Psalm 107:8 "Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever."
A Prayer to a Good FatherDear Father in Heaven,
That's a strange concept to me. A heavenly father. Who are you, and how can you love me like a father loves his child when there are 7.5 billion people in the world today? People you want as your children?
You require holiness, but I am so unholy.
You created me, yet I complain about this creation. (Why did you design bodies to change with age???)
You have compassion and patience with me, even though I fail the same faith tests repeatedly.
You are probably annoyed with my whining and entitlement, yet you don't lose your temper or say things you shouldn't.
You don't work too much or fall asleep in your chair or forget birthdays or feel helpless when I'm despairing. (I don't know if earthly fathers do those things, but I've heard that some do.)
This is why Father's Day is hard,
why the concept of a Heavenly Father is hard:
I don't know what good fathering feels like.
But I know what love feels like.
I know what the Holy Spirit feels like when He's speaking through me.
I know what peace feels like when the world is hammering me hard,
what hope feels like when there's no logical reason to hope.
I know what confidence feels like, even when I am painfully unqualified.
Perhaps that's fathering at its best, on earth and in heaven.
Good fathering covers you, protects you, accepts you, directs you, loves you.
So thank you.
Thank you for being a Father to the fatherless.
Thank you for fathering the fathered.
Thank you for being whatever kind of father all 7.5 billion of us need.
We just need to talk to you, to find out Who you are,
what kind of Father you are.
We have to decide not to be afraid to know you.
Because you won't disappoint, leave, die, or hurt us.
And you only do good things.
I love you, God. You are my Father.
image by axelle b
Thanksgiving for the Cross
Thank You for spring
How do You do it?
Year after year, spring astounds me.
Thank you for the beauty of the flowers, the budding trees,
the singing of birds as they flitter through the branches,
gathering twigs for their nests.
Thank you for creating such incredible details
and weaving the world together in a tapestry of majesty.
Your love is boundless,
and I am awed by You.
image by Bobby Mikul
A prayer for ThanksgivingDear Lord,
Thank you for the harvest. I get to live in a plentiful land.
Thank you for family. I get to live with people I love, who love me.
Thank you for my church. I get to worship You without opposition.
Thank you for my country. I get to pursue anything I want.
Thank you for my faith. I get to grow in a relationship with You.
Thank you for everything. You made it all and shared it with me.
image by Petr Kratochvil
Thank You for my heritage
Dear Lord, Jehovah Jireh,
the God who provides--
Thank you for providing me a heritage.
No background is perfect,
and no family is without pain and suffering.
Yet regardless of present circumstances,
my heritage is a provision from You
to shape me and direct my attention
and toward Your never-failing, no-strings-attached love.
Thank you for providing me a life,
imperfect and filled with pain,
yet bursting with opportunities for growth.
You stretch me and challenge me
because You love me.
You have plans for me.
These are just some aspects of Your unimaginable provision.
Thank You, Jehovah-Jireh.
Let me never forget or minimize the depth of your care,
even when I don't understand it.
image by K Whiteford Why should I thank God when I'm grieving?Dear God of all comfort,
I'm grieving, but I thank You for everything.
Thank you for creating the church, which functions like a family. I can't explain how people I've never met or hardly know can send me a prayer or encouragement, and I instantly feel loved and no longer alone.
Thank you for making prayer a way to express grief, joy, fear, and frustration. I don't know why it works, but it does.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve You by serving other people. I don't know why loving someone else when I need to be loved fills an emotional hole, but it does.
Thank you for growing my faith through trials. I don't completely understand how suffering can produce joy in my life, but I see it happen all the time.
Thank you for asking me to be generous. I can't explain how we can give away so much and still pay our bills, but remarkably, it's true.
Thank you for a million other blessings--for every sunset, for every flower, for every smile, for every laugh. For exquisite tastes and smells. For the bliss of cuddling a child and kissing a spouse. I am astounded by the richness of life.
You are truly remarkable. There is no other explanation for the joy of life, except to say that You are God. You are holy, righteous, just, wise, fierce, and tender. I am in awe of You.
Thank you for that, too.
image by MALIZ ONG
Thank you for my children
Lord of mercy and love,
Thank you for my children.
Thank you for their successes.
Thank you even for their hardships
because it builds the character that I want them to have
and the character you want me to have.
(Because parenting always leads me back to you.)
I can't love them without your love
or lead them without following you.
I need you more than they need me or I need them.
Help me to trust you with their lives,
through joys and sorrows,
triumphs and pain.
You have already shown yourself to be trustworthy--
They are your love language to me.
Your whispers of hope, healing, and heaven.
They are my greatest blessings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I love you.
And loving them gives me a glimpse of who you are.
Why am I afraid?
Why am I afraid of the things I can't control, when You are all-powerful?
Why am I afraid of failure, when You've promised give me a future?
Why am I afraid to defend the truth--when You have called Yourself the Truth?
Why am I afraid I won't be happy submitting to Your will, when lasting joy can only be found in You?
Why am I afraid to share the gospel, when Your good news has the power to set everyone free?
Why am I afraid to worship You, when I know that pursuit of success will never satisfy me?
Why am I afraid to forgive others, when You let me live in grace?
Why do You even put up with me?
It makes no sense. But You are patience and mercy and love. Thank you!
Thank You for power, purpose, joy, salvation, intimacy, forgiveness, and grace. You amaze me!
I love You!! In Jesus' name, Amen.
Psalm 56:11--"In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?"
image by Piotr Wojtkowski
A Lack of Thanksgiving
"The real problem of life is never a lack of time. The real problem of life--in my life--is lack of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks--take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks--and He miraculously makes it more than enough."--Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p. 72.
What areas of lack frustrate you?
Could the struggle associated with your area of frustration be a deficiency of thanksgiving, rather than a deficiency in God's provision?
Could prosperity be a decision of the heart rather than a product of the will?
image from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=loaf+of+bread&x=0&y=0
A Thankful HeartYou can't fake a thankful heart, even if you say "thank you" or send a "thank you" note, (which, by the way, is still an excellent idea, even in the age of technology). Thankfulness permeates why you do things and how you do them. It emanates from a spirit of contentment rather than entitlement.
Thankfulness makes statements like--
"You are so thoughtful!"
"I can't believe you did that!"
"You make me feel so special!"
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world!"
Thankfulness and humility go hand-in-hand. They expect nothing, appreciate everything, and value everyone. Thankfulness comes from the heart, creating pure joy.