Many many years ago at the first recorded Thanksgiving in 1621, something very special happened. The pilgrims had formed an alliance with the last Indian left from the Patuxet tribe, Squanto. Squanto was instrumental in the survival of the pilgrims and helped provide guidance in how to grow crops of food to survive. In simple words, rivals found a way to work together.
As our recent Presidential Election shows, we not only have rivals in foreign countries, but we are in some ways still fighting an internal Civil War in this country, though the boundaries and types of people have changed. The divisions among us have already cost us much as for 8 years no one cooperated with the elected President, and now it looks like we are in for another 4 years at least of continued severe division.
There is a lesson we can learn from those pilgrims and indians. They were all in the same country, and they decided to work together to resolve their differences instead of fighting over them. Turned out, the harvest became plentiful and our nation grew. In even more simpler words, they were Living Thanksgiving!
What was the thing Jesus spoke of over and over again? Yes grace, mercy, forgiveness and love of God. But there was much about loving our fellow man and living in unity. Why so? Because a nation unified with as many resources as God has blessed us with is an undivided nation, under God with liberty and justice for all.
Or, we can be a nation of separatists, divided always by our demands to be unique and selfish in our needs, and soon our foreign enemies can just walk into this country without firing a shot and take us down. As a Viet Nam vet I saw how united our enemy was and how divided we became in the US. And we saw that once we hit that point of no return, it was a walkover. Only one problem, 50,000 thousand young men and women died for literally nothing.
My point, God is always about making things work in the human race rather than making chaos. To do so, we must look to him as the unifier and pray continually that we understand what has made us great in the past is being one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
One leader doesn't make it that way, we do as the American people. That would really be Living Thanksgiving!
Happened to look at an old picture this morning that was taken in the early 80's on a trip to Bermuda. There I was with my Italian Horn necklace and for the only time in my life, a hair perm. Literally I looked like a cross between a mobster and someone off the set of Saturday Night Fever. Though I could never dance like John Travolta, the image conjured up memories of that era and just how dysfunctional I was.
So I thought of how different my life is now, other than just the aging, there is so much that has changed. But inside, I am the Same Guy, with a Different God!
Though we are transformed in our walk with God over the years, there are still many of the same traits, looks and actions now that I had then. Same hair (a little whiter), same teeth (some swapped out), same accent (a little twang now), same heart (I was always generous), and we could go on, but not the same gods running my life. The drugs, alcohol and other minor addictions have given way to an enlightenment that they were all empty gods. Even my devotion to sports (yes, that can be a god too), is less. Like Solomon said, "a chasing after the wind".
Now my necklace has a cross on it, my hair won't curl (what was I thinking), and my soul has a new God. A soul can be transformed, but the other parts of us, even some we wish would go away, remain and we must "work out our salvation daily" which includes battling those demons that followed us around for so many years. They are like those gopher pop-ups you have to hammer down when you visit Chuck-E-Cheese. Yes, you can knock them down, but they keep popping back up to remind us that the devil never quits trying to make us go backward.
So many folks have said to me, God totally changed my life and my heart, only to see them go right back to the old ways because they didn't really understand the process. The Lord can change any heart, transform a soul, but it is up to us as his children to keep working at it every day to stay on track.
As AA says, "Keep coming back, it works if you work it".
It's quite okay to be the Same Guy, but not okay to keep the same gods. They will eventually bring you back down. The only solution is to make that Different God the Lord of your life, not just a supreme being who waves a magic wand to fix us. Not just a Santa Claus but a being that can bring us real change of heart, change of soul.
That Different God is Jesus Christ, he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Same Guy who walked on this earth to show us the way, the
Same Guy who deflected everything away that got in between he and God.
Even He had to work on it, every day!
by guest blogger Kim Thames
I confess I am really anxious about this election- losing sleep, sweaty palms anxious. The headlines tell me I am not alone. I could not ignore this as I prepared to write for our Across the Bridge recovery group right on the eve of this election. I should not be surprised that reflection on the 12 Steps is giving me some hope and healing. Here is how it has worked out in my mind. Maybe it will work for you as well.
Realizing that I am powerless reminds me that God does not need an election to be Master of the Universe.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
Step 2&3 -
No earthly government can intervene with my decision to allow a greater power to restore me.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:
Love must be the basis of any searching and fearless inventory because God is Love.
If I speak in the tongues[ of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13: 1-3
If I have belittled, humiliated, trolled, or otherwise been hateful to anyone because of their political leaning, I need to stop, apologize, and make every attempt to repair our relationship.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
God can work his will in us no matter the result of this or any election- and we need to share that good news.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.