Thanksgiving is one of my favorite religious holidays. I endeavor to thank God daily for the good things he does for me, but I know I overlook many things. For me, thanksgiving is the one time a year when I can reflect on my life and realize God's goodness, how he meets my needs, answers my prayers, forgives my sins and saves me from disaster. In the busyness of life, I don't always take time to think about all the spiritual blessings that are mine because God is in my life. How can I remember all that God does and give thanks throughout the year?
God taught Joshua and the people of Israel a great way to remember his goodness. As Israel was ready to cross from the Wilderness into the Promised Land, God stopped the waters of the Jordan River from flowing so the people could walk over on dry ground. God instructed Joshua to have a leader from each of the twelve tribes to pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan River. When they reached the other side, Joshua would pile those stones up on the bank of the river. This pile of stones would serve as a memorial to remind Israel what God had done for them in that place. When their children asked, "Why are those stones here?" their parents could tell them the story of how God stopped the waters of the Jordan River (during the spring floods) and helped the people enter the land he had promised to give them.
We need to gather some stones and build memorials in our lives. We need memorials to trigger our memories and remind us of the goodness of God. What can we set up to remind us of the significant things God has done for us so that we can give thanks and build up our faith? We have some observances like Christmas, Easter, the Lord's Supper that help us remember the goodness of God. But what other reminders can we set up in our lives, in our homes, to remember God's goodness on a daily basis?
This Sunday our congregation at First Baptist Riverside will celebrate Thanksgiving and remember the goodness of God. We'll build a pile of stones to remind us of the good things God done for us. Each person will receive their own stone, and on that stone, write one thing of particular importance that they want to give thanks to God for. They'll take that stone home, to keep on their dining room table (or in some other prominent place) as a "memorial" while they celebrate Thanksgiving.
I hope you'll join us for this meaningful worship service. This Sunday will be a celebration for our whole church family and guests at 9:00 a.m. (one combined worship service for everyone). I hope you'll join us and give God the glory for the good things he has done!