Zion Baptist Church
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Baptist Missionary Association of America
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By Mrs. Connie Reifsteck - November 2010
What do we usually do to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday? If you are hosting, you probably start with a guest list, then a menu, then make up your grocery list. Perhaps you’ll let guests know what they can bring.
And, maybe you’ll even try a new recipe. If you’re doing that, you will double check and make sure you have all the ingredients you’ll need. And you’ll read the instructions a few times to make sure you get the process in mind. And after that, you will serve this new dish to family and/or friends at your Thanksgiving meal.
All of that relates to our physical body. Good friends, good food, and good feelings - all these things make our body feel good.
How about a spiritual recipe for Thanksgiving? Here are four simple ingredients for a solid spiritual dish - trust, contentment, gratitude, and faith.
1. Trust as a noun is defined as confidence or hope. Trust may be a thing of strength between two people. Children trust their parents to take care of them, husbands and wives trust each other in their relationship, and close friends trust each other to do no harm. Yet trust is also fragile. In a moment of carelessness, trust may be broken. Think of a spider’s web. The web is strong enough to catch and hold small insects. Think if you have ever walked through a web - the strings cling to your skin and clothes. But the web can be broken through and it’s original condition destroyed. The web is an earthly thing. It cannot hold up permanently.
Look at Psalm 56:11 - “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” And Hebrews 2:13 quotes a scripture in Isaiah (Isaiah 8:17) “And again, ‘I will put my trust in Him.’ “
While human trust is strong yet fragile and can be destroyed, trust in God is confident. It will hold. It cannot be destroyed.
Trust may also be used as a verb, a word of action. Psalm 4:5 issues a directive about trust - “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and pur your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 118:8 offers advise about trust - “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” II Corinthians 1:9 is very plain about whom to trust - “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:”
2. Our second ingredient is contentment. To be satisfied is to content. With what should we be content? Be content with enough, and if you have extra, give it away. Look at what Luke tells of John’s instructions during his ministry. In Luke 3:14 we read “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Don’t take anything from others just so you will have more, be content with what you have. Paul says in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul had learned to be content in all situations. Paul had placed his trust in God.
Paul wrote to Timothy as recorded in I Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” The writer of Hebrews tells us to be content with what we have. Hebrews 13:5 reads “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Our contentment rests on God’s provision for us.
3. Gratitude, or thankfulness, is the next ingredient in our spiritual recipe for Thanksgiving. For what should we be grateful? “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Have gratitude for a Savior, and in thankfulness, walk following His example. Above all earthly considerations, we should have gratitude and thankfulness for a heavenly kingdom. James 2:5 tells us “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” While gratitude or thankfulness is very appropriate for what we attain or obtain on earth, we should have immense gratitude for a heavenly Father Who has promised us a kingdom for loving Him!
4. The last ingredient in our recipe is faith. To believe or trust in something we cannot see requires faith. We are blessed for having faith. “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:” (Psalm 146:5,6) The amount, or size, of our faith may be small and still produce. On an occasion when the disciples could not cast out a demon, they asked Jesus why they had failed. “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20) Faith as a grain of mustard seed is also referred to in Luke 17:6. What is the reward for having faith?
Faith give us access to God. Faith gives us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith gives us the hope of resurrection and eternal life. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1,2 We may have just a little faith to start with, but as the disciples desired, so should we. “And the disciples said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5 God does not want our faith to fail. Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail, and that Peter would be able to strengthen the brethren. (Luke 22:32)
This Thanksgiving take this simple recipe and follow it in your daily walk. Believe and have confidence that God in God. Trust Him to take care of your needs. Be content with the things God has given you. Know that He will never desert you. Express thankfulness or gratitude for what He has given us, especially the sacrifice of His son for our salvation. Also be thankful for the promise of a heavenly kingdom. Exercise your faith daily, and ask God to increase your faith. Know that God loves us and wants us to have peace and joy with Him.