Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. Deuteronomy 29:18  

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. I Thessalonians 3:12  

What is this root and bitter poison that is mentioned in our verse from Deuteronomy? Maybe Moses is giving out cooking instructions, what ingredients not to use in soup or stew. So, you might want to read the rest of the verse, the part that comes before this. The first part says: “Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations.” The bitter poison, one that can affect all the people, is when God is forgotten. Not only forgotten, but idols are worshipped, and that spreads like poison to others.   

Today is the day before we in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving. A day when we should pause to remember all that we have to be grateful for. Most of us connect the day with eating a lot of turkey, cranberries, green beans, potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Perhaps watching football. As you watch various TV shows there is lots of information on cooking your turkey, preparing all the extras, how to have the perfect meal. In all the flurry of cleaning the house, preparing and serving all that food, it is easy to forget the thankfulness. Too often, we forget who it is that we should be thanking for all that we have. While many groups take time to go around the table saying what they are thankful for, and include prayers of thanks to God, many of us forget.  

God loves each and every one of us. The prayer from Paul written in Thessalonians is that the Lord would make us all increase in love for one another. There is so much love to share, and when we share it we still have plenty left. We are to love God and love each other. Rather than there being roots producing poison,  and draw people away from God, we are to share the love of God freely. Let others see our faithful loving God by the love we show each other.    

Glorious God in every moment and in all things you are with us, bringing us from nothingness and death into eternal light and joy. Help us to always remember that you are life and love for us. Help us to love and forgive as radically as you have loved and forgiven us. Lead us to follow Jesus and to share abounding love in His name. Amen 

 Chris Gabel