Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
~Psalm 118:1, NIV
There is one thing better than THANKSGIVING and that is Thankful Living.
Psalm 118 is sandwiched in between the shortest Psalm  and the longest Psalm . It was Martin Luther’s favorite and could have been our Lord’s as well because He quotes from it four times. It is the most quoted Psalm in the N.T. theme is Thanksgiving. Psalm 18:9 is the middle verse in the bible…It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in politicians [JEV]. It has many messianic implications and among them is verse 22-23…The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. My first impression was that David wrote the Psalm because he experienced rejection. When Samuel came calling, Jesse brought all of his sons in to meet the prophet except David, he left David out. But Dr. Wiersbe and others say that David did not write this Psalm. Scholars believe it was written after the Babylonian captivity and the setting is the difficult days when the Jews were rebuilding the Temple and the walls. During these days, Israel was surrounded by enemies….[v.11-12]...They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them down. Jesus was also surrounded by enemies when He was crucified.
We know that Christ became our sin: He bore our shame and guilt in His own body. We have no way of knowing all that He suffered while on the cross. We can’t possibly fathom the intensity of all the sin being put on one person but we do know what shame feels like and we also understand rejection. John said, He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Isaiah said 800 years before the cross, He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. How would you like to be despised and rejected? You wouldn’t and neither would I. Rejection creates a gambit of emotional pain and even scaring.
The irony is: the very Stone the Jews rejected became the chief Corner-Stone, the stone that holds everything together. They saw no worth in Jesus and were willing to cast Him aside like a stone that a mason decides not to use. It was a tragic mistake on their part. They owe the LORD an apology but so do we: all of us are guilty of His death. It was our sins that nailed Him to the tree. Before we depart this sin cursed world, we are going to face some unpleasant and even painful circumstances but there is three things that we can always give thanks for:  The LORD is infinitely good.  His love endures; it never changes. He has the ability to love forever and  the precious blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin.
- We got the Guatemala Team to the airport about 5:00 am. They had a delay in Huntsville but got to Guatemala on time and they were settled in when Josie and Ty face timed me yesterday evening. Ty is bouncing off the walls. They will have to monitor his caffeine intake. We had a Missionary speak at the Pastor’s conference who had served in Guatemala. Teddy has trained us well evidently because we are doing everything that this Missionary said teams should do. This man said that short term mission trips are generally ineffective unless you follow up by building a relationship with the people. He said the “One and done strategy” is not very helpful to the natives or the missionaries.
- June says we have more rain coming which is fine with me. I mowed yards in Athens yesterday and I am hoping that will be my last cutting before I put the mulching kit on or before Willard’s crew puts it own. The Sunday rain really helped our turnip greens and we have some small turnips. Big Mama and I love turnips. That turnip soup with Mexican cornbread is delicious.
- The BLOCK PARTY is coming together. Another neighbor joined our team yesterday. I am feeling more confident but the most difficult part will be getting their attention to share the gospel. Please be praying for the BLOCK PARTY.
- Larry Garner is home, he came home Sunday evening. Rickey is about the same. Pray for the GARNER family, they are worn out.
STORY of Rebecca Thompson
Rebecca Thompson, the name probably doesn’t ring a bell. Rebecca lived near Casper, Wyoming. When she was 18, she and her little eleven year old sister were abducted by two thugs in front of one of the stores in Casper. They carried the girls to the Fremont Canyon Bridge, a one lane steel-beamed structure that is 12 feet above the North Platte River. They rapped Rebecca and then she begged them not to rape her sister. They did not rape her but they threw over the bridge and she hit the rocks below. She did not stand a chance. Then they threw Rebecca over but hit a rock that projected her away from the cleft and she managed to hit the water. She broker several bones but somehow survived the fall. She drifted down stream and hid behind a rock. She was found the next morning. The horror she endured had broken her heart and clouded her life. She was never at peace after the tragedy. The rescue team lifted her out of the canyon but no one could lift her out of the despair. No one blamed Rebecca; everyone knew she was a victim of a horrible crime but Rebecca could not move on.
Nineteen years later at age 37, Rebecca returned to the bridge with her boy friend and two year old baby. She relived the horrible injustice as she recounted it to her boyfriend, we she broke down and began to cry, he carried to baby to car and was returning to Rebecca when he heard the splash. This time Rebecca had jumped and she did not survive. She was brutally violated and it must have left her feeling shamed but friends said she also felt guilty. “She was angry with herself and perhaps God. Over and over, she wished that she had died instead of her sister.” There is no way I can identify with Rebecca’s pain but I do know that victims of such crimes feel shame, just like a child who has been sexually molested by a parent of family member. Rebecca did nothing wrong and yet she had to live with the shame. Shame has two faces: one is private and the other is public. The woman caught in the act of adultery had to deal with public shame, the men who gathered around her to condemn her had to deal with private shame. All sin is known to Christ. Once they realized that Jesus knew what was in their black hearts, one by one they left beginning with the older men first. They were as guilty as the woman but they had not been caught in the act.
[Story from Max Lucado’s Cast of Characters]