Meanderings of a Minister


Need a Good Recipe?
November 12, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Articles

Hey!  Want a Great Thanksgiving Recipe?

As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought I might take some time to share with you a recipe that I have found to be very helpful.  It is the recipe for Thanksgiving and it goes like this. 

 

To have a really attractive Thanksgiving, you first need to add a relationship with God.  For some, that means beginning this relationship.  For others, it means having assurance of the relationship you already have.  (1 John 5:13)  I am convinced of the reasons a lot of “Christians” do not have more joy in their life is that they either have never actually begun a relationship with Christ by grace and through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) or they struggle with serving God to try to earn his love instead of serving Him because they are loved.  When they blow it, they feel like they have let God down and are rejected, so the last thing they want to do is pray for talk to God and they really don’t feel very thankful when faced with that huge debt they owe Him.

Next, add awareness of God’s presence.  (1 John 5:14)  As strange as it may sound, since I am a preacher, a person does not have to go to church to experience God.  Now, having said that, the Bible clearly tells us we are not to forsake the gathering of the believers (Hebrews 10:24-25) and that we hamper or cripple the church when we are not there (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4 etc.), but we do not have to go somewhere to find a God that is everywhere.  The woman at the well struggled with this concept in John 4.  She tried to engage Jesus in debate about where was the place to encounter God and He basically told her that true worshippers encounter God everywhere because He is not limited geographically, like you and I.  Many believers lack joy in their lives and are not filled up with thankfulness because they feel like they have to go somewhere or do something to invoke the presence of God.  Instead, we should be aware that He is everywhere and with us, in Christ, all the time.

Next, you add confidence in answered prayer.  (1 John 5:15)  This does not mean that we pray for anything we can dream up and, if we believe hard enough, we will have it.  What it means, in context, is that as God changes our want to’s to line up with His, we are on the right team and, as the captain of that team, He is always going to get His way, so we are as well.  Many Christians lack joy in the Christian life because they either do not pray, do not look for God’s will in what they pray or simply are selfishly demanding their own way and God is not coming through.  When we pray this way, there is no wonder there is little Thanksgiving because God is never going to go against His will or give us what is not the best for us, no matter how hard we ask.  Instead, we should be filled with Thanksgiving because we know God is hearing us.

Now, the next ingredient is the toughest to find, the most necessary to acquire and absolutely crucial for the success of Thanksgiving.  We need to add affection for others.  (1 John 5:16a)  If we are never broken to pray for other believers, how in the world can we be praying for the will of God as the Church is the Bride of Christ?  If we are never affected by the plight of the lost and dying around the world, who have never heard the name of Jesus, then how can we be filled with praise?  This is why Jesus said He came!  (Luke 19:10)  If we want to be filled with joy to the point of overflowing with Thanksgiving, then we must also be affected by what affects Him.

Next, we need to strain out the pointless prayers.  (1 John 5:16b-17)  While I am not going to go in depth about the “sin leading unto death” and “sin not leading unto death”, I will say that John gave instructions that we were to pray about some things and not about others.  If we spend our time trying pray for things for which we have no passion because we have no unction from the Holy Spirit, then we will never be filled with Thanksgiving.  “But, how do I know what things are pointless to pray for?” you might ask.  The answer is that we listen to the Holy Spirit and what He tugs at our hearts about.  Those things we pray for, others not so much.

Lastly, we need to pour this mixture into a life that avoids sin as a way of life (1 John 5:18), cook it in the oven of daily living that is in constant tension between our world looking like it is under Satan’s power, but knowing God is sovereign (1 John 5:19) and we leave it for as long as Christ tarries.  We garnish it with an understanding of Who God is and His Word as Truth (1 John 5:20) and it yields more Thanksgiving than this life can handle.

Need a good recipe for Thanksgiving?  Give this a try.

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