Thanks for the right things

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful time of the year. Although we should live the entire year with appreciation and thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we mark a specific time as sacred, just for the exercise of being thankful.

We are all thankful for life, strength, possessions, relationships, and clarity. These are often not appreciated until they are gone. However, we can take time just to thank God for his generosity towards us. The focus is not on the things per se, but on the giver of things, the provider of life and its purposes.

Today, in my devotions, I have been studying the book of Jeremiah. I came across the following scripture this morning that is shaping the way I am celebrating this Thanksgiving:

Jeremiah 9:23-24
23 This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (NIV)

Although we may have been blessed with wisdom, strength, and possessions, our boasting (or as the King James Version calls it "our glorifying"), is not to focus on these things, but on God who provides these things. Our thanksgiving is not for what, but for who. Specifically, we are to be thankful and rejoiceful in the knowledge of a God who exercises:

1. Kindness (Hebrew word is more in line with "devotion" and "loving kindness"). All of the things you have are a manifestation of God's devotion towards you. Think about this: God is actually devoted to your welfare and your spiritual/physical/emotional health. Take time to thank God today that He is devoted to you.

2. Justice (Hebrew word suggests perfect judgement or standards). God is perfect in his judgement. One of the reasons why humanity struggles is that we have decided that we know what is true, just, and good, instead of relying on God. This is why the first humans messed up by eating the tree of knowledge of God and evil. They then posessed the power to make judgments, but as you know, those judgments are often wrong. Thank God that He is still the standard for truth and His judgements are always perfect.

3. Righteousness: God is interested in having us exist in a right relationship with him, and with others. The purpose of Jesus' was to remove any barriers between God and man (Romans 5:1). One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is allow us to live with one another in harmony. (check out the fruit of the spirit as relational tools in Galatians 5:22-23). Thank God that he is committed to building and blessing relationships with you and among us.

I hope that you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving. May God bless you and may you boast of knowing and understanding His devotion, justice, and righteousness towards you and your family this Holiday season.

God bless,

Pastor M Traylor