuke you when you ask for wisdom. It is only through wisdom that we understand and know that God is in control and is guiding our every step. With that wisdom firmly implanted in our hearts, minds and spirits, we are able to endure those crisis moments and know that He will always provide for our needs. 

In my times of trouble, I find myself reading the beautiful words of Psalm eighteen. It provides the courage I need to endure whatever besets me and overcome the entanglements of this world.

The psalmist writes, “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

You can easily see that God is everything to each of us. He provides safety in times of trouble. He is that firm anchor when we are tossed and turned on a sea of heartache and misery. He is that shield to protect us against the slings and arrows of our enemy. He is our refuge and, most importantly, our strength. 

Paul, in chapter eight of his letter to the church at Rome, writes, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

God is totally and completely for us and has proven that by giving his son as the sacrifice for our sins. There should not be a question in your mind regarding God’s devotion to his children. He has called all to accept that gift of salvation and he has provided the perfect lamb as our atonement sacrifice. 

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac, on an altar, Abraham, because of his faith, did as he was told. Just as he was about to sacrifice his son, God stopped him. Abraham proved his faith in God. God, in return, provided a ram to sacrifice on the altar. 

Abraham, in chapter twenty-two of the Book of Genesis, names the place where God provided the ram as “Yahweh-Yireh”. In the Christian anglicized vocalization of this name, we say, “Jehovah-jireh”, the Lord will provide.

The most important word in His name is “will”. He will always provide for our needs. When we cry out to him, God hears our prayers and will provide us what we need. 

So, as you think about the meaning of the second kernel, I ask that you ask God for wisdom and the opportunity to be His ambassador. Ask for an opportunity to provide for the needs of others. With the pandemic still raging and the economy in poor shape, there are people who need help. God will provide by sending them an answer. Will you be that answer? If you don’t know, ask for wisdom and God will joyfully provide you with what you need. When you do seek God’s direction in your life, I can guarantee that you will stand firm in His grace.   

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

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