This is the time of year when people talk about what they are thankful for. Many friends on Face Book are posting their thoughts each day. It was my Toastmasters group’s theme this week. Nearly all of the comments have been connected to relationships with family and friends. The little things are the big things; like breakfast in bed, help with chores, a relaxing walk, or a beautiful sunrise/sunset. Others were thankful for the fact they had homes jobs, and food.
My conclusion is that people really do understand the priorities that give value to life. No one was thankful they drove the right car or wore the correct clothes. Maybe the media and Hollywood’s push for glamor and reaching a social perfection isn’t convincing everyone.
The act of being thankful is what Paul referred to in I Thessalonians 5:16-18; “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul wasn’t saying that every situation is filled with joy but that you can be filled with joy if you pray and give God gratitude. When we focus on God’s will; which is “pray continually; give thanks;” we don’t allow negative thoughts to invade our minds. The more we find to be grateful for, the more joy will fill us. Being thankful is a step toward being joyful.
What are you doing to keep the attitude of gratitude all year long?
Does technology enhance or hurt our Christian faith? I tend to believe that all things should be in moderation. So my answer would simply be “yes.”
Our church has a big screen to display words to songs and pictures to aid the message. It is helpful but by no means the center of our service. There is a sound system to help the hard of hearing and computers to ease the office work and to reach out to members. All are good things.
A helpful note on the window of the sanctuary reminds people to turn off their cell phones during services. Most people comply. There are a few who stare at their little screen throughout the sermon and songs. This is not a good thing.
Can God’s still, quiet voice be heard while the television or radio is blaring, or when the ipod is connected to your ears? If your attention is consumed in the games and texting on your phone can God speak to you? God doesn’t use technology. He embraces silence.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10) It is important to shut down the electronics and take time alone with God. Being quiet is therapeutic for your body and soul and gives God a chance to reveal His presence to you.
Does God have to compete with technology for your attention? What will you do about it?
When I am feeling worthless Isaiah 43 is a good chapter for me to read and restore my vision of who God wants me to be. Of course, I revise it to the first person to get a personal lesson from it.
The chapter begins by assuring me that because He created and formed me, I have no reason to fear. He didn’t use a person-mold to create yet another human. He took the time to form and shape me into who I was meant to be. And He didn’t turn me loose on my own; He is with me in all my troubles and woes.
Verse 3 explains why He stays with me; “For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior.” Wow, He is the one true God and in verse 4 He says that I am “precious and honored in His sight, because He loves me.” How can I be down on myself when God says I am precious and honored? Or when the one true God loves me?
Not only did He create and form me but He also chose me. (vs. 10) He picked me out and said, “I want that one.” He wants me to be a witness and servant for Him. And what do I get? I will know, believe and understand that He is the God of creation. He formed me that I may proclaim His praise. (vs. 21)
When I know and believe, He “blots out my transgressions…and remembers my sin no more.” (vs. 25) Does He do it because I am good? No. He does it so I will give Him the praise and honor that He deserves.
The God of the Universe made me to worship Him. I can’t do that when I am moaning about myself. When I do what I was designed to do – worship God—I feel better about myself and everything around me.
What scripture do you go to when you are feeling down?
I love to go for walks with my dogs, Annie and Maggie. They enjoy bounding through the woods in search of various smells. Their favorite thing is to chase birds and squirrels. One such day, they were digging around an old, rotting log in pursuit of a squirrel. Maggie jerked her head out of a hole with the animal in her mouth and quickly tossed it into the air. Annie was close by and jumped to catch it.
She was successful in grabbing it except she had the wrong end. With the squirrel’s hind end between her teeth the squirrel could turn to bite Annie in the face. Annie shook her head violently and the squirrel held tight. Neither would let go. Annie banged the squirrel against the ground and pushed it over the rocks. Finally, Annie won the battle and wears the scar to prove it.
The battle with the killer squirrel may have been humorous but it did remind me of how I sometimes hold on to things I should let go of. It is easy to grit my teeth and stay angry at someone who has hurt me. The longer I fight against forgiveness, the bigger scar that is left on my heart. The scar can only heal when I let go and begin to forgive.
What are you holding onto that may be keeping a wound from healing?