Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evi-
dent to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about any-
thing, but in everything, by
prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your
requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Philippians 4:4-7
To all the saints,
As Thanksgiving approaches there are many things that would tempt us to be less than thankful and perhaps cause us to question our faith or even our loving and merciful God.
How can we be thankful when we live in a world in which snipers pick people off the street, indiscriminately wreaking their havoc; when terrorism threatens our security; when nuclear war is a very real possibility?
How can we be thankful when perhaps millions go to bed hungry every day and plagues of deadly diseases threaten even our technologically advanced nation?
How can we be thankful when so many people are without work and all the benefits gainful employment brings?
How can we be thankful when evil men prosper and the moral among us suffer?
How can we be thankful when the world insults us, mocks us and threatens us because of our belief in a God Who claims there are none beside Him?
How can the Lord tell us to rejoice in Him always, to not be anxious and to be thankful when all this evil surrounds us every day?
The answer is that God’s kingdom is not of this world. Our creature comforts or discomforts, our corporate security or insecurity, our worldly success or failure are not measures of the depth of our faith or of the love and mercy of the One True God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We rejoice and are thankful because in all these circumstances – in good times and bad, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health – "the Lord IS near."
As the prophet Jeremiah assures us, "the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm us;" and as the apostle Paul concurs, "nothing can come between us and the love that God has for us in Christ Jesus."
No matter what happens in this world, the believer in Christ as the Son of One True God – the Word made flesh Who gave His life for us on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin, Who has risen from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven – will always have a tomorrow. And that tomorrow is one in which he will be in the presence of God.
Now what more could you ask?
Rejoice! Give thanks!
And the peace of the LORD be with you all.