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Tag Archives: thankfulness

The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Complaining)

Complaining. It is soooo easy to do. There’s always stuff and people and circumstances that push our complaint button, right? Wouldn’t you agree that a complaining Christian is a contradiction in terms? We are to be marked by thankfulness, mercy, compassion, strategic prayer. Right? How are you doing in the complaint department?

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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What Christmas Gifts Are YOU Thankful For? (A short video)

Having recently returned from Africa where the electricity is uncertain and the water is undrinkable (for Westerners), I am very grateful for all we have here in the States. And a job. And a car. Wow! You?

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2019 in thankfulness

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 8- final)

This is our last post in our study of what we are calling GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. The last two challenges are found in verses 15-16 —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the last two challenges are:
(1) Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus (v. 17), and
(2) Giving thanks to God the Father through him (v. 17).

Now, technically, we skipped over the expression “as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (v. 16). These verbs (“teach,” “admonish,” “singing”) are actually not commands, but modifiers of the main verb “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (v. 16). HOW do we let the message of Christ dwell among us richly? There is an intimate connection between letting His message dwell in us richly and teaching and admonishing one another. We are not to be Lone Ranger Christians! We need the family of God.

But our last two main verbs are found in verse 17 (in reality the second [“giving thanks”] isn’t a main verb). Could there be a more comprehensive, sweeping statement than “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”? If Jesus is God the Son, this makes perfect sense. If He is not, this is blasphemy of the highest order!

And in doing everything in His name we are to “give thanks to God the Father through him.” Doing all in Christ’s name is to be a thankful way of living life.

Thank you for staying with me through this study of GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! May the Lord help you — and me — to pick one or two of these commands and thankfully obey them today!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in christian life

 

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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 7)

We only have two posts remaining in our study of what we are calling GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. The next two challenges are found in verses 15-16 —

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Be thankful (v. 15), and
(2) Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly (v. 16).

Have you known people who just seem to be naturally thankful? I have. But they are few and far between. Most people I know (including myself) find it far easier to complain about life and its many disappointments. BEING THANKFUL is a key virtue for the believer — and is one of the habits forsaken by the world (see Romans 1).

I don’t need to go into detail about the many blessings of life for which we should BE THANKFUL. One practice that is helping me is to occasionally (not every day) wake up and say out loud, “FOR WHAT 5 THINGS ARE YOU THANKFUL TO THE LORD TODAY?” Seriously. Even before my morning coffee, I’ve found that when I do that, my mind begins to get calibrated rightly. And my list isn’t always about huge blessings. A few days ago I even thanked the Lord that my dog Scrabble isn’t suffering anymore (we had to put him down). BE THANKFUL TODAY!

We are also to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.” There is much here, but the image that comes to my mind is that the Good News about Jesus shouldn’t be like a squatter who’s staying in an abandoned house uninvited. Christ’s message is the guest of honor who will be shown every courtesy and welcomed into our hearts with enthusiasm. To “dwell among you richly” means it becomes the central focus of our lives. It is the most honored guest. And it is not coming for a brief visit. It is going to DWELL in us now and forever!

Jesus is a gentleman who does not force His message on us, but awaits our invitation. Is His message dwelling among you richly today?

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2019 in christian life

 

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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel! (7:18-29) A Prayer of Courage and Deep Theology!

What a great prayer of humility! David makes some critical points as he responds to the Lord’s words to the prophet Nathan:
1. “Who am I?” David rehearses the kindnesses of the Lord in his life. And the Lord has decreed the future of David’s house (vv. 18-19).
2. “You know Your servant!” David rests in God’s knowledge of him (v. 20).
3. “Why You have done what You have done . . .” David says, “For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing (v. 21).
4. “You are unique!” David acknowledges God’s greatness, His uniqueness (v. 22).
5. “We, Your people, are unique!” David says that Israel is the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself — to make a name for Himself and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods! (v. 23).
6. “You have become our God!” David declares that God has established His people Israel as His very own forever. And God has become their God. (v. 24).
7. “Do as You have promised, Lord!” David asks the Lord to keep forever His promise “so that your name will be great forever.” So that people will say, “The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!” (vv. 25-26).
8. “Bless Your people, Lord, as You fulfill Your promises!” David says that he has “found courage to pray this prayer” to the Lord. He acknowledges God as the Sovereign God. His covenant is trustworthy and His blessing on the house of Israel will remain forever (vv. 27-29).

