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25 November 2010

Thank You, Lord

I'm grateful that God called me to be His child.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. - Romans 8:15-17 (NLT)

Paul's word translated as "suffering" means to experience pain jointly, or to experience the same kind of persecution. And there's the rub. I may have received a little bit of flak for my faith, having been bad-mouthed here and there for following Christ rather than the status quo, but I really haven't suffered. I don't know if too many modern Americans have actually suffered for the sake of Christ.

I'm reminded of the overwhelming sensation I had when I came back from Haiti in 2009. Our company president and another friend returned from a trip to Kenya just this week and summed it up quite well: "[The Kenyans] have nothing and they love the Lord and they're full of joy. I almost feel sorry for [Americans]." My friend Jan Owen regularly takes trips to Rwanda and Guatemala and sees the same thing -- people without "stuff" in this life who are filled with joy because they love the Lord. He truly is all they need.

So I often wonder how thankful I should be for cars, multiple televisions, clean running water that's essentially endless in supply (we're so picky that we don't even like the taste of tap water anymore!), so much food in my cabinet that "I don't have a taste for that" is a common statement in the house, a house that's mansion-sized when compared to 50% of the world, etc. I wonder how thankful I should be because our stuff generally receives far more attention than its Provider. As you're well aware, getting things often means that we want more things.

While I admit to questioning this, I'm not saying I'm ungrateful! Have you ever thought that the things themselves may not be the blessings, but instead are catalysts for great blessings? I'm unbelievably thankful for all these tangible possessions. Matter of fact, I'm floored that God would choose to allow me to be in charge of them (if I were God, I'd probably choose to bless someone else). But they're blessings if I choose to intentionally use them for the sake of Christ; if they serve to constantly remind me of God's great mercy and His limitless grace. Otherwise they're stumbling blocks.

To wrap up, our steadfast commitment to living life in community with other people who love the Lord is vital in keeping our focus on Christ in the midst of our "plenty." God created His Church -- a Jesus-centric, living organism that is alien to this world -- to be this way! There is accountability, there is encouragement, there is the privilege of bearing one another's burdens, there is the honor of being the hands and feet of Christ.

I'm grateful that God called me to be His child. I'm thankful for the Church.


John King said...

For my imediate family. We have Been Blessed in a special way.
25 years of marriage an 1 son. We have experinced what a would in layman terms call a string of "Pearls" in Blessings. Meanning after the first, After God saw our reaction, another Blessing. it Continues for us everyday. When you see things happen change within our lives, an others. Those we pray for. When we as Gods children see this an are thankful. God Blesses us 3 times more. I'm not a saint. However, I obey his word. I thank him constantly. an for this he Blesses my family with a home an just enough to provide for us, an for us to help those in need. Quick example. I loaned 1,000.00 to a friend for a very important cause. I told him I didnt care if it took years to pay back. An if it never got paid. I really didnt care. point. The next morning I sold a item for 3 times the amounnt. Thats also having "Faith" he will always provide if your of true heart

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