“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.
The First Thanksgiving:
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)
“Rest and Be Thankful”
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.3:1-6) 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 1:1-4; 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 presence of God is made to enter humanity through the presence of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-17; 26)
The only thing that can steal our joy is sin, just as it did with Adam and Eve in Eden. 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)
The Landing of The Pilgrims Escaping Persecution and Thankful for Freedom in the New World
The Statue of Liberty in New York.
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.”
“God Is Love”
May you all have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving celebration with those you love and cherish.
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)
Appendix: *The “Love-Fruits of the Holy Spirit:” *the fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness, *the fruit of modesty (unboastful), *the fruit of 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, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, *the fruit of self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 12:9-21). These attributes may seem ordinary and mundane, but when empowered and propelled in the Spirit’s power, they are transformed into divine elements of transformation.
**”Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God in His plurality, as the Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 2 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. He is also clothed in Freedom. For the three Persons of the Trinity are three distinct and free Persons in the triune Godhead. Love and Freedom by nature is relational as God is in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational being possessing freedom.
Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting divine relationship. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Being.
It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam, like God is in His Tri-Personal Being of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost humanity, as God is in His divine triunity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23) God created humanity to reflect Himself in His unified Tri-Personal Being (Trinity).
Rublev’s Icon of The Trinity (Wiki Commons)
Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness (Trinity), not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God through Christ once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God through Christ, just as humanity is one with Adam.
Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the one Triunity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. (Matt.28:18-20) They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from Adam, for she came out of Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever.
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. For additional information about the Triune Life: 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.
Bulamanriver Book Cover
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love 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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