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
You’ve probably never considered the book of Deuteronomy as one long funeral sermon, given by a man who knew he would die, to a people aware of his impending death. That’s exactly what we reflected on this last Sunday.
This last week we made our way through the book of Numbers. We learned how this book, filled with some pretty famous Sunday School type of stories, is also shot-through with the sad themes of unbelief and rebellion. It is shocking how a people who experienced so many displays of God’s faithfulness could still be ungrateful and unsatisfied with his provision and timing. Which ironically makes it so relevant for our study, for we all struggle with being satisfied with the circumstances of our lives.
It is the backdrop of Leviticus — with its thousands of priests and millions of sacrifices — that causes the beauty of the work of Jesus — the one priest, and the once for all sacrifice — to shine all the more brilliantly.
There are a number of major themes that weave their way through the whole story of the Bible: covenant, kingdom, and temple, just to name a few. This last Sunday we looked at the theme of God’s presence in each of the sections of the story that we have covered thus far (Genesis 1-11, Genesis 12-50, and Exodus 1-18), and then how this idea of God’s presence comes into a bit of a sharper focus in Exodus 19-40.
I think it is probably safe to say that there are two great peaks in the mountain range of God’s rescue and restoration of the earth. What the cross-resurrection event is to the New Testament, the exodus is to the Old Testament. In each case, the great redemptive salvation act (exodus/cross) produces the covenant community of God’s people (Israel/church) who are called to serve God and his universal mission.
Genesis 12-50: I Will Bless You
It is hard to look at any one text in the Bible and say that it is more important than any other text of the Bible. Since the whole Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit as God’s Words, it is all equally valid and useful for growth in the grace and knowledge of our King, Jesus (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, there are those passages that are particularly vital and important to knowing what God is up to in his rescue and restoration plan for the world.
The Whole Story: Genesis One Through Eleven
This last Sunday, January 7th, we kicked off our new sermon series, The Whole Story. As Genesis is the first book of the Bible, we began there, by covering chapters one through eleven...