Thankful

An African Dream: Thankfulness Preserves Good

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I woke this morning with an amazing song in my mind. It’s known as an ear worm when a song keeps playing over and over in your mind. And this a song I’m okay with having in my mind. The song is – My African Dream – Vicky Sampson.

‘Cause in my African dream, there’s a new tomorrow. My African dream, is dream that we can follow. Now when the night begins to fall I listen for your call. I listen for you heartbeat. Alone my dream is just a dream. Another false illusion, a shadow in the night. All I want is for our hearts to be beating just as one. To silence the confusion Then the pain and the illusion will disappear again. And we will never run.”

What a wonderful God we serve that in these difficult. In these unprecedented times we are living in, with this COVID-19 pandemic, that He would seek to encourage me with this song. I love my country.

Scriptures

James 4:1-2 NIV

4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

1 Timothy 4:1-4 NIV

4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Why?

Why is there so much bad in the world? In the scripture from James, he wonders the same thing. In James 4:1-2 he answers our question: “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”

The fact of the day. The reason there is so much bad in the world – the blame rests squarely with you and me. Just like Adam and Eve couldn’t stand the thought of someone else being in control our lives except us. Anyone who poses a risk to our view of the “good life” is perceived as a threat to our existence. All this fighting for our “rights” originates from our sinful nature.

The heartbreaking truth is that though we flaunt the catchphrase that we “know what’s best for us,” but we do not. In pursuit of our desires we cause killing, hate, we compete with one another, and enslave one another in the pursuit of what we consider happiness.

Holding on to tightly

Consider the conflicts in your life. And instead of looking at them with a victim mentality, consider how you may have contributed to your own selfish mentality. Consider also the words of Timothy, in essence, he notes the same thing as James, but he takes it one step further. Not only do our desires seek to “get what they want,” but then we start trying to hold our wants over others. We start to create laws, judgments, and stipulations for people so that they will fit into our ways. This is called religion.

Give thanks to God

Timothy is not trying to free us up to do whatever we want. In the name of being thankful, but by thanking the right person — in all cases. God the Creator—we protect ourselves from ourselves, we are after all our own worst enemies.

Consider how thankfulness brings you under control and causes you to begin putting things, people, and circumstances into their rightful place. Everything is used rightly when we honour God through thankfulness.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 0 comments

A Heart Full of Thanks

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Living a life with a thankful heart, a life filled with gratitude is the way of life that Christ commands of his followers. Christ defeated sin and continues to preserve good through us.

Scriptures

Philippians 2:12-15 NIV
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Psalm 28:7 NIV
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Being Thankful Defeats Sin

Our relationship with God before sin entered the world resembled a position of upright assurance. We stood without shame before God. All our affections were aimed directly at the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and we were perfectly fulfilled. When we chose to sin and gave into the belief that God and his commands “are not enough,” that desires of the flesh such as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and other such things (Galatians 5:19-21) are more important than God, we no longer aim in attitude toward God, but we bend toward the world to find confirmation and acceptance. Paul speaks of those who are without Christ; “they are crooked and twisted” (Philippians 2:12-15).

The right medicine

What is the remedy to this sinfulness? Philippians 2 tells us how to become blameless, pure and without blemish even amidst our sinful desires and fallen world. Paul tells us to “do everything without grumbling or arguing.” In other words, be thankful. Paul tells us that being thankful will cause us to “shine like stars in the sky.”

Our world is trapped up in entitlement, greed, pride, power struggles, envy and lust and therefore we are always unhappy and dissatisfied with our lives. We are just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We think we deserve more, to be gods ourselves. Therefore, we are on an endless pursuit to control our own lives, and the reason we are never satisfied, and view all those that stand in the way of our satisfaction as enemies, is because we will not allow ourselves to be happy until we have it all. As a result, we are bound in unhappiness. Wallowing in our own pride and self-pity, constantly chasing after shadows.

Be Thankful

Being thankful must be your lifestyle. If you’re struggling with sin in any way today, it’s a worship (thankfulness) problem, you’re worshiping yourself, someone, or something over and above God. The only way to defeat sin is to transfer your worship to God. It takes your focus off your deceiving need and places your gaze upon the King.

We need to remember the words of the Psalmist when he says that the Lord is your strength and your shield; put your trust in Him and He will help you. Your heart will leap for joy, and you will worship Him in song.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 1 comment