Thankful

“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” – Psalm 50:23

This has not been an easy morning- there have been a few disappointments, a few challenging relationships to work through, and some unexpected difficulties.  But as I brought all of this before the Father this morning in prayer, I realized once again that his burden is truly light and his grace truly is sufficient.

The hard things are still there, but having given them to the Father, I am left with a sense of His peace and even a sense of thankfulness for the hard things.  Anyone can give thanks when times are good, but as Ann Voskamp points out in her wonderful book, One Thousand Gifts, it is in learning to give thanks in all things that we are able to live fully, able to accept what God gives, able to truly worship Him and lean on Him and trust Him.

At the teacher conference in October, Dr. Drexler, author of Schools as Communities, spoke to us about helping our students become “maladjusted” to the world.  Rather than being driven to have a high-paying job and the American Dream, he challenged us to help our students dream big redemptive dreams, asking how God wants to use them as agents of His love in a world that needs Him.  I think part of the maladjustment of the Christian life is learning to give thanks in all circumstances, that secret of being content that Paul spoke about in Philippians 4.  It sets us apart in a world of entitlement and ungratefulness.

I love all the ways I have been challenged recently to live counter-culturally, to live for what matters in light of eternity, to be “maladjusted.”  Alex Kennedy, our new pastor at Carmel, spoke of being a church that is known for “what we are for rather than what we are against.” – http://vimeo.com/52859772   And Steven Furtick spoke at Elevation recently in a powerful sermon about raising the white flag of surrender, surrendering our lives to the King:   http://www.elevationchurch.org/sermons/banneryears/part1 

I wonder what would happen if we invited God to fight battles of sin in our lives rather than battling one another and trying to get our own way, if we became a thankful people, a generous people, a people known for what we are for rather than what we are against, if we were full of joy in serving others?  I have seen some incredible glimpses of this kind of service and thankfulness and joy in so many of you, and I am thankful.

November is a month that many of us pause to give thanks.  But really for a Christian, thanksgiving should be the hallmark of our lives.  We know we don’t deserve anything- all is grace.

Arborbrook, what are you thankful for?  Where have you seen the grace of God this year, this week, this day?

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