Week 47 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
1 Cor. 11:17-26 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Thess. 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
To be thankful with no one to thank is ultimately an empty thing. Most people feel “something” when they look at their young child at play, see a sunset, or hear a moving piece of music. They feel a need or a desire to give thanks. Some people do not believe there is anyone who is deserving of their ultimate thanks. Perhaps they thank someone for writing and playing the music, but who do they thank for the musician? Perhaps they thank the “universe” for its beauty, but who do they thank for the universe? They feel thankful for their child, but who do they thank for the child? Many do not think this deeply about their “thanksgiving,” but everyone should. Being thankful, meaning becoming a person who IS thankful, is essential to closing the gap. We can and should choose to speak and act with gratitude, but the final goal is to be a person who IS actually thankful. It is something that we have become rather than something we choose to occasionally move in and out of like a room or a mood. When bad things happen, people ask “why?” and question God’s goodness, power, or reality. They no longer have reason – they believe – to give thanks. When good things happen, people do not ask “why” they simply enjoy the good. They may feel thankful and give thanks, but their thanksgiving is entirely based on their circumstances not their settled state of being. Becoming a thankful person flows from a deep and abiding relationship with God. God is the one behind all that is good, including our very existence. But what of all that is bad, is it “fair” to be thankful for the good and not to be “unthankful” for the bad? How do we avoid turning life into a scorecard where we give God points for the good and deduct points for the bad? When God is seen in this light, we have become the center of our own universe. The result will be that inevitably God will score in the negative because we will have become people who largely see the negatives. Sooner or later we will lose all sense of being thankful because we do not believe God is worthy of our thanks, he is only worthy to be put on trial for the bad. There are many theological and philosophical rabbit trails we could travel at this point, but let’s go to our heart’s true home instead. You have a lot of questions and there are answers for those questions, though many answers are beyond our current limits of understanding. But in addition to your questions, you have a heart that wants to thank someone, just like a child who really wants to be angry at her parent, but is also powerfully, emotionally drawn to that very parent. She is unhappy about circumstances and her parents’ seeming unwillingness to change their circumstances in her favor. Yet, her little heart loves her parent. In her confusion and disappointment with the parent, she ultimately finds her comfort in her parent’s arms. This may feel intellectually dishonest or unsatisfying as an answer, but it is, in fact, a real answer. God is your father and he is a good father. You can be confused, disappointed, and angry with him, but you were made by God, for God. Whether circumstances are favorable or not, he is your father. Regardless of your circumstances the question remains, what will you do with him? If you knew your heart well, you would know that it wants to be thankful, because that is how it was designed. Will you lay aside your disappointment, confusion, and anger for a moment and simply go to your father? As you do, your heart will soften and your perspective will become clearer and you will move towards being thankful.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.