Skillfully Dealing with “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” of Thanksgiving- Purity 895
Purity 895 11/22/2022 Purity 895 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a blazing cotton candy sunset sky over my favorite portion of I-787 South, highlighting the glass domed peak of the building at 625 Broadway in downtown Albany, comes to us from yours truly as I tried my best to capture some of the beauty of this spectacular November sky from my securely mounted iPhone as I drove home from work yesterday. The beauty of God’s creation is all around us at all times and as much as we may enjoy the warmer temperatures of Summer, yesterdays sunset reminded me that we don’t get sunsets quite like this during those warmer months. Even though they don’t happen every day in late Autumn or throughout the winter, the history of my blog will testify to the truth that some truly magical celestial moments happen during these colder days of the year.
Well, it’s Tuesday and for nearly all of us, today is “Hump Day” because Thanksgiving is only 48 hours away, making this first part of the week a 3 day work week.
As I write these words, I am excited at the prospect of all of us coming together with family and friends to reunite in a celebration of Thanksgiving. I myself will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law’s place, who I see quite regularly as we go to the same church and I attend the “growth group” he leads for our church. So while I will not be reuniting with people I haven’t seen in a while, I am filled with joy at just contemplating all the people who will be. Over the next couple of days, people will be travelling from near and far to enjoy the company of their friends and family and I just have great joy contemplating the way God has knit us all together in relationships of love. It makes me think of Peter’s words on the Mount of Transfiguration. When Peter witnessed Christ in unveiled glory miraculously joined by Moses and Elijah, he:
4 … said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Peter certainly didn’t understand what was happening but he knew it was good to be together and he wanted this magical moment to last.
And that’s how I feel right now just thinking about people coming together in the next 48 hours to talk, to laugh, to hug one another, to be together, and to love one another in peace and thanksgiving. I know my visions may seem Pollyanna-ish and may be distorted Hallmark movie fantasies but even though all our interactions over the next few days aren’t guaranteed to be perfectly harmonious, the love that lies at the foundation of them all will still be there even if we won’t be able to express it perfectly.
Let’s face it people, even family people, can drive you nuts. But usually there is more good than bad in our familial dealings, otherwise we wouldn’t get together, right? I hope that’s the case, anyway. Otherwise, maybe next year we should investigate establishing boundaries to limit or keep the dysfunction at bay.
So as we gear up for the good, the bad, and, oh My – help us Jesus, the ugly that we may encounter over the next few days, let’s promise one another that we will try to be the light that God wants us to be. Let’s agree that we will be the one’s that try to establish peace, whenever possible, with our family and friends, where necessary, as ambassadors for God’s kingdom.
Remember some basics, presented from God’s word, on how to deal skillfully with “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Thanksgiving.”
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
James 1:19 (NLT2)
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 (NLT2)
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful.
17 Never stop praying.
18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Luke 23:34 (NLT2)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” …
While I hope you have some mountain top moments of joy over the next few days that will make you want the moments to last forever, we have to remember that those we encounter over the next few days may not know the “peace that goes beyond all understanding” and may be bitter, angry, or hurting”. So let’s do our best to minister to them, but also remember not to be dragged into contentions or squabbles. Let’s walk that line with skill and let’s not forget that while Christ also commanded us to love our enemies, we are not Jesus. So know your limitations, speak an encouraging word, but if necessary, don’t forget to call on the Lord to show you the way of escape.
If we remember who we are in Christ, we will be grounded in peace no matter what we face, but wisdom may demand we extract ourselves from difficult situations or endure them with patience. There are no pat answers on how to deal with difficult situations but if we are diligent to forgive others and show love, we just may have something to be thankful for after this latest holiday passes.
Keep walking and talking with God, and He will see you through.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
Today’s verse reminds us that before Christ we were dead! But because we put our faith in Jesus, God has made us alive with Christ and has forgiven all our sins.
To be forgiven is huge gift from the Lord but our salvation is not just a “pardon” from the penalty that we would have rightly had to suffer. In Christian teachings there are many illustrations about going to court and having Jesus show up to pay our fine so we could be set free. While that is a useful way to explain the atonement, that picture is somewhat incomplete in expressing the new life we have in Christ.
Today’s verse indicates that our sinful nature has been cut away and that God gives us new life with Christ. What we receive when we put our faith is more than just a pardon, it is a new existence with new capabilities that we didn’t have before. But to experience the new existence, the new life in Christ and to realize the power of our new capabilities, we have to believe that this verse is true, that this verse and all the other one’s about the new life in Christ, is true about us.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who makes us spiritually alive, and powerful. After we become Christians, we are guaranteed eternal life with God forever and we have the power to say no to sin, for good. But we have to believe it and act on it. Sometimes transformation comes quickly, sometimes it comes in time, but it always comes from faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So believe and receive what the Lord has done for you. Keep walking and talking with God, and obey the call He puts on your life. We can trust the Lord because we were once dead but He has made us alive and He wants us to thrive. Go with God.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
The Sermon on the Mount
The Community of Disciples Is Set Apart
The Great Separation concludes
Verse 22. Confessors and doers are separated from each other. Now the separation is driven in as far as it can go. Here, finally, those speak up who have survived the test up to now. They belong to the doers, but now they make demands based upon their deeds instead of upon their confession. They have done deeds in the name of Jesus. They know that confession does not justify; hence, they went out to make the name of Jesus great among the people by their deeds. Now they come before Jesus and refer to those deeds.
Jesus reveals to his disciples here the possibility of a demonic faith, point that they are indistinguishable from the deeds of true disciples of Jesus. They do works of love, miracles, perhaps even sanctify themselves, and yet deny Jesus and discipleship. It is just as Paul says in chapter 13 of the First Letter to the Corinthians about the possibility of preaching, prophesying, having all knowledge, even all faith to remove mountains—but without love, that is, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Yes, even more than this: Paul must even consider the possibility that the works of Christian love themselves, giving away one’s goods, even so far as martyrdom, can be done—without love, without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. Without love—that means that in all those actions the deed of discipleship does not take place, that deed, whose doer is finally none other than the one who calls us, Jesus Christ himself. That is the deepest, least comprehensible possibility of the satanic within the congregation, the ultimate separation, which, of course, does not take place until the last judgment. But it will be a final one. Those following Jesus must ask what is the ultimate standard of measure of who will be accepted by Jesus and who will not. Who remains and who does not? Jesus’ answer to those who are rejected at the end says it all: “I never knew you.” That is the final secret, which has been kept from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount up until its end. That alone is the question, whether we were known by Jesus or not. To what should we hold fast, if we hear how the word of Jesus draws the separation between the community and the world, and then within the community until the last judgment? If nothing is left to us, neither our confession nor obedience? Then the only thing left is his word: I have known you. This is his everlasting word, his everlasting call. The end of the Sermon on the Mount connects here with its beginning. His word at the last judgment—it is issued to us in his call to discipleship. But from the beginning to the end, it remains his word, his call. Those who in discipleship hold fast to nothing except this word and let everything else go will be carried by this word through the last judgment. His word is his grace.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship