What About Things?

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I’ve started reading this book called The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. There is a paragraph that I would love to share with you as we lead into Thanksgiving and subsequently, Black Friday.

“There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to posses. It covets ‘things’ with a deep and fierce passion. the pronouns ‘my’ and ‘mine’ look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. Thy express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Thing have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.”

The meat of this paragraph is found in the last sentence, “God’s gifts now take the place of God”. We get so consumed in our culture with going and getting the best thing. Thanksgiving brings this out in us, because we want to bring the best recipe. Or we get upset when a family member doesn’t bring their “world-famous” whatever. Then of course there is Black Friday. People have died trying to buy the perfect gift!

Things have become the god of our culture. God does not wish this for anyone. Simply look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17; Deuteronomy 5:7-21). The first two are to not put anything above God and to not make physical things our focus of worship!

Don’t get me wrong, gift giving is great. It’s an awesome way to show people you care about, that you care about them. I just encourage you not to let it be your focus of this upcoming holiday weekend. Spend time being thankful for what you have. Spend quality time with your family, not just begrudgingly go. Thank God for His many blessings, and start to prepare your heart to celebrate His ultimate gift!

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Have a Thankful Heart

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Have you ever sat down and thought about all the things God has blessed you with? I bet if you did, you would come up with more than you think you would. The surprising thing to me is that I came up with some things that are blessings that I don’t act very thankful for. Sometimes through tough times and situations, blessings can seem like curses. How do you think that makes God feel? He’s given you something and you act like an 8 year old boy who just opened a birthday gift to find out it was clothes. God has chosen to bless us, and we should be thankful.

In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB). Do you see what he said there? “In everything give thanks“. He didn’t say “Give thanks when things are going well”. It’s true that it is easier to praise God and be thankful when everything is going well. But I find that the times that are most meaningful is when He is the rock I cling to when thing are tough. That’s not to say that we should abandon God when things are going well. We should always be rejoicing, always praying, and always giving thanks.

So as we continue the journey of the Heart Man, I believe that we must continue to remember to be thankful.

Having a Thankful Heart

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Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 7.

In this chapter of 2 Samuel, David realizes that he lives in an elaborate palace and the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. His wish is to build God a much more prestigious dwelling place that he has. David consults the prophet Nathan, who took over after Samuel’s death, about his plan. Nathan tells him to go ahead and plan. God then delivers a message to Nathan, who in turn gives it to David. Nathan’s vision reveals that David will not be the one to build the temple, even though he will plan it. God also promises to make a “dynasty of kings” (7:11 NLT) from David. Then also promises to rise up one of David’s descendants to be His son (Jesus Christ anybody?!?!?!?!?!). David’s reaction is to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking God for His promise.

How often do you give God thanks? Only at church during the “thanksgiving” section? Never? At every meal? Sometimes we aren’t even giving God thanks when we are giving Him thanks. Some of our thanksgiving practices have become rote, and people don’t realize what they are saying. For instance take the Doxology:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Amen”

This chorus is filled with thanking God for everything for all His blessings. Thanking God is important, because if we do not give God the glory, than we sin. Remember the second time Moses struck a rock to bring out water for the Israelites (Numbers 20:1-13)? Since Moses did not glorify God, he was unable to enter the promised land.

But what about the times when God doesn’t bless us. I think of a scene from the movie Facing the Giants. When the coach decides that his football team is going to play football for God he gives them a simple mantra “When we win, we praise Him; When we lose, we praise Him!” I think that this has an equal meaning in all our lives, because honestly, we are all dust until God gives us the breath of life. So it is because of God we even have a life that times of trouble can happen in. So we give thanks for life and remember Psalm 23 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;…” (Psalm 23:4a NASB).

So I encourage you to remember to give God thanks everyday. Its especially hard during the times of trouble, but it is still important. It is also important to remember who gave you blessings. So thank God for the good times. David had a thankful heart, and remembered to give thanks when necessary, so this is something that we must learn on our way to becoming a Heart Man.