Monday, October 13, 2008

Giving Thanks Even in Perilous Times - Oct 13

The question we must pose to ourselves on Thanksgiving is not what we are thankful for, but to whom do we give thanks? Do we give thanks to ourselves or to our government? Not on your life! On this day we give thanks to the Father for His faithfulness.

Here are four reasons why we ought to be thankful. Romans 8:28-39 can be found here.

God Controls Our Circumstances

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

It is true that have free will but the ultimate control belongs to God. Satan is not in control. Though we see his demonic influence on people, God has not surrendered His authority to the evil one. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that everything is going to come up roses once you trust in Him. Whether it be prosperity or adversity, God will use our personal circumstance for His glory.

God Will Meet Our Needs

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31b,32)

There is a great deal of confusion about the difference between what we desire and what God wants to give us. If God gave us everything we asked for, would continue to follow after Him? Likely not. It is abundance and not deprivation that causes someone to no longer depend on Him. If we are asking for something from God and He decides to withhold it from us, He is not being cruel. Two reasons can be given for this. Either it is withheld from us permanently because it will do us harm or the withholding is temporary because we are not ready to receive it. God trains us up according to His purpose in His time.

God is With Us

Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Trinity we like and which parts we don't like. If we want to know the Father, we must accept Jesus as His only Son and be willing to receive the Holy Spirit. Those CINO's (Christians in name only) who don't know Jesus or followers of other belief systems cannot boast that God is with them. They may be able to recite scripture but if they haven't acknowledged Christ as Lord then they're lost. Our human emotions have little to do with our relationship with Him. Faith that is emotion-based is one that will lead us to error. Though God may seem far off at times those whom He has predestined will receive their glory in due time.

God's Love is Eternal

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

As mature even at the age of 38, I realize there are two kinds of love out there. The first love is human love which is based upon our achievements, the accolades we've accumulated as well as our conduct and behaviour. Act accordingly we get rewards. Act in an untoward fashion and love and affection can often be withheld. A few men I know have felt the sting of a failed marriage precisely because of this reliance on human love. Performance-based love is a love that is doomed to fail. Then there's a Godly love based on His grace. God's love is based on who He is, not on what we are or what we've done.

To Whom (or What) Do You Place Your Confidence In?

We live in a fallen world. Things fail. People, even our own family, can let us down. Even when we exercise good stewardship our wealth can leave us in an instant. Our vitality and strength can be robbed from us at any time in the form of sudden illness or death. Where then do we anchor our confidence? Do we do it just on Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas? No! We should continually deliver our daily circumstance into His loving hands. This is the challenge I put forth to all those who do not know Him. Trust God and He will sustain and guide you, even in perilous times.

Johnny Cash

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