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
31 Proverbs: Grace Day for Sunday 16 September
If you’ve been reading along in this little series, you’ve now read 29 of 31 chapters of Proverbs—well done friend! Today is a “Grace Day.”
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
This past Sunday we continued on our journey through the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, focusing our study on Jeremiah’s epilogue to his large book, an extended treatment of his grief over Jerusalem and Judah, the five poems of Lamentations.
Day Thirty-One: A Mother’s Wisdom
Even Kings need to listen to their mothers, and Solomon is no exception. It is probable that Lemuel, meaning for God or devoted to God, is merely another moniker for Solomon. It may even be that it was a nickname of sorts, one of endearment that his mother used to call him in his younger, growing up years, and it stuck. And now as Solomon completes his book of Proverbs, his mother comes to mind. He looks back with Holy Spirit-inspired memory to recall worthy words of wisdom his mother had taught him, and were invaluable in the pursuit of a wise and good life. In particular, how to be a wise and good leader.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Twenty-Three: When You Feel Like Quitting, Remember Why You Started
Committing to any endeavor that takes time always carries with it the challenge of making it to the end. Refinishing that dresser. Repainting the downstairs. Reading all of War and Peace (or finishing any long-ish book for that matter). Completing the class you decided to take at the community college. Running a marathon. Taking up a new hobby. Learning a new sport. Trying to introduce a new habit into your life and routine. You often hit this pain-point, where you consider giving up. At such times, it can help to remind yourself why you started in the first place.