I'm still stuck on toothpaste -- excuse my preoccupation (and the terrible pun). But even in the small things, thankfulness tells us the truth. First, about ourselves, we are reliant on God and we need others. Second, about God, He is good and enjoys blessing us and providing for us in creative and wonderful ways. Third, is the truth about reality, God is working in our lives, individually, speaking to us and loving us every day.
Ingratitude, which often looks like entitlement or indifference, tells us lies. It says it's not good enough, God's not good enough, there's nothing to be happy about. Ingratitude tells us that God doesn't care, isn't there, or can't intervene in our circumstances. Failure to pick out the blessings God inserts into our days strips us of one of the tangible ways we see the hand and purposes of God.
All that from toothpaste? God -- You are amazing!
Ever been traveling and forgotten your toothpaste? I have...this week in fact and I was inordinately grateful for the hotel's toothpaste stock. I was also reminded that God is the source of all good things in our lives (even when He uses someone else to provide the toothpaste) and I was challenged. I tell others thank you, a lot. I told the lady at the front desk thank for you the toothpaste. When someone opens a door for me or does something for me at work -- I automatically say thank you. If someone helps me over the phone or email, I tell them thank you. But the God of the Universe...how often do I tell Him thank you? For the sun? The air-conditioning? The fact that I got up this morning able to move, breathe, and serve Him?
So, thank you God. Every good thing that I have is from You and it reminds how wonderful You are. You even provide forgotten toothpaste.
Ps. Please forgive my tardiness with this post.
A sweet smell flew on the breeze and stirred a rustle among the aspen trees. I looked around the mountain path and thought, "A taste of heaven." Just a taste -- for it has not entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Yet later that same, long week, I began to wonder what good does it do to think about heaven surrounded by "earth" in all its sin and fallenness? How is thinking about heaven helpful? And I came up with three things (but I am sure you can come up with more :0):
1. Proper perspective. Heaven is eternal -- all our circumstances here are temporary, good, bad or indifferent. But people's souls and service to God will last forever.
2. Renewed hope. We have a sure hope in heaven. We who believe and follow Christ will be with Him in glory, in beauty, in perfection forever. Now that is hope!
3. Continued joy. Our fatigue, our pain, our sorrow, our illness, our struggles with sin will come to an end soon. And that end is not oblivion, it is in fellowship with our God and Savior who loves us and who we are blessed to love in return.
Those truths are just a taste of heaven!
Happy Friday All :0)
[E]ach one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. -- 1 Corinthians 3:13 (NKJV)
The bare, twisted metal frame told the story. A home once stood here. Fire had stripped away the walls, incinerated the roof, and left only skeletal remains of appliances and beds. This devastation wasn't from a mere house fire. It was a forest fire.
207 homes destroyed. Over 6,000 acres engulfed in flames. As it threatened schools and businesses with searing heat, the McBride Fire in Ruidoso, NM garnered national attention.
A month later, my disaster relief team sifted through the ash. Glass vases had melded to their flower beads. Canning jars were contorted lumps of glass and metal. Aluminum, liquefied in the inferno, formed shiny puddles. Up from the rumble, knife blades poked through without handles, just like the inlay in a steel ring was eaten by fire. After eight houses, it became obvious what survives fire and it's not much.
Between earth and heaven there is a fire. This fire will demonstrate clearly if we spent our lives on what was worthy of our Savior. On the Day we stand before Jesus Christ, He will sift through the ashes of our lives. What pleases Him will enter eternity with us. What does not honor God will evaporate.
If our character looks like Jesus, the fire will prove it. If we seek God in Bible study, fasting, and prayer -- those moments will remain. If we serve the Lord, love and disciple others, those works will survive. If our priorities reflect God's, we will invest our talents and resources as good stewards and this fire will vindicate us.
As we look forward to that Day, it is not with fear but rather with anticipation. We are building things that will survive fire.
What does a penguin know about flying? Or a rabbit know about climbing trees? What does a turtle know about being homeless? Or a blue whale about a mountain breeze?
Maybe you don't, but I always want to argue that I understand another person's situation. Perhaps it would be better to admit that, often by the grace of God, I haven't had those experiences and instead stick to what I do know. I may not fully appreciate their life circumstances, but I know my Savior has been faithful through my life and all of human history. I may not be able to feel the intensity of their sorrow, joy, or confusion, but I know Jesus does. And I may not have the right words or actions or attitude or skills to decrease their suffering, but I know my God loves and laid down His life to prove it. That I do know.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.