Author Archives: lrbartel

A Thanksgiving Strategy for 2020!

2020 has been a rough year! I’ve seen “cute” attempts on Facebook and other social media to draw comical parallels between the frustrations and unpleasant things that have transpired this year and other dreaded experiences… You’ve seen them as well!

But tomorrow is THANKSGIVING! Figure!!! (And even a dark cloud has appeared over it – limited social gatherings, curfews, travel advisories, and COVID-19 positive tests! And the list of “unpleasantness” goes on! A year that started out with high expectations (it’s 20-20 after all!) has for many people ended up “in the ditch!”

What to do?

Perhaps we should take a clue from a Hebrew king in the Bible – Jehoshaphat! (I read his story just this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord.” Check it out in 2 Chronicles 20 in your Bible!

The Moabites, Ammmonites and the Meunites – “a great multitude” encamped against King Jehoshaphat for battle against Judah – a terrifying situation!

Jehososhaphat did the right thing though… The Bible says, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord!” Not only that, he appealed for others to join him in fasting and prayer! In fact, Jehoshaphat’s prayer is a model prayer in times of personal and national crisis (read it in 2 Chronicles 6-12)

God’s answer came with a powerful, encouraging prophetic word! “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed… for the battle is not yours, but God’s! … You will not need to fight in this battle! Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord!” (Vss. 15-17)

But where does “Thanksgiving” come in you might be saying? How does this help me in this “sewer of a year – 2020?”

Well here’s what Jehoshaphat did (and on this Thanksgiving eve in 2020 I think it’s a good pattern for us!)…

“Jehosophat appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him… they went before the army and said, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endure forever!’ And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir… and they destroyed one another… none escaped! …

“When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah [Blessing], for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah [Blessing] to this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 20:21-28 ESV)

Hey, I think it’s a plan for Thanksgiving 2020!!! – Pray fervently! Then trust God’s promises and obey His word! And then SING, WORSHIP, PRAISE, AND GIVE THANKSGIVING IN THE FACE OF OUR CHALLENGES – AND CERTAINLY AFTER GOD GIVES US VICTORY!!! Who will join me in living out that strategy?

If I were naming a baby boy – I’d name him “Asa”!

Parents name their children for different reasons… A close relative, a favorite person or celebrity, perhaps a name signifying a character quality they admire, a name chosen just to be “cute,” or simply because they like a particular name.

During my time of “coffee with the Lord” today I came across a name in the Bible I’d choose if my child were male, simply because of the kind of person this was in Scripture… I’d name them “Asa”…

Now I don’t often do this – pointing you to a passage of Scripture and just urging you to read it without giving the details why – but in this case I’m doing precisely that! What a person “Asa” was! Read 2 Chronicles 14 in your Bible and see what I mean. Identify the character qualities of this important leader and see if you wouldn’t want your son (or daughter) to emulate them (except perhaps for the very end of his life 🙁 2 Chronicles 16).

That’s right… look it up in your Bible and read 2 Chronicles 15 – you’ve got the time, it’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving after all!

If I were a parent naming a young male child – I’d name him “Asa” – sure would!

Neighbors! Love ’em or hate ’em

“What kind of neighbors do you have?”  Ask that question and then just listen awhile…

People have a love – hate relationship with their neighbors… There are good neighbors – and there are bad ones. 

As a Christian – a Christ follower, how do you feel about your “neighbors?”  Better yet, how do they feel about you?  Being a “neighbor” is a big deal in the teaching of Jesus! (You should read about it – it’s the topic of one of his greatest parables – Luke 10:25-37)  But that’s not what prompted this “coffee with the Lord” – a passage from 1 Peter 2:11-20 did…

Our “influence” as “neighbors” matter – even when they’re obnoxious – even (no especially) when they are unbelievers – even when they persecute Christians!

Here is what the Bible says…

“Beloved, I urge you … keep your conduct among the Gentiles [the “unconverted” – those who are NOT believers] honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation… Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. [In other words be good citizens!]  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. [Listen, your influence matters!]  Live as people who are free, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, instead live as servants of God.  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.  Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” (From 1 Peter 2:11-20)

The challenge?  Being a good, godly “neighbor” in your neighborhood, your community, your region, and your nation!  Oh, the potential (even when “persecuted”) of influencing someone positively for the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel!  I want to be that kind of neighbor!

%d bloggers like this: