Hey everyone, it’s been a while and I miss you all. So I thought I would share something here. Recently I was asked to speak at some place about thankfulness, so I figured I would write some of it down and share here too. So here goes:
We I don’t feel thankful…
Why give thanks? what do we have to give thanks for?
What even is giving thanks?
In my western culture we serve money.
Everything is about getting more money.
Because we want to be happy.
Everyone wants to be happy.
And we think that if we get more stuff,
Just get enough shoes,
Once we have everything we need bought,
Then we will be complete and happy.
Though sadly this is an unending process, we never do finish…
We all know the answer to this questions right:
How much money is enough?
Answer: ‘just a little bit more’
So you see the key to happiness is not found here.
It is not found in these types of complements to our lives.
Here I will attempt to reveal to you a huge key in the pursuit of happiness,
Spoken by an ancient wise man, Paul of Tarsus, long ago:
“In all things, give thanks”
That is it people. Read it again if you have to. Perhaps three times. There is treasure to be found here.
So lets delve in. For we must examine this a little more closely.
Remember the first questions? Let us seek some answers.
We need to find ourselves some methods of thanksgiving if we are at all to be successful in this endeavour.
We will be looking at this through three tenses, past, present and future. Let us begin.
Spend a minute or two. Stop right now, and think of a few of the good things that have happened to you in your life. All the gifts you have ever received. Your education. Your family. That great dinner last Christmas. Your favourite red shirt. The way your son holds your hand as you walk about. That accident you narrowly avoided. Your best friend.
There is many things when you get specific about it.
Having trouble with thinking of some things? are you still not that thankful?
Pick one of them then, I’m sure you can think of at least one. Just think about it for a few moments. Thankfulness will not come for you just reading this, you have to actually do this exercise. So do it, stop reading now!
Ok I hope a few minutes have past, since the point is not to just read another blog post, but to grow thankfulness in your heart, which requires some effort on your part.
So now what then if that event you though of never happened? What if it was gone, and you never received that blessing?
Then as you thinking about that memory.. imagine right at the time your good things was about to happen.. it didn’t happen. Wow I bet you are even glad that something bad didn’t happen.. or even ‘thankful’ that that small thing went well.
Ok onto the next step.
Lets look to the cross. It should have been us up there. We know this. The sinner is the one who has to pay for what he does.
But Jesus went there, suffered that, instead of us. It was my punishment. Because of what I did, He bore that pain.
But now feel that pain in your hands, as the nail point is pressed there. Watch in fear as the hammer raises, descends, passes through your flesh, shatter bone and tendon on its unstoppable path through your flesh into the cross you lie collapsed upon.
Oh man. I am so thankful I don’t and didn’t have to go through that!
Now imagine those spike going through your feet. Oh man, I really really don’t want steel rods to be driven through my legs. When I even begin to think of what that must have been like I am overwhelmed… and mighty thankful to say the least.
Now let us not be too quick in all this to forget one thing. To enhance the point even more. The physical pain Jesus suffered for us was only part of the pain.
The main work, the true punishment He removed from us, was the wrath of the almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth. The wrath of the infinite uncreated one.
This price, this pain, this horror, is one far too high for us to pay, or even to begin to comprehend. Dwell there a moment. Feel that thankfulness.
Repeat the above exercise for 1 minute. Remembering all the things you have in your present right now. That you can see, and most likely you can hear and walk as well.. chances are that you are breathing by yourself, not hooked up-to some machine in hospital. Wonderful!! There must be so many good thing in your life right now if you would but take a second to slow down and observe them.
Give thanks from a grateful heart! Not just empty words, allow thankfulness to swell up in your heart.
Now, what about the things you don’t even notice?
Surely God is doing more than just the things you know about.
Now, before we move onto the last stage of looking to the future, lets bring this all home and get some balance.
Let us hear some words again from that wise man Paul, written to his friends, who were worried about him because he just got thrown into jail.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
How does Paul sound? He’s sitting in jail right now. Sad? Worried? What is his focus? Paul is saying, that ‘hey, even if in situations that look bad, God can use for his glory!’ Woah..
His focus is not on his earthly situation, but his eyes are fixed directly on the Lord. Seeing all from His great perspective.
All things God can use for Good. Learn this. Remember this. In fact, nothing, no circumstance, no situation, no evil, can stop His plans or stand in the way of His victory.
Genesis 50:20 says: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
How amazing is that? This is because in fact He is sovereign over all things. At all times.
In all things He can bring good out of, remember Romans 8:28?
This is how we can rejoice at all times and in everything give thanks. (1 Thess 5:16-18)
The questions just is, what is the place we live out of? Where is our focus? By whose perspective are we looking from? and do we truly believe that?
Who knows, lets move on.
This brings us to the last part, and that is: hope. Oh what glorious hope!
When we live in eternity now, what joy it brings. What freedom. What ability to always give thanks!
Eternity does not start when you die. No my friends, it starts when the Eternal One enters your heart.
When you can say ‘to die is gain’, because that would bring me closer to Him! (Phil 1:21)
See life from this eternal perspective!
If fact, none of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Rom 8:38 Msg)
In all things we can give thanks, and be of good cheer, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33)
That we may have some suffering now in our bodies, some troubles, but death where is your sting? (1 Cor 15:55) Death has been defeated, and all things Christ will use for His good.
So give thanks! Even when it’s tough, even when you don’t feel like it, and especially when you do.
Our God is unstoppable and He has a good plan. Trust Him. Look to Him, and behold, He is coming quickly.