I was led to Jesus by my dad. I have told this story a number of times in my life. He was stripping the paint off of some old shudders and I was hanging out with him in the basement. I do not remember if he steered the conversation or if I brought spiritual things up but he took the time to share the gospel with me and God saved and changed me forever that night. I do remember running up the stairs to share with my mom that Jesus had saved me. From that night God began writing a new story for my life. As I look back on my life I can see his hand directing each path I took. He has allowed me to fail and to bring him glory. His love for me has been constant and abounding...even though my love for him has been less than stellar. His mercy and grace have been overwhelming and freeing.
Each of us has our own story. They make us who we are and they help explain our idiosyncrasies and personalities. For those of us who are known by Christ, those stories end in the same way. We will be glorified together with him for all of eternity. They also bind us together as one here on earth. As my father in law says, we are the same thing...only different. What I am thankful for this year is how all of our differences and our common bond in Jesus help us paint a picture of who God is. We see in our different stories the same God. We learn more about his grace, mercy, patience, and justice. Together, we pain a fuller picture of who God is and how amazing his love for us is. If you want to get to know me better, one good way to do that would be to get to know each of my children. Listen to their stories and you will get a better glimpse of who I am. We do the same with God. When we hear of how he delivered each of his children, we gain a greater knowledge and appreciation of who he is.
I was reminded of these truths as I read Psalm 107. I believe it is such a good read for Thanksgiving, that I have included here. Take the time to share your new life story with others. Shout aloud how God has delivered you. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
107 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble[a] 3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; 5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. 6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. 8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. 10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. 13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. 15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 16 For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. 17 Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; 18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! 23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end.[b] 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters[c] were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. 33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, 34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. 36 And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; 37 they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. 38 By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish. 39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, 40 he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; 41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks. 42 The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. 43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.