Thoughts of Thankfulness

Today, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., many people will gather with family and friends and feast.  I love every day, but I especially love Thanksgiving as it marks the beginning of a season of celebration.  I love snow-bound days.  I love Sundays.  I love Christmas Day.  What do these days have in common?  They cause us to rest from our everyday drudgery and toil.  God loves for us to rest, to be restored, to spend time with Him and with our loved ones.  Thanksgiving gives me a glimpse of life in the Millennial Kingdom, when Jesus reigns and all the world is at peace.  In our homes, we have a glimpse of the joy, peace, celebration and perfect rest that is our inheritance on this day.  But it’s not that way for many people.

There are those who don’t view Thanksgiving as anything but a reminder of the pain in their lives.  Homeless.  Hungry.  Foreclosed.  Job lost.  Health and hope gone.  Relationships severed.  There is no warm home with loved ones for many; just empty, bitter, angry hearts that have turned cold and stony.  And worse, hearts that don’t know God or hearts that blame God for their miserable lives.

If we turn on the news (and I rarely do), we see suffering, pain, hatred, bitterness, corruption, and evil in massive doses. Throughout the world, the weight of the sins of mankind are becoming heavier and heavier.  Sometimes, as I listen to the news, I see a black cloud over the entire earth, oppressing the whole world.  But, sadly, people have become so used to the cloud that they don’t care anymore about anything but seeking after pleasure and personal gain.

When Jesus viewed this state of affairs of human degradation and ignorance when He walked on earth, He wept.  He wanted to gather His beloved Jerusalem under His wing as a hen gathers her peeps and protect them from the elements and the predators.  But, they would not come to Him.  It is the same today.  I weep for the world… lost, groping in the dark and cursing and blaming God.  God’s heart is aching for us.  He longs to spend time with us and to give us His rest.  Too busy?  Really?

It’s early morning as I write this post.  God and I have an agreement.  Whenever He wakes me up at 1:11 a.m., 2:22 a.m., 3:33 a.m., 4:44 a.m. or 5:55 a.m., He wants to talk to me and it’s urgent.  This morning, at 3:33 a.m., He called  me.  As we spent time together, He reminded me that people’s hearts are so far from Him.  He weeps for us and wants us to have shalom (peace with nothing missing and nothing lacking).  So, how are you spending your Thanksgiving Day?  In peace and rest, rejoicing with Christ?  Is there time in the day for Him?  Or is He limited to a few short seconds before your feast?  Today, God is calling you.  He wants to share time with you.  He wants intimacy.  He wants to be included in every aspect of your life.  He won’t force Himself into your life, He’ll just knock at the door of your heart.  Only you can answer the knock.

These are serious and  holy times, precious ones.  God is calling and calling and knocking and knocking.  The time is very near for Him to come once again to visit mankind, but this won’t be like the first time.  Very shortly, He will sound the trumpet and call His beloved Church away from the earth.  We will then be celebrating at the most spectacular event to ever take place in the Universe – the marriage of the Bride and the Bridegroom!  The Bride is being prepared now.  The Bridegroom is anxiously awaiting the Father’s voice as He says, “Go and get Your Bride!”  Then, it will be too late.  The knocking and the calling will cease.  And those left behind will still have stony hearts that will grow colder and curse God more.

Today, as we do whatever we do, whether alone or with family, full or hungry, cold or warm, having plenty or lacking, there is one thing that we can all do,  no matter what the outward circumstances.  Give God time.  Be with Him.  Love and adore Him.  Share Him with others.  Ask Him what He wants you to do today.  What is His plan for you?  How can you be a part of what God is doing in your area?  Separate yourselves today and go boldly before the Throne of Grace and receive rest, joy, peace and pleasure in His presence.  Let Him love you and love Him back.  Remember, He suffered for you to have the right to come to Him.  It is His desire for you.

“Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush Him [Jesus] with pain.  The plan was that He give Himself as an offering for sin so that He’d see life come from it-life, life, and more life.  And God’s plan will deeply prosper through Him” (Isaiah 53:10 Message).

Amen.  Shalom.  Be blessed and at peace.

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