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GUEST SERMON: Thanksgiving and joy as a way of life

In this week’s guest sermon, Major Rev. Tom Hamilton says that ultimately, whatever our age, each one of us shares the same purpose in life - to love God, and to love others.
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We have recently celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday here in Canada. 

As much as it is nice to have a set holiday, thanksgiving could be a way of life through the year. Psalm 100 shows us how to live a life that is filled with joy and gratitude.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

We see in verse 3 that we are invited to “know that the Lord is God, it is he who made us, we are his people and the sheep of his pasture."

Also, in verse 5, a reminder to acknowledge that “the Lord is good, his love endures forever and his faithfulness continues for all generations." Having a personal knowledge of these fundamental truths about God as an anchor in our lives will produce attitudes of joy, gladness, thanksgiving and praise.

Personally, I know that when I choose to give the Lord the rightful place of being sovereign in my life and quit playing God or allowing others and circumstances to rule my life, my perspective in life has positive attitudes. In that position I know I’m cared for, provided for and protected as sheep of his pasture. Psalm 23 is a great picture of this.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me: your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

As we acknowledge and appropriate the truth of who God is in our lives, we start to live out of that reality. So rather than being influenced by all the negative and bad stuff that may be going on around us, we live out of the truth of his love, care, provision and protection.

A songwriter penned these words, “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face and the things of life will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

As we close out this message. remember that perspective is everything. Allow the reality of who God is in your life dictate how you choose to live. The positive results will be gladness, joy and thankfulness.

Noel Mal is with Community Worship Centre, Stratford. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.

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