“Always be Full of Joy in the Lord. I say it again–Rejoice!” Phil.4:4
Greetings Friends! 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. There are other human experiences which bring lasting memories of joy, like one’s marriage, the birth of a child, graduation, your first car, your best friend, a memorable vacation to an exotic location, etc.
This year Thanksgiving Day falls on Thursday, November 24, 2016.
Joy is a human emotion that only man created in God’s image can experience and appreciate. We experience joy because we are made in God’s likeness.(Gen.1:26-27) 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 experience, that is one of the basis how we explain God is Trinitarian, 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 1 Corinthians 13 and other passages –
“The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Jerome Ferris (Wiki Commons)
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.12:9-21)
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 to live by as a legalistic requirement. They tell us how God in His Tri-Personal Being have lived in One unified shared Love-experience from eternity as God, and desires to share His “Triune Life” with believers. They reveal the holy emotions of the Tri-Personal Being of God. These are not human emotions, they reveal the divine passion. 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 Being as God. Thankfulness springs from joy, for without it we can’t experience gratitude genuinely and completely.
I referred to human joy earlier. They remind us we are intrinsically part of God’s joy-filled 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 that fullness of life in God’s presence was taken from man. But Jesus restored it by reconciling alienated man back to God. (John 3:16-17; 1 Cor.1:30, NLT) Now we have this ability to experience and share this beautiful fruit of joy which springs from God Himself through His Spirit.
Fruits of God’s Love. Be Joyful in Thanksgiving (Wiki Commons)
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 has made His home in humans. (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 commands for us, 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 kind (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. (You can read more about this aspect of human restoration by clicking: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8718)
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).
The Trinitarian Life of God Where Eternal Joy is a Way of Life (Wiki Commons)
Probably one of the shortest verses of the Bible says simply, “Rejoice always!” because God is that way Himself. (1 Thess.5:16) 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 the Christian. 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. And whether we realize it or not, we are all on the same pilgrim’s voyage of our own seeking freedom of a different kind. 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 religious and political persecution is to live in joy. Our pilgrimage today seeks a freedom from all kinds of personal and societal bondage which has been brought to bear upon us because of sin. Like the pilgrims of old, removing ourselves from this prison will bring us joy and celebration. This is true freedom and joy.
So, let us go and be truly thankful this Thanksgiving always aware gratitude has been made possible because we have been given the privilege to live in a place of joy in the “Triune Life”* 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 email@example.com
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: means a life lived according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life man lives in himself. It means God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and walks in you. Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. 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) You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.com, where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living” Or, you may go to the directory banner at top and click “Mission” where you will find more information.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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