Monday, November 23, 2009

A Way Of Life

This past week our country set aside a day to give thanks. For many of us, it was a time to be with family and friends. Some of us spent the day at a casual pace, enjoying the free time, while others were busy, working at a frantic pace wishing for more time. The television, if turned on, showed us the parades and the ball games and hundreds of commercials filled with things we can not live without. At some point in the day most of us gathered around a feast and we ate and laughed with those who had gathered.

Those pictures have defined Thanksgiving, for me, for years. Today I have a different picture of Thanksgiving. Today I am grateful not just for the harvest, today I am even more grateful for the harvesters God has placed in my life, those people who show me God. I am grateful for Mike and Sharon who have shown me the faith of a giant this year. I am grateful for my sons who have held Julie and me up this year with their support. Today I am grateful for two churches that have shown me God’s love. I am grateful for new friends and new partners in ministry.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday; it is an even greater way of life.
1 Chr 16:34
34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giving Thanks - Saying Grace

I grew up in a home where we always said a prayer before the evening meal. When it was time for that prayer, we would all bow our heads, we all knew what to do. When we had company, dad would inform everyone what was about to happen, he would say something like "lets all give thanks",or "so and so would you please offer grace".

Lately I have been thinking a lot about giving thanks to God, and I have been thinking about grace. On the surface these two topics are vastly different. Grace is what God offers me and thanks is my humble response of gratitude.

Many years ago, a third grade teacher taught me that grace was unmerited favor, recently a friend told me that grace was unmeritable favor, I think both are right and I think they both only have one reasonable responce, thanks.

When little children pray they give thanks for everything, from little bugs with red wings to mommy and daddy. As adults there are times when we get to busy to thank God for all He has done and we just concentrate on what we consider to be the "big" things, after all we could never thank Him for all He has done can we.

I think that is why we are to "pray continually" (1Thes 5:17)and "always give thanks to God the Father for everything" (Eph 5:20). I think "thanks" should always be on our lips because of the "grace" He has shown us.

We have the right to say "thanks" directly to Him because of His "grace" and there is no other single word left to say if I am His child, unless it is "Father".
I Jn 3:1 says "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

So the next time you are ask to say grace, give thanks, because there is no other responce that can be given to grace.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Glasses - New Eyes

This past week I got a new pair of glasses. My last pair of glasses were single vision glasses, these are progressive. Everyone tells me I will love these glasses, but right now I am having to learn how to look at the world differently. You see, every part of the lens has a different focus point so that I can see clearly at any distance. Before I could only see one way, but now I can see more.
The thing I like about these glasses (besides the fact that they make me look cool) is that the easiest place to focus is at the top of the lens. The world is in focus when I look up. There is a great spiritual lesson there.
Ps 121:1-2 "I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (NIV)"
There is another thing I have noticed about these glasses, people are not in focus when I look down on them, I must look straight at them in order to see them in focus. Rom 14:10 "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? ...(NIV)"
I think I am going to like these progressive lenses, they remind me of the new eyes God wants me to have.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn