From Thanksgiving To ThanksLiving, Part 1

Grace For The Journey

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26Nov  Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas … ghosts in flight and Silent Night . . . a witch on a broom and an inn with no room . . . is Thanksgiving.  For many, it is a time of fellowship with family and friends, fabulous food, and a little football – OK, in some homes, maybe a lot of football!  The day is marked by hours of preparation, 30 minutes of eating, and an hour of clean-up.

It would be hard for a visitor to our culture to recognize the season of Thanksgiving, because as soon as the Halloween decorations come down, the Christmas decorations go up!  Only grocery stores get excited about Thanksgiving.

Because Thanksgiving is not a major money maker for the department stores, we may not give it the attention we should.

If we are not careful,

We can confine Thanksgiving

To a mere day of feasting,

Rather than

A way of faithful living.

Here are three practical steps to help us move from Thanksgiving to Thanks-living:

The first key is to live thankfully.

This will only be done

When we re-orient

Our focus from ourselves

To our Savior.

With our focus firmly fixed on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our thoughts will ultimately rest on His cross and His resurrection.  When the crucified and living Christ is the center of our lives, we can live in no other way than thankfully.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

The second key in moving from Thanksgiving to Thanks-living is to live worshipfully.

Once the cross and the empty tomb

Becomes central in our lives,

Worship becomes our way of living.

To use a theological term, it is living “doxologically” before the face of God.

We live grace-filled,

Gospel-saturated,

God-centered lives.

We worship Jesus – not only on Sunday, but every day, everywhere, and in every way.  We sing His praises in the boardroom, living room, family room, bedroom, schoolroom, lunchroom, and locker room.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:12-15, “For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

The third key in moving from Thanksgiving to Thanks-living is to live generously.

As I have said before, “What do you have that you have not been given?”  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you differ from another?  And what do you have that you did not receive?  Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

If everything we have is a gift from the hand of God,

How can we live in any other way than generously?

The more we have, the more we are in debt to the One who has given it to us, and the more we should be driven to meet the physical needs of others.  It is a mistake to think the Gospel meets only the spiritual needs of the lost.  To be sure, it does that, but it also meets physical needs as well.  If it did not, how would we explain the two loaves and the five fish that fed thousands instead of Jesus sending them away hungry?  How would we explain the miracles of Jesus in making the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the sick well, and the dead alive?

When we get the Gospel deep down into the very center of our being, we live lives marked by generosity, remembering what God says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “”So let each of you as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

As you enjoy Thanksgiving in whatever way you choose to celebrate it, take a moment to reflect on these three keys that will take a day of Thanksgiving and turn it into a life of Thanks-living.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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