Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

(Psalm 100:4-5 NKJV)


It's that time of year again when we take time to pause and reflect on the blessings each of us have. I, personally am thankful for my very life, for if abortion were legal in the 1950s, I would not even be here. I am also thankful for the various twists and turns my life has taken since I was adopted. I grew up in a blue-collar Catholic family and learned about hard work, doing the right things, being patriotic and rendering to Caesar the things which are the government's and to God which things are God's.
While I didn't get a great explanation of the rendering to God, I did later on when I began to read the Bible. I learned that God loved me that he chose me, an insignificant individual. It didn't matter that my birth parent really didn't want me or could care for me or that I  was really a second choice option as most adopted kids are. I was thankful I was in a warm home and had food on the table every day and that my parents (I've always considered my adoptive parents my parents) loved me and cared for me the best they knew how. I learned about large extended families and how relationships can sometimes be dicey.
 I have two wonderful sisters and one adopted brother and have found my biological full-blood brother , half-sister and two half brothers as well as my biological parents, one who died 18 months ago.  I am thankful for my children and step-children as well as my wife of 11 years, Patti.
I am also grateful for the educational opportunities and freedom this country allows me to have. I can worship God according to the dictates of my conscience and at least as of this writing, not be fearful that opportunity will be denied.  However, with all the political correctness in our society, it appears that window of freedom is closing.
I am most thankful for the Word of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who demonstrated his love by saving me from a life of despair and misery, took all my sins past, present and future and nailed them to the cross along with their subsequent penalties, and adopted me a second time by faith into his family.  I am a different person as a result. I no longer feel compelled to "do things for God" so that I can earn his favor or blessings. I do those things because I am changed and the "works" are the result of the living God dwelling inside of me.

I'm also most thankful for trials and tribulations that help shape my character. We all want God's blessings, but it is the promise of trials and tribulations that really enable us to appreciate those blessings. The church universal will be much stronger in its mission when trials and tribulations increase.
I see a lot of suffering in the world, especially in the Middle East right now. I see it in our community with the homeless. I am thankful to be part of a church that will distribute nearly 1,000 Thanksgiving food baskets this week to those in real need. I am thankful for a church that really believes in putting the gospel into practice while still adhering to sound Biblical principles. There is so much more we can do as believers to help those who are hungry and hurting and who also need to know Jesus.
This season, what is Jesus telling you to do? If you don't know because you don't have a personal relationship with Him, the best place to start is to invite Him into your life and Lord and Savior, realize you can't earn his favor  because Jesus already earned that for us. Trust in faith God's word said it is done and completed and then begin to read and study God's written word. You will see what He has in store for you. The angels in heaven will rejoice and that will be a thanksgiving for you to remember forever.
God bless.