Grateful Hearts – 05.22.2015 –

The great Apostle Paul wrote nearly half of what is now known as the New Testament of the Christian Holy Bible.  There are 27 books in the New Testament and most Biblical scholars attribute Pauline authorship to 12 of the 27 books.

Of particular interest to this writer is an exhortation that Saint Paul wrote to a worship fellowship located in the city of Colossae.

Although Saint Paul never visited this church – it had been founded by a man named Epaphras – he nevertheless exhorted the men and women at this church to continue to mature in their walk with their LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST with the following words:

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2.6-7)

Wow, this is a tremendous word of edification!

Some of the hallmarks of a person who confesses that Jesus Christ is their LORD and Savior is that they

  • Walk in Him. To Walk in The LORD denotes that you have a close, personal, and intimate relationship with Him.  The term “Walk” is a term of spiritual endearment.
  • The Old Testament states that Enoch “walked with GOD” (Genesis 5.22, 24)
  • Noah was a “righteous man” who also walked with GOD (Genesis 6.8-9)
  • The great Patriarch Abraham walked with GOD as a holy man (Genesis 17.1-3)

To “Walk with The LORD” means to Love Him and to cheerfully obey Him.

  • Secondly, this passage in Colossians instructs believers to not only actualize that they “walk in JESUS,” but that to understand that they are “firmly rooted and now being built up in Him” (Christ, Jesus).
  • Our LORD instructed His Apostles in the 15th chapter of Saint John’s Gospel that HE – JESUS- is the Vine and that His disciples are the branches. Jesus instructed His followers that they must abide in Him like a branch must abide within the Vine.
  • JESUS reminded His disciples that apart from Him that they could do NOTHING!!!
  • Too often Christian believers attempt to live the Christian life with their own strength not realizing that this is a fatal error.

Successful Christian living derives its nourishment from constantly feasting on The LORD’S Presence in both His Holy Word and His Holy Liturgy.

  • As we are established in Christ in our walk with Him, we mature and the eventual fruit produced in our lives is the attribute of a life of “overflowing thanksgiving or gratitude.”

GOD Almighty places a hallmark on His Children being grateful for the bountiful blessings that He bestows upon their lives.

Please allow me to digress for a moment from this “pastoral homily.”

In the United States of America, we as a nation have been showered with blessings too numerous to count.

We have been blessed with the liberty and freedom to worship as we choose.

We have been blessed with economic output that has never ever been seen in human history

We have been blessed with peace from external enemies; the United States has only been invaded three (3) times in the last two hundred (200) years:  (1.) The War of 1812; (2.) Pearl Harbor in 1941; and (3.) September 11, 2001 – better known as 9/11

The United States has been blessed to survive the ravages of Slavery and Segregation, Genocide of many of the indigenous Indians; and Discrimination against Women.

Christian Men and Women of all stripes prophetically addressed Slavery and Segregation and forced the nation to address many of its ills.

Where did the moral conscience of this great nation come from?

Could it be that our nation forgot the “Judeo-Christian impulse” that established this nation from its very outset off of the shores of James Bay, Virginia in 1607 and off of the shores of Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts 1620 (Mayflower Compact)?

In my series on diversity, I pointed out that the early Colleges in this nation were founded as institutions based upon the Christian Faith (Harvard 1636, Yale 1701, and Brown 1764).

Even the College of William and Mary which was founded in Virginia in 1695 was started as an institution established in the Anglican Faith.

During this Memorial Holiday Weekend, let us take a moment to thank Almighty GOD for the many Men and Women who gave their lives so that we can remain a free people.

Let us personally reach out to the Men and Women who have served in the military and thank them for their ministry of protection.

Finally, let us display our thankfulness and gratitude to Almighty GOD, by endeavoring to “Submit” and “Serve” Him with greater zeal and tenacity in all that He calls us to do.

May GOD richly bless All of You!

Please have a Safe and Prosperous Memorial Holiday Weekend.