Our heavenly Father, the Father of tender mercies, shares everything He has with us.
He creates us. He breathes his spirit into us so we might have an intellect to know as He knows and a will to love and hope as He loves and hopes. He gives us all of His creation to take care of and to enjoy. He sends His Son when we turn away from Him. With His Son, He sends the Holy Spirit. He wants to completely share everything with us, His beloved.
How can we thank Him for all of His love? There are three basic ways of doing so.
First, we simply say the words, "thank you, Heavenly Father." We could add what/who we are thankful for. It's like telling our teacher "thank you."
Second, we give Him a gift, similar to giving the teacher an apple. I give you my time, my talent, my treasure.
The third way is the essence of "thank you." To be the people God created us to be is the best thank you we give to God. The best thank you we give to our teacher is to be a good student. We learn what the teacher teaches.
The third way is very scary. It shows whether we are thankful or not. If we tell our teacher thank you and fail the test, we are saying thank you for being a lousy teacher. Or, thank you because I didn't learn what you taught. If we give our teacher an apple and fail the test we would be doing the same. We do the same with God when we say thank you and then sin.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." We acknowledge that God created us in a certain way. He tells us how he created us in a certain way. He tells us who He created us to be. He tells us how He created us to function.
Psalm 95 does a beautiful job of describing the joy of being God's created people. "Let us approach Him with praise and thanksgiving ..." And it shows the proper relationship we have as the created, "Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our Maker."
We shutter as we read the ending, "I said, 'They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know My ways.' So I swore in my anger, 'They shall not enter into my rest.'" "Rest" means to have an intimate friendship with God, a sharing He created us for.
We need to know His ways so we can faithfully be the people whom He creates us to be. He tells us His ways. He speaks in Genesis, "Be fruitful and multiply." He tells us we are to take care of His creation. The seventh of the Ten Commandments tells us He creates us to be honest. He doesn't create us to be liars, cheats and pretenders. He tells us that we, created in his image, like Him are to share everything we have. We don't do it.
Scripture tells us we are all sinners. Can we really be thankful? There is hope in Jesus Christ. Psalm 116 (115) says it well: "What shall I render to the Lord for all His bounty to me?" "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord." "I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord."
On the Passover Feast, the Thanksgiving feast of the Jews, Jesus takes bread and wine, changes them into His Body and Blood, gives thanks and give Himself to His Father and to us for the remission of sins. The Blood of the Lamb, entering into us, washes us clean. But much more, we are intimately united with Jesus because His Body and Blood are within us.
The miracle of miracles makes it possible for us to be the people He created us to be. We share fully with our father in, through and with Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. With Jesus, we give the fullness of thanks to God: being the people He created us to be.
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