November 2022 Update
Thanksgiving Day “flew” by but “thanks-living” remains as a permanent and ongoing virtue. 1Thess. 5:16-18 exhorts us to “rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; and in everything give thanks…” Who can do this? It’s not just improbable, but humanly speaking, it is an impossibility! Praise, prayer, and thanksgiving cannot be just external actions, but must be an attitude or spiritual heart-condition. Prayer is to the soul what breath is to the body; it can operate without conscious awareness.
James says,” count it all joy” when you fall into trials, “knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh [produces] patience [endurance];” this “counting” is an act of faith in light of knowing that God will use the trials to make us more like Him! If I find a new “dent” in my car fender when leaving the store, I’m not going to “shout Hallelujah, glory to God!” I may be visibly upset, but soon must “count it joy” in my heart. Does that work with sickness, death of a loved one, financial loss, or other disturbing news? It has to work, but is only possible by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. So what does a Spirit-filled believer look like? He’s not a “fanatical impractical kook” but one who is “supernaturally natural;” he or she is characterized by an obvious prayerful, joyous spirit, with a constant “attitude of gratitude!” The original word translated “thanksgiving” is eucharis, literally meaning “to be well-graced or full of joy”. God knows, we need an “epidemic” or invasion of such people today in the church!
I had the pleasure of attending our family reunion over Thanksgiving in WV. It was a delightful time of renewal and fellowship (with plenty of food). While we enjoyed the “fun and games,” we experienced some “trials” which had to be handled as I mentioned above. The house was in the wilderness, at a ski slope, with snowy, muddy roads (hills); Being “stuck in the mud” was a reality, complicating an already challenging situation. But despite other incidental “problems” we ended our stay with a thankful spirit. By God’s grace, I made it back home after a horrendous experience driving many hours over twisting mountain roads. I may have “worn out” my guardian angel, along with a set of brakes. PTL!
Thank you so much for your continued intercession as I teach at the Mission. I’m very busy and while I get tired, I’m not bored! “In everything give thanks!”
My love to each of you,