Definitions: It all comes down to how one defines things. Our definitions about life affect how we live; if something is a good deal, we buy it. If it’s valuable to us, we cherish it. If it’s something that we find offensive, we oppose it. If there’s healing in our lives we rejoice. If we lose something we love, we mourn. Our lives are guided by our definitions; family, teams, valuables, careers, etc..
When I say God, what do you think of? What about the term religion? Do you consider yourself religious? What does the word Faith mean to you? What do you think of when I say the word, Thanksgiving Day?
President Harrison serving on his 2nd consecutive term as the President of the LCMS was spot on when he said that there seems to be a loss of importance and reverence to how many see ‘The Cross.' The cross doesn’t same to have the same power or significance it once had in many and our American daily lives. There is an ‘Apathy’, a lazy indifference to things godly and spiritual and it seems that view expands each day. It’s displayed as many are too busy to attend worship, attend Bible class, serve the church, and even do personal devotions. Fewer Americans attend public worship, respect marriage, view themselves as religious and are involved in Godly spirituality. Let it be explained by this with these definitions.
Thanksgiving is national holiday! It was originally a day set aside to thank God for our earthly gifts and blessings. Today, there is little prayer or mention of God, there is a time to give thanks, but mostly it’s become a day off, a day to watch TV, to celebrate all of the good gifts we have, but little notice of God.
Religion now brings negative connotations; anti-science, anti-social justice, more about hate and rather meaningless rituals in Christian world view that is quickly diminishing. In the last 15 years over 15% of Americans now claim no official religious affiliation, refuse to have their children baptized or raise them with any Scriptural basis! So let’s false and correct definitions of faith;
God; many have make believe invisible friends who are drummed up from one’s own opinion apart from God’s Word. That is Luther’s definition of an idol; a make believe being apart from God’s Word. Ultimately, an idol is that to which we ultimately hope, trust and find refuge.
Faith; is another interesting word, most Americans consider themselves people of faith. To many they need faith during the crises of their lives, God is to be there and to many as long as one tries to be good, they will enter eternal life. Faith to many is a salad bar approach of pick and choose what I want to believe and change that view what is fits my needs or concerns.
But definitions do matter; Thanksgiving is a day to praise, God the giver of all good things and deserves all praise and devotion.
Faith is really being honest about being dependent upon God. Dependency upon God for all things spiritual and physical; grace, daily bread, inner peace, security, family and eternal life.
Religion is a personal system of governance. Religion is an ordered system of truths that govern my life; like the Ten Commandments, repentance, fellowship with believers, the blessings of God’s Word. Religion is really about my life being governed by Christ and The Word.
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is loving and just and revealed Himself in Scripture. God’s heart is His Son Christ who gave His life for us that we might live eternally with him. This Thanksgiving, rejoice and be glad that you have been called into God’s eternal family to love and serve Him! Thank God for all your blessings! In Christ,