Morning Musing: Luke 17:15-16

“But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at his feet, thanking him. And he was a Samaritan.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are like most people, today finds you looking ahead. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is coming. Tomorrow is coming, and you can prepare for it today by shopping in store or online so you can get the best deals you can possibly get. Because you’re probably ready to hit the road, I’ll keep this extra short. Here’s your prompt: Don’t lose sight of yesterday. Yesterday happened because someone put a lot of work into making it happen. Maybe that was you, but I’ll bet at the very least you weren’t alone. Take a minute and think about the two or three people who were most responsible for what you enjoyed yesterday. Once you have those people in mind, here is your challenge for today: Write them a note of thanks. Let them know how much their work to make yesterday possible meant to you. Then, before the day is out, get that note delivered to them. Unexpressed gratitude is generally received as ingratitude. So, don’t fail to express your gratitude for the gift you received yesterday.

Next week, we will begin our Advent teaching series leading up to Christmas (which is in just five short weeks). Starting on Thursday, Lord willing, we’ll turn our attention here to Advent with a series of devotions to get our hearts and minds thinking in that direction. Tuesday and Wednesday will be free days to explore a couple of stray ideas I’ve had lately. Next Friday, we’ll get started on our songs of the season series. I’m looking forward to it and I hope you are too.

Morning Musing: John 3:16

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Happy Thanksgiving! As you celebrate with your friends and family today, don’t lose sight of the fact that we give thanks at all because someone gave us a gift. All gratitude is the result of a gift of some sort. Whether it is a gift of great cost and worth or something as simple as a gift of respect and courtesy as when someone holds open a door for us, all gratitude is the result of a gift. On our own, though, we are not a gift-giving people. By ourselves, we tend hard in the direction of selfishness. A spirit of gratitude begins when we recognize that we are not the source of the things that we have. A bit of thinking in this direction can begin to open our eyes and hearts to an awareness that life itself is a gift given to us by someone else. And while the most immediate someone else’s involved in that are our parents, if you trace things back far enough you arrive at one of two places: primordial ooze, or a God who created the world and everything in it. The former conclusion does not give rise to gratitude of any kind. How can you be thankful to a pool of goo? The latter, however, brings us to a place of permanent and overwhelming gratitude for everything. Today, as you gather and enjoy the fruits of someone’s labor, allow me to encourage you in the direction of this second conclusion on your creation. There is a God who created the world and everything in it, including you, and who loves it – and you – so much that He was willing for His Son to die in our place to pay the price for our sins so that we can have eternal life. Embracing that fact will bring more gratitude into your life than you will find anywhere else. Here, then, is your challenge: Accept the offer of life God has made to you in Christ Jesus and enter into a relationship with Him once and for all. Then you really will have something for which to be grateful today.

Morning Musing: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“…give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When we think about things for which we can be thankful, our minds and hearts often go to the obvious and easy first. I’m thankful for my family, for my job (on most days), for my kids (right?!?), for my spouse, and so on and so forth. But when the apostle Paul was giving some final instructions to the believers in ancient Thessalonica, he called them to give thanks in everything. More than that, he told them that this was God’s will for them. If you’re at all like me, I suspect you can quickly think of some circumstances in which you were not particularly thankful. And yet this command remains. So, today’s prompt is simple: I want you to think of a circumstance you have faced recently in which you were decidedly not thankful. Got it? Now, take a few minutes and write out some things that you experienced in that situation for which you could have been thankful. The idea here is not that we should learn to see everything as something good and to be grateful for, but rather that we do ourselves a great favor when we learn to see the world around us through a lens of gratitude first. Use today’s exercise as a chance to practice developing your gratitude lens. If you’re willing, share about your situation and why you are grateful in the comments. Enjoy your day and remember to give thanks as you prepare for tomorrow.

Morning Musing: Psalm 100:4

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This is the week we as a nation have set aside for giving thanks. Well, for not a few folks it is more truly a week for worshiping at the altars of gluttony, football, and commercial excess, but the original intent was just what the holiday’s name implies: thanksgiving. It is also a week that gives a couple of days off to rest up before the sprint that the Advent season so often becomes. With this in mind, I’m not going to be writing much this week. Instead, I want to give you the chance to do the writing. Each day this week, I am going to give you a writing prompt with a challenge. Whether you do it or not is entirely up to you, but allow me to offer this one encouragement: Taking me up on these will bring the potential of making a truly positive impact on your life and the lives of the people around you. Since this is a week set aside for thanksgiving, let’s give our attention to some ways we can be giving thanks.

This morning, I want you to think of one person for whom you are particularly grateful. Once you have this person in mind, I want you to take a few minutes sometime today to write them a note (by hand!) to tell them that you are grateful for them and why you are grateful for them. The last part of the challenge is this: make sure that note gets delivered. You can do it with a gift of some kind if that happens to be your love language, but at the very least, make sure the note gets delivered. Finally, if you are willing, in the comments section, share who your person is and why you are so thankful for them. Let’s give thanks together!

P.S. I didn’t notice this until after this published, but today was my 1500th post. I’m thankful for you and your sticking with me this long. Here’s to many more.

Digging in Deeper: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the number one questions people of faith (and even some who aren’t) wonder about when it comes to life at large is what God’s will for them is. What’s God’s will for my life? What does He want me to do? Where does He want me to go? Which decisions will bring Him the most honor? It sure would be nice if the Bible had some places that just spelled this out for us in unmistakably clear fashion. As it turns out, we have one right here. Let’s look at what it says.

Read the rest…