A recipe for holiday thankfulness to God

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

Well, by now most of us have thoroughly enjoyed our Thanks-giving holiday. We have spent time with loved ones, feasted on familiar Thanksgiving recipes and even tried some new ones.

Our refrigerators are full of leftovers and our clothes are just a little bit tighter. We truly have much for which to be thankful.

May I suggest an indispensable recipe for the holiday season?

It is appropriate any time, but especially so during this season. It is a recipe for thankfulness itself, and it ought to be at the top of our list of favorite recipes. It provides a continual feast for the soul.

This recipe is taken from the book of Colossians in the New Testament. You have to admit, it is most appropriate that the city of Colosse was founded in Asia Minor, an area now known as Turkey!

The first ingredient is redemption. In Colossians 1:12-14, we are challenged to give thanks to our heavenly Father because he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and qualified us to share in the inheritance provided for us through Jesus Christ.

Verse 14 states, "... in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Redemption is the first and most important ingredient in this thanksgiving recipe. When used in scripture, this word simply means ransom.

Jesus Christ's sacrifice for our sins has provided the only avenue of escape from sin's dominion in our life. By accepting his gift of salvation, our sin debt is paid in full. We are redeemed because of the ransom he has paid for us.

The next ingredient in our recipe is faith. In Colossians 2:6, 7, we are told to be "overflowing with thankfulness."

This is possible by allowing our faith to grow and become strong. Just as we began our walk with Christ by faith, we are commanded to exercise that faith by building ourselves up in him.

Learning about Christ and following him will strengthen us, making us able to face the things that challenge our faith.

Next we add peace to our recipe. Chapter 3:15 tells us, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called to peace. And be thankful."

True peace can only come from the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Our Savior promises a peace that transcends human understanding.

In recent months, our world has been shaken. For many this instability has caused panic and insecurity. They worry constantly about what could happen.

In this verse, we are told to let Christ's peace rule in our hearts. The word "rule" in this text means "be the umpire." It means we should let this supernatural peace be the controlling factor in our lives.

Our final ingredient is devotion. In chapter 4:2 we are told, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."

Prayer and faithfulness on our part complete the recipe. To ignore this aspect of the process would make about as much sense as putting the turkey and all of the fixings into the oven without ever turning it on.

Take time this holiday season to evaluate your relationship with the one who has showered us with blessings.

Most of us add a few pounds during this time of year. (New Year's resolutions are right around the corner.)

But it would be tragic to have leanness of soul when we could be growing in grace.

This Thanksgiving recipe will ensure spiritual nourishment that satisfies long after all of the other leftovers are gone.

Phil Reemtsma is pastor of Calgary Baptist Church, 208 Lawton Drive, Kenai. Sunday school meets at 9:45 a.m., Sunday worship is at 11 a.m., the evening service is at 6 p.m. and the Wednesday service is at 7 p.m.

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