Thanksgiving Reflections on God’s Grace
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Most of us have an animal of some sort as a pet. I think I’ve always chosen a cat as a pet because a cat doesn’t require a lot of care. In the day it just finds a little place, curls up and goes to sleep. When it gets hungry it tells me, when it wants to go outside again, it lets me know. It is sort of a nuisance at times but somehow one just puts up with the little irritations because it’s part of the family. In spite of the fact that it really does almost nothing for the family except simply to be there, we spend money on it, we feed it, and we care for it. When it hurts, we hurt and when it dies, we feel a very real loss – not because it did any great thing, but only because it was part of the family.1

To me the relationship between cats and humans are an object lesson of God’s grace and his love for us. Truly Scripture is correct when it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6 NKJV). That is the love of God for us do-nothing creatures, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8 NKJV). We’re all just like the cat as a pet – we do so painfully little for the kingdom and yet he still loves us, still pours out his blessings on us and helps us when we’re in trouble.

When Jesus’ disciples asked him how many times they should forgive a person he told them something shocking, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Mat 18:22 NKJV). The Jews traditionally had set a limit on the number of times that a person needed to forgive a person. But when Jesus told his disciples that they needed to forgive people 70 times 7, He was essentially telling them that there is no limit to the number of times to forgive. That was a reflection of His own grace towards sinners. That is how God treats us poor undeserving wretched individuals, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat 5:45 NKJV).

To those of us who have accepted His gift of salvation and desire to be citizens of His kingdom He does so much more. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28 NKJV). That doesn’t mean that we don’t have problems in our life, for we may even go hungry for a while or have stress and fear. What it does mean is that He’s always working things out for our eventual good and never abandons us. “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb 13:5 NKJV).

God gives us the greatest treasure that he could ever bestow on us, the Holy Spirit. He does that because we have become children in his family and heirs according to the promise (Gal 3:29). In order to show the truthfulness of that Paul says, “having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:13-14 NKJV). That guarantee is the same thing as a down payment that is made on a purchase. In other words, God is guaranteeing our entrance into heaven for Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2 NKJV).

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is in the process of setting us aside (sanctifying us) and growing us up into the fullness of Christ. To us, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27 NKJV). All of this is being done to prepare us for endless life in the kingdom of his glory.

So what do I have to be thankful for? I am thankful for God who is truly love (1 John 4:8), who cares for me and who is doing everything he possibly can do to ensure that I have eternal life (Isa 5:4). It is true that I may not have a lot of things, and my life may be coming to an end in a world that is fraught with sorrow and pain. And like all other people I have medical problems and financial stress, but I know that God is with me, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phi 2:13 NKJV).

By faith, I have assurance through the promises of his word that I will have eternal life with him in heaven. What more could I ask for than that!

  1. Thanksgiving Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com
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Thanksgiving Reflections on God’s Grace — 13 Comments

  1. God forgave the Israelites countless time during the exodus regardless of how many times they sinned against Him to the point of rejecting God

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  2. It's so amazing to think of God's unfailing love for us when we have such a hard time forgiving others. God is truly merciful. Thank God for Jesus.

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  3. I get to experience the power of grace each time before I go to sleep and every morning before I wake up. Before I go to sleep I get reflect all of my days doing and it always leaves me wondering whether I deserve another day. Gods love towards us is beyond compare. No wonder some simply say it's 'amazing grace'.

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  4. I am truly thankful that the lord is my shepherd, and for his grace, mercy, and undying love for me to ensure a better place for me in his kingdom. When life is over here on this sinful earth, there is a place for us in heaven with our father. Have love one for another.

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  5. Overcoming sin and temptation had been a struggle that only with the Holy Spirit I can stand free. I am thankful that God forgiveness was not limited to a number. I pray daily that God give me the character to forgive others just as he did for me

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  6. May our hearts be full of gratitude whatever circumatances it may be. Just let Jesus be in control of all our thoughts and deeds. God bless to all servants of christ.

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  7. I thank Lord God Almighty for His love for me. I thank Jesus for Coming to die for my sins. Sometimes I wonder whether I deserve another chance in Life. But "I thank God through Jesus Christ Our Lord" whose saving grace I experience every day.

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  8. Although I identify with the article's hopeful conclusion and desire it's humble spirit, I struggle with the cat/ pet analogy. I like to think of myself and our race as having been endowed with a little more "something" than a cat. My family, too, has "owned" cats and they seem to make little contribution to the "family", both emotionally and from a practical point of view. I would like to think of "us" as being endowed with something a little "higher" than that. Even from the point of view of salvation, I'd like to think that Jesus became man for something more than a owner/ cat relationship. And that we are adopted into the family of God for more meaning than my cats have had for me. But then, I remember the sheep analogy in the Bible. And I get confused again. Any ideas?

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    • Alan, parables/analogies are useful for specific purposes which are usually made clear by the author. If we try to stretch them beyond that, we are sure to confuse.

      Jesus told many parables to illustrate specific aspects of the salvation story: the lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son, various types of soil, wheat and weeds, the great pearl, wages paid to laborers and more. Lest we get off the track, I won't even mention the really confusing ones. ;) Another familiar analogy shows God as the Potter and the believer as clay.

      I believe Tyler used the pet analogy to illustrate that we have nothing of intrinsic value to offer our Creator. We are of value to Him only because He chooses to care for us. More than that, He puts all the resources of heaven into action for our salvation, though we are only the creation of His hand.

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  9. for sure the love of GOD for me the sinner is un complehendable how i believe and get to know how much he loves me.

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  10. Thank you Mrs Anderson for your response. I also see Jesus' parables as limited to the points he is making and not something that should be overextended. The article above certainly makes several very valuable points. I couldn't agree more. And they bring sanity to my troubled mind. What I struggle with is the idea, restated in your answer, that "we have nothing of intrinsic value to offer our Creator". I certainly agree that we don't earn salvation, which is probably your main point here. I do, however, suspect that our value and our merit are different concepts. It seems to me that to whatever extend we respond to God's love with at least some love, we actually do contribute something. To the heart of God, if nothing else to the sanity of the Universe. As a parent I can state with no reservation something that all other parents can probably agree with, that even if my children never pay back a dollar, meal, toy or book that was ever given to them, their even occasional response of love for us, their parents, makes life worth living in a way that would have never existed if we never had them. They earn nothing. But they have immense, maybe infinite "intrinsic value". To me as a Father. By extrapolation, I suspect that I have the same effect on God. Maybe!

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