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November 22, 2023

Tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day), we will be taking communion together. Be sure to have your communion elements ready.


Our friend and trusted leader, Larry Tomczak, wrote a great article that could save us all some grief during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. We’ve all heard of, perhaps even experienced, quarrels or awkward conversations at these gatherings. Take Larry’s advice, and don’t let it happen this year. (The following is used with permission.)


Seven Suggestions for Delightful Holiday Gatherings Let’s be honest: your upcoming holiday get-togethers have the potential for wonderful memory-making or some weird occurrences that’ll make you wonder how you ever got into such a mess! A cantankerous uncle, curmudgeon senior or an unexpected boy/girlfriend with uber-liberal political views - who knows what may be lurking.

Be ready! Scripture tells us, “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). This may be your providential “heads up,” so you’re prepared. My earliest childhood memories of our holiday gatherings with extended family remain indelibly etched on the photographic plates of my heart. The annual celebrations with my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins were the highlight of the year! It was not just the opportunity to receive gifts and partake of sumptuous delights, but I loved the festive atmosphere and joyful interaction with our extended family. In more recent decades, I must admit I have some recollections that my wife and I wish we could erase. Unexpected conflicts that arose were most unwelcome, but enabled me to share insights learned as we transition to this holiday season. God’s will is that we experience happiness and unity in our times together. Our unseen adversary plots to undermine this goal. Here are some time-tested tips that can help you and yours enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year.” Having Holiday Harmony The Bible instructs us, “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 2:7). Let’s not give too much credit to the enemy of our soul, but let’s face the fact that he has clever schemes ready to undermine God’s beautiful plans. To be forewarned is to be forearmed! 1. Start with prayer This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked! Prior to the upcoming family get-together, pray for God’s favor and discernment so He can “deliver you from the evil one” when you come together. 2. Serve Be intentional to embrace the heart of a servant, rather than a spectator and mere consumer. When Jesus gathered for His Last Supper with His friends, He washed their feet and reminded us, “I have given you an example,” and “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 12:15, 17). Invest in those present, perhaps by possibly helping with the dishes, cleaning up, or engaging a fussy, hyperactive child. 3. Ask Questions Scripture teaches that “The heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5). Accept people as they are and take a genuine interest in their lives. Imitate Jesus, who when in the temple among teachers was, “Listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). 4. Be Comfortable with Silence No need to keep the motor running when there are pauses in conversations. “Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise; and he who shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28). When I ministered in South Korea, a senior leader chided me politely during our opening leaders’ meal, informing me that their custom was to refrain from talking continually during dinner but focus on the food! 5. Avoid Arguments “The servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be gentle towards all people…” (2 Timothy 2:24). Stimulating conversations can quickly take a wrong turn, necessitating that someone skillfully redirects the flow. “The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water; therefore abandon contention before a quarrel starts” (Proverbs 17:14). Buckle your seatbelt. An opinionated guy may be headed your way! 6. Reach out In getting ready for our bountiful feasts, do we do as Jesus instructed? When a man prepared supper and some invited guests didn’t come, Jesus said he should include the less fortunate and “bring in the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:21). A while ago, we invited a grieving man whose wife had died a year before, to watch a ballgame with us. On a somewhat regular basis, we’ve reached out to invite people who would be alone for holiday events. These can also be wonderful opportunities for evangelism. 7. Show Understanding For those of us who are used to simply plopping down for lavish gourmet offerings during the holidays, we may not be aware of how much time and effort goes into the culinary spread. The host/cook can literally invest days in planning and preparation for the special occasion. It sure doesn’t honor them or help them maintain composure when hungry participants add stress with annoying inquiries or fail to come when called due to a football game! Think how much tension can be eradicated by following God’s wisdom: “Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Ninety-nine percent of our stress inducers can vanish by putting this verse into practice. Be proactive and meditate upon this verse before you attend. Our Lord Jesus, the Centerpiece of our upcoming holiday gatherings, proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Let’s all embrace this high calling in our upcoming holiday events.


Pray with me:


Father, throughout our history, America has honored You on Thanksgiving, gratefully acknowledging Your care and blessing. As we do so again this week, we ask You for joyful and peaceful gatherings in our homes. Help us create an atmosphere in which those present are encouraged, de-stressed, and refreshed during our time together. May relationships be built and strengthened, and others healed when necessary. Open the doors for any ministry You desire to take place.


We also pray today for America’s homes and families to be strengthened. Give us a strong movement to strengthen and equip men as leaders, husbands, and fathers. Break the heinous curse of fatherlessness in America. Minister also to the women in our nation. Encourage and help single parents in their challenging roles. Be a father to the fatherless, a spouse to the widow or widower. Give homes and families to those who have none. Through our selfish lusts and irresponsibility, we have made such a mess of familial relationships in America, and we are paying such a huge price. Please use the emerging revival to heal our land, starting with the family. We ask for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Our decree:


We declare that our homes will be peaceful habitations, secure dwellings, and quiet resting places (Isaiah 32:18).


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Today’s post was contributed by our friend Larry Tomczak. You can find out more about Larry at LarryTomczak.com.







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