Give Thanks. We Were Made for This!

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“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)


It’s interesting that we are told gratitude is God’s will for us. It’s almost as if God is saying we are most fully who we were created to be when we “give thanks in all circumstances.”

And now there is research to back this up. Laurie Santos is a psychology professor at Yale. She encourages people to do what she calls the “Three Blessing Exercise.”

Laurie Santos says, “Research shows that we really can benefit from counting our blessings even when it feels like there isn’t that many blessings to be counted. The simple act of scribbling down three things you are grateful for can significantly bump your mood, in some studies as within a couple of weeks. It’s completely free. It takes five to ten minutes a day. At the end of your day, just scribble down a few things that you’re grateful for right now.”

In the midst of all the news about the pandemic I encourage you to start making time to keep a journal of three things you are grateful for. Do this every day.

The Bible tells us this is what we were created for, and research backs it up.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” and have an amazing day!

Be Holy For I Am Holy…Ugh!

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“For I am the LORD your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44)


I know. I’ve tried. And I’ve failed every single time. So I try harder. And I still fail. So I vow to try even harder. And still I fail.


I know I will never be able to perfectly holy. That’s impossible. Why would God command me to do something that’s impossible? That’s so cruel. God knows better than anyone else I will fail. So, why even command me to do something I will absolutely fail? That’s just cruel.

It’s easy to be dismissive with a verse like this. I mean, why even bother when we’re only going to fail.

But that still doesn’t make the command to be holy go away. In fact, God commands this same thing at least nine times in the Bible (Leviticus 11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7, 20:26, 21:8; Deuteronomy 23:14; 1 Peter 1:15, 1:16). A quick research will reveal that the word “holy” occurs 1282 times in the Bible!

So what’s the deal? How can we be holy?

I think the key to holiness has less to do with our effort and more to do with God’s presence.

Pastor Walt of First Baptist Church of Lakewood, Jim Pledger (finance elder at the Little Church), and I normally play golf on Mondays. Sometimes, they will pair us up with a single. Every once in a while, we will get a single who is a wee bit colorful with his language. A few holes in the round, the conversation turns to what we do for a living. It’s astonishing how apologetic the person gets once they find out who we are and how the entire language and behavior changes for the rest of the round.

Now, multiply that by infinity. Because that’s what happens when we become more aware of Christ’s presence with us. Christ is Immanuel – God with us. The more aware we become of Christ’s presence, the more we change, the more his presence makes us holy.

God calls us to be holy and he enables us to do it.

The key to holiness has less to do with our effort and more to do with God’s presence.


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“But Thomas said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe'” (John 20:25)


Unless _________________….I will not believe.

Wow. Take a good look at those words.

  • This is after the women told the disciples that Jesus had risen.
  • This is after Peter and John ran and saw the empty tomb.
  • This is after all the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the resurrected Jesus.

Unless _________________….I will not believe.


What’s your “unless”?

  • What’s keeping you from fully trusting that God is God and that God is in control?
  • What’s your “unless” that’s keeping you from fully living into God’s promises?
  • What’s your “unless” that keeps you from living God’s best life right now in the midst of this corona virus pandemic?

What do you say? How about we get rid of the “unless”-es in our lives?

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (John 20:29).