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November 1, 2003

A businessman traveling by plane from San Francisco to Denver happened to sit next to a nun.  Anxious already about traveling by air the businessman was doubly concerned when he noticed that the nun was very agitated and continually crossing herself.


“Sister,” he said.  “Why are you so nervous?”


She replied, “Ive always been afraid of flying.  And, especially these days, high in the air, anything can happen.”


“But,” replied the businessman.  “Didn’t Jesus say, ‘I will be with you always.’  Certainly there is nothing to be afraid of if God is always with us.”


“No,” said the nun.  “Jesus didn’t say ‘I will be with you always.’  He said, ‘Lo, I will be with you always.’”


Children often sing the song, “Jesus is a friend.  He’s a friend next to you.”  Words echoed in the hymn, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”


Yet, so often we become distracted by the circumstances of our lives and forget the simple truth of God’s presence.  Thankfully, even when we are focused on ourselves, God continues to remain faithful towards us with His provision, grace, mercy, love, and care.  Especially in these days, how we need to be reminded of the God who is there.


Consider some of God’s great promises for us:


“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.” 
(Psalm 46:1,2)


“Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee.”  (Isaiah 26:3)


“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”  (Jeremiah 29:11)


“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)


“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9a)


Rev. Billy Graham, speaking at the National Cathedral, on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on September 14, 2001, spoke these words which speak to our hearts.  Words which were true then and which are true today.  “Today we come together in this service to confess our need of God.  We’ve always needed God from the very beginning of this nation.  But today we need Him especially….We need the help of the Spirit of God.”


In every circumstance we have a choice:  To go to God or to go without God.  Let us be reminded, as we choose to go to God with all of what we experience in life, He is already right next to us patiently waiting for us to turn to Him.  When we acknowledge our weakness He is there to pour out His strength, to give of His wisdom, and to bless us from the resources of Heaven.


Let us not take for granted His presence in our lives.  During this season of Thanksgiving let us remember to give thanks to the God who is there always.


We are planning a very special ThanksGiving Service of Worship on Sunday, November 23rd.  Together we will have the opportunity to give thanks to Him in song, to offer words in praise of Him in testimony, to declare His salvation as we take Communion, in gratitude to Him to give a special ThanksGiving offering for the ministry of the Merced Rescue Mission, and because of Him to share in fellowship around a meal.  Please come and be with us.  He is worthy to be praised (Psalm 18:3; Revelation 5:12).