pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Attitude of Gratitude

Reading: Psalm 118: 1-2

Verse 1: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever”.

Psalm 118 invites us to give thanks to God. So today we begin with a simple question: what do you have to thank God for today? I believe this is an important question to consider on a regular basis. There are many ways that this can happen. No matter which way works for you, I think it is important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

For some folks, the practice of thanking God for blessings and other ways that God was present is part of their prayer life. For some, they cultivate a grateful heart by taking a few seconds each time they feel or see God’s goodness in their lives or the world. This thanking entails a few words of prayer spoken to God. Being thankful on a regular basis does a few things for us and for our relationship with God and with one another.

First, gratitude keeps things in perspective. By thanking God for the ways we are blessed or drawn close remind us of our dependence on God and of God’s love for us. This is both humbling and edifying. It also keeps us on a more even keel. Second, gratitude reminds us of our need to be in relationship with God. All of those ways that God touches our lives seem so much more real and impactful when we stop and actually think about and thank God for each of them. And, lastly, recognizing our place within God’s love and care improves our attitude, leading us to be more loving, kind, generous, forgiving… towards God and towards others.

Part of my daily morning discipline is a limit notebook that I write down 5-8 things that I am thankful to God for from the day before. After writing them down I pray through them, one at a time. Another method might work better for you. Whatever your method, take time to intentionally thank God each day for his goodness and steadfast love that endures forever.

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the attitude of gratitude that has been cultivated in my heart. Guide me to be forever grateful for your love and blessings in my life. Amen.


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The Faith of a Child

Jesus calls us to accept the kingdom of God like a child.  He warns that if we do not, we will not enter it.  As He has children gathered around Him, Jesus says the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Is Jesus calling us to a basic, immature faith?  I do not think so.  For each of us, our faith starts out smaller than it will be and our faith should grow and develop naturally, as a child does.

Much like a child as he or she grows, our faith also becomes more complex as we come to understand God and our relationship with Him better.   We learn to love more easily.  We learn to forgive quicker.  And we come to understand our ‘responsibilities’ as Christ-followers in deeper and more impactful ways.  The call to serve others as Christ did becomes louder as we better learn to put self aside more and more.  The Spirit’s voice becomes clearer as we are refined and come to see ways we can follow closer and be less prone to temptation and sin.

Our faith must also hold onto some characteristics that were strongest in childhood.  As a child we were often fearless and thought we could do anything.  In faith we are called to step out and to do things we never thought we could.  With this kind of faith we step out where God is leading and trust that He can do all things.  Children also do not understand limits.  If one cookie is good, ten are better.  Such should be our understanding of God’s limitless love.  No matter how much we receive from God, there is always more.  And no matter how much we pour out, there is always more to give away.  May we love without hesitation, knowing that God can do anything.

Scripture reference: Mark 10: 13-16