In a world filled with frustration and division, it helps to step back and think about the God of the universe and His generous gifts.
Thanks be to God for what He has given.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 of how the Lord has given us His indescribable gift. In verse 14 he emphasizes it has already been completed—God’s grace has been bestowed upon you and me through Jesus Christ.
Thank God for the unspeakable gift of His grace! We ought to be eternally grateful for Jesus Christ and the priceless gift of His love. Through Christ, this, and every good thing for life and godliness is freely given to us—beyond our understanding and ability to express and beyond our ability to contain.
The Lord did not give us a cheap or selfish gift. He generously gave us His best! God gives not only enough for ourselves, but more than enough so we may supply the lack in others.
Thanks be to God for what He is giving.
According to 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, the Lord is giving us a place in Christ’s triumphal procession! To those who are perishing, we are the smell of death, while to those who are being saved, the fragrance of life.
James M. Freeman notes in “The New Manners and Customs of the Bible” that a Roman military triumphal procession was one of the grandest spectacles of ancient times. It was only granted to a conqueror when the victory was complete and decisive; when it was over a foreign foe; when at least five thousand of the enemy were slain in a single battle; when the conquest extended the territory of the state and when it put an end to the war. The general, in whose honour the triumph was decreed, rode in a majestic chariot drawn by four horses. His robe was embroidered with gold and his tunic with flowers. In his right hand was an evergreen branch that symbolized victory and in his left a sceptre, while on his head there was a wreath made of foliage from Mt. Parnassus, the site of the Greek god Apollo’s temple.
The temples were all open and decorated with flowers, while incense smoked from every altar. Fragrant odours from burning spices were profusely scattered through the temples and along the streets, filling the air with perfume. The richest spoils of war, such as gold, silver, weapons of every description, rare and costly works of art and everything that was deemed most valuable by either conqueror or vanquished were carried in open view of the crowded city. The prisoners of war were also compelled to march in the procession. These poor souls were on their last trek before execution, so to them all these sights and smells were symbols of their fate.
There is a decisive victory in the spiritual realm for Jesus Christ and His followers! The fragrance which filled the air in the Roman triumph was inhaled alike by the captives of war doomed to death and by the people who through the victory were saved from a similar fate. Likewise, the Gospel is preached to all, but with different results—to the believers, salvation and to those who reject it, eternal death.
The work we are called to do in the kingdom of God is humanly impossible. We have in ourselves no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God and in what He gives us.
Thanks be to God for what He will give.
The Lord will give us victory over death! According to 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin, but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting. He has made atonement for our sin by paying the penalty for it. The strength of sin is exposed in the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away with his or her transgressions. Therefore, death is terrifying to those who do not believe in Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf and those who refuse to repent of their sin.
Death may seize a believer but it cannot hold him or her in its power. Hope is offered to us by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the One victorious over death! We are exhorted through the Bible to be steadfast and firm in the faith of that good news, which the apostles preached and new followers of Jesus received.
Stop and consider your eternal destiny. Is your only hope for life after death your trust in Jesus Christ and what He did for you by dying on the cross and by rising again from the dead? Are you now prepared to turn from your self-centred lifestyle to follow His leadership? If you can answer yes to both questions, you have a bright future ahead of you!
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was so popular at one time that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. A few college students, however, didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings; they facetiously sent him a letter with ten shillings. It read, “Please, send us your best word.”
They got back a letter from Kipling that said simply, “Thanks.”
We have so much to be thankful for in our past, present and future!