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Why Thanksgiving Was So Good For Us

December 2, 2013

Timothy and Naia Byrd are missionaries with Campus Outreach in Johannesburg South Africa. They are a great encouragement to us at East Point Church. We pray we are of some encouragement to them as well. Recently, Tim and Naia shared their thoughts on Thanksgiving.  After reading and reflecting on their words, I am moved to share them with you.  Thanks Tim and Naia! 

Giving thanks for more than cornbread alone….

Byrd_s_thanksgiving_day_picf0ffb12e7006Being on the mission field for 9 years we have rarely been back to the states for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  But that does not mean we don’t celebrate it!  In fact, last year we had Thanksgiving dinner with our South African friends and they loved it.  Not just the food, but the idea of taking an entire day to say thank you.  However, with Thanksgiving not being a traditional holiday in South Africa they quickly asked, “who are we thanking and what are we thankful for?”  These are great questions.

This Thanksgiving we were reminded of the many blessings given to us from the Lord.  Blessings like a roof over our head, good health, food on the table and family and friends who love us!  These things are such a blessing in our lives.  We would be remiss and blind to the greatness of God if we don’t rejoice in God’s faithfulness toward our physical needs.  However, the greatest blessing the Lord has given us is the person Jesus Christ.  There is no greater blessing or joy than seeing, delighting and knowing Jesus Christ in a personal way.  Look at what David says about not forgetting all the benefits of knowing God…

Psalm 103  Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.

It is through Christ that God shows his greatest compassion and graciousness toward us.  In John 15:13 Jesus is speaking to His disciples and says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  In Jesus we experience God’s abounding love through the cross.  By God pouring out his wrath on Jesus for our sins, he does not treat us like we deserve.  So now by grace, thieves are treated like sons.  By His love, murderers have been given a front row seat next to the throne of grace.  By the power of the gospel, broken people, like me or you, are invited to taste of the Lords goodness.  And when we taste of His goodness we drink of a fountain that never runs dry.  When we feast on his word it leads us to the bread of life that satisfies our hungry souls. This Thanksgiving was good for us and we pray it was good for you too.  For in it we are reminded God cares for both our physical and especially our spiritual needs.

Reminded of His goodness with you,

The Byrds

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