Blessings and Thanksgiving
There are two completely different approaches when it comes to experiencing thanksgiving.
One way is to get out our calculators and begin tallying all the blessings we have received.
Of course at this point it’s tempting to subtract from our gratefulness based on the areas we believe God has withheld blessing, or worse yet, has allowed tragedy to befall us.
Based on this methodology, the amount of thanksgiving we give comes out to a calculation:
Blessings – Tragedies = Amount of Thanksgiving
The other way requires no calculations, but it does require complete trust. We find ourselves giving thanks based solely on the fact that God is good. We look at our lives with the understanding that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
We recall that He is doing a good work in us and He will be faithful to complete it. All things are made good by our great God and we give thanksgiving in our hearts rather than with our calculators.
If we were to calculate, the formula would look like this:
God’s goodness + me = Heartfelt Gratitude
Which method are you using to calculate thanksgiving in your life?
It can be messy….
It can be messy.
It can be tough.
It is sometimes thankless and it is never safe.
Look at the author of it.
When confronted with the temptation of “clean” He chose messy. When confronted with “easy” He chose tough.
When tempted with the praise of men, He chose to praise God. Jesus died because of His love.
For those who live in this love we know what was purchased.
Jesus’ love = our ransom.
We come to Him with all of our stains
In the natural when we come into this world we are as innocent as we ever will be. As the years go by, we are stained by the things that we have done and the things that have been done unto us. Eventually, what was once clean and white is hardly recognizable. Because of the effects of this world and its ruler we become selfish, cynical, jaded, angry, guilt-ridden, etc.
The tape that we are “less than” is reinforced by this world and gradually we take on the identity that it gives to us. It becomes evident in those who are in the latter years of their lives. As the filter that helps keep up appearances falls away, what is on the inside becomes evident to those on the outside. In the end, all that remains is a natural and a spiritual death. They go to their graves stained, bitter and broken. This world and its disease have run its course.
And it only gets worse from there…
The blood of Jesus works to the opposite effect to that of this world. We come to Him with all of our stains. Depending on how far along we are in life, we may look nothing like what we did in the beginning. It is at this intersection when we meet and surrender to Jesus that He begins the process of washing out the stains of this fleshly life. Rather than seeing the disease of this world (sin) take its natural course unto physical and spiritual death, He begins renewing our hearts and our minds.
We see a regenerative effect and in many ways are transformed back into the infants we once were… only better. Now our innocence is coupled with knowledge, wisdom and understanding. We are as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. The stains of this world are washed in His blood and replaced with His spotless beauty as His presence and His transformative power becomes evident in our lives.
Nothing and no one can do what the blood of Jesus does within us. He takes what was stained by this world and makes it as white as snow. He takes what was broken and transforms it into beautiful.
The path of this world is clearly defined (death) as is the regenerative path in Christ (life). All that remains is the choice.
If you need someone to pray with you today, please feel free to reach out to me. You can respond here in the comments or e-mail me privately. God bless you!
~ Mitch Salmon