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In America we have a holiday called, “Thanksgiving Day.” Originally, it meant that we were giving thanks to God. Over the years, it devolved into just naming things we were thankful for. And in many quarters, most often among children, it’s called Turkey Day.
The picture in this post speaks to me on many levels. First, it reminds me that even in the midst of the horrible year that 2020 has been, there are rainbows and much to be thankful for. Soon after that thought, however, I see the rainbow that God placed in the sky after the grand catastrophe of Noah’s Flood. That was the flood in which God in his anger destroyed everything that lived upon the earth. He placed the rainbow for Noah and his children as a memorial for them. It reminds us of God’s promise that he will never destroy the earth again by water. So later, instead of pouring his wrath out on the entire world, he poured it onto His Son. Now, the whole world can receive life in him. God is for us, not against us.
Finally, the picture speaks to me of my own life. There would be no rainbow without the rain. There would be no spring without the winter. There would be no great joy in sunshine without the darkness of clouds. There would be no bountiful harvest without the labor of tilling, planting, watering, and weeding. There would be no resurrection without the cross. In any great story it’s the ending that matters. I used to pray to the Lord, Please don’t let this be the last page of my story. Don’t let the book of my life stop here.
God’s endings are good endings. Have you asked him to write a good ending for your life? If so, won’t you join with me today in giving wonderful thanks and praise to our good, great God and King, Jesus Christ, and his father God? Thank-you, Lord! And all God’s people said, “Amen!”
“Why is this blessing happening to Me?”
And for some on the other end of the spectrum, those who have always lived under pain, bearing up under sorrows of sadness and affliction, when joy comes, when God answers the prayers, when the river turns around and runs in the other direction, when blessing arrives, when the ship laden to overflowing docks in the harbor, when promises are delivered, rewards distributed, do some also cry out, “No, Lord, not me?” Often–yes.
Change of any sort is hard.
Those who live happy and successful lives find the change to hardship difficult, and those who live difficult lives of sorrow and trial find the change to joy and blessing hard to receive.
Challenge: I want to challenge and encourage you today–if you are one who has learned to live a life of strong faith, inner fortitude, and grace under trial–when the end of the road of travail arrives and the promised blessing comes, receive it with as much faith in God’s goodness as you learned when things were tough. Don’t feel you are not worthy. Don’t feel destined to disappointment. Not one of us is worthy. It’s God who is good. Don’t sabotage your own blessing because you are used to suffering. Receive the reward of your faithfulness with belief, trust in God’s trustworthiness, rejoice, and keep on giving thanks. Yes! This blessing is for you. Your day has come, and Christ is distributing his reward. Hallelujia!
Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat illustrates how predestination (Calvinism) and free will (Arminianism) can peacefully coexist.
I see the sky
The hills are green
I sleep and rise again
For at each turn
I find a friend
Always the same
The same friend
Who knows my name
Who watches over me
Waiting, singing, for me
To greet me finally
To welcome me…
…my dear friend.
Got a bug this week to watch the Harry Potter videos for the second time straight through, and I loved them all over again. I feel they are extremely well-done, and I even watched the last three straight through on my cell phone.
As I watched throughout the week, I soon started noticing what I will call Christian overtones. Check this out for yourself the next time you watch the Potter films–what do you think? Christian or not?
Similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus include: humility, innocence, persistence, quiet demeanor, self-sacrifice, love for truth, judgment of evil, and final victory.
On the difference side, I want to mention just one that struck me. Harry Potter succeeded as part of a team of peers and mentors. We find statements of the team-like nature of his work liberally sprinkled throughout the films. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, had no human team players nor human mentors who helped him achieve his task. (He did have a heavenly team of Father and Spirit behind him.) Jesus did what he did completely without help from his human friends, totally abandoned, utterly alone. When thanking Harry, Hogwarts needs to thank the entire team; when thanking Jesus, he gets all the praise and glory on earth.