What does God really want from me anyway?
In Short: A life filled with giving thanks for absolutely everything
Giving Thanks. Not a new idea. Not all that difficult. Something we hear a lot about and are often found practicing during the holiday season of THANKSgiving.
But what if I’m not thankful? Has life come at you so hard, you don’t even know which way is up? Hold fast, there’s hope.
As Christians being thankful is not optional nor just seasonal!
The Apostle Paul fills the letter to the Thessalonians with helpful reminders of what a Christian is and does. Smack dab in between “pray without ceasing” and “do not quench the spirit,” are these words, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
So what does THAT look like?
It means not only are we to be thankful for those things we FEEL grateful for, we are to thank God for the hardships too. Whether your day is filled with pleasure or pain, smiling or sadness, fresh air or flat tire— One thing is for sure, as Christians we should be breathing out thankfulness. At home, work, the concert, the market, the bank, the dentist, the toy store, the bookstore, and at the hospital. Give thanks.
How is this possible?
Have you ever heard a child say, “I’m starved” right after eating dinner? A skewed perspective happens to all of us, throughout life. To an ant, a pebble looks huge and to a human it’s tiny. When we begin to view that all things we receive are from God and with a purpose, we then have the ability to be grateful for the good AND bad things.
We need to realign our minds and hearts to the the One who created us in His image. We need to power down and reboot our system. We need the Good News. When compared to the amazing sacrifice God has provided for us, the challenges we face in life are minuscule. The song bridge in the song We Have Been Healed talks about “the glorious exchange” of all our sin for God’s grace ( https://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/track/we-have-been-healed). This is “how” it is possible to be thankful all the time.
So for this Thanksgiving holiday— Quiet your heart. Ponder anew the joy of salvation we have because of Jesus. Remember the sweet forgiveness from all the lies, lusts, and lovelessness of your heart. Give thanks.
Be thankful for your home, your family, and your dog. But also be thankful in your sickness, your heartache, and your back pain…for every circumstance we are to be a thankful people.
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”—G. K. Chesterton
We are now making our way into the “Prophets Before the Exile” section of The Whole Story. I really like the way our Read Scripture plan breaks a bit here from the order of the books of the Old Testament in our common English translation of the bible. For the Read Scripture plan is more in line with how the story actually unfolded.
On Easter Sunday, the Calvary family got to witness God working in the lives of two men who publicly affirmed their faith through baptism. It was a joy to see!
As the Bible is an ancient text, it makes sense that much of it is a recording of history. But to respond by merely reading it as a textbook would be a mistake, for this is history written with a very particular purpose. Namely, it is a theological history — its authors, under the inspiration of God, make theological arguments by the way they tell the stories, and what they include in them.
King of My Heart (Samuel part two)
It’s a little hard to believe that we are already twelve sermons into our adventure through the Bible called The Whole Story. I have been very encouraged to hear from many of you how this pace of moving through the Scriptures week-by-week, book-by-book has helped you see things you’ve never seen before, and appreciate our Father and his Son, Jesus, so much more. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed preaching as much as I have this year, discovering how, as our friends at The Bible Project say it, “The Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus.”
Eight Acts of Service on Easter
We’ve arrived once again to the glory of Holy Week. And as Easter Sunday draws closer, it is good to remind ourselves of ways we can bless those who don’t normally attend Calvary on this highest attended service of the year.
Samuel Part One
As Douglas Wilson has observed, these are fragile times. And when a nation finds itself in the kind of mess we find ourselves in, there is a kind of widespread longing for a leader who has the qualities, vision, and ability to show the way out. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to find their way out of a mess? But it’s a dangerous spot to be in. It can leave one vulnerable to charlatans and pipe dreams.
Two weeks ago, we spent our Sunday morning gathering in the book of the Judges. It describes a time in the nation of Israel of great darkness, disobedience, destruction, and dystopia. It was a time, states the last sentence in the story, when “there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). It was very disturbing.