As Thanksgiving has once again come upon the calendar this year, this is a wonderful season to reflect on the things of life and how many blessings there are in our lives. Having a family is a blessing. Having a job is a blessing. Having a home or place to live is a blessing. Having a church to attend is a blessing. Having a pastor is a blessing. Having brothers and sisters in Christ is a blessing. Having bills that are paid is a blessing. People should remember there are things that they have that many other people do not have. If individuals are not careful they may begin to see what they are missing more than how blessed they are with what they do have within their lives. This can be a deception that begins to breed discontentment. One of the best methods to overcome this problem is to be thankful. Christians, especially, should be thankful and give thanks unto God (Ephesians 5:20). During this time of year many people use the Thanksgiving holiday as a reminder to be thankful, but there should be a constant attitude within the hearts of the people to be thankful all year long. Even with this mindset, a person does not have to be thankful “for” bad situations or bad things but be thankful “in” those situations (1 Thessalonians 5:18). What is there to be thankful for “in” those situations? If a person is a Christian, they have Jesus as their Savior (John 3:36), God as their Father (1 Corinthians 8:6), and the Holy Spirit as their Comforter (John 14:26) and Guide (Romans 8:14). The will of Jesus Christ for His people is to be thankful by rejoicing and praying every day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As Christians serve God and are faithful to Him they begin to remember His benefits (Psalm 103:2). This should be a motivation to serve God throughout the whole year and be thankful for Who He is as opposed to only having this attitude one day on Thanksgiving. When God’s people have the fruit of the Holy Spirit of peace (Galatians 5:22) and the peace of Christ rules their hearts there is a thankful attitude (Colossians 3:15). Thanksgiving should not only be a time of gathering with family and friends to be thankful for them but also a time for those gathered to recount or testify of what God has done within their lives that they are thankful for (Psalm 9:1). The best testimony that any person can have is to be thankful that God sent His Son Jesus to be beaten so His people could have healing in their bodies (1 Peter 2:24), gave His life as the Supreme Sacrifice for salvation (1 John 2:2), resurrected having dominion over death (Romans 6:9), and now sits at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 10:12). With a life that is not perfect by their actions, but given power to overcome sin (1 John 5:4) and spiritual enemies (James 4:7), Christians have so much to be thankful for.
The betrayal of Jesus Christ within the Garden of Gethsemane has been discussed since it’s happening. In writing the Gospels, each writer took their turn making sure that Judas Iscariot was marked as the traitor to Jesus and His teachings of enduring to the end to be saved (Matthew 24:13). Judas carried out his betrayal plan marking Jesus by kissing Him on the cheek, a symbol of a close relationship, so He would be arrested (Matthew 26:48). As Judas comes to Jesus in the garden accompanied with armed men Judas kisses Him, calls Him master and allows the army of men to take Jesus away (Matthew 26:49). When speaking to Judas, Jesus calls him friend (Matthew 26:50). Even Jesus reminding Judas of their relationship did not stop the betrayal within Judas’ heart or actions. Some Christians want to base their relationship on being a friend to Jesus. Although this sentiment is good for someone who feels they are alone and Jesus is too far away from them to be personal, many others use this “friendship” to demote Jesus as less than the Son of God and more of a sin buddy. The betrayal seen most within the Christian faith in modern times is those that declare their allegiance and love for Jesus Christ, declaring a close relationship with Him, and then selling Him for a desire that has more meaning to them than the desire to be with Jesus. How many Christians betray Jesus by choosing to live life for themselves rather than Him? How many preachers or pastors betray Jesus by allowing culture or business to guide them rather than being led by the Bible or Jesus Christ? How many Christians betray Jesus by not obeying His commands? The solution to each of these questions is truly knowing Jesus in a deeper relationship than a friend. Knowing Jesus as friend is good but knowing Him as Savior (John 1:29), Master (Philippians 2:10), Lord (John 20:28), and fellow heir (Romans 8:17) are the best ways to know Him. Knowing Jesus in these intimate roles should help any Christian keep a correct heart and relationship with Him and prevent betrayal. Christians must maintain an accurate view of Who Jesus is and what He means to them. Knowing Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) allows Christians to come to the Father. Knowing Jesus as Savior and the giver of the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) helps Christians have a greater appreciation for Who He is. Knowing Jesus as the Bread of Life (John 6:35) reminds Christians He is the supply for anything needed within life. Knowing Jesus as the Word of God (John 1:1) keeps Him as an important authority to obey His commands. Knowing that Jesus cares for His people (1 Peter 5:7) should keep an appreciation of His love and care within the hearts of Christians. Knowing Jesus as the head of the church (Colossians 1:8) should keep the proper perspective of obeying Him as the commanding officer in the army of God. Christians should be the last people on earth to betray anyone, especially Jesus Christ. May Christians display their love and loyalty to Jesus by keeping His commandments (John 14:23, 1 John 5:3), knowing Him as their Savior (John 3:3), enduring as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3), and following Him as their Shepherd (John 10:11, Psalm 23).