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   Grace - Thanksgiving Sunday Morning Service    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Matthew 7: 11


Matthew 7:11
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"

Today is happy Thanksgiving Sunday! Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father of love who has kept us, guided us, and blessed us until now! We have several festivities in the Lord during the year. We have New Year's Sunday which is full of dreams, and Easter that is full of the hope of resurrection. On the Feast of Harvest, we do an interim check for the first half of the year to tighten our belt again and receive the strength to run the race until the end of the year. On the church anniversary, we are full of joy and happiness, celebrating it as in a big festival, inviting many people. On the Christmas, the warm love of the Lord embraces us like white snow covering the whole world. Especially since 2010, Christmas is an even all the more meaningful day for Manmin members.

But, on this Thanksgiving Sunday our hearts are filled more fully with abundant thanksgiving than any other festivities. It's because, it is a day to reflect upon all the grace of God that has been given to us, including the blessings given to us at each of the previously mentioned festivities. Just by seeing the various fruits, vegetables, and grains, we can wear a big smile on our faces. The abundance and the beautiful colors remind us of the overflowing grace of the Father and the spiritual and material fruits of blessings that we have borne.

Today's reading passage Matthew 7:11 says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" Even evil people give good things to their children, so how much more would the good God want to give us good things?

On this Thanksgiving Sunday, I will talk about the grace of God that is being poured upon us in three aspects. Through the message, I hope you will more deeply engrave the love of God who gives us only good things. I pray in the name of the Lord that in doing so you will receive greater strength to run your race of faith until you reach the best heavenly dwelling place, New Jerusalem.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The grace that God has given to us, first of all, is the grace of looking at us with the eyes of love.

I once heard the following joke. A mother hedgehog was admiring her baby hedgehog. She was saying, "Oh, my baby's fur is really soft!" Even when very young the bristles of a hedgehog are never soft. And yet, in the eyes of the mother, her baby's weak bristles felt softer and gentler than the fur of any other animals. We might just laugh about it, but in fact, the heart of parents is similar to this mother hedgehog.

If their baby begins to speak just a couple of days faster than other babies, they think their baby is exceptionally smart. If their child says something unexpectedly wise, they think the child is a genius. If the child begins to hum some melodies, the parents think they are musically talented. If they do anything well, the parents harbor great expectations, and if they are short of anything, they try to cover them over. No parents think their children will go astray and become unhappy. They just think that their children will become great people or at least live happy lives. And, if they can do anything to ensure it, they expend all their dedication and efforts to see it happen.

The love of God the Father is similar to this. Of course, even though the parents love their children, it is not perfect spiritual love, and sometimes it makes the children unhappy. If the children do not follow the path the parents think is best, their love might also change. But the love of the Father God is perfect and unchanging, and He only wants our happiness.

1 Corinthians 13:7 says love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." God is looking at us with such eyes of love. Since God began human cultivation, He knew everything that would happen in the future. He knew that if He created Adam and gave him freewill, Adam would betray Him. He also knew that many of Adam's descendants would stand against God. But God believed that eventually there would be many true children who would love Him, and for this reason He would not give up human cultivation. Many people are born and they die on this earth, and God looks at each and every individual's life with so much care and attention. He loved each one even to the point of giving His only begotten Son on to the cross.

He is still looking at every soul living on this earth with the eyes of love. He is looking at all of you exactly the same way too. He does not just look at the individuals who stand on the rock of faith with the eyes of love, or at those who are in spirit or whole spirit. He looks at everybody with the eyes of love no matter whether they are in the 1st, 2nd, or beginning of 3rd level of faith. A Korean saying goes all ten fingers would hurt if you bite them. As said, all of you who long for God's love are etched in the heart of the Father God.

The latter part of 2 Thessalonians 3:2 says, "...for not all have faith." Not everybody can have faith just because they hear the gospel and learn the truth. But, from among the entire human race, you who are attending this worship service in particular are the ones who have accepted the Lord and have come to have faith. While the worldly people seek after pleasure and lust, you long for spirit and whole spirit and work hard day and night for the glory of God.

As a shepherd, each of you believers is so precious to my eyes. Even when I see a member who is not changing even after a long time, or a member who is stuck in his self-righteousness and frameworks, I have never thought they are helpless. I thought of the ways to give them more strength, and I have waited for them to come into spirit every day. If they had just a little bit of goodness or faithfulness for God's kingdom, I remembered their good points and interceded for them. If they change and improve just a little bit, I was so happy as if I received some great gifts.

If I, as a mere shepherd, feel this way, how much more love would the Father have for you? Even when you feel embarrassed about your own shortcomings, God does not focus on your shortcomings. He believes in you thinking you have many good points and waits for you to reach perfection. Because we have this grace of God who looks at us with the eyes of love, we have been able to reach the measure of faith that we have now. I hope you will give thanks for the grace of the Father who has been looking at us with love.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The grace being given to us by God is, secondly, the grace of giving us helping hands.

Psalm 146:5 says, "How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God." Unbelievers do not have any place to go or person to rely on. Even if they have good supporters or wealth, there are things that cannot be done by human power in their lives. Or, they believe certain people will be on their side and help them no matter what the situation, but in desperate situations, those people actually turn their backs.

