the gratitude we embrace

Daddy and Daughter Religious Stock Graphic

Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, relates an incident she endured as she and her sister, Betsie, were housed at the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck.  Upon entering the barracks, they found them deplorable, extremely overcrowded, and flea-infested.  The Scripture reading that morning came from 1 Thessalonians.  From a smuggled Bible quietly verses 16-18 of chapter 5 were whispered to the group.  “Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”  Betsie encouraged Corrie that they should stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.  Every detail.  Even the fleas!  Corrie at first refused, but Betsie persisted.  Finally, reluctantly, “Father, thank you for the fleas.”  During the next several months at Ravensbruck, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible studies and meet together.  They prayed and quietly worshipped with minimal Nazi interference.  Finally they came to learn how they had been so blessed as to have lived with such little intrusion… the guards had refused to enter the barracks because of all of the fleas!

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Matthew Henry in the late 1600’s was attacked and robbed.  Later he wrote, “Father, I thank Thee first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Helen Keller, blind and deaf from birth, once wrote: “I thank God for my handicaps.  For through them, I have found myself, my life’s work, and my God.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

The thankfulness we exemplify in life reflects the relationship we share with our Lord, the objectivity and perspective we have of life, and the gratitude we embrace in His love for us.

Glory to God!

Jason

when all of life becomes prayer

man prayingAs we embark upon a new year together, I wonder what sort of resolutions have been made among us?  I wonder what sort of changes those of us who call the West Erwin Church of Christ our “home” have in mind to make in the year 2013?

The beginning of a new year grants us an opportunity to reflect.  An opportunity to consider the previous year.  Who we are.  Where we are at in life.  What we are doing well.  And what areas of life we are failing in.

woman prayingNot everyone takes advantage of this fresh start.  To many January 1st is no different from December 31st.  Certainly we have the opportunity to make changes every day.  Every moment.  But sometimes, taking advantage of an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say, “From this point forward things are going to be different” proves monumental.

So here’s my question: What if we became known as a people of prayer?  What if prayer was definitive rather than supportive?  What if a life of prayer characterized you and me?

It seems to me that the Apostle Paul leads us to a reality of all of life encompassed within prayer (1 Thess 5:17).  To a point in time when all of life becomes prayer.  When prayer and connectedness to God becomes such a natural assimilation of who we are that we become a people of prayer.

tattered bibleCould we integrate a commitment to prayer and to being a people of prayer into our thoughts and actions this new year as a church?  Would you commit with me to praying bold prayers?  Prayers from the heart.  Prayers of reliance and praise and submission.  Could we dedicate intentional effort to being men and women, individuals and families, who live lives characterized by prayer?

Because only when all of life becomes prayer will we begin to see the Kingdom break in all around us in epic, radical, profound ways.

Glory to God!

Jason

the gratitude we embrace

Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, relates an incident she endured as she and her sister, Betsie, were housed at the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck.  Upon entering the barracks, they found them deplorable, extremely overcrowded, and flea-infested.  The Scripture reading that morning came from 1 Thessalonians.  From a smuggled Bible quietly verses 16-18 of chapter 5 were whispered to the group.  “Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”  Betsie encouraged Corrie that they should stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.  Every detail.  Even the fleas!  Corrie at first flat refused, but Betsie persisted.  Finally, reluctantly, “Father, thank you for the fleas.”  During the next several months at Ravensbruck, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible studies and meet together.  They prayed and quietly worshipped with minimal Nazi interference.  Finally they came to learn how they had been so blessed as to have lived with such little intrusion… the guards had refused to enter the barracks because of all of the fleas!

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Matthew Henry in the late 1600’s was attacked and robbed.  Later he wrote, “Father, I thank Thee first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Helen Keller, blind and deaf from birth, once wrote: “I thank God for my handicaps.  For through them, I have found myself, my life’s work, and my God.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

The thankfulness we exemplify in life reflects the relationship we share with our Lord, the objectivity and perspective we have of life, and the gratitude we embrace in His love for us.

Glory to God!

Jason