Gratitude For A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

This, the eve of the American Thanksgiving Day, finds me feeling pensive: and reverent.

I am truly grateful to God for my husband, for my children and their mates, for my siblings, for my in-laws, for my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, and for all my extended family – natural-born and chosen.

I am thankful for friendships, old and time-tested, and for those that are new, and full of bright promise.

I give thanks for a warm home when it’s cold outside: which turns into a cool home in the hot summer months.

I am humbled in my gratitude for a multitude of blessings that are simple and mundane, yet make me feel comforted and capable so that I have the strength to pass some of them on:

Pets to keep me company while my captain is away at work.

Appliances to help me get my laundry done.

Musical instruments with which to play and sing along.

A computer to keep me connected and up to date with the outside world.

A family van large enough to accommodate my grandchildren – and my husband’s thoughtfulness and foresight to get that extra seat so we can take all of them along.

A spot for my garden, tools to make repairs,

A wonderful goose-down comforter that is light enough to pull up to my neck without causing me extra pain.

A digital camera: so I can catch and share special moments.

A boom-box and my favorite CD’s to lift my spirits while I wash my dishes.

A pantry and refrigerator full of good food, with plenty to share, and the strength in my body to get up each day and utilize all these blessings afforded to me.

Beyond the material things that bless my life, I am thankful that the Lord watches over me and gives me strength from day to day in the presence of chronic disease and pain. I am thankful for the constant reminder of my own mortality because it keeps my heart close to heaven, and my mind on my Father above. I am thankful that God looks beyond my physical appearance, even on those days when I wince at my reflection in the mirror. I rejoice to be His daughter, and reverently praise Him because He has never given up on me. He has promised that He will complete the good work in me that was begun in Christ Jesus, until that day when I shed this mortal body and step into one that is incorruptible.

Perhaps as I have listed off a few my blessings, you, my friend, have thought of a few of your own.

But perhaps you are alone this Thanksgiving. Maybe you are sharing it with a friend because neither of you has family nearby. Maybe you are working on Thanksgiving so that others may be with their families. It is possible you don’t realize that you don’t need a turkey with all the trimmings in order to give your thanks to the Lord.

I’ve sometimes wondered if we don’t set ourselves up for disappointment when the holiday comes around. Our expectations are set, and we are often let down. We feel we need to act out the tradition in order to be fulfilled, but often the tradition becomes a contest of prowess in the kitchen, and gluttony at the table. Is this the best way to show our gratitude to Adonai God?

It seems to me that all these wonderful gifts should garner much more praise for the Good Lord. More than just a few hasty, self-conscious words spoken around a burdened table, while everyone drools over the sumptuous feast. More than a murmured, halfhearted prayer, with one eye closed, and other on the turkey. We owe all that we have, and all that we hope to be, to the Lord God Heavenly Father who has blessed us with life. It seems to me that more is required of us than to mumble a few token phrases before we dig in.

There is a saying: “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. This seems especially appropriate these days.

The economy in the U.S.A. has people on edge, worrying about their future and their jobs. Some are wondering about how they will pay rent and bills, while the commercial pressures of the season are mounting up. Bonuses are getting smaller, or going away altogether. Work hours are being cut, and people are staying home because it’s just too expensive to travel. Serious lack is staring some of us in the face, and the temptation to fear is hard to resist when every time we turn on the news or read the paper, bad news stares us in the face. Some wonder how we can be thankful when everything seems to be falling apart.

My friend, why don’t you to stop for a moment and reflect on these facts? No matter how things appear, God is still God, and His promises are sure. If we put our confidence in Him, we will not be ashamed. He can be trusted to do what He has said that He will do for those who love and obey Him.

While the entire World is in a dither, her heads of state and rulers of nations jockeying for position in the new pecking order, there are certain things that can be taken for granted:

No matter how we dress ourselves, we are still fallen creatures who must have a Savior to wash us, cleanse us, and bring us, blameless and forgiven, into the presence of a Holy God.

All the riches in the world cannot purchase heaven for us, cannot forgive our sins, and cannot truly make us free in the kingdom that is to come.

Poverty in material things cannot keep us from heaven if our hearts are turned toward the land of our “new” birth.

All the world, and all that is in it, will one day pass away, but if we put our trust in God, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then we will one day stand with Him and drink the cup of the wine of the new covenant of Christ our Lord, and we will be with Him forever.

Hebrews 12:28 sums it up exceedingly well; “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”

There are poor “Henny Penny” folks running around screaming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” It may very well be falling, but the truth of the matter is that God warned His own about the times to come. Since He has warned us, we need not fear that something slipped out of His hands or that He somehow lost control.

We should not be surprised at what we are seeing. Men will not redeem the world, but the Son of Man may redeem men.

We need not fear what we see happening in the world, though we are wise to prepare as we see that the times in which we live are growing increasingly evil. We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken! Whatever we see in the world today, whatever happens in our society, in our government, in all of creation, we know that not one bit of it has escaped the notice of the One who even sees when a sparrow falls.

We walk by faith, and not by sight. This means that we trust in the Kingdom that is not made with human hands, because we trust in the King who made it all. We don’t fear what we see happening around us, because we know that this corruptible world will fall apart, and eventually be destroyed. We know that we who are living in bodies of flesh will trade mortality for immortality when we put on Jesus Christ!

For more than the food in our bellies and clothing on our backs, we are truly grateful. These temporary houses of clay, these earthen huts called human bodies, are meant to house our immortal spirits as we learn to grow in the nature and character of our Father in Heaven.

We are thankful that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are strangers in a strange land, merely passing through. We worship the Lord God Heavenly Father with reverence and awe. We wait on Him to do His bidding, full of gratitude that He has called us and chosen us to be sons and daughters in His Kingdom, by the grace of the finished work of His dear Son, our brother, Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

May you experience a truly reverent and awe-filled life of gratitude; long after Thanksgiving Day has passed.

Pastora Covert

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