Thanks in 2009

The following are some things I am grateful for. Were I to detail every single blessing the Lord has bestowed upon me, I would run out of ink and paper (or hard drive space) before even making a dent in the list. Yes, this sounds like an exaggeration, but is it?

Read this! It’s the best part of this post!

“The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath (Revelation 14:10; Psalm 75:8). This is a cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup (Psalm 116:12-13; 23:5) that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:3) and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.”

– excerpt from A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love (pp. 47-48) by Milton Vincent

Daddy – he’s in my life, and of vital influence/counsel, while many have no father in their lives

Mommy – she’s an example of a content stay-at-home mom

Paul Stefan – he’s a good example (and friend!)

Peter – he’s a gift from God, a tool of sanctification in my life, and I can’t wait to see what God will do in and through him!

extended family – we have contact with them, and they care about each other and us

church family – they have been given the grace of God to function as a fellowship should, and have welcomed us wholeheartedly into the congregation

elders/preachers/teachers – much of the world is isolated from such rich Bible exposition

friends my age – spur me on in the path God has called me to, and provide opportunities to spur others on

friends not my age – spur me on to greater maturity and teach me to be sociable

neighbors – they are kind and watch out for each other

my parents’ friends – they enjoy hearing about our whole family, and I have been able to get to know some of them

my facebook friends – some I know well, and some I don’t really know, but all are blessings!

my room – I have more privacy than most of the world’s population

my family’s house – most of the world is not privileged with owning a nice dwelling

my violin – a tool to earn income and be a blessing to others

my laptop – a tool to bless others, develop skills, and earn income

my camera – a tool to serve others and capture memories

my iPhone – a tool to keep in touch with others, save space, and organize my life 🙂

my Bible – (why in the world did I not think of this first!) many Christians (especially persecuted ones) value this book more than I do, and find their entire sustenance in it’s pages. I am blessed beyond measure even if I were to lose every other earthly possession because I have THE Word of God to read. Do I treasure it as I should? Because someday I may in a very practical sense find that nothing else matters…and this is how I should live even now.

my journals – some people do not have the ability to think coherent thoughts or write them down on paper

books – some have no reading material, and 50% of the world cannot read…thank God for parents who taught me to read…it is no small thing.

ironing boards and irons – make life easier

furniture – makes life easier

clothing – some people have only one pair, while I have a closet full

intact limbs – while I know of instances where God works powerfully through those who are disabled, I am very grateful that I am physically whole. It’s challenging to compare my enthusiasm with that of people like Joni Eareckson Tada and Nick Vujicic

5 senses – God could have chosen to handicap me physically in some way, but He didn’t. I certainly deserve nothing good, but He has been bountifully generous in His gifts.

my life – few are blessed with such a diverse life, but for some reason God chose to give such a life to me. No doubt He has a reason, and I am grateful for His equipping for whatever that reason is.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and what really matters is not whether I can compile a list of thankfulness, but whether I can joyfully trust God in plenty or want, happiness or sorrow…this is a goal for all of life, not something that can be determined at a specific time of year.

Rahab?

Out of all the people in Jericho, why did God choose Rahab to hide the spies? As I read the story again, I wondered if anyone could have taken two men into her home and deceitfully hidden them better than a prostitute. Sometimes, maybe more often

A letter worth reading

from Samuel Rutherford to Elizabeth Kennedy – 1637

“Mistress,—

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.—I have meant to write to you for a long time, but I have been hindered. I heartily desire that you would think about your country, and consider to what quarter your soul sets its face; for not all come home at night who suppose that they have set their face heavenward. It is a woeful thing to die and miss heaven, and to give up lodging with Christ at night: it is an miserable journey where travellers are forced to sleep in the fields. I persuade myself that thousands will be deceived and ashamed of their hope. Because they cast their anchor in sinking sands, they must lose it. Till now I knew not the pain, labour, nor difficulty that there is to win at home: nor did I understand so well, before this, what this means, “The righteous shall scarcely be saved.” Oh, how many a poor professor’s candle is blown out, and never lighted again! I see that a mere profession, and to be ranked amongst the children of God, and to have a name among men, is now thought good enough to carry professors to heaven. But certainly a name is nothing but a name, and will never last through a blast of God’s storm. I counsel you not to give your soul or Christ rest, nor your eyes sleep, till you have gotten something that will endure the fire, and stand the storm. I am sure, that if I had one foot were in heaven, and then He should say, “Take care of yourself, I will keep my grip on you no longer,” I would go no farther, but presently fall down in broken pieces of dead nature.

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