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Thanksgiving--Anywhere!  

They came from entirely dissimilar cultures.

They gathered from opposite sides of the ocean.

They spoke languages different from each other.

Yet they sat down and enjoyed each other’s company, getting to know each other over a Thanksgiving dinner together.

 

Something More Current

You are perhaps envisioning the Massachusetts meal we know today as the first Thanksgiving. Yet I have in mind something much more current.

 

I'm thinking of a series of “Thanksgiving meals” we shared days ago in Sofia, Bulgaria at Moody Radio’s Global Partners Training.  More than a hundred Christian media professionals gathered from nearly a dozen nations: Romania, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Austria, Kenya, Germany, India--and Bulgaria.

 

All Those Languages, But...

Imagine the diverse mix of languages and cultures. Yet we shared one profound common bond—a love for Jesus the Christ. Consider the difference that made on a practical level.

 

Without knowing a thing about the people we ate with, we knew enough that we could relax and enjoy them.  Without knowing a word of their language, we communicated powerfully around the person of Jesus. Without any understanding of cultural nuances, we connected deeply.

 

And it didn’t happen just once.  Or twice. It happened all week long!  In that sense, every meal was a Thanksgiving meal. 

 

Still Another Proof

For me, this is an unexpected apologetic for the Christian faith.  I have been privileged to travel to some 35 countries.  Wherever there are Christ followers, they always take care of you.  You’re family—even if you’ve never met.  This sense of family is not mere sentiment or projected religiosity.  It is a bond I have witnessed in some intense situations. 

 

So if you know Jesus, it means two things at this unusual holiday:

  • First, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal anywhere on the planet—and be with family. Really!
  • Second, the ultimate reason for our thanks is Jesus—who MAKES us one family. 
 
Eyes  

Interesting Windows

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul.  If that’s true, there are some mighty interesting windows out there in God's animal kingdom.  Take, for example, the giant squid. 

Most animals’ eyes are smaller than oranges.  But—try to picture this--a giant squid's eye is larger than your head!

Goat’s eyes are not nearly as large, of course.  But they do have a unique feature.  Their pupils are rectangular shaped.  This means they can see a panoramic view of 320-340 degrees—and can almost see behind themselves. 

Seeing Behind You

Seeing a lot is one thing.  But seeing it well is another.  Consider the Mantis shrimp.  At one foot long, it is said to have better eyesight than any other animal.  Quite a claim!

But for something that comes close to a death stare, check out the Stargazer.  This interesting fish slyly buries itself in the ocean sand.  When a fish of prey swims by, the Stargazer fish shoots 50 volts of electricity from its eyes to stun the prey.  

A bit less dramatic is the common reindeer.  With the coming of winter’s longer days, the reindeer's eyes—typically a shade of gold—change to blue.  Next time you see Rudolph on the TV special, see if the animation artists were accurate.

Creep-Me-Out

For sheer creepiness, it's tough to be beat the vision of a scallop.  It has—get this—100 eyes around its shell.

No slouch in the creep-me-out department is the Ogre-faced spider.  It has not one pair of eyes...but four.  That's right...eight individual spider eyeballs!  That makes it the best seeing spider in the world. 

God seems to place a premium on eyesight—literal and spiritual.  Check out 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him....”

What does God see when He sees you?

 
What READERS are saying...  

If you could live your life over again, what would you do less of?

Here's what Thursday Thought readers have told me:

Ron wrote, “I think I would invest less in people and spend more time in relationship with the Lord of the universe.  Not that there is anything at all wrong investing in people.  Just that looking back, I haven't been too successful at it.”

Russ told me, “I would work less...be less concerned about work...and spend more time with my wife and kids! Work will always be there. Kids grow up and leave. Age brings potential limitations. Enjoy family life to the fullest while you have the opportunity..”

Less Work Time

Buddy's looking-back-list is just like Russ's: “Less work time and more time in general with my family.”

Carolyn said, “If I could do it all over again I would spend less time in worry and more time praying, especially for my son and his family.”

