FFH - Found A Place - Devotional #1
- 2000 3 Mar
by Jeromy Deibler
Read Psalm 100
It's November 29, 1999 - Thanksgiving weekend. My laptop reads 5:47pm. I'm sitting in my mother-in-law's kitchen in Hillsboro, MO. She is cooking her world famous "Sadie Burgers" and singing a song from our new record under her breath. Jennifer is out with her long time friend, Colleen, riding horses. She should be home soon. Jennifer's sister is downstairs in the family room with my niece and nephew playing video games. Jennifer's Dad is watching. This past weekend has been the first time Jennifer and I have been to her home in a year. That's too long. This has also been the first time in several months I have taken a break and removed myself from FFH, concerts, the studio, and ministry to enjoy some home time. It's the first chance I have had in six months to sit back and think about this past year and what God has done and is still doing. I exhale and lean back in my chair where just a few days ago I sat, along with Jennifer's entire immediate family, and partook of the traditional Thanksgiving feast.
Jennifer's Mom, with the help of her three daughters had spent hours preparing a meal that would make Martha Stewart green with envy. When dinner was ready and the table was set, we were called to come and sit down. Jennifer's Dad asked the blessing, and we dug in. After dinner, Jennifer's sister Shantel suggested that we go around the table and share at least one thing we are thankful for. It's one of those dreaded family moments where you wish you could just crawl under the table and out of the room. The annual "I-am-thankful-for" drill. It went quickly and ended without much embarrassment. I survived the pressure and excused myself from the table, satisfied and ready for a nap.
Seventy-two hours have past since that traditional meal. My belly is still full, but in my spirit I'm not satisfied. The Lord has been using these past three days of rest and relaxation to expose how horribly ungrateful I am, and I find my self embarrassed. Why am I not still sitting in my thanksgiving chair rambling about what I am thankful for? I mean, I probably couldn't cover it in three days. Why did I let that moment pass without truly acknowledging how much of a spoiled brat I really am? My life has been one great big gift of grace. My wife is a gift from God. My ministry. My house. My family. All gifts from the Father. The air that I breath, the food that I eat, the nice clothes that I wear. Why am I not doing summersaults in praise and thanksgiving for these things? I have a wonderfully loving family in PA that's supports what I do and a brother and sister who think that I hung the moon. So why didn't they come to mind? Even the fact that I am going to heaven when I die because Jesus paid my price on the cross did not get mentioned. Wow, you know you're an ungrateful brat when even your salvation is overlooked at a time of remembering things for which you are thankful.
The family is on their way up the stairs for dinner. I close my computer and set it aside. Thank You, Lord, for exposing my ungratefulness.
The Lord is constantly giving gifts to His children. If fact, "He works all things together for the good to those of us who love Him and have been called to follow Him." (See Rom 8:28) So out of that good-working grace comes gift after gift after gift. But we, God's people, so often take it for granted. Or is there more to it? James thinks so. James was convinced that the Devil tries to con us in to believing that we have some part in these blessings. That's why he warns us not to be deceived.
Listen to James 1:16,17"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Could it be that we are so out of touch with God - so far from the Father's heart - that we actually can be talked into thinking that we might be responsible for the good that happens in our life? I believe so. Think about it - when we become self sufficient, when we believe that we are in control of the good, there's no need for God. Jesus himself acknowledged the fact that he could to nothing apart from His Father.
Listen to John 5:19Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. Did you know that Jesus mentions His Father over one hundred and fifty times in the Gospels? He understood where the power came from and where the glory was supposed to go. Everything Jesus did, from His miracles, to His teaching, to His prayer time pointed people to the Father. That's how we are to live!
Everything we say and do, whether in private or public, at work or at home, should bring glory to and point people to the Father. Just think of the testimony we would have if we were to acknowledge the Father every time we should. God's glory and grace would be unmistakably proclaimed. People would see God for who He really is - the giver of all God gifts. We would be Jesus with skin on.
This week, as you undertake your daily routine, be looking for ways to acknowledge the Lord's provision in your life. Be open and blatant about the gifts you've been given and where they have come from, and make sure the glory is going to the Father and not to you. Thank God openly and publicly for the blessings He has given you. Don't be embarrassedJesus wasn't. (see Mark 6:41)
"Lord, I've been ungrateful. Please forgive me for not giving thanks and acknowledging You for how You work in my life. Help me to see what You have provided for me. Remind me to thank You for those gifts.'"
For further thought and discussion...
1. What are ways in which the Lord has blessed you? Make a list of those blessings and remember to thank God for them on a regular basis.
2. In what areas of my life am I not acknowledging God's presence? At work, and school, at home? It what ways can I make sure people see God's presence in my life in these areas?
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