Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is almost here! I've put a great deal of thought and prayer into this holiday, particularly as many people I know have been counting their blessings over the past few weeks on Facebook. For me, though, Thanksgiving seems to point to something much greater than itself. I cannot celebrate this holiday of giving thanks to God without anticipating the greatest gift of all: the Messiah who saves us from our sins and brings reconciliation between us and God.

In true divine fashion, God has been prepared a fantastic resource for me this year in my small group. We're reading through Packer's classic book Knowing God, and this week's chapter was on God's Goodness and Severity. One particular section caught my attention; Packer states (italics all his):
Within the cluster of God's moral perfections there is one in particular to which the term 'goodness' points - the quality which God specially singled out from the whole then, proclaiming 'all his goodness' to Moses, he spoke of himself as 'abundant in goodness and truth' (Exod. 34:6 f.). This is the quality of generosity. Generosity means a disposition to give to others in a way which has no mercenary motive and is not limited by what the recipients deserve, but consistently goes beyond it. Generosity expresses the simple wish that others should have what they need to make them happy. Generosity is, so to speak, the focal point of God's moral perfection; it is the quality which determines how all God's other excellences are to be displayed.
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And as Packer states later on in the chapter, quoting Romans 2:4, it is God's kindness that is supposed to lead us towards repentence and appreciation of His patience in executing judgment - the incredible generosity of God providing more time than we deserve to turn back and acknowledge Him as Lord.

The measure of God's goodness and generosity toward us were marvelously displayed on the cross - the culmination and fulfillment of the first part of His promise; a sign of His faithfulness so that we would believe in His trustworthiness (put our faith in Him).

If you know Christ, let this Thanksgiving be a time of reflection for your heart to meditate on these truths, in a way worthy of His calling (Eph 4:1). If you do not yet believe or are wrestling with God, I pray you will consider the good things God has done in your life - even if there is great pain and hurt, for where there is suffering there you will find Christ identifying in your suffering (2 Cor 1:3-7), offering to comfort you if you would only follow Him.
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