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In Everything Give Thanks
November 10, 2005
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
Well, folks, we thought the hurricanes had passed, but Wilma breezed by October 24th with 110-120 mph winds leaving the Florida peninsula south of Lake Okeechobee (about ½ of the state) in devastation. Electricity is lost at 8:00 a.m. as transformers pop and a large olive tree falls to block the street, barely missing the neighborís living room. Water is out. Phone lines are down. Tree limbs and leaves cover the ground on every street. Downed fences reveal whatever they were meant to hide, or protect, or conceal. Power lines dangle as streetlights crash to the roadways.
Craighouse attendees begin calling in to report roof damage, windows blown out, tree limbs poking into living areas, flooding, shutters ripped off, and yes, grace. For everything that didnít happen, could have happened, should have happened, for everything sparedóthanks.
At our Craighouse facility, the parking lot is disastrous, with trees down and debris everywhere, roof damage, and streetlights felled. The pavement is torn up and our lighted sign needs repair; and yet I see a little baby bird, yellow and black, hopping around in a daze, but alive. Other birds are just starting to return.
Two little pigeon doves that live in a tree in our yard sit on a rock, traumatized and bewildered, but still together. We werenít spared the storm, but God stood as a shield, and in it all, there is mercy.
The third day without water and electricity, Pastor Jim begins reviewing his army survival guide. For three days we stand in FEMA water and ice distribution lines, thanking all the volunteers, police, and National Guard patrols. We thank God for the ice and food boxes. It becomes routine, the main objective of the day, until a grocery store opens. We are still hopeful. After all, the longest we have gone without power after a hurricane is five days. People assure each other with that fact and encourage patience.
We all run out as large trucks roll down the street. They come to move the olive tree and clear the road. Emotion wells up. We cheer.
The next Sunday we gather in someoneís home. We talk about cold shower techniques, lanterns, how long this might go on, and we sing about Godís faithfulness.
Thirteen days without power and we settle into a routine, resigned to the laundry piling up, the emails going unread, and the one working phone. But stores are restocking, and we get excited about battery replacements, sip-ups back on the shelves, food bars, and bread.
People are getting power restored all around us, but our little side of the street, no. FPL provides a live person to replace a recorded message of earlier days and we find the message congenial but generic. It kindles nothing within us as we continue to wait and work as best we can in the dullness and dreariness of the dark and the dim lights of lanterns. The tree is now cut up, but the stump and large hole in the swale remain with yellow police tape around it. The children, however, are going back to school.
Craighouse is up and running, a welcome respite giving new meaning to the refuge that it is to so many. The darkness is depressing; the air is thick and stifling. The days resemble normal, but dusk brings a numbing emptiness. Dark can be very dark, a forecast of the Day. But you can see the stars, and God still shines, moving in the midst of our worship to comfort and continue His eternal purposes.
Sixteen days two hours and thirty minutes after Wilma flitted across Florida, power is restored. We cheer and life improves radically. What did we learn? For one thing, we learned once again the patience of waiting. We learned new survival techniques. We were reminded of how dark things can be without the light. We learned that some provisions of light and power sources work but others are drastically better. We found community among our neighbors. We witnessed resilience, friendships bonding. We saw love abiding.
In everything give thanks, the Word says. Thanking is thinking. It begins with a thoughtóabout God, about others, about good. In the past two weeks, I began thinking about Godís covenant names and how we see Jesus in them. God is faithful to His own, and every believer can call upon the name of the Lord to find grace available in every need from the God of all grace.
In Deuteronomy 10.17, Moses says, "Jehovah your Elohim is God of gods, the Lord of lords, the God (or El) who is great, mighty, and dreadful."
As to His duration He is the Everlasting God (Ge. 21.33).
As to His power, His is the Almighty God (Ge 17.1).
As to His exclusiveness, He is the Jealous God (Ex 20.3-5).
As to His Holiness, He is a Consuming Fire (Deut 4.24).
As to His pity, He is a Merciful God (Deut. 4.31).
As to His fidelity, He is a Faithful God (Deut. 7.9).
As to His vitality, He is the Living God (Joshua 3.10).
As to His greatness, He is the Terrible God (Neh 1.5).
As to His compassion, He is the Gracious God (Jonah 4.2).
(Lockyer, Herbert, All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975, page 8)
God is I AM THAT I AM. Jehovah is God entering into history in His redemptive relationship with the Elect. In the covenant names of God we find strength and assurance and a treasure trove for our faith.