Marion agrees.  She would do less worrying adding, “I definitely wasn't trusting that God had me just where He wanted me.”

"I Wanted My Family to Have Stuff"

Larry expressed himself with an eloquence that is raw—and painful:  “I worked second shift for years because I had a job running a melt furnace in a foundry.  It paid well and I wanted my family to have STUFF.  I now realize that the time I spent at work was time I missed with my kids and wife.  My wife helped my son with his Eagle project, not me.  She raised our kids, but they had STUFF.  I would spend less time working and more time 'Dadding.'”

Our One and Only Opportunity

Christians love to comfort themselves with the reality that heaven is our true destiny.  And it is!  That's where our focus ought to be.  But let's not forget that this life we have now is our one and only opportunity to shape that eternity. 

Which means...there are some things we must do less of.  Which things?  Wish I could tell you.  But that's a matter for prayer.

Psalms 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

 
Election Predictions  

An Unguarded Moment
For months now, Americans have been pushed, polled and prodded with political talk.   We've been blasted with TV ads, blistered by web coverage and broadsided by office talk.  We've watched debates, had debates of our own and the election is nearly upon us. 
 
In an unguarded moment, I made the decision to go out on a limb and make some very specific election predictions.   With full awareness that some future “fact checker” may wish to hold me accountable, I stand by my claim that these insights are given with 100% certainty.
 
Prediction #1
On Wednesday, November 9, Americans will wake up to knowledge of our newly elected president...and the annoying TV ads will finally go away!  Really!
 
Prediction #2
God will still be on the throne.  Don't stay up late Tuesday night worrying.  “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).
 
Prediction #3
Sinners will still be sinners.  Which means the gospel message will be as relevant and life-saving as ever.  
 
Prediction #4
Americans will still be open to the witness of a caring neighbor, a loving friend, and a servant-hearted co-worker.  Perhaps more than ever!
 
The way I see it, no matter who wins the presidential election (and personally, I believe it matters a lot), Jesus followers will need to follow Him more closely yet.
 
Final Predictions:
On Wednesday, November 9:

  1. The fields will still be white for harvesting... 
  2. The flames of Hell will still be roaring...
  3. The Holy Spirit will still be convicting...
  4. The Gates of heaven will still be welcoming...

 
So by all means, cast your ballot for the candidate of your choice in this presidential election year.  Then get to work sharing Christ—the only choice that leads to eternal life.

 
What Would You Do More Of?  

The idea was doomed from the start. In a well-intentioned attempt at physical fitness, I agreed to play racquetball with my son, Tim, during my lunch break. Though I love the sport, it (apparently) no longer loves me. Tim and I discussed the fact that he is about half my age. We agreed we’d both “take it easy” and play “just a little bit.” Five weeks afterward, my throbbing back still reminded me I shouldn’t have even attempted playing “just a game or two.”  

It’s one thing to overdo it in sports, but what about the rest of life?  In the book, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I sat down with 28 well known Christian leaders.  We talked over some tough questions. Asking them what they would do less of yielded some interesting answers.

Joni Tada told me, “I would look at a lot less news on the television. Sometimes it becomes a fixation. It can depress my spirits.” 

Ravi Zacharias said, “I wouldn’t worry as much. God is completely in control.”

Tony Evans admitted, “I love sports. I love watching sports and keeping up with sports. But I would probably spend a little less time on sports if I could do it all over again.”

What would Gail MacDonald do less of? “I would do a lot less hurrying.  It was Dallas Willard who said, ‘Be ruthless with hurry.’”

Preacher and author Tim Keller confided, “I would do less surfing of the Internet, without a doubt. I think the Internet is a friend of information but an enemy of thought. It’s great at snippets of information, but it doesn’t help you think or reason.”

Singer Michael W Smith confessed, “I’d be less concerned about ‘How many records did we sell this week?’ Less of that whole immature thing of trying to be recognized, trying to be accepted.”

So what would YOU do less of, if you could do it all over again?  Email me your thoughts at jon.gauger@moody.edu

 

 
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