I hope that you had a good Thanksgiving Day. In America, it seems that Thanksgiving Day is synonymous with food, family, friends and football. I went searching for the meaning of thanksgiving. I believe it to be more than just what we made out of it. I searched the only place that I actually believe would give me the truth, the bible. My search led me to Leviticus 7. There it talked about 3 sacrifices, the trespass offering, sin offering and the peace offering. The trespass offering is a lamb. The sin offering is 2 turtle doves. And the peace offering is thanksgiving to God. Yes, thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God. Then my search led me to Luke 22 and the last supper. Jesus and the disciples had finished their meal. Jesus stood up and took the bread of Elijah on the table and lifted it up. He gave thanks to God. Thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God. It is also a peace offering to God. Jesus was lifting Himself up as the peace offering. When we give thanksgiving to God, we are sacrificing ourselves as a peace offering to God. Jesus said do this in remembrance of Me. When we pray, the bible says to come with thanksgiving. This means that we sacrifice ourselves to God as a peace offering.
Everyone wants the things of God, like healing or salvation. And people get upset with God when He apparently doesn’t answer their prayer. But most people don’t understand that we have a part to play in receiving God’s answer. The children of Israel refused to meet God at Mount Sinai, because they didn’t want to die. But that was their part in God’s answer. They missed God’s blessing because of fear. The bible says that we are to draw near to God before He draws near to us (James 4:8). God may call us or woe us to His presence, but we have to answer the call. We answer the call by moving into the presence of God. So, what happens when we are the call of God? There are multiple things that happen. As we move into the light of God, we will see ourselves as we truly are. Our heart will be revealed, and God can deal with us. The children of Israel were half right when they said they would die. We have to die to ourselves to enter into the presence of God. When we die to ourselves, then we can receive from God. This is the work of God. But our part is to be willing to die and to follow. God will not force us to do anything. We must choose to follow God. So, if we want God to do something for us or for a prophecy or vision to come true, we must be where God is. This is our part to play in God’s plan.
These last two years haven’t inspired our confidence in anything. We had hoped that things would have turned out differently. With the worldwide pandemic, closing of many businesses, closing of our churches and the lack of confidence that our government could find the front door, we have become lost as a people. Not trusting anyone and being afraid of most everything, what are we to do? Before we can believe, we must have hope that things can work out. Which means that we have to have confidence in something. Look around that this fake world that is full of things that try to satisfy us. And nothing really does. We want something real. I have lived a long time and have found only one thing that is real in my life. It is centered around a person who is real and alive. That person is Jesus Christ. His promises that have come true in my life are real and build confidence in Him. Jesus has never left alone and walked away. Even in the bad times, He has stayed by my side. I have confidence in Jesus. As the world goes to hell in a hand basket, Jesus is keeping me safe in His arms. My confidence is justified in Him.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35,36 KJV).
Jesus, when He began His ministry in Galilee, called people to follow Him. He didn’t use oration to convince people to follow Him. Jesus lived the gospel and people saw this in Him. When He called people to His side, Jesus simply said, follow Me. It was up to the individual to respond. People saw in Jesus the answer to their problems. After they responded, then Jesus began to explain what the gospel means. Jesus is still doing the same with us. He called us to follow Him. When we responded, did we know what the gospel meant? No, but we had hope that all of our problems would be taken care of. And guess what, they are. Our will is to do what we want, but our life in Christ is to follow Him. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus hunted for us to come back to the fold. He pulled us out of the thorns and brought us back to life. So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about following Jesus, not charting our own course. Following Jesus isn’t always the easiest course to follow. But it is the right way to go. The freedom that Jesus gives us is only in following Him. We get set free from sin and it is euphoric. The weight of sin is taken off of us and we are then able to follow Jesus. Is there ever a day that we don’t need to repent of our sins? No, we aren’t perfected yet. When we see Jesus face to face, then we will be perfect and have the promise of salvation. Until then, we are to follow Jesus all the way home. He is the only one who knows the way home.