“Always be Full of Joy in the Lord. I say it again–Be Thankful!” Phil.4:4
Greetings Friends! To be Thankful is the essence of the human spirit which stands infallible and knows no borders. It is the spirit which undergirds human existence and relationships. It is the epitome for good in all people. Sometimes gratitude does not come easily because of our biases and prejudices. To say “thank you” is to express the dignity and decency of our common humanity replicated in the Creator’s likeness. “Thank you,” (English) “Danke” (German), “Mahalo” (Hawaiian), “Merci” (French), “xiexie” (Chinese), “Terima Kasih” (Malay), “Takk” (Norwegian), “Kamasahamnida” (Korean), “Paldies” (Latvian), “Gracias” (Spanish), “Spasibo” (Russian), “Dhayavad” (Hindi), “Dziekuje,” (Polish), “Obrigado” (Portuguese), “Vinaka” (Fijian), and hundreds and thousands of languages and dialects all speak the language of this larger-than-life divine attribute. Let’s find reason to be “Thankful” today.
This year Thanksgiving Day falls on Thursday, November 28, 2019.
Joy and gratitude go hand in hand. They are both human emotions that only humans created in God’s image can respond to, live by, and appreciate. We experience joy because humans are made in God’s likeness. (Gen.1:26-27; Neh.8:10) Yes, the Bible states, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh.8:10). The Bible states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy” (among) others. (Gal.5:22) Joy is a shared fruit, it can only be experienced in a communal setting, that is one of the basis how we explain God is Tri-Personal (three in one), and not solitary as many believe. God is three Persons unified in One Triune Godhead. When you examine every one of the fruits of Love in the Holy Spirit, you will find one common denominator – they can only be lived out through a shared communal experience. I take you to 1 Corinthians 13 and other passages –
The fruits of Love are: *patience, *kindness, *contentedness, *the fruit of being modest and unboastful, *humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *joy, *peace, *goodness, *faith, *gentleness, *self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of gratitude and thankfulness, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; Gal.5:22-23; Rom.12:9-2)
All these fruits spell one common attribute, they can only be shared in a communal setting and thereby God reveals Himself in all His Trinitarian Love and glory. These Love-fruits speaks volumes and gives us a peek into the different tones of God’s Love. They are not rules or codes to live by as legalistic requirements. Rather they tell us who God is, and how God in His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Spirit have lived in One unified shared Love-experience from eternity. That was and continues to be His purpose for creating humanity. And God desires to share His “Triune Love”* with humanity. They reveal the holy emotions of the Triune God. These are not human emotions, they reveal the divine emotions of God. And high on top of the list is joy and thankfulness.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we understand that thankfulness is a fruit which springs from God’s Love nature, and it can be experienced only in a mutually co-dependent setting as He is the same in His Tri-Personal Godhead as Father, Son, and Spirit. Thankfulness springs from joy, for without it we can’t experience gratitude genuinely and completely.
I referred to human joy earlier. They remind us that humanity is intrinsically part of God’s Love image, but we are not entirely like Him because we live as fallen humans. Hence, human joy is predisposed to fade away and not last. But there’s a divine joy that humans can receive which brings sustained emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It is a joy that brings lasting happiness, inner peace, a state of grace, and all things good in life. For it is the Spirit who gives us the power of this divine joy to rejoice despite the circumstances and environment which depresses people to no end. The Spirit is the deposit of God’s Love and its fruits in humans.(Rom.5:5)
Recall, man once lived in complete joy with his Maker, but the enemy took that away and severed that Loving relationship. (Gen.3) Through Adam’s fall at the hands of the devil, that fullness of life in God’s presence was taken from humans. But Jesus restored it by reconciling alienated man back to God. (John 3:16-17; 1 Cor.1:30, NLT) Now we have this God-given ability to experience and share this beautiful fruit of joy which springs from God Himself through His Spirit.
