• KEEPING CHRIST CENTRAL IN THANKSGIVING

    by Shawn Merithew on November 23, 2009

    I hope that each of us is ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know many of us are looking forward to time with family and close friends, and I pray God blesses these gatherings with the truth of His Word and the presence of His Spirit.  To that end, I would like to give you some Scripture to consider as we prepare for such celebrations.
    2 Corinthians 4:13-15 says, “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore also we speak; knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.”

    As we consider what we are truly thankful for during this holiday, I hope that salvation is at the very top of our list.  Paul wrote these words to a Corinthian church that had caused him many problems.  Yet he still loved them with the love of a spiritual father, and he was still ready to be poured out on their behalf that they might know true life through the gospel.
    Paul was able to so freely give himself in ministry because his hope for life was in Jesus Christ.  He could die daily to himself knowing that, regardless of the outcome, he would be raised up with Jesus Christ in God’s time.  It was this very hope that he wanted the Corinthian church to embrace.  Sin and pettiness and false teaching were constant stumbling blocks to this congregation, and their stumbling kept them from experiencing so many of God’s blessings.  Thus, Paul kept bringing them back to the person and authority of Christ and His message of God’s grace.

    As we celebrate thanksgiving, I hope our hearts and minds will focus upon the grace we have experienced in Jesus Christ.  First, I hope we will cherish and rejoice in our privilege to have God as our Father and heaven as our hope.  Psalm 13:5-6 says, “But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  These blessings of salvation have been made ours through Christ alone, so let your thankfulness drive you to a deeper, fuller level in your worship of Him.

    Second, I hope our joy and thankfulness will abound as we are in the presence of unbelievers so that they will be drawn to the hope that is made possible through Jesus Christ.  Being ultimately thankful for what we have been given in Christ reflects the priority of our faith, and it makes unbelievers consider what they are missing in their own hearts.  1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

    As you are in the presence of lost family members, friends, and co-workers, pray for opportunities to verbally present the gospel.  The only failed witness is the one not given.  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for {God’s} own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:9)  I love you all dearly!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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