But we who believe in the Lord do not have such worries. First part of Isaiah 58:9 says, "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'" For big problems or small problems, if we ask in the name of the Lord with faith, God the Almighty helps us. So, even in situations where the unbelievers might be afraid, we can have confidence. Even in dire and depressing situations, we do not lose hope. Even though everyone in this world turns their back on us, God does not forsake us. If there is a problem that cannot be solved by human strength, He can resolve any kind of problem.

In just this year alone, many of you have testimonies of having received answers from God when you sought His grace and power to resolve problems in your family or workplace. For the things that you could not do anything about, God gave you comfort and peace and gave you His helping hands.

The same applies to sanctifying yourselves. To cast away sins, to have the heart that longs for spirit, and just to open our mouth to pray, we cannot do any of these just with our own strength alone. We can do them only with the grace and strength of God the Father and with the help of the Holy Spirit. You who are leading a life in faith in this church are receiving even more special help from God.

You usually have to fulfill 100% of what is required to receive an answer in a certain matter, but you receive the answer just by doing 10% of what is required. If you just try your best to do the 10%, you can meet and experience God who helps you. In special events, festivities, or seminars, you can receive such blessings even more greatly.

For example, we can understand this just in the special Daniel prayer meetings. Even those who could not pray well, if they try to pray hard believing that it is a special chance to receive grace, they have been given the strength to pray. And the desires of their hearts are answered and their problems are solved. So, they receive joy and fullness of Spirit from above. You have many testimonies like this. Many of you say that you can do the things that you could not do in the past.

God is with His children who long for Him; He will not leave them like orphans. When they really try to pray with their heart, He gives them strength. When they are tired in spirit, He stretches out His comforting hands. When they long to change, He lets them realize themselves. When they try to live by the Word, He gives them the power. I hope you will give thanks for the grace of God who always lets you experience the power of the helping God.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The grace of God given to us, thirdly, is the grace of warmly holding us in His bosom.

Little children have nothing to fear in this world, if they are just held in the bosom of their mother. If a sheep is in the bosom of the shepherd, it will not fear even ferocious animals. If the children of God are in the bosom of the Father God, they have nothing to fear either. Isaiah 40:11 says, "Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes." In spite of the rough waves of the world, when we commit every worry to God's care, we can enjoy the rest of our soul.

I believe you believers have felt the love of God and enjoyed peace in His bosom at each moment of your life in this year. But sometimes, some children do not deeply feel His love and cannot go into His bosom. They rather feel God as fearful God and hide themselves from His face.

What is the reason? There could be many reasons, but mostly it is because of their walls of sin. God is unchangingly the God of love, but once men create a wall of sin, they feel the love of God is very far away from them. Sometimes, they feel the burden of sin is so heavy that they do not even have the strength to repent. Even if they repent with their lips, the affliction in their heart will not go away unless they repent from the heart. They cannot lead a happy Christian life either. They can only lead a life of faith in fear thinking, "I am not able to do anything. It is so difficult to live by the Word. What if I face tests and trials when I do not keep the Word? What if I fall into Hell?"

Many of you were thinking this way in the past, but through the grace at Christmas in 2010 and Easter this year, you could lay down the heavy burdens of sins. Now, you can make your profession of thanksgiving and love in peace. Now you feel that God is not a fearful judge, but the Father who warmly holds us and gives us strength. You do not keep the Word feeling coerced because you learned that we have to keep the Word, but you rather obey God's Word with happiness to please Him. Now you do not feel New Jerusalem is somewhere so far away, but you have the hope that it is a place that you will definitely go to and you really want to go there to see the face of the Father and to be at His bosom. I hope you will give thanks for the grace of God who holds you warmly in His bosom and gives you happiness in your life of faith.


Dear brothers and sisters,

The blessing of God given in this church has been increasing every year, but it was especially more so in this year 2013. Great walls of sins were demolished on March 31; hope of Heaven was given through the separation of spirit; great signs and wonders were manifested in the summer retreat; new hope and power was given by the anointing prayer; happiness of Heaven was felt on the church anniversary. All these events were a continuum of grace, and we cannot say which one was the best moment.

But in fact, in Heaven that we will enter later, happy hours that cannot compare with any of these events will be unfolded continuously. The happiest moment that you can imagine on this earth, and even happier moments than that will continue in Heaven. This is the love of the Father God. It is the happiness that God wants to give to His children, namely those of you who are attending this worship service now.

The grace given in this year was not given just to give you the happiness of that moment but to increase your measure of faith. It was the grace that was intended for you to eventually enjoy the best thing, which is New Jerusalem. For the last three years since the Christmas 2010, you have been diligently running in your march of faith. Not just grown-up adults but also students and children marched on towards spirit and whole spirit, looking up to New Jerusalem.

I have also clung to the Father God day and night with all my life for the last three years. Now as we are getting closer to the end of 2013, God will certainly let you and I reap abundant fruits. I ask you to imprint on your heart all the grace that you received and keep marching on in your race of faith until the forthcoming Christmas and New Year's services. In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will enjoy all the blessings that God has in store for you every month and every year, and quickly come forth as fruits of spirit and whole spirit.