Pastoral Reflections Rev. Roger White, pastor, Gladbrook United Methodist Church Gladbrook, Iowa
November 19, 2012
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) Is your cup empty or full of gratitude today? Before you sit down and offer thanks around the dinner table, ask yourself: “Am I a complainer? Or a thanks giver?” It all comes down to perspective. Are you focusing on your blessings? Or on what you’ve lost in life? It’s easy to complain about circumstances - recessions, disease, hurt, (joint replacement) and mounting difficulties. But we should give thanks to our God who lives above the circumstances. The Old Testament saint Daniel developed a discipline of gratitude in his life while living as a prisoner separated from family and friends. Yet even through dreary days, disappointments, and disaster, Daniel was a perpetual praise giver...something that doesn’t come easy when things aren’t going as planned or we find ourselves in an adverse circumstance that isn’t to our liking. If you’ve had a tough week, a tough month, or even a tough year, fill your cup full of gratitude for who God is. Viewing the scope of your life from beginning to end, God has designed a purpose for you, and He wants you to trust Him. Though your circumstances may have changed this Thanksgiving, the faithful, gracious, merciful God you serve has not. Rise above your circumstances and give thanks! Even if your patience is growing thin or maybe you feel like you are between a rock and a hard place, God knows, God understands your emotional responses and God’s love is in control. Gratitude develops faith. The surest path out of a slump is marked by the road sign “thank you, God.” This Thanksgiving holiday season pause to ponder the awesomeness of a loving God...make a list of what you are thankful for - even if it doesn’t make sense. We are always caught in the moment - like a photograph, but our Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Immutable God sees the big picture of His plan and purpose for your life and will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. In my present six weeks of recovery from knee replacement surgery things are not going as I had planned/hoped they would. It seems as though it is one setback after another. So, I am truly being stretched to understand the word “patience” and take my situation one step at a time, because I know that the situation is in God’s perfect timing and His loving hands. And yet, there is frustration and discouragement at every corner. The amazing thing is - we don’t know what lies around the corner for us on a given day, but we know “Who” is there, waiting with open and loving arms to steer us in the right direction. My knee replacement surgery has brought out the worst in me and the best in me. However, just as I know that God will forgive my weaknesses, He will mold me and refine me to cause me to rejoice with thanksgiving. Glory to God and His Holy name.
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