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Betty and I rejoiced to have had the privilege to share Thanksgiving Day with some of our family. Sometimes the entire family gathers--our three children, their spouses and 11 grandchildren--but with the various activities of life, this year's meal was smaller. Naturally, we thank God for all of them and appreciate the time with those in town for the holiday. I am reminded that God is real in our lives and that we don't simply have some religious practice or traditional belief system without the relationship that is available through faith in Jesus Christ.
Recently, we celebrated birthdays in each of our three children's homes. We had extended periods of time to watch them as parents interacting with their children as they prepared for school or other events. We were inspired by the way each family communicated so openly, honestly, clearly and with such care for one another. As I watched, I reflected and asked, "Why, Lord, is this atmosphere filled with such joy, peace and harmony?"
All of our children are so different, and each couple has such distinct interests. All of our grandchildren have different ideas and interests--and yet, there is this prevailing peace. As I pondered and prayerfully considered it, I felt God revealed that we were witnessing something that Jesus prayed for in behalf of His own family of believers, the true church: that we would be perfected in a unity of spirit and in love. He opened by praying that "all believers would be one with the Father as He is."
When we look back over our lives as parents, we know that we were not perfect. But what did we do right, if anything? I cannot come up with some magical formula, but I can tell you what I have seen. I remember praying over our children in each of their rooms as they slept, "Lord, I didn't have a father myself. Please help me be the right kind of father. I want my children to know and love you."
I really believe that through both the failures and the things we may have done in perfect harmony with the Word of God, prayer has power. Our children know the Father intimately. As a result, I see our grandchildren coming to know God in a personal way. I feel that our grandchildren respect and honor their parents, who are doing a wonderful job raising them. But the thing that is so beautiful--and for which I continually give God thanks and praise--is the fact that they know Him personally.
When I mentioned this to our son, who helps me write and edit this weekly column, he said, "You know, Dad, while you express that gratitude, keep in mind that many parents might not be able to say that right now."
Tears welled up in my eyes and I replied, "I know, son. I'm praying for them--that whatever has happened, their children and grandchildren will come to that personal knowledge of God the Father and intimate relationship to which He invites us."
I want each of you to know that I pray for everyone reading these commentaries each week, that God will have His way not only in your life, but the lives of those close to you. Words cannot express how important our friends and partners are as we work together to share life and love around the world. May God use us all to be a blessing.
I am also thankful that I live in a free country. I am concerned, of course, about losing many of our freedoms through foolish actions and decisions, but I am still grateful for those we have. Even the things we take for granted, like going to a store to find the necessities of life, buying gas on any street corner, driving on good roads, and gathering in a church to openly worship. Generally, we live in comfort. We are certainly a land of convenience. But most of the world is not like that. Betty and I have seen the extremely difficult lives of many people. We've actually been on roads in which you could lose a truck in a pothole because of deterioration or the destruction of war. In many countries, food and water is scarce. Natural disasters abound. Life is hard. Perhaps our comfort and convenience have made us a soft people, and this should concern us, but we can and should live with the blessings of the Lord while maintaining an attitude of thankfulness.
Betty and I pray for those who defend our freedom all around the world. May God abide with and comfort those in the Armed Services as well as their families. I pray for peace on earth in our lifetime--not the calm that comes through an oppressive tyranny, but a genuine ability to coexist with other people.
Sadly, our nation has become divided and polarized. A lack of sound principles and absolute truth has led to opposing worldviews that cannot be reconciled. Self-gratification and ungodly opinion has become law. This breaks my heart, but I am grateful for those who still seek the truth and understand the true source of our blessings. I will spend the rest of my days pointing people to the one and only source of life, joy, peace and happiness.
I've shared some details about my hip replacement and the ensuing staph infection. What was supposed to be a three-week recovery has extended to a three-month battle. As I write, I'm still on IVs for antibiotics, yet from the bottom of my heart I am grateful for the care of the medical community and for the prayers of our friends and family. I'm thankful that I am walking well and feeling strong enough to enjoy time with our family during this holiday season. Join me in prayer for God not only to bless America, but also to use America to continually bless others because of the freedoms we enjoy.
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 998
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.