Some takeaways for me:
1. You can learn a lot about yourself by listening to your own prayers! This prayer by King David is courageous and solidly theological.
2. Realize that a me-centered universe is so wrong and sinful. The Lord does what the Lord does for His glory — for the sake of His word and according to His will.
3. Don’t miss the uniqueness of God’s people. He has become the God of those He has redeemed.
4. He is a God who keeps His promises. And we can praise Him for His faithfulness.

What promises of God are you praying back to Him today?

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2019 in 2 Samuel 7

 

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Counting Your Blessings! (Time for a Great Cartoon)

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in blessings

 

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Some Challenges from Colossians! (Part 10)

As we continue our study of Colossians 2, let’s notice another theme which the Apostle uses to challenge the hearts of the Corinthians.

We read,
6 So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2018 in COLOSSIANS 2

 

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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #3)

“Just read your Bible — and pray!” This was the advice given to me when I was first saved. And, to a large extent, that was great advice!

But the Christian life involves more than (but not less than) reading God’s Word and praying. I’m not at all sure I’ve mastered those two habits, but I’m working on them.

A third habit that really helps me is to practice a spirit of thankfulness. This might seem like an odd “discipline,” but it is certainly biblical. We read in Romans 1 that our default setting is unthankfulness:  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” My foolish heart gets darkened when I stop being thankful.

For me this is a several-times-a-day habit. I’ll say to myself, “List five things you thank the Lord for. Right now!” It’s not all that hard to do. I’m still vertical (alive). I’ve got a great wife. I’m getting opportunities for significant ministry. We’ve been given six wonderful grandkids.  I actually have people reading my blog! You get the picture.

We glorify God with thanksgiving (Ps. 69:3). We are to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4). In fact, we are to overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:7 says that we are to be “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”) I don’t quite understand how I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thes. 5:18), but I believe it and I want to practice it! When it comes to joking around (which I like to do), Paul commands in Ephesians 5:4 the following: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” And then my prayer life ought to help me with my anxiety and worry, for Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6).

Is this a holy habit you want to cultivate?  Then I thank God for you and pray for you to take steps toward that discipline! (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2018 in holy habits

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #2 (con’t)

The theme this year of the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College is ‘Training for Godliness” and the plenary sessions will be focusing on I Timothy 4-6.  My two workshop topics are:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s conclude our thinking about the second workshop this morning: “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
We read the following in I Timothy 4:

These false teaches are into forbidding — They forbid people to marry (which the Creator blessed in Genesis and the Lord Jesus in the gospels) and they restrict what people can eat!  These negative values actually express several ungodly attitudes:

(1) unthankfulness:  Both marriage and culinary variety were created by God to be enjoyed!

(2) a denial of the goodness of creation:  Everything God created is good.  Nothing (that is not sinful) is to be rejected IF it is received with thanksgiving!

But the material world (marriage and food) needs to be consecrated!  How does this happen?  By “the word of God and prayer.”  As we are into God’s Word (allowing Him to speak to us) and prayer (giving us the opportunity to speak to Him), these two disciplines cause us to receive His good gifts with thanksgiving.

In his article “The Problem of Pleasure,” Phillip Yancey quotes G.K. Chesterton as saying, “I felt in my bones, first that this world does not explain itself. . . . Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to. mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art. . . . Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons. Fourth, that the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them. . . . And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as [Robinson] Crusoe saved his goods: he had saved them from a wreck. All this I felt and the age gave me no encouragement to feel it. And all this time I had not even thought of Christian theology.”

We know the God who gave us marriage and food and everything else!  Thank Him for His good gifts today!

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in thankfulness

 

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Happy Groundhog’s Day! (My birthday)

Today is my 66th birthday.  Really.  I am so grateful for the Lord’s goodness to me over the years (okay, the decades!).  I am very thankful for my wife Linda of almost 45 years, for my two children Brian and Amy, and for my/our six grandchildren!  I praise the Lord for my son-in-law Thom (who is a youth pastor in NC) and for my daughter-in-law Julie who is a terrific mom!

Yes, I’ve seen the movie Groundhog’s Day.  I personally think that any warm, subterranean creature who ventures out of his cave to prognosticate about the weather deserves to have his day declared a national holiday!  I thought you’d enjoy this Fiat commercial which features the little critter!

My two youngest grandsons!

My two youngest grandsons!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Groundhog's Day

 

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