Thursday, November 27, 2014
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2: 13-14)
Happy Thanksgiving! As I write this message, I ponder my own lack of thankfulness over the past year. I tend to focus on what is not going well rather than choose to see God's presence in my life each day. Yesterday, I complained about the geese that leave messes on our lawn and keep us awake at night with their quacking. This morning, as I ran, I saw a huge flock of birds undulating in unbelievably artistic formations. They moved in and out of bizarre patterns, and I stared in awe. I felt as if God was reminding me that He works even through the birds that leave messes on my lawn.
Reading 2 Thessalonians, I am reminded that we have much to be thankful for. We were chosen by God to be saved through His Spirit by our faith in Him, not because we are good, smart, or well-known, but because of God's grace. Notice the repetition of the word "through" - through the sanctifying work of the Spirit...through belief in the truth...through our gospel; through Christ, we are saved. Christ took on our sin and sanctified us. We are saved from sin and death. We are saved for eternal life in which we were called to share in Jesus' glory.
Even when life is tough and presents us with disappointments, we are blessed, because our Savior loves us unconditionally. Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4: 4-8:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Dear God: Thank You that You have chosen me to be saved. Not only that, but You call me Your own and allow me to share in Your glory. I give thanks to You for the blessings You continue to bestow on me. Help me to have a thankful heart and to rejoice always in You. Please guard my heart and give me Your peace. I choose today to concentrate on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable. I choose to abide in You, Lord Jesus. Amen.