Not one, but two gatherings I was privileged to attend.
First, with a wonderful, conservative family out in the Moreno Valley area. Then I connected with another couple in the Culver City, West Los Angeles area.
Before this, I had reached out to my father, who now lives in Oregon. He is still holding back stage 4 cancer in his body, but he is not in any pain. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I called my Dad to see if we could arrange for me to fly up there. He was not going to celebrate with a large family gathering at the house this year.
We decided it would be OK for me not to come up to Oregon for Thanksgiving.
I am glad, though, that in spite of that setback, I could celebrate Thanksgiving with other friends of mine, men and women who love this country, who love President Trump, who are glad to live in this free, wonderful country.
One thing that I have noticed, too, is that many people I know have struggled with untold health, financial, familial, and moral issues. It is astounding to me the number of depressing, humiliating stories I have heard from men and women in their upbringings.
Sometimes, I wonder how I have gotten through life without having so much harm and abused inflicted on me. It gives me more reasons to be thankful to live in this great country and to have the life that I have.
Now, I refuse to believe that my life has been easy because of some kind of limited privilege.
Our lives can be better or worse depending on our beliefs and our choices.
I decided to take God at His Word.
"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
God our Daddy never intended for life to be one long, miserable dirge of troubles.
Behold what His Son declared to the Israelites of His day, and to us today:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
I refuse to accept the notion that I have had a smaller share of troubles compared to other people. No one is immune from the hardships of this fallen world.
But what has been the difference for me?
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all." (Psalm 34:19)
Indeed, I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I followed the command which Jesus has given to all of us--Believe on Him! (John 6:28-29)
This took a long time for me to rest in, however, since I had been taught to DO so much rather than BELIEVE on Him.
Such was the result of following a cult, AA.
For this reason, the hardships, the pain, and the intense hurt which many people have endured--I have not endured.
Indeed, if people would just take God at His Word and trust him to care for them, they would find themselves enjoy the promises, pleasures, and provisions of the New Covenant!
"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)
There are many Christians to this day struggling to live, and seeking to thrive. They face nothing but troubles, it seems. Why is this?
They are not receiving the gift of righteousness and abundance of grace. I choose to. It also amazes me that there are so many people who have witnessed so much hurt and hate in their lives. They talk about the massive privations which they have endured, and seem excessively content to talk about all the problems in their lives.
Some people don't want to be happy, I suppose. I think that lots of people would prefer to suffer, like a form of self-righteous penance. None of us have to suffer through this life. We can reign in His Life!
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
Let's be thankful for all the things which Christ Jesus has done for us, and let us continue in gratitude even in times of hardship, when the storms of life threaten our ship of state.