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11/22/15 “Thanksgiving, Peace, and Offering” 1 Chronicles 16

11/22/15- Lake Murray Presbyterian.  Dr Francis Burriss preached at the 10:30 service; Dr. Ben Sloan at the 8:30 service.
The manuscript is from the 8:30 service. We also baptized Cameron Michelle Hood- This was Stewardship Dedication Sunday and 40th Anniversary 4th Sunday

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations. Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Bring an offering and come before Him- worship the Lord…Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever. .  1 Chr. 16:29,34; Ps 96:21   THANKSGIVING, PEACE  AND OFFERING=

I love football in part because it echoes life.  Yesterday Coach Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech coached his last home game- he had 29 seasons at Lane Stadium.  He had won double digits in 11 of 13 years between 1999- and 2011.  He won 4 ACC Championships and went to 6 BCS bowl games,  but never won the national championship.   He said after his overtime loss to UNC that “I don’t think about this being my last game but about the 29 years I have been able to coach here – I’ve been a lucky guy.”    When Virginia Tech was shot up by a terrorist he made himself visible and played a key roll speaking at an Easter Service on campus of how Easter meant the resurrection of Christ and a new beginning.  He was always teaching the VA Tech Gobblers to be grateful.  He overcame a horrible violent family background and 32 surgeries for burns when he was a child.  In contrast, Yesterday, Ohio State a team that had the longest winning streak in college football lost by 3 points to a top ten team at the last minute.  Two of OSU’s star players vowed to not come back.  I think Elliot, their star running back,  just lost his chance at the Heisman by that attitude.   I believe that is a pretty bad attitude.  If you are not perfect and don’t do things perfectly, then you just quit.  Yet, some people have the same idea about life and church.  If I have a problem and my life isn’t perfect it is God’s fault and I won’t believe in Him.  If the church neglects me in some way, then I won’t come back.  Sadly, in our society the tendency is that it is all about me and how I am treated.  God doesn’t work that way, and life doesn’t work that way.   This life will never be perfect for you.  We are designed, however, to worship the one bit of perfection that intersects life- God.  Our hearts are restless til they find their rest in Him.  We are able to give thanks and have peace as we offer ourselves to Him.
There is a song that asks the question- “How can I say thanks for all the things you have done for me?”  I will bring an offering and come into his courts.        In the Old Testament (Lev. 7 and 22) there is a special offering called a “Thank Offering.”   It was one of two parts to the Peace Offering.  The other part of the Peace Offering was making a Vow- a free will offering.  Much like we bring pledges to worship with us out of thanks- so the thank offering and the vow offering worked together and brought Peace with God.  Giving thanks to God and giving an offering to God really go together.        When you were grateful in Old Testament times, you brought God a gfit.  It wasn’t burned, you had to eat it.  Ironically, it said that you would be accepted if you gave a thank offering and then ate it.  It implies that if you are not thankful and you didn’t partake fully in that thanksgiving, then you would not be accepted.    I thought it was really interesting that this is the only offering where you have to eat it in order to be accepted.  To me this is a very symbolic thing.  God wants us to be satisfied with our thanksgiving to Him. In the New Testament Christ is our thank offering that brings us peace and acceptance with God.
Thanksgiving is important to find peace in your life.  I am convinced because we are commanded to give thanks, encouraged to give thanks, implored to give thanks to the Lord that giving thanks is not all about feeling- it is a matter of the will.   We should never underestimate the human will that God has given us to when it is transformed by God to do some amazing things.  We don’t have to give into our circumstances and feelings.
In our day in which we hear of terrible terrorism there is still a way to find peace.  It is through the Prince of Peace.  I have heard people after 911 and after Paris blame all religions on terrorism.  Really? We follow Jesus who was killed really by two governments, and he was no terrorist but taught us to value life and value love. We should not forget the terrorism of Stalin and his archipelago, or Mao’s cultural cleansing, or Fidel’s terrorism of his own people.  Real peace is not found in winning wars.  Real peace is not simply found within or just willing it.  Real peace is found through the God who gives us peace.  Satisfaction, and being able to let go of this world a bit comes only when we trust God to provide for us, and know there is more to life than the stuff we see.
I have a dog named Chipper.  He is the sweetest dog, loves to be petted, cannot get enough of being loved.  But he is a howler.  If he is not with me or inside he starts howling.  I don’t live on the lake or in a field- but in a subdivision, and howling dogs and subdivisions don’t mix well.   Somehow I have to teach Chipper to be satisfied and to believe that even when he is outside he is still loved and cared for.  The people of Israel had escaped Egypt but they grumbled and howled all in the desert- living in fear and dissatisfaction though they had seen God’s hand in amazing ways.  We should not only believe and find peace with God when he does miracles.  We should believe in Him in the tough times too.  Paul says give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.