Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving Day

Dear Friends,

I give thanks to God today—for my family and for seeing me through all the roller-coaster experiences we have had. Through easy times and difficult ones, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my family. I am grateful for each one. I am also grateful for the friends I have had over the years. In all the seasons of my life, they have given me much. It’s true, sometimes family and friends were God’s gentle sandpaper to get my rough edges smoothed. But, smoothing out rough edges makes a finer finished product, as any good carpenter knows.

Our family has experienced the pains of loss. But, over time with God’s grace, I have come to regard it as part of life. Not a part of life I relish, but it is life nevertheless. And, some things, I have discovered, do not have immediate answers. So, I guess as a Christian who is always learning something new about God and others, when the total is tallied, we call it worth the cost.

Being a Christian is “interesting.” My understanding, and personal experience, is that Christians are “born” into a new life, when we understand and acknowledge our human failings and choose to leave behind the old and move into the new life and relationship with God that has been provided by Christ.

It’s that “fence thing” I have been trying to talk about. Instead of falling into ‘whatever’ by our natural reality’s gravity, we choose to jump the fence and enter a new awareness of where Truth rests—to one where we see that God is and has provided us a way to grasp that Truth . . . to realize the price has been paid to let us enter a relationship with God himself without being consumed in our frailty by his purity.

And, I might add, the ability to jump that fence is because of a brilliant light bulb clicking on in our soul and spirit. That, my friend, is the gift of faith in the humanly unknowable God of all creation. And, it occurs in different ways with different people. God, who knows us completely, knows how to communicate Truth to us in ways each one of us can receive. But, I would suggest the quickest way to have the light turned on, is to seek Truth, read and study, ask and persist in your quest for Truth until your answers come. He is always so near . . . waiting for you with the most profound love you will ever know!!

But, I would be doing a disservice if I did not present a full report. In today’s world, compromise and self are on the throne of our hearts. When we do “see the Light,” we also need to count the cost of our choices. If we embrace all that Jesus died to provide for us, we will fall flat quickly if we do not know the ground rules of our new reality.

What our culture today has tried to deny us is the experience and ability to obey a higher authority than our own. Let’s take a natural experience as an example. You’ve just graduated from training/college/whatever and been hired to do the job of your dreams: excellent pay and benefits; doing what you love to do; working with people, though not perfect, that are generally-speaking pleasant. But, there are things to learn on the job that weren’t explained in your pre-job training. It turns out your new boss is specific in his job-performance requirements of you . . . some of which means you have to give up the time and comforts you enjoyed before being hired. For example, the dress-code is different, the way you speak to others must be with care-filled wisdom and insight, you can’t sleep as much because you have a long commute to get to work on time, etc., etc., etc.

After your light-bulb revelation of who Jesus really is, you have similar tough choices to make in order to have fruitful access to your new Best Friend. It’s my experience that our Lord and Friend will tackle things within us gently and carefully. There will be changes. Expect them. However, perfection is not his goal. Only One Person has ever been perfect. I know that person isn’t me, and my belief is it won’t be you either!

The goal of God is a healthy relationship with him. How we live our lives should flow out of that relationship. However, we humans want to be in control so badly that when the light dawns, to make a concrete experience out of faith, the temptation remains to live by our own interpretation, our own rules and still enjoy the benefits—the retirement plan, if you will.

I am not advocating complete removal of all guidelines, rules, doctrines—however you wish to label them. Most help clarify a supernatural walk in the natural world we live in. However, as we wade through all the man-made rules in this life, it is best to recognize the basic rules of relationship with Creator God are laid down simply in the Bible.

Now, comes the rub. There are things in that ‘Manufacturer’s Handbook’ that mean we might have to change our thinking and approach to life. It will require letting go of some mindsets and picking up the mind of God instead.

But, that is for another day . . .
Keep looking up,

© November 26, 2015

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