Tag Archives: grateful

Fuel Gauge

It didn’t take too long to realize that my van had a fuel gauge issue, as the van continued to show I had a full tank of gas after driving it for a week. I had a car like that before, and knew the quick remedy was to use the faithful trip monitor for mileage and get gas frequently. It was working well for me. I was told it would cost a lot of money to fix the gauge and I certainly didn’t want to make that kind of investment.

Recently, my van has been involved in numerous vehicular accidents. People cannot seem to get enough of hitting the van. At times, I’ll be in the van. At times, it’s park and people ram into it like playing bumper cars. Nonetheless, the accident that began the domino occurrences of accidents did something wild. It fixed my gas gauge. The accident that caused whiplash and days of pain fixed the fuel gauge. What a blessing in the middle of chaos!

Today, look at the blessings around you. Perhaps you are going through a great trial. Maybe you feel like you have been struggling for a long time. But through it all, there are blessings upon blessings. Acknowledge them. Thank the Lord! He is good. Always! And He uses everything—the good and the bad – for His good purpose.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NIV]

Burst Out in Songs

I love music and I love to sing. The problem is no one really enjoys hearing the sweet melodies I sing. I haven’t figured out how to sing in the right keys. Even so, God loves to hear me sing. He loves to hear you sing too!

The Psalms reference singing and praising God often. In Psalm 28:7, the Psalmist writes that his “heart is filled with joy,” so much joy that he “burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” In Psalm 30:12, the Psalmist talks about giving thanks forever—singing praises and not being silent.

How often do you burst out in songs for God? How often do you praise Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life? He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. Often we are quick to thank someone who hands us a cup of coffee, but we don’t thank God for that same cup of coffee, or for something so much greater than that one, temporary cup of coffee. Today, I pray your heart is filled with joy that overflows and you burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7 [NLT]

“That I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!” – Psalm 30:12 [NLT]

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

You Have Lacked Nothing

You Have Lacked Nothing

Today’s verse speaks of a time when God’s people were wandering around in the wilderness. Even when they were not always walking with their eyes fixed on God, even when their hearts were easily swayed, God provided for them. During a time when they grumbled and complained again and again, God still made sure they had everything they needed. He provided them manna. He provided them fresh water. This verse speaks truth – they “lacked nothing.”

For those reading this right now, it is quite possible that you can boldly claim these same words – that you have lacked nothing, that God has indeed provided for everything you need. Oftentimes as we fix our eyes elsewhere, we might become forgetful of this truth. But we have lacked nothing. We have been fed. We have been clothed. We so often show little gratitude for the many things God provides us for daily.

Today let us remind ourselves that we have lacked nothing over the years. God has provided for us and He has provided in abundance. Let us not overlook this great blessing. Instead, I pray we are able to live a life of gratitude, a life that appreciates all of the blessings that He pours out upon us. We are blessed so very much. Thank you Jesus! Let us be blessed to be a blessing!

“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” – Deuteronomy 2:7 [NLT]

In Silence

I’m currently reading Exodus. In Chapter 14, I read this– And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be silent. [ESV]

Fear not
Stand firm
See the salvation of the LORD
Be silent

These are hard things for us. So often our lives are steered by fear and pride. We don’t always stand firm but instead turn tail and run. We aren’t always thankful for this great salvation from the Lord. Being silent– that’s hard. It’s hard for me (anyone who knows me knows I can talk) but it’s difficult for everyone. Jesus wants us to enjoy His company in silence, away from the noise of the world. It’s so we can hear Him.

Today, remember that the LORD is with you. He is fighting with you. It’s His battle. And He wants you to fear not and stand firm with the confidence only He can give you. In the silence, as you watch Him move and work out His great plan, you will see the salvation of the Lord and His glory will be seen by many. God is alive. Amen.

Be a Blessing

Be a Blessing

Abraham was promised three things. God said He would make him a great nation. God said He would make his name great. God said He would bless him. We remember these promises. Again and again there is mention of this covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant. What a beautiful promise! What an awesome covenant!

So. So. So. Oh yes, there’s a second half of the verse. The verse continues, “So that you will be a blessing.” God will make Abraham a great nation, and bless him and make his name great SO that he will be a blessing. There’s receiving, but there’s also giving. There’s an expectation. There’s a response.

We each are blessed. Blessed to be a blessing. You have a choice in life. You can reach out and grab it all for yourself. Or you can ask yourself, how can I be a blessing? Today, consider what you can do to bless someone. It might be by using a gift or talent, by using something in your possession, by reaching into your pocketbook, or maybe it simply means to listen or smile or spend your time with someone. It is wonderful to be thankful for your blessings. But an attitude of gratitude should result in a desire to be a blessing.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2 [ESV]

Don’t Hold Back

We see many people not hold back. Many times it is when someone is having a tantrum or voicing an opinion. Then there are those who don’t hold back at the all-you-can-eat buffet. There are those who don’t hold back when they are racing or competing in sports. Not holding back means doing it all. It could be eating it all, giving it all, saying it all.

