Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving Thanks

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.  Luke 10:21  NKJV

“What are you thankful for?”  How many times have you heard this question, especially around this time of year when many gather together for the sole purpose of giving thanks?  I’m sure that over the years most of us have thought about this and made mental lists of all the things we are thankful for, and more than likely if we compared our lists we would find that a great many of us are thankful for many of the same things.  As I thought this week about thankfulness, I began to wonder if it would be appropriate to consider what it might be that God is thankful for, and to consider what, if anything, He would put on His list of things to be thankful for.

There have been times in my life where I wished I was a lot smarter than I am, yet truthfully all I have to do at times like that is read this passage from Luke and give thanks that I am a simple minded soul.  I understand the simplicity of the Gospel and the need I have for salvation, so it makes perfect sense to me that God created me, loves me, and has provided a way for me to spend eternity with Him.  The one question I continually seem to ask myself, however, is I can’t help but wonder if God is thankful that He made me, especially when I think about all the times I have failed Him?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”    Jeremiah 1:5  NKJV

Something God tells Jeremiah in this passage applies equally to all of us, and that is that in His omniscience God not only knew us before we were conceived, He also was the one who formed us in the womb.  Before He ever made me, God knew exactly how I would turn out, the decisions I would make that would hurt Him, and especially all of the times I would disappoint Him.  God still chose to create me.  I think the question “ is God thankful He created me?” was answered when He made the decision to do so.  My response should be to do everything in my power to please Him in thankfulness for what He has done for me.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”    John 17:20-26  NKJV

In this passage Jesus is praying to the Father just before He is to suffer the agony of the cross.  Yet His prayer is for us, those who have made the choice to accept the sacrifice He is about to make on our behalf, and not for Himself.  Have you ever thought about the fact that the Son of God has prayed for you?  That His concern in the last moments of His life on earth was for us, and not Himself?  Just thinking of that gives us all something to be eternally thankful for and something we should never forget.  Of all the things we might consider giving thanks for, Jesus Christ loves us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.                            John 15:13-15  NKJV

Sharing the message of the Gospel of Christ with others is the reason we are here, and the way in which we can thank God for what He has done for us.  As we arrive at the time of the year for giving thanks, and giving presents, may we never forget the greatest gift we have been given, and the reason we have to give thanks.  May we all commit to look for ways to share this joy with others in the short time we have left in which to do it.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17  NKJV

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