Peter outlines how this is made possible in humans, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). Genuine thankfulness can only spring from a joyful heart where the Spirit is made to indwell human life. (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19)
The only thing that can steal our joy is sin, just as it did with Adam and Eve. Therefore, when we follow God’s Love, joy is multiplied spontaneously and we become more gratuitous in our hearts because we are genetically wired to the Triune God as part of His Love-kind and likeness. Because we live in Satan’s world which promotes depression and misery through sin, we get affected by it because of our fallen nature environmentally and through association. God knows this. So, He made a way of escape through His Son to forgive past, present, and future transgressions. Jesus died for us on the cross not only for past sins, but also for present and future transgressions through His High Priestly role today. Since Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He ascended back to His Father to continue to mediate for mankind as High Priest. (You can read more about this aspect of human restoration by clicking, http://bulamanriver.net/17978. Also, http://bulamanriver.net/15813, and http://bulamanriver.net/11230).
God lives in joy and thankfulness and shares His way of life with us through His Son. Jesus’ role as man’s High Priest in heaven today makes our spiritual wholeness possible, and shows us we are brought into divine completeness with the Father always. There is every reason to rejoice and be filled with joy when we realize the enemy has no power over us through sin, but we exist in the Spirit in righteous living: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom.14:17).
Probably one of the shortest verses of the Bible says simply, “Rejoice always!” because God is that way Himself. (1 Thess.5:16) When we are filled with joy we are thankful. Paul’s encouraging word to us is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit (Love)” (1 Thess.5:16-19). Joy, prayer, and thanksgiving should characterize the life of humans. We are warned to not quench Love, for these are the fruits of “Love deposited in our hearts through the Spirit” (Rom.5:5).
The original pilgrims had come to a new world we have come to call America today. They escaped Europe to seek freedom from religious and political persecution and repression. Since the arrival of the pilgrims, people have never ceased to come to America’s shores escaping tyranny of all forms and seeking the freedom the new world offered. Today America is known as the melting pot of diverse cultures and peoples. And whether we realize it or not, we are all on the same pilgrimage of our own in the pursuit of our freedoms, but a different kind of voyage. There is one word which defines the freedom the original pilgrims sought and the freedom we seek today. That word is joy! To live in a world free from persecutions where one can live in personal freedoms and the right to choose one’s beliefs whether religious, political, etc. To have the freedom to live and do as one sees fit for his/her loved ones is the basis of happiness and well-being. Our pilgrimage today seeks a freedom from all kinds of personal, societal, and other forms of bondage which has been brought to bear upon us because of sin. Like the pilgrims of old, removing ourselves from this persecution and prison of sin will bring us joy, meaning, and the human divine destiny. For no matter where we live, if we are still bound up in the sin-condition of the devil, we are not free, but tormented still. Freedom from sin is true freedom and joy and every reason for humanity to celebrate and be thankful. Only Jesus brings humanity true freedom, as Paul affirms, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal.5:1). (To read more about truly ‘living free’ go to: http://bulamanriver.net/16956)
Thanksgiving Day always bring immense joy and gratitude to families gathered for turkey dinner, especially if we have family members we have not met or seen for some time. Family fellowship and bonding is about one of the highest human joys that can be experienced. So, let us be truly thankful this Thanksgiving season for each other and always aware that gratitude has been made possible because we have been given the privilege to live in a place of joy in the “Triune Love”* with the Father, Jesus, and the Spirit.”
May you all have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving celebration with those you love and cherish.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you this Thanksgiving and always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”** as a Bulamanriver.** Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
*Triune Life or Triune Love: The “Triune Life” is a way of life. Its foundational tenet is based upon the Love of God, because Love is the nature of God. (1 John 4:8; Rom.5:5) I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the three-dimensional life, the human experience of God’s Love is always moving in an inward, outward, and upward motion where all the three Persons of the Godhead are in relational oneness with humanity. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2)
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living (Loving),” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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