Saturday, November 23, 2013
A Study in Thanksgiving
For this year's Thanksgiving post, I decided to not only meditate on what I'm particularly thankful for this year and share the list, but to also incorporate poignant Scripture verses speaking of these blessings.
So, in no particular order, this year I am especially thankful for:
This year, a number of factors are combining to make this holiday an especially joyous celebration of getting to share time together. From family we don't normally get to see on the holiday to those we simply haven't had much time with lately, the mere chance to spend a few days together is a tremendous blessing.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
- Ephesians 1:5 NLT
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
- Psalm 133:1 NASB
With each additional year of college, I grow more and more grateful that I live in a time and place in which I have access to gaining that knowledge for myself - and I'm not restricted by the fact that I'm a woman or middle-class. Enlarging my brain gives me such joy, and I realize that there are scores of people around the globe whose mental potential far exceeds mine, yet they don't live in an area where education is available to them. The level of access to education we have in the U.S. is rarer than we think.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
- Proverbs 18:15 ESV
Take hold of instruction; do not let go;
Guard her, for she is your life.
- Proverbs 4:13 NASB
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
- Daniel 1:17 ESV
Along those same lines but even more so, we live in an extremely unique time and place in which we can study Scripture. We have the ability to read and understand it in our own language. A Bible is extremely inexpensive - most of us have more than one, as opposed to one per church (if that). There are a multitude of other resources we have access to that can deepen our understanding - commentaries, concordances, lexicons, books, downloadable sermons, etc. And we don't have to hide our Bibles for fear of being arrested, beaten, raped, tortured, and executed. We have the rare freedom and ability to pursue the rich depths of God's Word!
(If you're interested in helping your brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries who do not have access to Bibles, I recommend Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Voice of the Martyrs)
Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wondrous things out of your law.
- Psalm 119:18 ESV
Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words."
- Daniel 10:12 NASB
God has always been everywhere, all the time...but that doesn't mean people had access to Him anytime they wanted. God would meet them at specific places like the Tabernacle and Temple, and even after the Holy Sprit came to indwell believers, some sects still taught that you had to go to a specific building or perform a certain ritual in order to talk with God. But because of the Holy Spirit inside us, we can silently talk with God at any time of day, in any location, no matter what we're doing. God even gives us access to Him while we're scrubbing toilets! What amazes me so much about this is that is how incredibly deeply He loves us - that He doesn't demand physical, ritualistic demonstrations of reverence. As Holy as He is, he has every right to demand ritualistic cleansing, religious garments, etc. in order to speak with Him - yet He doesn't. We truly serve an astounding God.
Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19a NLT
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15:13 NASB
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
I talk about this one throughout the year, I know. :-) It just never ceases to thrill me that God created each and every one of us for a reason - that there's a specific destiny He has planned out for each of us, tasks to accomplish that have eternal significance. So many people struggle with the question, "Why am I here?" But if we ask God that question, as he slowly reveals the answer to us over time, we can trust that His plan is a thrilling adventure!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
- Ephesians 2:10 NASB
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
- Ephesians 1:11-12 NASB
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:28 NASB
Now you tell me - what are you especially grateful for this year? Can you think of any Bible verses related to that blessing? Leave a comment below (or if you're reading this via e-mail, click the post title to take you to the blog in order to do so).
Image Credit: "The First Thanksgiving" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, reproduction, from the United States Library of Congress. Wikipedia. Public Domain in the United States.