Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Thames River, London

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

We are blessed beyond measure in this country. We live as kings and queens and it's not until you go beyond our borders that you being to realize the abundance we have here in the USA. That kind of overflowing can numb us to the beauty and privilege God has showered upon us. We can get wrapped up in how things didn't go our way yesterday when the cable went out or when someone offended us at the supermarket. We can completely forget that God has provided for us, protected us and preserved us. Maybe He didn't do it the way we expected but here we are today, alive and well and walking along the path He prepared for us "from before the beginning of time".

So let's take this opportunity to focus on the blessings of our lives. We are so prone to define our lives and our self images by the uncomfortable things that happen. We're so adept at gauging how things are going by measuring the bad things that occur, that it becomes easy to miss the great things God has done for us. Eph 5:20 tells us to be thankful in all things. Indeed, there are times when we need to look closely and carefully at a situation in order to find something to be thankful for. But I believe God honors that kind of close examination and, in turn, we are blessed.

As I sit here this morning, sipping on a cup of sweet, rich Kona coffee, fresh from Hawaii, even this simple cup of coffee (a gift from a good friend) reminds me that God is watching over me and providing for me. As I thank him for this, the Holy Spirit begins to show me other things He has done for me:

  • I am thankful for my wife. We have a beautiful, full and deep relationship. I look forward to seeing her every day. She's my best friend, my most trusted confidant, my wisest advisor, the love of my life and my biggest fan. We weren't always blessed with this type of relationship. It comes from a lot of hard work, more than a few tears and hurt feelings, a lot more sacrifice than either of us thought possible, many hard learned lessons in serving each other and ultimately a total dependence on God and His presence to continue to knit our hearts together. After 28 years of marriage, we have the blessing of knowing that no problem or conflict we encounter in greater than our commitment first to God and then to each other. Our wedding vows have come to be the guidelines in our relationship; "Love, honor, cherish and obey."
  • I am thankful for our children. Oddly enough, they haven't turned out to be the people I would have moulded them into. Looking back, I much more prefer and enjoy the people that God is making them into. He's so much better at this than I am ;) Our daughter is a wonderful mother married to a great and godly man. Our grand daughter has brought a whole new kind of love and wonder into our lives. Our son is a unique and fascinating young man who's just beginning to find his own way through life. God has protected them and preserved them in spite of my best efforts to interfere with that process. When I look at our kids, I see God's grace and mercy. I see his providence. I see His wisdom. And I see his plan for their lives being played out right in front of us. It gives me confidence in His plan for our lives.
  • I am thankful for the bounty and richness of our friends. God has blessed us with friends that are true brothers and sisters in the Lord to us. We laugh together. Sometimes, we cry together. Through it all, we get to see God's hand moving through each of our lives and we get to share His blessing and provision. Each of our friends is a precious gift from the Lord and our lives are fuller and more abundant because of them. This is because Jesus Christ is the foundation for our friendships. How great God is, to guide us to and surround us with other godly people.
  • I am thankful for our family at WBF. This one is a huge and moving blessing for both Kelly and I. I really have a difficult time articulating the awe and wonder we experience at having the privilege and honor of serving the body of Christ at WBF. Every day is an adventure and a joy. Every person we talk to and work with is a totally unique expression of the Father and His plan to build us up as a body. Sunday morning is a banquet of blessing, a bouquet of beauty as we see the faces of all those people God has placed so wonderfully into our lives. I used to think how wonderful it was to enjoy my work when I was in the car business. Now I can see that God was just conditioning my capacity for joy, stretching it and shaping it to prepare me for the unbridled joy of being pastor at WBF.
  • All of this makes me thankful for such a loving, caring, wise and merciful God. For Him to have poured out His blessing on someone who has so consistently failed at being the godly person he should be is an act of unbounded, unceasing, relentless and eternal grace. Ultimately, I give thanks to Him not only for all these things He has given me, but for who He is and how He reveals His presence and His power in my life.

I pray that your day is at least as blessed and abundant as ours is. May we all pause to give Him thanks for His greatness, His beauty and His grace.

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