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November 24, 2022

Changing The Thanksgiving Day Conversation

“…I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1)

The Christian life is a counter-cultural life. We are called to love our enemies, eschew independence in favor of God dependence, to honor one another in sacrificial submission, and to live in ways that subject us to persecution for Christ’s sake. And, in possibly the most counterintuitive of all the counter-cultural virtues, Christians are to rejoice in our sufferings. This Thanksgiving as you gather in gratitude, consider taking turns reflecting upon, and giving thanks for, your past year’s lessons afforded by affliction.
If some illustrations would be helpful, the Bible provides many examples of how God redeems our trials for our good and His glory. Romans 5:3-4 and James 1:2-4 instruct us that our sufferings teach us perseverance and character, leading to spiritual maturity. Paul’s trials in Asia were so despairing that they exceeded his ability to endure, teaching him to depend less on himself and more on the God of resurrection power (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). And the writer of Hebrews tells of the discipline of God which, though painful, eventually produces holiness and yields “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11).
So, think about changing the conversation around the Thanksgiving table this year. It’s a counter-cultural idea, befitting of a counter-cultural people, who serve a counter-cultural God.
And, by the way … While sharing this special day with relatives, be mindful of another counter-cultural virtue of the follower of Christ: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
That could be the most fruitful conversation changer of all!

Question: As you reflect back, can you joyfully appraise the indispensable lessons learned through suffering?

Challenge: Change the conversation you have with yourself. Accept the truth that our sanctification is often hammered out on the anvil of adversity.

Prayer: Lord, we are the clay, you are the potter. Mold us and shape us for your glory.

Arnie Knecht, League Coordinator -- American Association

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