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
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.