Archive for November, 2013
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).
The stories that inspire and motivate us are, most often, accounts of human kindness. These viral experiences become known because the beneficiary of such a hospitable act went on to tell others. Don’t wait until you see wings and halos to act kindly. An angel is a messenger, and every person treated with unexpected kindness has the potential to go forth from such an experience and tell the message of God’s gracious provision.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We have all heard that if there is a will there is a way. So if it is the will of God that we be thankful for all things then there must be a way for this to become our reality. I’m convinced that gratitude and thanksgiving is an art form. When I observe the work of any great artist, my first thought is “this person sees things differently; lighting, angles, forms, and interpretations I would have never noticed.” My eyes are opened to a different perspective. I believe a person whose life is characterized by gratitude is no less an artist; seeing past the flat, one-dimensional perspective presented by the circumstance of any particular moment. No matter what your situation, from the right vantage point, you can give thanks.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).
“Who are you?” It’s a simple question complicated by an age of enhancement. From digital to surgical enhancement to the image enhancement of social media, we portray what we want to be but it rarely captures who we are. Because so much energy is exhausted on marketing and selling what we are not, who we are can easily be lost. It’s a game of deception that ultimately deceives only yourself. To know Christ is to know who you are.
“And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
When it comes to our eternal well-being, the most fraudulent source of security is that which comes from one’s own religiosity and the dressed-up performance offered each Sunday to gain the approval and affirmation of others. Self-satisfaction leads to self-deceit. God’s righteousness, however, is realized in the person of Jesus Christ and is received by a broken spirit that cries out in humility, asking for God’s mercy. Having been received, it then becomes the reference point for every moment and every area of one’s life. It isn’t your religion; it is your life.
“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments; who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow” (Psalm 147:16-18).
Snow, sleet, and ice are equal to other glorious displays of God’s creative wonder, yet, they present a unique paradox. They are both burden and blessing. The harsh conditions presented when these wintry forms of precipitation first appear soon melt away and become liquid nourishment. Such is the word of God and the blowing of God’s Spirit to heart’s grown cold. It is from these receptive hearts that living waters flow.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1).
Walking, standing, and sitting depict three ever deepening levels of association with those having no regard for the things of God. To walk with the wicked is a casual acquaintance; standing in the path of sinners is to associate with them more closely, while sitting with scoffers is to accept the lifestyle of those who are cynical and mock God. While being salt and light thrusts us into this world, these must not be our closest and most meaningful relationships. It’s synergy from the sheep that gives us energy among the goats.
“I will give You thanks with all my heart” (Psalm 138:1).
For the psalmist, David, there was not a specific day circled on the calendar that anticipated the gathering of family so we might remember to give thanks before an overindulgent feast. Instead, thanksgiving was something that sprang forth from the core of his being; it was the heartbeat of his existence. Gratitude is a foundational perspective on life from which every other virtue emerges. Don’t want on the calendar to say, “Thanksgiving.” Say it from the heart.