November 27, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 27}: Refuge unto Thanksgiving

I am nearing the end of this month-long series.  Catch up on previous posts here.

In America today we celebrate Thanksgiving, a national day to give thanks.  It stems from celebration that the Pilgrims shared with Native Americans long before America became a nation.  God had provided miraculous help for the Pilgrims through Squanto and the Wampanoag tribe.  The harvest was plentiful.  They wanted to celebrate.  They invited Squanto and chief Massasoit and ninety of the tribe came for the three-day celebration!  There was so much to be thankful for.  They had food to eat.  Babies had been born.  Houses were standing.  They were worshiping as they desired.  God had sustained them through their first year in New Plymouth, a year that ended bountifully but was also marked with sorrow.  They had buried half of those who came across the ocean seeking freedom.  Half.  Yet they gave thanks on that first Thanksgiving celebration.

I admire those Pilgrims and the strength of their faith, bodies, and spirits.  I learn from them about enduring and trusting God, running to the Refuge, when it seems like all hope is lost.  I am grateful for the many accounts of their story.

Did you know that God was preparing Squanto to be able to help them years before they hit the shores of modern-day Massachusetts?  He had two journeys across the ocean to Europe and learned English.  The second time he returned home, his tribe had been wiped out by sickness, but the Wampanoag took him in.  I find the story astounding, and a testimony to the ways God is preparing to take care of us long before we know how desperately we might need specific care!

So here are today's questions.  Are you giving thanks today?  If yes, fantastic!  All kinds of psychological studies attest to the value of the practice of thanks giving.  Second question, to whom are you giving thanks today?  Scripture teaches us that there is an Object of our thanksgiving.  We give thanks to God.  We take refuge in Him and he provides for us, not only materially, but, more importantly, spiritually.

On Sunday, our pastor reminded us not only to give thanks for good things in our lives, but to remember what God has done for us in Christ.  You see, the Bible teaches us that our biggest problem is not what we will eat or what we will wear.  Our most dire need is not external; it's internal.  Our hearts are a mess.  We are separated from our Creator.  Sin rules our lives whether we know it or not.

But God!

The Creator made the way for reconciliation so that we could again have a relationship with Him and have LIFE!  (Hebrews 10:19-25) If we have Jesus, we have reason to be thankful every minute of every day.

As I have shared here on this blog many a time, we do not always live thankful.  We're not in paradise with our Lord yet.  But no matter what is happening around us, if we are in Christ we are new creations and nothing can separate us from our God.  We are loved, beyond our wildest dreams.  Indeed, we can give thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136: 1, 23-26

Running Orders:
  • Read Psalm 136 today, maybe at your Thanksgiving table!
  • Direct all of your Thanksgiving to God today.  He is the Giver.  Don't just say, "I am thankful for ..."  Practice saying, "I am thankful to God for ...."
  • Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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