In the United States we have designated the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks to God for all our blessings. And, we came up with a great name too, Thanksgiving Day! It may have been a difficult year for some, but on this particular day, we dig deep and find something to be grateful for. This tradition started in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts when the weary Pilgrims and native Indians sat down together to give thanks for a plentiful harvest.I love Pilgrim stories! I could write a bazillion words about that first Thanksgiving. But I’m going to move up in history to 1863 when, prompted by a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, President Abraham Lincoln issued a White House proclamation to call on all American people to unite “with one heart and voice” in observing this national holiday. It took thirty years to bring Sarah’s dream to fruition. She was a determined lady who had faith and hope and now thousands of women spend hours in the kitchen every Thanksgiving Day to carry on this celebration while the men watch football. Well, I don’t want to glamorize beyond belief, better to tell it like it is.
Having people in your home is a blessing in itself. The holidays are a good time to reach out to those who don’t have family close by. This is not the season of selfishness! A man by the name of Alton Brown, who is on the Food Network, has a wonderful attitude about cooking and sharing with others. God made the food and Alton honors that by praying “God please don’t let me mess up the food. Let me prepare it and serve it in Your honor.” You could say that cooking is an act of service and hospitality. If we perceive it this way then every time we prepare a meal for someone, we are imitating Jesus’ act of service and the hours in the kitchen become a blessing rather than a burden.
Last week a dozen of us sat down to a scrumptious turkey dinner lovingly prepared by a family member. The turkey was expertly carved by my husband and son-in-law. Some had experienced difficulties during this past year; a seriously injured shoulder, a battle with cancer, a marriage broken and now mended. All the ‘stuff’ common to man, and yet faith and hope shown through and permeated the day. Believe it or not, the men in the family helped clear the table of dirty dishes and heavy platters, washed the pots and pans and put the kitchen in order. Bless them all, what good guys!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1I often have someone tell me that they have no faith. Sure they do! When we get out and drive 75 MPH on the freeways with hundreds of other cars, when we have a prescription filled, when we plan a surgery or medical procedure , we have faith. We have faith when we believe our families love us, even though we’re not perfect and have disappointed them. We have faith in many things, but the faith that gets us through the rough times, is faith in God. This is the faith that works! There is no ‘FAITH SWITCH’ that we can turn on and off at our discretion. None. We are totally dependent on a sovereign, loving God to supply the faith we need in every circumstance. We simply ask, and when we ask, we receive.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.
Jesus suffered too. Notice that this verse shows us where our focus should be, on JESUS, the one who supplies the faith and makes it perfect. What is the JOY set before Him – the reason He went to the cross? To make us perfect in God’s eyes so we can live eternally with Him.
Angels are real, and so are demons. Matthew 17 tells the story of Jesus healing a ‘boy with a demon’. The disciples couldn’t perform this work and came to Jesus and asked Him why they weren’t successful. He replied “Because you have so little faith.” Apparently they were counting on their own ability, not God’s power.“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20.
Faith leads us to hope and hope gives us peace with our present circumstances. We’ve been created to have faith and hope, but only Jesus can ignite this in us. How does that happen? This is how; by excepting Him as your personal Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit will come live in you and you will experience God’s power. Your faith will come alive, your hope will soar like an eagle and you will know that you are God’s child. It doesn’t get any better than that.I'm sitting at my desk, looking out the window and watching my husband trim the roses in our back yard on this lovely warm Southern California day, and I am grateful!
Lord we thank you for giving us a faith that works. It isn’t easy sometime. We hurt, feel pain, get confused, lose people we love, but through it all, we know Your Holy Spirit dwells in us, caring, loving, and providing all that we need.