Jehovah Elohim- The covenant lord is both Creator and Ruler. Jehovah is the true elohim, the majestic omnipotent God.
Jehovah Hoseenu- God is the covenant lord our maker (Psalm 95.6). God fashions something out of what already exists.
Jehovah Jireh- In Genesis 22 God reveals Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the covenant lord who sees and provides. His provision is seen. His pre-vision means His pro-vision. God is able to provide for and supply what is needed.
Jehovah Rophi- God is the covenant lord who heals. (Exodus 15) God restores (Psalm 103.3), heals (Psalm 147.3), recovers (Jeremiah 3.22), and removes infirmities (Genesis 20.17; 2 Kings 20.5). He makes bitter waters sweet.
Jehovah Nissi- God is the covenant lord our banner. Banners express loyalty and surrender to that loyalty. (Psalm 20.5; Psalm 60.4; Exodus 17.15, 16) God sets the standard. His banner over us is love (Song of Solomon 2.4).
Jehovah MíKaddesh- The covenant lord sanctifies. He is God who sanctifies. God is the Eternal Who hallows you.
Jehovah Elohay- God is the covenant lord who is the Lord my God. God is not just our God. He is my God. (Psalm 7.1, 30.2,12)
Jehovah Shalom- God is the covenant lord our peace. (Judges 6) Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2.14) and makes peace by His shed blood and gives peace.
Jehovah Tsebaoth- God is the covenant lord of hosts. (Romans 9.29, James 5.4; 1 Samuel 1.3; Jeremiah 11.20) The covenant lord controls all created agencies and rules over all. His name should be our gathering Name. The Lord of Hosts is with us (Psalm 46.7).
Jehovah Rohi- God is the covenant lord our Shepherd. (Psalm 23.1, 6) Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Ultimately, He is the Lamb as Shepherd (Revelation 7.17) in Glory.
Jehovah Tsidkenu- God is the covenant lord our righteousness. (Jer. 23.5, 6; 33.16) Righteousness is not attained, but obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 1.30)
Jehovah Makkeh- God is the covenant lord who smites. We can discern Godís hands in the blows that fall upon human lives. (Ezekiel 5.8; 7.9) Unless there is repentance, God will smite. (Ezekiel 22.13; Malachi 4.6) Keep the covenant.
Jehovah Gibbor- God is the covenant lord, our Mighty Hero who Saves. (Zephaniah 3) He exults over us with joy and is quiet in His love.
Jehovah Gmolah- God is the covenant lord, the God of Recompenses. (Jeremiah 51.56) God will surely requite. (Deuteronomy 31.35) Vengeance belongs to God, not us (Romans 12.17-21; Proverbs 20.22).
Jehovah Shammah- God is the covenant lord whose name is The Lord is There.(Ezekiel 48.35) Godís presence is real and felt, tangible. God is not no-where. God is now-here. (Zephaniah 3.15; John 1.14; Luke 24)
We want to demonstrate Godís presence and love tangibly. After hurricane Wilma, the migrant workers landed in a desperate situation. November 13th we will again be distributing essential items as part of our Barnabas Project, this time to a Guatemalan Christian community. To those of you who have given, we thank you.
December 1st through the 8th, Kroy Ellis and Rev. Jim Craig will be on a mission trip to Jerusalem and Israel. We hope you will want to sow into this mission with your prayers and financial support. You can go to our website, www.marycraig.org, to find out more about Jerusalemís destiny and about Godís heart for Jerusalem. This mission will take the MCM team to the city of David in Jerusalem and to the area of Jerusalem that pertains to David. God is doing a great work in our day, bringing His people into that place of abiding in Him as the Glorified One. We are happy to be part of that and trust you will want to be part of it too.
I know many feel tapped out from hearing about so many victims of so many disasters across America and around the world. I also know of your heart for Jesus and the gospel. I know that you, along with MCM, trust Godís provision will be seen. Pastor Jim and I are so thankful for your ongoing love as you support MCM with your prayers and gifts. Whatever you can give, it will be most appreciated.
Giving thanks today for you,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org to order books and make donations through Paypal©. In the area? We invite you to worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. After the service, join Rev. Jim Craig to discuss the message or have prayer with Dr. Mary Craig. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies.
In everything give thanks:
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
Concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5.18, 19
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