Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! There is something about this time of year that just feels good... maybe it's the weather starting to turn cold, or the visual of God's wonder through the beautiful ending of one season and the beginning of another, maybe it's the food, or the smells associated with Fall... but maybe it's the spirit of thankfulness and gratitude... Reading in the Bible this morning about the Israelites as they reflected back on their journey from captivity and slavery I was amazed at their forgetfulness. Account after account of God's faithfulness, grace, provision, leadership, protection, and more grace for the people He promised to deliver and care for. In fact, I started to underline every time I read something that started with "you..." when it came to what God did for them and the pages of the chapter quickly became overwhelmed with my lines. God not only delivered His people, He provided for them in abundance and in miraculous ways every day, each step of the way. Whether it was a the plagues that finally convinced their captors that God was for their freedom, the sea opening up for escape, a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night as physical guidance, bread that fell from the sky, water that came from rocks, the fact that their clothes did not wear out for 40 years in the desert, their feet did not swell after 40 year of walking through the desert, the gift of His law through Moses, finally entering in to the promised land, starting their new lives with more than they could ever need... are you starting to get the point? God did so much for them but yet they continued in a pattern of recognizing Him and His faithfulness to turning their backs on Him for their own gain and selfish desires to repenting of those things to receiving His forgiveness and blessing again.
I used to look at that and get frustrated at the fact that they directly experienced God in ways that few ever have or ever will and yet continued to put themselves first. Now I see daily examples of that same pattern in my own life, in the church, and throughout generations of people who have experienced God in different ways and still put their desires before glorifying Him with their lives. My payer during this season of thankfulness is not that we would all enjoy the holiday of Thanksgiving but that our hearts would truly be full of thanksgiving to God. He has done great things! He has delivered us from our enemy! He has provided for our needs! He has performed miracles in our lives and in the world around us! The God of the universe knows and loves us! We are eternally blessed through our surrendering of this temporal life and immediately get to experience just a fragment of His Kingdom even here on earth!
Each day that God gives us the breath and life to wake up and live is another day that we can choose to live full of thanksgiving because we know Him!
I pray today that God would overwhelm you all with His thankfulness and that you would know just how thankful the Invest team is for you as well. I speak for all of us when I say we couldn't begin to count the blessings of this year. Participating in ministry together with you. We are thankful for your prayers, for sending your students to journey with us, the volunteering of your time, the opening of your homes, the provision of meals, the sharing of your resources, the verbal and emotional encouragement, the partnering with us to invest in the lives of others. Thank you for experiencing God together with us!
With Great Thankfulness,
Nathanael, Kristin, and the Invest Team!