Thanksgiving is a short month way. I sure appreciate that our government sets this day aside, along with our churches, to focus on the good things we have been given, the great things about our country, and the Gospel that is proclaimed by Christ centered ministries. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
As we face many pilgrim struggles in our lives, what can help us cope with them is to nurture our hearts in gratitude which brings a sense of contentment, peace, hope, and non-anxious living. When we focus on the Gospel of Christ and not on ourselves, with thankful hearts, we are able to embrace the fullness of life.
The Gospel is “Good News.” Embracing the Gospel offers us more than we can imagine. In the center of the Gospel stands Jesus Christ. This is pointed out in Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” When we embrace Jesus through an active living faith, connecting with His bride and body the church, and faithfully apply Christ’s teachings to our pilgrimage, we are redeemed, receive adoption papers as members of His kingdom, and are taken into God’s family where we have a perfect Father caring for us. Believers become heirs to an eternal home as explained to us in Revelation 7:16-17: “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” The future for those who are disciples of Jesus is so bright and wholesome that it is indeed hard to imagine. Certainly, something to be thankful for.
When we keep our focus on this “Good News,” we are able to embrace the abundant life that Jesus came to give. May our focus be on His loving and giving nature and not let life overwhelm us. We have a faithful Friend who stands ready to pick us up off the floor when we fall, to encourage us and give us hope when life seems hopeless, and to guide us when we are not sure of what to do next. Together, let us encourage one another, support one another, be patient and love one another, as followers of Christ carrying out His work here on earth making our world a better place through connecting and supporting His church on earth. There is no better recipe for pilgrim struggles than what God offers us in the beauty of the Gospel. Together, may we embrace this great reality. Rev. Dr. Carl Van Voorst, Hope for Life Community Church, Watertown, SD