In today’s passage, we read about the Israelites who responded to Hezekiah’s command with generous hands. “They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything,” the Bible says. They gave the firstfruits of everything—EVERYTHING! There was so much stuff that was dedicated to God that it was piled in mounds. Look at the time involved—over three months of piling items. Talk about not holding back.

When I read of this it brings me great joy. I always love to read about people who are so generous and giving. It is such a special thing to give; it is a gift to give. I always get more joy from giving than from keeping. Sadly the statistics show that most people hold back a lot. I have heard it said if everyone tithed without holding back, giving the ten percent, people would be cared for and there would not be all of the situations we see all around the world. You might think that ten percent is a lot. You might think you cannot do it. But trust me, when you do it, God sees you through. You always have just what you need. So don’t hold back. Live with your hands open.

“As soon as Hezekiah’s orders had gone out, the Israelites responded generously: firstfruits of the grain harvest, new wine, oil, honey—everything they grew. They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything. They also brought in a tithe of their cattle, sheep, and anything else they owned that had been dedicated to God. Everything was sorted and piled in mounds. They started doing this in the third month and didn’t finish until the seventh month.”

-2 Chronicles 31:5-7 [MSG]

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Like He Owned It

Pride is poison. For most people, it slowly seeps in without much notice until it is too late. Uzziah became strong because of all of the machines he had for protection. They used the machines on the towers and on the corners to shoot arrows and big stones at enemies.

Uzziah sought the Lord and God prospered him. He had this great protection, but the safety and security bore pride in him. Uzziah was famous because of God. Uzziah was protected because of God. But then he became “arrogant and proud, he fell.” Things went to his head just like they go to our heads.

As pride got the best of him, Uzziah went into the Temple and he acted “like he owned it and took over.” This was the place God’s name resided. This was the Temple of God. There were rules. There were priests consecrated for this work. But Uzziah walked in there like he could do anything. He ended up being “unfaithful and a disgrace.” He forgot God prospered him. He forgot God is holy. He forgot all of this because he was full of himself. Remember my friend, you don’t own it—you don’t own anything. Continue to be thankful for how God has prospered you and never forget we are to be humble servants. No one is better than another—and only God deserves honor and praise.

“But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over, burning incense on the Incense Altar. The priest Azariah, backed up by eighty brave priests of God, tried to prevent him. They confronted Uzziah: ‘You must not, you cannot do this, Uzziah—only the Aaronite priests, especially consecrated for the work, are permitted to burn incense. Get out of God’s Temple; you are unfaithful and a disgrace!’”

– 2 Chronicles 26:16-18 [MSG]

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We Hate This Manna

The Israelites were in the desert hungry and God promised to rain down bread from heaven. The Lord provided for the Israelites and they called this manna. As time progressed, they were tired of the manna. It still was suitable for food. It still could satisfy their hunger needs. The problem was they wanted something else—the manna was no longer enough for them in their eyes.

The people went as far as to say “we hate this horrible manna.” The horrible manna fed them; Exodus 16 says the Israelites ate it for forty years. But the people wanted more and they were no longer so thankful for the provisions of the Lord. Perhaps God provided, but they had something different in mind.

We also receive provisions but do not always respond with a thankful heart. There are moments in life when we only have canned pasta to eat. We would rather have steak. Our expectations are different. Today be thankful for all of God’s provisions, not simply the ones that delight us the most.

“And they began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’” – Numbers 21:5 [NLT]FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

 

Insignificant to You

A big question stood out when I was reading Numbers 16 and the account of Korah’s greed. Does it seem insignificant to you? What a question for us to consider in life. Here Korah and others were aligned together with their selfishness fueling the way. God had given them great positions and blessed them well. All of this blessing was overlooked because they had eyes on Moses’ and Aaron’s calling. Why were they any different than these two men? Why could they not have the same honor? That’s what this group wanted to know. They questioned God’s judgment and were driven by greed.

In response to Korah’s great rebellion, Moses asks this question: “Does it seem insignificant to you…” Korah was chosen to serve the Lord in a way that required them to be near to the Lord. They had a very special position and yet they neglected to see the beauty of that calling upon their lives because they were too focused on Moses and Aaron. This hasn’t ended with Korah’s rebellion. It continues today. Did you ever find yourself looking around asking why God used someone it such a way while you were used so differently?

Remember something—we each have a special role to play in the Kingdom. God has designed us each to do great works through Him. Look at what God is doing in your life. Look at the special calling He has just for you. Does it seem insignificant to you? If it does, you aren’t serving the Lord; you’re serving yourself.

“Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them?” – Numbers 16:9 [NLT]FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo