October 10, 2010

To Live is Christ — filled with gratitude

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. Tomorrow, our family will eat together and be thankful for many things. Today’s reading reminds me of the most important blessings in my life, much more than the thirteen I will list . . . 
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son. (John 3:16–18, CEV)
1. God’s love. I cannot imagine life in a universe created by a hateful God. Would any of us still be breathing? I’m thankful that my God loves the world, me included.
2. Jesus Christ. This is God’s greatest gift. In Christ I have all that I need.
3. Faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” This sentence construction indicates that not only is grace a gift, but so is faith. I’m thankful that God enables me to believe in Jesus.
4. Eternal life. It became mine when Christ came into my life. He brought His life with Him, and because He, the eternal one, lives in me, I will live forever!
5. Hope. The older I get the more aware I am of the end of life, but with Jesus there is no end. I will never really die — meaning nothing can separate me from God. I will step from this world to the next and spend eternity with Him.
6. No condemnation. This is a negative, so I’m thankful for its opposite — God’s acceptance. I don’t deserve it, but this isn’t about my merit, but about what Jesus did on the cross in my place. He removed my condemnation.
7. Salvation. I’m saved from the penalty of sin, am being saved from sin’s power, and one day will be saved from its presence. I’m thankful that God does not do things half way.
8. Condemnation for sinners. This may seem odd, but I could not worship a God who just looks the other way concerning evil. Those who refuse His forgiveness and will not repent must eventually pay for the things they have done. God is just, and I am thankful.
9. Church. I know . . . church gets a bad rap these days, but I’m thankful that the people of God have so much in common and that we can worship together, pray for one another, and share in the goodness of God together.
10. Family. Not all of them believe. Not all of them are even thankful for much, but they are God’s gifts to me and I am thankful for each of them.
11. Friends. Not all of them believe. Not all of them are even thankful for much, but they are God’s gifts to me and I am thankful for each of them as well.
12. Creativity. Made in His image, I’m thankful for creativity. While I cannot speak worlds into existence like He did, I can make a pie, or a quilt, or a garden. I’m thankful.
13. Color. A friend is color-blind; his world is gray. Even on gray days, I’m thankful for color: candy red, sunshine yellow, oranges - brick and pumpkin, blues by the thousands in Alberta skies, greens lush and pale, purples, plums and pinks. I run my fingers through paint chips like Scrooge with dollar bills, and am thankful that God gave me color.

Gratitude is a great gift too. Without it, I am whinny, grouchy, and constantly attending pity parties. Far better to eat turkey and pie, and joyfully give thanks for God’ blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

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