Monday, November 20, 2006

The Holy Alphabet

I would like to share something with you that is called “The Holy Alphabet.” I think it is quite fitting as we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on being thankful.

A – D: (Colossians 1:12)-

Although things are not perfect, Because of trial or pain,

Continue in thanksgiving, Do not begin to blame.

I think we all know that life is not perfect, and will never be. But that doesn’t mean that life isn’t good. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. The important thing in life is to learn how to be thankful for the things we do have. All too often we get in the blame mode. But what that really does is sap our joy and bring us down; it keeps us from being able to enjoy what we do have.
As Colossians 1:12 says: “giving thanks to the Father, who

has enabled you to share in the inheritance….”

E – H: (Colossians 1:16-18)-

We continue: Even when the times are hard, Fierce winds are bound to blow;

God is forever able, Hold on to what you know.

It is amazing to me when I talk to people, and hear about their lives. People live

incredibly complicated lives. Fierce winds do blow. Some people have lives that are very troublesome. People are not sure what to do or what to believe or where to turn. That is why it is important to keep things in perspective. As we are told in

Colossians 1:16-18, “For in Christ all things in heaven and on

earth were created….all things have been created through Him

and for Him. He Himself is before all things, and in Him all things

hold together. He is the head of the church…”

We must understand that God, through the Son, created all things. And because of this God is able to watch over us. This is what we know, and if we hold on to this, this gives us foundation to keep us strong in difficult times.

I want you to think for a moment of some difficult times: maybe it was financial, or with your health, or a conflict in the family. The possibilities are endless. But what makes everything better is knowing that the Lord of creation is able to get you through!

I – L: (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)-

The poem continues…Imagine life without His love, Joy would cease to be,

Keep thanking Him for all the things, Love imparts to thee.

Whether you realize it or not, the love of God is what keeps this world going. The love of God keeps God from destroying the world again as He did in the time of the flood. The love of God is what led God to come in human form, in Jesus Christ, so that He might die for our sins and open the door to forgiveness and eternal life. The love of God is what allows God to forgive us time and time again when we sin. The love of God is unconditional, not loving us for who we are or what we do, but loving us because we are God’s children. It is so important to be loved unconditionally!

We need to learn to love like God does. There is tremendous power in love. Be thankful in the ways you are loved by God, and by the people God puts in your life to love you, and seek to find ways to love others unconditionally; not for who they are, or what they can do for you, or by what they look like. But because we all need to be loved!

M – P: (Colossians 1:20)-

Moving to M through P…..Move out of “Camp Complaining,” No weapon that is known, On earth can yield the power, Praise can do alone.”

Why is it so easy to complain? What is it that complaining brings to our lives? I guess it goes back to blaming and passing the buck. It is easier to complain than to take responsibility or to seek to take care of our own problems. Somehow we think that feeling pity for ourselves gives us purpose. But all complaining does it take our focus away from what God can do through us, and takes our focus away from all the good in our lives.

You have heard the saying: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It is a trite saying, but there is some wisdom to it. Those people who are most successful in life are the ones who don’t let their troubles bring them down; they don’t let their troubles defeat them. They look for ways to overcome their problems.

The truth is, there is power in praise. As we give praise to God for His presence and strength in our lives, we build up our outlook, and we trust God more. We then put ourselves in a place where we can be victorious.

Remember what Colossians 1:20 says- “and through Him God was

pleased to reconcile to Himself all things…”

In Christ, even our troubles can be reconciled, taken care of, removed.

Q – T: (Matthew 6:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)-

Q through T says: Quit looking at the future, Redeem the time at hand,

Start every day with worship, To “thank” is a command.

You might have heard the minister who asked one little girl, “Do you pray before meals.” To which the little girl responded: “Oh no, we don’t need to, my mommy is a good cook.”
Too often in life, we forget to say thank you to God, because we tend to go to God when things are bad, not good. But another reason we forget to say thank you, is because we are busy thinking about the future, and forgetting to appreciate the present. God desires for us to not only focus on the present, as we are told in Matthew 6:34- “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” But we are to be thankful for all that today brings…

1 Thessalonians 5:18- “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God.” We are not to presume what our life should be, but be thankful for this day that God gives us, whatever it might bring.

U - Z: (Philippians 3:14)-

And we finish with U through Z….Until we see Him coming, Victorious in the sky, We’ll run he race with gratitude, Xalting God most high. Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!

Even though I just talked about not looking to the future, we do have to remember the hope that the future brings. Scripture is clear to us, that at some point, Jesus Christ will come again. When He comes, He will come on the clouds in the sky, for all to see. His second coming will be for the purpose of moving us into the new era, where the earth will be no more, and those who believe will live eternally in His loving presence. Those who don’t believe, will live eternally apart from Love itself.

Where is the thanksgiving in this? That those of us who believe, should be thankful for our eternal salvation. Those who don’t believe can be thankful that all have the opportunity to believe if they so choose. And we can be thankful that we have opportunities to tell those who don’t believe how they can believe!

So, we are to run the race with gratitude. As the apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:14- “I press on to the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” What is the prize? Eternally living with God in heaven. Having access to the inheritance of my Eternal Father. And knowing that in glory, we will never have to again deal with the pain of this life.
Let us be thankful to God for all things at all times, for God is forever with us, working in and through us. I would love to hear from you. Tell me what you think; tell me of what you are thankful. (