Thankfulness Challenge 2

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly[a] mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

“What exactly do you love about me?” my wife sometimes asks me. She doesn’t just want an akimg0754bstract lovey -dovey comment, she wants all the little nitty gritty details! Think of thankfulness as a thousand piece puzzle. It takes more than knowing what the big picture looks like to get that thing together. Finishing the puzzle means fitting each and every tiny part exactly into the position for which it was designed! Paul got very detailed about the thanks he was giving for his friends at the Thessalonian church. In fact Paul went into extra innings in his prayer time to remind God with a specific list of their work, their faith and their labor of love.

We might tell our pastor, “Hey great sermon today!” but can we take the time to say, “That part about unshakable confidence being like the mountains really made me think.” If we are to start building a design of thankfulness, let’s make it our goal this week to just fit in at least one tiny puzzle piece. If kimg0749we were blessed by the worship, we could say something like, “When you got to that part about God breaking chains, my heart just felt a breakthrough tonight!”

Saying thank you, may feel awkward and maybe a little strange but God himself can be very specific when he expresses His love for us. He counts our every hair, he bottles every tear and hears every cry. He touched a leper and put clothing on a naked demon possessed man. Jesus had compassion on the hungry, then took the time to count every one in the crowd before he multiplied their bread. He has left us a perfect example that is not only our duty but it is our joy to follow. When we give thanks for what someone has done for us we never know what it will do. Giving thanks is a bit like washing dirty tired feet. Thankfulness means taking the position of servant before our brothers and sisters, so we can walk together into everything that God has designed for us!

He Gave Thanks

The screen door banged and feet shuffled in at our back door on summer afternoons. The occasion was the silent call of the delicious aroma of Mom’s homemade bread! One by one my friends and I waited in line as Mom cut open the first loaf and slid butter across it as she handed us each our slice.

I don’t remember anyone standing outside the door waiting to be invited in. She never made an announcement and but Mom’s welcome to her kitchen was quietly understood. In Mom’s kitchen we all knew we had one piece of bread with our name on it.

Now of course we went by Mom’s rules that said we had to wait for the bread to cool. We could not expect a second slice and most importantly we needed to say thank you!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God   Philippians 4:6

bread

There are so many things we are asking God for today. We ask for His help with temptations, difficulties, emergencies and financial needs. Yet often we have such low expectations of God’s answer it seems as if we have forgotten the aroma of the grace of God. And on those occasions after we have received an answer to our prayers do we just say, “We give you thanks in Jesus name” without truly being grateful? I am struck with the fact that Jesus, who is the creator of all things, and was there at the birth of our planet, said, “thank you”.  As Jesus prayed for the multiplying of the bread perhaps He smelled the fresh bread being baked in His Father’s heavenly ovens and with great joy and expectancy gave thanks!

Memories and Mountains

As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 125:2

Because it is so easy for us to forget his faithfulness God puts His reminders all around us. He sees we are quick to remember our difficulties and slow to count our blessings. So in His wisdom He chooses to create a mountain of memories so great that we can not possibly forget. He writes on His creation a love note. ” Trust me, I am working everything out for your good. Be back soon! Love God”

He Gave Thanks

Paul tells us in Philippians … we are to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition WITH THANKSGIVING. to make our requests.. Philippians 4:6

There are so many things we are asking God for today. We ask for His help with temptations, difficulties, emergencies and financial needs; yet how often as we close our prayers do we just say,  “We give you thanks in Jesus name” without truly being grateful?

I am struck with the fact that Jesus, who is the creator of all things,and was there at the birth of our planet, stopped and gave thanks.

Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, …. Matthew 15:36

For Jesus this was not a one time example setting moment. Jesus regularly was heard being thankful. Jesus thanked the Father for hearing Him, before He called Lazarus from the tomb. When the disciples came back from their first preaching tour, He gave thanks that God had showed himself to them. When Jesus took the bread and the cup at the last supper, He paused and gave thanks. Jesus lived and died a life filled to overflowing with thankfulness. His thanksgiving wasn’t just for a holiday a religious ritual, or a show for others. The thankful heart of Jesus was woven into every detail of His very nature. This might be a good moment to pause this morning and ask God for His mercy to forgive our ungratefulness, and to teach us to be like Jesus: who was always thankful!