Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving-Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Bible gives us an amazing command, and to be honest, one that I personally have struggled with from time to time. I believe after I share the scripture, like me, you will have to confess you’ve probably fallen short in this area a few times as well.
Here it is: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
For the most part that verse speaks clearly that we are to be giving thanks to God, and in doing so, we even see that it’s the will of God to do so!
I want to do His will more than anything I can imagine. Yet, there are two words (or one word, depending on which version of the Bible you reference), that is the part of the verse I’ve struggled with and it’s the word “everything”.
Can we honestly say that everything that comes into our lives we find a way to thank God for it and appreciate His wisdom for allowing it to be there? Well, the Word is clear that we in fact should be thanking Him!
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV) says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
This is God basically saying to humanity: “I’m smarter and wiser than you, so to proceed in life, you might want to just get over it”!
Another scripture drives the point home again…
Romans 11:33-34 (NKJV) says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”
There are some things we obviously are not thankful for, such as the loss of a loved one, however, as we walk through that storm we can still find blessings to be thankful for, including the presence of God as He comforts us in the midst of tears and pain!
Instead of our focus being on the “why” it happened, we can, through the grace of God begin to focus on the “what” should we do now, or “how” can we trust God more than we ever have before?
Perhaps this Thanksgiving is a challenge for you, or someone you know. Yet, I would encourage you to find something to thank God for and begin to focus on the good things He’s blessed you with!
I trust your Thanksgiving is one of tremendous appreciation to God for His bountiful blessings in your life.

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Amazing Grace

grace1

What is grace?  Some have defined grace this way:  G-R-A-C-E, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Another has said, “The very heart of the gospel is the supreme truth that God accepts us with no conditions whatever when we put our trust in the atoning sacrifice of His incarnate Son.” (Unknown)  Another has defined grace this way:  “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”  (Daily Bread) Grace originates with God. Grace is God’s unmerited favor.

I can see an abundance of God’s grace in my life.  I was born when my mother was 17 years old.  My mother contemplated abortion when she was pregnant with me.  I praise God she did not do it.  I would not be here today.  Growing up, I endured physical and verbal abuse from my father.  We went to bed hungry on some nights.  Poverty and ill health plagued my life.  Yet, the grace of God was abundant through it all.  I contemplated suicide when I was 16 years old.  God saved my life through His indiscriminate, abundant grace.

I once asked my mother to define grace.  She could not give me a theological definition of grace.  However, she said she understands grace through God’s provisions and protection.  She recalls the days we slept outside, in the cold when my dad had been drunk and chased us all out of the house. My mother experienced grace when we lacked necessities, yet relatives would bless us with food, money, and clothing.  My mother saw the grace of God when there was no money for my school tuition, yet my relatives would generously pay for my school tuition.  My mother saw God’s grace through the generosity of a family in Europe who sponsored me to complete my high school.

Grace

My mother experienced God’s unmerited favor when she repented and gave her life to Jesus.  I see God’s grace at the point of my salvation, too.  I had been frustrated and dejected to the point of considering suicide, yet God spared my life.  I see God’s grace at those times when I feel weary and overwhelmed; He gives me rest and peace.  I see God’s grace in small things.  I see God’s grace in the big things.  How about you?  Have you experienced God’s unmerited favor?  Can you see God’s thread of grace throughout your life?  You may think you do not deserve God’s love.  You are right.  We do not, yet that is exactly what grace is – unmerited favor.  Amazing grace.