Another Thanksgiving holiday. Another opportunity to appreciate my blessings. Another chance to consider Who and what is most important in my life!
As I pause to focus in on my cumulative personal experiences, my thoughts travel many paths. I have so much to be thankful for. So very much.
If I was more secular and found myself in different circumstances, I could possibly be simply thankful for things. But, as a spiritual person who finds myself with my family in temporary housing separated from most of our personal possessions this holiday season, I can clearly see that things have very little to do with the deepest needs of my life.
Things are always temporal. Things are usually replaceable. Things are often superfluous.
Please don’t misunderstand, I’m thankful for the possessions I’ve been blessed with, but I have an acute awareness that they are not where my heart is. And, for this knowledge, I am truly thankful.
God, in His mercy, has orchestrated many life experiences to draw me to Him. Making the very best use of the good and the bad that life has to offer in a fallen world, He is molding me for His purposes.
There have been great losses and I have endured more emotional and physical pain than I could ever have imagined my life would bring to me, but I know God does all things well. He knows what we need and, in His mercy, He never allows us to go through more than we can handle. And, for His mercy, I am truly thankful!
One of the greatest losses I’ve endured was the loss of my mother. She died 39 years ago today (24th). Losing mother still saddens me and leaves me wishing for a rewind and a do over; and yet, I can see how faithful God was to me at the time of her death and how faithful He has remained through the years. And, for His faithfulness, I am truly thankful.
As for earthly blessings, nothing rivals the benefits poured into my life through friends and family. Loving relationships have undergirded me in countless ways. Where would I be without the loves of my life? Only God knows for sure. And, for His marvelous love shared through earthen vessels, I am truly thankful.
I could go on and on sharing specific blessings, mentioning the names of loved ones, citing significant events in my life, and testifying to the miracles God has performed on my behalf; but I wrote this blog to highlight the particular blessing I am most thankful for and that is Faith!
Nothing in life is as important as one’s faith.
The Bible says “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8
The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
I believe knowledge of the Bible, God’s written Word, is extremely important for building ones faith, but I also realize that Jesus is The Word of God Who became flesh and He is able to speak a Word into the heart which inspires or creates faith. (God’s spoken word will always line up with His written Word.)
He has spoken significant Words into my heart many times. Both His written Word and His spoken Words have drawn me in faith to the “salvation by faith in the blood of Jesus” wherein I stand.
In the following passage the Bible encourages those who have received Christ Jesus the Lord to live their lives “established in the faith… abounding in thanksgiving.” What better season to be reminded of this passage?
Colossians 2: 6-7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
First of all, one must receive Christ Jesus the Lord to be saved. Accepting a Jesus who is merely a human prophet who did good works will not lead you to salvation. Only Bible truth can set you free from the bondage of sin and give you faith, by the grace of God, to be born again into the kingdom of God.
Faith is available to you! God’s grace will create faith in your heart if you choose to believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth died for your sins. Jesus is, as He said He is, “The Way, The Truth and The Life.” (John 14:6) Jesus said that no one can come into relationship with His Father except through relationship with Him. They are ONE. Jesus is the Door to reach God the Father. There is One Faith, One God, One Spirit, One Body of Believers in Jesus.
If you don’t have peace with God, please turn to Him now. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name. “Those who call upon the name of the LORD will be saved,” Acts 2:21
To be rooted, built up and established in the faith, one must know the Word of God. I urge all of you who have access to the Holy Bible to spend time getting to know it. We are living in perilous times. Those without roots and foundations will not find themselves established enough in the faith to spiritually survive the last days of the era we are living in.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Many deceivers are abroad in the land today. They have believed a lie and they are peddling those lies to others. Don’t allow manmade ideas to deceive you. The traditions of men are temporal not eternal. Ideas not based in the wisdom of Jesus Christ are empty and devoid of life. Worldly principles may sound good but they will lead to death. You must guard your heart and mind to save your eternal life in Christ!
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
There is a common misconception being spread around about Jesus which I have already alluded to. Liberal theologians and Muslims alike, deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They are willing to admit He is a historical figure. They will agree that He was a good man, and a good teacher, and possibly a prophet, and maybe even a worker of miracles. But their support ends there.
They will not confess Him as God. Some deny His virgin birth. Some deny His sinless life. Some deny His death on the cross as a propitiation for sin. I believe all of those who deny His deity also deny His resurrection followed by an ascension, but I dare not refer to all liberal theologians as if all are peas in a pod.
Note: Muslims believe in the virgin birth and perhaps the sinless life of a man called Isa, son of Maryam, mentioned in the Qur’an. They refer to him as if he is the same Jesus we believe in, but they deny he was crucified for sin and that he was resurrected from the dead. They believe Allah took him to heaven in his mortal body and that he will soon return in his mortal body as an assistant to their 12th Imam (The one we know as the Anti-Christ.) The Muslim Jesus will tear down all crosses, slaughter pigs and force everyone to convert to Islam or forfeit their lives. As verse eight says, BEWARE!
Now, back to our scripture.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Let me restate that concept 4 times for further clarity.
1. All the attributes of the Godhead dwell completely in the physical body/personality of Jesus!
2. All the characteristics and abilities of God abide in the physical body/personality of Jesus!
3. Jesus, in and through His physical body, has the capacity to reveal God’s nature to mankind.
4. Jesus, Who is fully God, came in a physical body to show us Who the invisible Godhead is.
We are the limited ones, not Jesus. We lack the capacity to relate to Who God is in Himself! We could search for Him through all eternity and never find Him if He did not choose to reveal Himself to us because God is a Spirit. He Exists in Himself without a physical body!
He came as Jesus, in the flesh, to be with us! That is the meaning of His name Emmanuel! God with us! What grace! What love!
To finish up with this passage let’s look at verse 10a.
and you are complete in Him,
Just as the Godhead indwells the physical body of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ dwells in His people!
Just as Jesus, in the flesh, could only reveal a small portion of the Fullness of the Godhead to such limited creatures as we presently are; we can only realize a small portion of the completed perfection which will be revealed in us when we receive our immortal bodies. We are mere seeds in the womb of our experience, as it were, not yet fully formed eternal children of God.
However, this passage says we are complete in Him. Though our bodies and our actions are not perfected in this life, our salvation has been bought and fully paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are complete, finished, matured, born again members of the body of Christ once we have truly placed our faith in Him.
I am truly thankful for this saving faith!
To finish up with this passage let’s look at verse 10b.
who is the head of all principality and power.
Jesus, the Son of God, in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells in physical form, is the Final Authority over all created authorities in the universe apart from and subject to the One and Only Creator Godhead Who eternally exists in Three Persons; namely, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If you are complete in Jesus Christ, you are complete. There is no other authority that can stand against you. As Paul said, “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” Romans 8:31
No other religious faith is equal to the Christian faith because no other Faith embraces Jesus Christ as the only God and Savior Who loves us and gave Himself for us.
So, during this Thanksgiving season, I’m Giving Thanks For Faith!