Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seven Statements of Gratitude in Light of Seven Promises in Difficulty

This weekend is a nostalgic time for me. Part of it is because I just love the Thanksgiving holiday, but for the last two years, there is another reason. It was this weekend that our family visited College Park for the first time to determine if we were interested in entering the candidating process. The anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and prayerful wrestling were very real. Now, two years later, it is amazing to see what the Lord has done in us and at College Park. It creates a deep level of gratitude in my heart to God when I think about those days.

You may have a similar story in your life or you may be in the midst of “the dark side of God’s will.” Regardless, I’d encourage you to take some time this weekend and reflect on how God has demonstrated his care for you in the past few years. Rehearse, remember, and reflect or you’ll soon forget; that is the regular warning from the Word (see Deut 8:1-18, Ps 42:4-6, 77:11, 143.5).

Gratitude must be cultivated or a self-focused, demanding, and proud heart will soon appear.

Tonight we will be gathering for our annual Thanksgiving Service. I’m working today on my devotional for that service and my exposition of Matthew 10:5-33. It has been an interesting combination.

This evening I’ll be sharing 7 statements of gratitude out of Colossians 1:15-20. I recently memorized this passage, and it has gripped me every day for the last two weeks. It is filled with praiseworthy statements about Christ.

When I consider Christ, I am grateful…

1. That he has made God clear and near (Col 1:15,19)

2. That there is nothing on earth over which Jesus doesn’t say, “Mine!” (Col 1:16)

3. That he is the head, the focus, and the source of the church (Col 1:18a)

4. That he is alive, making hope a reality (Col 1:18b)

5. That he is and will be first in everything (Col 1:18c)

6. That he makes peace possible (Col 1:20)

7. That he holds everything together (Col 1:21)

On Sunday, I’m talking about why following Christ is worth it or what keeps you going when following Jesus gets really hard. There are at least 7 promises to which our hearts should cling when following Jesus is painful.

Here are 7 promises from Matthew 10:16-33 to remember when we start to wonder if following Jesus is really worth it:

1. When challenged, remember that God will give you words to say (v 17-20)

2. When your family attacks, remember the value of endurance (v 21-22)

3. When persecution comes, remember that Jesus has been there too (v 23-25)

4. When you are afraid of people, remember that one day everything will be revealed (v 26)

5. When you tempted to be timid, remember who God is (v 27-28)

6. When you are filled with anxiety, remember you are valuable to God (v 29-31)

7. When following him proves costly, remember that nothing is greater than the affirmation of Jesus (v 32-33)

I hope you’ll join me in some focused gratitude this weekend. After all, we have a lot to be thankful for, don’t we?


Matt Brown said...

At Thanksgiving my family pulled out all the stops.

Richard said...

Mark, These are great teachings for us, we need more..........