Thursday, November 24, 2005

Counting My Blessings on Thanksgiving

In my last post, I mentioned that I am charismatic (that is, I believe that the "charismata"--spiritual gifts such as healing, prophecy, tongues-- continue today), but that I'm not sure if I am Reformed in my theology. If to call oneself reformed requires that one subscribes to the 5 Solas of the Reformation, and also to the doctrines known collectively by the acronym "TULIP"; and that one must also be able to stand by and declare belief in any one of the creeds associated with the Reformed faith (such as the Westminster creed or the Nicene creed), then I have some homework to do before I can make such a declaration.

I have in fact been reading for and against arguments in regard to TULIP, the 5-point doctrines inspired by the theological writings of Calvin (although it was Calvin's followers rather than Calvin himself who created TULIP with its five points, in response to the Arminian objections to Calvinism).

Anyway, what has all this got to do with Thanksgiving? Well, I'm just thankful today that I do know Jesus Christ, and although I'm still far from where I ought to be as His follower, I rejoice in the fact that He is a faithful God who is working out His plan in my life, making me more like Him step-by-step, and patiently bearing with me when I stumble. Reformed thinkers often point to God's grace and His soverignty in calling people, not only rescuing them but also giving them the ability to be rescued.

I'm thankful for a beautiful wife, who loves me despite my faults and inconsistencies, and for my family that is generous and affectionate and also not far away geographically. I'm thankful for a church family that is giving and open to the supernatural workings of God and constantly seeking after a greater experience of God. I'm thankful for our hard-working pastors who are so faithfully committed to our spiritual welfare.

I'm thankful too for the opportunity to blog, and to perhaps influence others in a positive way towards Jesus through this blog. I'm thankful for the way I've been challenged to think through the issues and ramifications of my faith in Christ more deeply as a result of becoming a regular blogger, and as I have read other terrific bloggers whose writing and thoughts have challenged me. I'm thankful for all the vast resources for spiritual growth available through the Internet, and for the opportunity to take advantage of those materials in my own life, as well as help others to find these resources (which has been one of the goals of this blog).

And there is so much more to be thankful for too. Today I look forward to spending time with loved ones, enjoying a great meal, good conversation (well, hopefully), enjoying the shenanigans of all the kids in the family (and contributing my own shenanigans, of course), making some new friends, and playing a new classical guitar that the Lord blessed me with recently. Truly, we are very, very blessed.

Lord, I pray for those today who don't have all these blessings you have provided me and my family. May those that haven't yet known You somehow find Your love today, through the acts of kindness of those who do know You and have received of Your abundant bounty. Give me more of Your compassion Lord, and help me to find more concrete ways to help those in need, and to take those opportunities more in the future.

And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, my blogosphere friends!

Counting all of my blessings in Christ,

Alex

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