Archive for November, 2016
“And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; you faith has make you well’” (Luke 17:19).
Interesting isn’t it, how often the behavioral sciences eventually catch-up to what scripture has long stated? Research has revealed that being thankful contributes to overall wellness — strengthening physical health, social relationships, positive mental states, and seeing value in others. What began as an expression of worshipful thanks by the Samaritan concluded with an affirmation of his faith. Might our faith be as virtuous. It’s a reminder that true thanksgiving is never a matter of what goes on the table, but rather, what dwells in the heart.
“and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:16).
The true spirit of thanksgiving postures itself in humility. Such humility lives with an awareness of the world around us — the immense pain, the profound brokenness, the crippling addictions, the prevailing social injustices — conditions in which any one of us could find ourselves. Out of this our thankful expressions become an acknowledgement of the dignity, equality, and necessity of others. Our blessings are never merited. Thus, the only appropriate response is one of thankful humility.
“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice” (Luke 17:15).
This is about being the kind of person we want to be; that we are supposed to be. To give thanks like the Samaritan in this story, who turned back only for this reason, requires deliberate intentionality. Instead of the secular preoccupation of finding oneself, it is a mental focus determined to create oneself into the image of the very One who dwells within us; that his Spirit of thanksgiving might be the reality of our daily lives.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
The popular adage, “It’s the thought that counts,” shouldn’t be taken lightly. To be in the forefront of someone’s mental processes is to hold a special place. It means you are part of that person’s ongoing, unceasing prayer life. However, there are times when our thoughts don’t count; when only action matters, and specific deeds will make a difference; when we need to be the answer to the prayer; when our intention to do something is replaced by actually doing it. On any given day, God can do more with an ounce of action than a ton of intentions.
“Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Longing and lamenting for the “good old’ days” is both an exercise in futility and a flawed understanding of the redemptive and providential purposes of God. What God is accomplishing always lies before us and never behind. Consider some past season of life that tempts you to say, “That’s the way things are suppose to be.” If that be so then why would God continue in his creative endeavor of making all things new? Whatever your longings might be for a by-gone era, it pales in comparison to the future God has in store. Wisdom understands that the road of faith leads to a future that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared. Wise up…Look ahead!
“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a might throng” (Psalm 35:18).
A true spirit of thanksgiving and influence prevails when the people of God gather together in worship. Just as a hundred instruments can be brought to one accord by a single tuning fork, the church is drawn together by the common standard of faith in Jesus Christ. As The Maestro, he orchestrates the diversity of instruments within his church to be a symphony of graciousness and hope in a world that hears only hate and despair.
“…considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:26).
The Divine touch of the heavenly Father upon the human spirit has placed within us a yearning and longing for what this present life cannot possibly offer. It is this long-view of discipleship that enables one to eagerly seek and highly esteem the challenges and hardships that others would avoid and shun. Faith lives with the conviction that the prize at the end is greater than the pain of the moment.