READ: “Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving” Col 4.2.

THINK: Gratitude is the antidote for dissatisfaction, murmuring, and complaint. Who asks much has much for which to thank. God’s goodness is constant, and we acknowledge it by thanksgiving. One motive for gratitude are the brothers and sisters, Phil 1.3; Col 1.3. But there is a gratitude that is anything but, Lk 18.11ff. Gratitude must always be communicated. Continue reading

by J. Randal Matheny © 2014

For food and drink, for friends and warmth of home,
For these and more we sing our grateful hymn,
For work and rest, for heart and powerful mind,
For forgetfulness to leave the past behind,
For hope to see a brighter life ahead,
And present joy to know where our path has led,
To see by faith the God whose hand is near,
Whom we can thank for all our season’s cheer.

If you were cheered by this poem, please share it with others.

Fear kills joy. Trust feeds it. At the end of the first main block of material in Isaiah (chapters 1-12), the prophet describes God’s salvation (“God is my salvation,” v. 2 ESV), by means of a figure of fountains of water.

Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.
Isaiah 12:3 NET

In this chapter of only six verses, the hymn of gratitude pours out the feelings of the people for their salvation.

The Christian remembers that he who thirsted on the cross brought to the world the living waters.

Father, I will not be afraid, but I will trust in your promise, and rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ. Amen.

• Our three-part series in the monthly advanced Bible studies on “The Theology of the Biblical Model” ended today. We meet monthly for three hours. I’d like to work on this material further. I have seven pages of outline, but there’s room for more.

• One part of the outline I added to today was points on prayer, an example of God’s model for the church’s prayers. Here they are from memory:

  1. Content — Jesus gave what we rightly call the “model prayer” (Mt 6; Lk 11), as a guide for what should be included in our prayers, as Paul did in 1Tm 2.1-7;
  2. Candidate — We talk about the right candidate for baptism, but there is a right candidate for leading prayer as well:
    (a) Males (1Tm 2.8);
    (b) Not just any male, but one who is holy and not angry;
  3. Comprehension — People must be able to understand the prayer (1Co 14.13-16).

• Attendance was down today. Did I carry this series too long? Hard to know these things are. (Wisdom from Yoda.)

• Got a nice email from a reader today, thanking us for that work. I shared it with several of the main BNc staff. We get precious little feedback to encourage, but keep on doing the work, trusting the Lord that it will make an eternal difference.

• A lesson for me, for sure, as a consumer (i.e., one who uses) who seldom says thanks. I think I’ve said before that there is no gratitude without thanksgiving. One necessarily leads to the other. Otherwise, I’m just an ingrate.

• Busy day tomorrow. Busy week ahead, too. But at least I can hand FMag back to Richard M. as he comes off vacation. I’ve been doing that for him this past week. Between tweets and statuses (stati?) one gets the impression he’s having a good time. Good for him and the family.

• Two children having birthdays this next week. So thankful for all three of them. God bless them all, may they use their talents today for him, and not think that it’s sometime in the future. (Have I started giving advice so quickly after the gratitude?)

Here is the 3rd stanza of “Because of Thy Great Bounty,” from The Eternal Things, by Grace Noll Crowell. It seemed a fitting thought to counter the commercialism of the season.

Because love has been lavished so
Upon me, Lord,
A wealth I know that was not meant
For me to hoard,
I shall give love to those in need,
Shall show that love by word and deed,
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, whether your tree be large or small, real or artificial, green or silver (do they make those anymore?).