The Object of Our Faith

(Image courtesy of https://www.traditionalcatechism.com.)
"[A]ll of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death[.]  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).
Sometimes I forget about the object of my faith.  He is, after all, an actual object, just as the runner who wins a race receives an actual, physical prize - and the actual, physical benefits of exercise in his body.  Likewise, Christ - the object of my faith - is not a mythological figure, fictional character, or intangible spirit.  Just as my body is real and actual, so Christ's reign is real and actual, even now at this current moment in time.

Back To The Garden


(Image courtesy of http://www.raebear.net.)
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him.  They will see His face, and His Name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:1-5).
John, in the book of John, begins his gospel record in identical fashion to Genesis: "In the beginning...."  Furthermore, John's final revelation of Heaven sounds very similar to the first book of Genesis: a garden similar to Eden is described in the final chapter of the book of Revelation, where there is found the Tree of Life, a River of Life, Light, and God Himself, living with and reigning over His people.

But what is the connection between the two?

Ransom

(Image courtesy of https://upload.wikimedia.org.)
"... [T]he Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). 
"I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.... I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word" (John 17:9, 20).
Most of us are familiar with the term ransom.  It is seen in popular movies and provides a thrilling plot: So-and-so is threatening to destroy such-and-such a place unless certain demands are met in time.  Will the ransom be paid?  Will the ransom be received in time?  Will the one demanding the ransom actually keep their word?  These questions and more keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.

You Are Known

(Image courtesy of https://media.mnn.com.)
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:7-10). 
"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14).
Each of us is naturally concerned with self.  This is the very definition of pride: self-concern.  I can be self-concerned in an arrogant way and also in a pitiful way.  These are two ends of the spectrum, but each is a form of hubris.

We Gather Together

(Image courtesy of http://www.goharvestmarket.com.)
"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
sing praises to His Name, He forgets not His own. 
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning:
Thou, Lord wast at our side--the glory be Thine! 
We all do extol Thee, Thou leader in battle,
and pray that Thou still our defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised; O Lord, make us free!" (We Gather Together, Anonymous).
Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching - faster this year than years prior, it seems.

The Bible tells us to "be joyful always" and "give thanks continually in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18).  But why?

First of all, it is important to remember that thankfulness isn't found in an object; thankfulness, instead, is an attitude; a disposition of the heart.