Friday, November 11, 2011

How Should We Give Thanks Part 2?

Trees at our local state park.
Be thankful to Him and bless His name. Psalm 100:4b (NKJV)

Wholeheartedly, we can tell whether or not a person means what they say. God also knows when we go through the motions and say words He and others expect to hear from us.

I once spent a quantity of time making a scroll of thanks for a gentleman in a former church I attended. I had enlisted help from my step-father to make stained wooden handles for the scroll. I asked a friend’s daughter to color the pictures I had cut out of coloring books of a particular well-known Muppet. I asked the church people to sign the paper just anywhere. My plan was to put a cut out image above each name. I let his wife know of this project. When I delivered it to their home and gave it to him. He didn’t really respond the way I had thought he would. His wife thanked me for all the work I did and also apologized for her husbands seeming lack of appreciation.

The next Sunday, the man told me he was touched by the scroll. He also told me that due to his medical condition, his doctor had advised him not to get overexcited. I understood what he told me.

Sometimes, we have to be subdued in giving thanks to God. The important thing is THAT we give thanks.

Pleasantly, When I was in college one of the girls in my sorority used a phrase I was unfamiliar with, “left-handed compliment.” I took it to mean a phrase that appeared to not be a compliment but actually was. I believe we sometime give reverse praise. We thank God because we know we have to but, deep down, we feel we didn’t get what we requested. This sounds like, “Thank You, God, but I wanted this to happen, not what came about. Why didn’t I get what I asked?”

Do we sometimes thank God and not really mean it?

Do we grumble as we give thanks to God?

Can we do better about our attitude about what He does for us?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Should We Give Thanks?

Now, our God, we give you thanks,

and praise your glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:13 (NIV)

Freely, when a friend tells me of God’s answers prayer, I respond with “Praise the Lord” or “Praise God.” If it is an answer that is a positive answer, say God finding a bone marrow match for a leukemia patient, I almost shout my response. If He relieves a person from suffering by taking him or her, I am a lot more subdued, almost quiet, in my response but I eventually give praise. Let’s not hang back.

Have you ever heard a Christian speak his mind on a subject dear to his or her heart, one where he or she felt they and their cohorts had received a raw deal? Then have you heard that same Christian speak of having the experience of encountering the person who has caused that somewhat harsh attitude. I recently heard a Christian man speak of running into a person who has caused a lot of cities to look at a phase of their lives differently. The man I heard was apologetic about his previous thoughts of the actions that he has had to live with and work under and his attitude.

Eagerly, let’s not wait to give our thanks to God. The praises should be the first thing that comes out of our mouths. Our praises should be for what God has done. Sometimes we look at the person for whom He has done a particular deed. We might harbor strong feelings against him or her. We might resent that person receiving that blessing from God because we might ‘know something’ about him or her. When we choose not to give praise to God, we have a problem.

I once worked with woman who was slightly younger than I. We had grown up in the same town. We’d get to cutting up about something. She’d say something I’d find humorous; I’d respond with a cute remark. She’d look at me and say, “Right on time.” Our thanks to God should be given in a timely manner.

Monday, November 7, 2011

God, Please Guide Us

“In Your unfailing love You will lead the people

you have redeemed. In Your strength you will guide

them to your Holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13 (NIV)

Tomorrow, cities in our state go to the polls and choose who we want to lead us through the office of Mayor and the City Council. As I see it, the job of Mayor can be a highly stressful and intimidating one. While we should be thankful for living in a land where we have the privilege to have a say in this process, we need to remember that our leaders need God’s guidance while they serve us. 

In four states, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, the voters will cast ballots for their choice of state legislators. In Ohio, they will vote on three state, six county and at least six Cincinnati City issues.

Please, Father, guide us as we go through our days. Tomorrow is Election Day, a day set aside for the citizens of our nation to chose who will represent us, make our laws, and keep us safe from crime.

We have heard from all those seeking office about their qualifications and why they will do a good job in the office they wish to hold. We also had to listen to several of them bring up their opponent’s past voting record and their pursuits while not in the public forum.

I ask you to guide us, your children, as we chose those who will lead us at each through these economically difficult times.

We love You, Lord. We want what You want for each of us and for our land.

In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...