Expressions of Gratitude
Thirty-six years had passed. The one-column sermon outline, written for a minister’s publication in 1981, was long forgotten. It was only one among many brief inspirational thoughts passed on to busy pastors.
Somehow, the publication fell into the hands of a young man in Tanzania who had found his way from Islam to Christianity and was studying to become a minister. He used the outline in preparing a Christmas message he would use over and over again.
Years passed. Then one day, he decided to locate the author. He took the time to write an email, introducing himself and describing his spiritual journey from Tanzania to Vancouver, B. C., where he now serves as a chaplain. He was holding in his hand the actual clipping of the sermon outline, which he intended to use again for his Christmas message. He ended the e-mail with two simple words: “Thank you.”
Such an expression of gratitude, coming from a stranger or a friend, can mean worlds to the recipient. And we all have people in our past who deserve that simple recognition.
So — Look up an address. Send a brief note. Make a phone call. Send a text. It’s never too late to say “Thank you.”
I will send a note of appreciation to someone who has made an impact on my life.
Planning a vacation during the upcoming holidays? Planning on staying at a big city hotel? Planning on having a good night’s sleep? Conventional advice is: Go higher!
The higher you go in a high-rise hotel, the less street noise you will hear. The distance diffuses the sounds below, thus assuring a more restful sleeping environment.
This leads to another question. How can we find inner calm in a world filled with screaming sirens, conflict, division and fear? How can we shut out the noise long enough to find rest and peace?
The answer is the same: Go higher!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7)
Prayer and thanksgiving can lift us above the chaos and strife. There, in the presence of God, we begin to see things from His perspective. In that place of rest, we find hope, strength and divine solutions. We are refreshed to fight another day.
I will take time to recoup in God’s presence this week through prayer and thanksgiving.
November 5, 2017 will be remembered as the day evil and hatred spewed gunfire into a group of worshippers in Sutherland, Texas, sending 26 innocent people to sudden death. The day evil seemed to triumph.
What should we do in the wake of such horror? There seems to be no place to hide from overpowering forces bent on destruction.
Looking back to the Old Testament, we see a similar situation. The marauding Midianites forced the Israelites to hide in the hills and caves. Gideon was one of them, trying to hide his crops from the invaders. The people were starving—and crying to God for help. Then an angel came with instructions.
1. Start with inner cleansing. Tear down the idols in your house. Seek God with all of your heart. Repent.
2. Then, sound the trumpet. A call to arms. Christians, come together. Pray and work together. Get ready for action.
3. Face evil with God’s strategy: sound the “trumpet” of God’s message of truth; break the jars of tradition, and release the light and fire of God’s presence and power.
Gideon obeyed and the Midianites scattered without a fight. Who knows what God will do in our behalf?
I will not surrender to fear in spite of dangerous times and random acts of terror.
Plug In To God's Power
Most homes in America have a tremendous amount of power available to them in the form of electricity. If you use a 100-watt incandescent bulb for 10 hours, you consume 1 kWh of electricity. The average household uses 901 kWh per month.
Priorities and choices dictate how we use this power. The size of the house also plays a part. The bigger it is, the greater the demand. Think small if you want to conserve energy.
In God’s economy, however, we are encouraged to “think big.” God’s power is unlimited, and we are invited to utilize it to achieve His purposes.
How big is your “spiritual house?” The abode of hopes, dreams and aspirations? Are there goals you envisioned at one time, but postponed or abandoned because they seemed “too big?” Perhaps it’s time to tap into God’s abundant resources and revisit those forgotten challenges.
Moses did this when he returned to the scene of his failure: Egypt. This time, he wasn’t relying on his own strength, but on the “I AM” who was sending him to break the chains of slavery. As a result, Moses became the catalyst for the birth of a nation.
Who knows what God can do with your dreams — when you tap into His power?
I will take a second look at spiritual goals I have considered too big to attain, and seek God’s power to achieve them.
Technology is amazing!
With just a touch, you can be in touch with the world! Your email. Your phone calls. Your text messages. Your bank account. It’s all literally at your fingertips. Never before have we experienced so much power in a simple touch.
In the ministry of Jesus, touch was also important. Healing was imparted by a touch. Either when He touched the sick, or they touched Him.
One woman came to Jesus with the intention of simply touching his robe in order to find healing for a long-standing ailment. And that’s all it took! Just a touch — and her life was changed forever! The bleeding stopped. The pain stopped. Her search for the right physician stopped. She had found Him!
Today, we can still touch Jesus. Not with our fingers, but with our faith. When we do, our lives are changed— transformed by the power that flows from the very throne of God. That touch brings hope, love and newness of life. It brings heaven into our earthly circumstances and pours light into the darkness that tries to capture our souls. Then we, in turn, can touch and change our world.
I will seek to touch he lives of others with the same hope that Jesus has given to me.