Contending… Part 3

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Contending..., Podcasts
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PLEASE CLICK THE PLACKER OR THE LINK TO LISTEN.

A.J. Jacobs, author of “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible“ said . . . my obsession with gratefulness. I can’t stop.  Just now, I press the elevator button and am thankful that it arrives quickly.  I get onto the elevator and am thankful that the elevator cable didn’t snap and plummet me to the basement.  I go to the fifth floor and am thankful that I didn’t have to stop on the second or third or fourth floor.  I get out and am thankful that Julie left the door unlocked so I don’t have to rummage for my King Kong key ring.  I walk in, and am thankful that Jasper is home and healthy and stuffing his face with pineapple wedges.  And on and on.  I’m actually muttering to myself, ‘Thank you. . .thank you. . . thank you.’ It’s an odd way to live.  But also kind of great and powerful.  I’ve never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.”

George Barna a statistician asked people what they look forward to:

71% answered getting a good nights sleep. – 68% watching tv.  –  55% being with friends. – 54% listening to music.  –  40% attending church.

With only 3% of those who call themselves Christians picking up a Bible from Sunday to Sunday the question must be what are we pursuing?

Criss Jami says that, “The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.”

There are times when i have though that it was hypocritical to thank God with my tongue when i don’t feel thankful in my heart. Hypocritical thanksgiving is if my aim is to conceal ingratitude and get the praise of others. That’s not my aim.  my aim in speaking words of gratitude is that God would be merciful and fill my words with the emotion of true gratitude.  i am not seeking the praise of men; i am seeking the mercy of God.  i’m not hiding the hardness of ingratitude, but hoping for the in-filling of the Spirit. Thanksgiving with my mouth stirs up thankfulness in my heart

i should probably ask myself, ‘Do i know my heart so well that i am sure the words of thanks have no trace of gratitude in them?’  i, for one, distrust my own assessment of my motives. It’s doubtful that i know my good ones well enough to see all the traces of contamination.  And i doubt that i know my bad ones well enough to see the traces of grace.  That being said, it is incorrect for me to assume that there is some trace of gratitude in my heart when i speak and sing of God’s goodness even though i feel little or nothing.

In the opening story A. J. Jacobs shared how he was resolved to spend most of his time in thanksgiving and praising God.  If i can’t do it with the joy that i should, i must do it as i can.  Every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he has received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone…. Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better.  Thanksgiving stirs up thankfulness in the heart.”

In closing, Joel Osteen says, “One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful.. we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to God’s goodness it becomes a routine..” For me, it’s time for more intentional thankfulness.

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