Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture- “ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”- Romans 15:5-6
Insight: As we enter into one of my favorite weeks of the year, where we take time to pause and reflect on all we have to be thankful for as a Country and as citizens of the USA, today I was challenged by the thought of am I still thankful in the midst of the storms of life for who God is and all He has done for me, or am I apt to complain? I think we can all create a laundry list of things that have been difficult for us over the past few years, or even the last few months, weeks or days if we really want to. But is that what God deserves? Doesn’t He deserve our praise even when things aren’t going the way we want them to or the way we planned? I mean after all, He is God and we are not, and He already paid the highest price and gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive in the atoning death of His Son Jesus Christ, who paid our sin tab in full, and set us free from the yoke of slavery that sin had us entangled in.
But in order to be thankful in tough times, we need to understand that it is going to often take endurance in our struggles in order to come out victorious. In fact, endurance is a requirement for living the Christian life in this fallen world, where persecution of our faith is just beginning to really ratchet up. The life of a Christian is like a marathon, and not a sprint. We can’t come out of the gates fast and then just give up. We will be tested for sure. Psalm 125:1 says “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” We must give thanks in all situations if we are to endure, because the strength we need to endure comes directly from keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Jesus knew what endurance looked like and He teaches us the same through His word. Hebrews 12:1-3 is a great reminder of this: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Man, I love that scripture. It fills me with hope and allows me to easily praise the Lord even when my circumstances or my feelings don’t warrant it. How can I not praise Him because He endured for me all the way to the Cross. So this Holiday Week, let’s all take time to be thankful, even if we are in the midst of some tough times. Storms are a part of life, and we need to focus on our blessings more than our problems or we can get shipwrecked. Thank God for the simple things, like the breath in your lungs, the beauty of the sunrise or sunset, the way nature moves in an orderly manner in every season. Praise Him simply because He is love and He loves You very much, even when you can’t feel it or think you don’t deserve it. Praise Him because it gives you strength and fills you with endurance needed to run the race. Psalm 150:6 says succinctly “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
Prayer: God we thank You simply because You are worthy of all of our praise. You loved us even before we loved you and for that we are grateful. Through Your Sone Jesus we have eternal life and for that we are thankful above all things. Amen!