Giving Thanks to God

I am one of those people who refuses to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  I don’t think of myself as a Scrooge as much as a “Thanksgiving purist”. Thanksgiving holiday reminds me to live out my thanksgiving.   In a society that rushes through Thanksgiving so that they can capitalize on materialistic hearts in Christmas, let’s not forget to thank God.  I can think of few ways of starting a new year, then with a Thanksgiving hangover lingering into 2018.  No, not from alcohol or a carb comma from the stuffing, but the attitude impacted by giving thanks.   In fact, Ephesians 5:20 tells us to “give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I did a little study in the Bible of the things we are to be thankful for, even when life is difficult.  This is what I found we can give thanks for:

  1. For our share in the inheritance of the saints: Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. NKJV
  2. God’s Kindness that leads to repentance:  Romans 2:4
  3. Goodness of God and His enduring Love: Psalm 106:1; 107:1-2, 15; 118:1
  4. Receiving Christ in faith: Colossians 2:6-7
  5. Ability to pray: Colossians 4:2
  6. A Future Permanent Home with God in Heaven: Hebrews 13:14-15
  7. God’s workings and miracles in our past: Psalm 105:1-5
  8. All men and leaders: 1 Timothy 2:1-3
  9. Food: 1 Timothy 4:3-4
  10. Gift of Christ: 2 Cor. 9:15
  11. Power and reign of Christ: Revelation 11:17
  12. Working of the word of God in others: 1 Thessalonians 2::13
  13. Deliverance from adversity: Psalms 31:7, 21; 35:9-10; 44:7-8
  14. Deliverance from indwelling sin: Romans 7:23-25.
  15. Our aging Bodies will one day be changed into a glorified body with out age:  1 Corinthians 15:53-57
  16. Victory over death and the grave: 1 Corinthians 15:57
  17. Triumph of the gospel: 2 Corinthians 2:14
  18. Conversion of others: Romans 6:17
  19. Faith and Love exhibited by others: Romans 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:3
  20. Nearness of God’s presence: Psalm 75:1
  21. Supply of our bodily wants: Romans 14:6-7; 1 Timothy 4:3-4

What can you add to this list?

Jarrod Scott

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Expecting death and life

I had the honor of standing by a family of faith as they said goodbye to their wife, mother, sister, and daughter at her graveside.  The death was relatively fast and unexpected and we prayed for a miracle.  The miraculous healing did not happen and death occurred. Yet God’s power was still on display. Instead of God healing a body from cancer, His power produced spontaneous singing by a graveside.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.”

The scripture tells me that God purposely chooses to display His power through fragile vessels.  We are ones with fragile health. Our security on this earth is fleeting and fickle.  Our comfort zones are temperamental things. The love and respect for others, which we desire, can be as short-lived as our own health.  As I read 2 Corinthians, it seems that in the very act of dying physically and metaphorically, God reveals His power in our life.  His power may look like perseverance, determination, hope, and conviction of His presence. As we step out into the uneasy waters of sacrifice and unfamiliarity, we can expect to meet Jesus in those same waters. If we want to know God’s power on display then expect to die to yourself. Which is the greater miracle: seeing someone healed from cancer or spontaneously singing by the graveside of someone you love?  I would count them both as miracles.

Jarrod Scott

Freedom From Regret

I listen to a particular preacher online, and he makes it a point to steer clear of many or any personal examples in his sermons.  Rare are the instances where he shares a story from his life of how a verse impacted him or what the Lord may have done or shown him at some particular point in his Christian walk.  His intent is for his messages to carry the same validity and have the same basis of application regardless of where and when they are delivered and heard, and re-heard.

Similarly, one of my concerns is that any recounting of a personal incident may be just the thing that interests no one but myself.  So, in the case of a topic such as regret or unfinished business, I’m sensitive to the fact that most everyone has experienced this unpleasant reality, and what each has endured is most likely far more impactful than anything I might have been through and decided to share.

Therefore, to elicit a reaction, and hopefully some action as well, let’s go beyond both me and you and consider the biblical account of Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved Him.  Even as the three probings by our Lord on the shore immediately take our minds to the three denials of Peter in the courtyard, consider what Peter must have feared would be his albatross as he watched His Savior die on a tree without having the chance to make right his wrong.  Ever since Peter tried to defend Jesus in the garden and cut off an official’s ear, things had gone downhill fast.  Even the surprise appearances by Jesus to the sequestered disciples evidently had little effect on the psyche and spirit of Peter.

But now, after a miserable night of unsuccessful fishing, seemingly birthed out of the frustration of waiting for God-knows what, Peter gets what his heart has been aching for.  Jesus turns all of His attention to him, and releases him from the demons of guilt and remorse that may have haunted his every waking moment.  Forgiveness, love, restoration, and purpose all came flooding in to wash away whatever it was that was eating away on the inside of Peter.

And this silent, internal, slow death is what makes regret and unresolved issues so devastating.  It is a weight unshared that crushes without anyone else knowing.  But it doesn’t have to.  All it takes is one step.  But you have to take it.  As He did with Peter, Jesus has reached out and offered peace.  Even when He appeared behind those locked doors, Jesus offered peace.  But Peter did not receive it.  But on the shore, Peter admitted his need and Jesus was gracious.  He always is.  He wants to restore you.  He wants you whole.  You are His child and He loves you infinitely, boundlessly, sacrificially.  If you are living with regret, take the step towards peace.  You will not regret it.

Rich Holt