Tag Archives: giving thanks to god

The Bad News You Want to Hear

“In a great chorus they sang, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with His glory” Isaiah 6:3 NLT

A few months ago as I was reading from Isaiah, the above verse stood out to me, and I’ve thought about it a lot since then.  Take a moment to let it sink in – the WHOLE EARTH is FILLED with His glory!

I realized that I tend to focus on all the bad in this fallen world. Recent news has horrified me, from car accidents to homicide and other crime; sometimes I get too caught up in the tragedy or horror of the stories. And perhaps that’s why the news often focuses on the bad – for ratings.

When I look at all that’s wrong in this world, I worry, I get upset, and I long for better times. But when I yearn for something else, I am missing what’s right here in front of me in the present time. My parents used to tell me “Don’t wish your life away.” And I’m now just beginning to appreciate the truth behind that statement.

When my kids were newborns, I would long for the days that they would sleep through the night. I remember crying because I was so exhausted – would these days ever end? But now I see how brief they were – I would LOVE to have some snuggle time at night with my boys now and go back to that time of just holding them, but they are all old enough to sleep through the night and not need to eat or be rocked back to contentment even if they do wake up. As they get older, I’m discovering that the years keep going faster and faster. We once yearned for days when diapers wouldn’t be part of our budget, but now that we’re there, I often miss having a little one on my hip.

That said, I’m slowly learning that each stage is a new one to appreciate. Life can fly right by (and you wonder where the days have gone), or you can take the time to pause and reflect and thank God for His goodness right in the moment where you are. I’ve really thought about the verse above. The whole earth is filled with God’s glory! Am I seeking it? Am I looking for things that glorify God or understanding ways God has acted on our behalf? Do I take for granted each time we arrive safely at our destination or do I thank God for keeping us safe? Do I recognize answers to prayer or am I quick to ask for the next thing? Am I satisfied with where God has us, or am I grumpily complaining too loudly to hear what God is saying? Am I missing out on God’s glory right here, right now?

Sometimes seeing God’s glory is simple – like seeing the sun rise and set. Sometimes reflecting on God’s glory happens automatically like during the birth of a child. But, sometimes acknowledging God’s glory takes discipline to seek it out and be grateful.

Right now we’re heading into March, and all I hear (and feel!) is the longing for Spring. I’m so tired of the cold weather and this morning we woke up to another fresh coating of snow in Michigan and wind chills well below zero. UGH! But, I remembered verses like Job 37:6, “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour'” and Psalm 147:16, “He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.” If God is ordering the snow, should I be miserable about it or thankful? Do I recognize God’s glory here on earth?

As I mentioned previously, I love the verses in 1 Thessaloians 5:16-18 (my life’s theme verses!): “Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Am I giving thanks in all circumstances – being purposeful to pause and reflect on the glory of God that fills the whole earth?

Instead of focusing on the bad news, I’m going to pray for others and give it to God. Instead of stopping there, I’m going to work on looking for God’s glory and the goodness. Like a treasure hunt, I’m going to seek out God’s glory. And when I see it, I hope I can share openly with others what I’m seeing. Let’s praise God together for His glory on earth!

Heavenly Father, we thank You for being all powerful and yet present here on earth. We understand, Lord, that You see what goes on here. We know that we live in a fallen world, yet we choose to fix our eyes on You, the author and perfecter of our faith. Help us see Your glory here on earth. Let us recognize Your goodness and sovereignty. Please forgive us for complaining or yearning for different circumstances or outcomes. Forgive us for not understanding the bigger picture that You know. Help us trust You, put our faith in You and then thank You for all circumstances we encounter. We thank You, God, for being trustworthy and good. Thank You for being worthy of our praise, time and attention. Help us recognize that each stage of life, each season has something to offer. Don’t let us miss the special moments that are offered to us each day we are alive. May our time have meaning and purpose. May we live for Your glory and Your honor. We praise You alone. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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Saying Grace – the ‘Blessing’

Have you ever wondered why we sit down at meal time and bless our food?

I recently read an article that denounced meal time “blessing” with a good point that we’re often more focused on what we’re about to consume than the God who provided it for us. The article was worth reading and can be found here:


Yet, I don’t think it’s wrong to pray before we eat. First, Jesus gave thanks before He broke bread with His disciples (Matthew 26:26). Likewise, we should thank God for providing for us the food we need to sustain our bodies. Food isn’t the ‘enemy’ in our desire to be healthy and thin. Our over-indulgence and self-gratification is really the culprit rather than the gift of God of something He gives us for our enjoyment and energy. Meal times can be a wonderful time of bonding with family, a reminder to come together and love on and talk to one another. Giving thanks to God for this incredible blessing is an important part of this ‘ritual.’

But, truly, the author wasn’t asserting that we shouldn’t be thankful. He was saying that there was no “magic” in blessing our food. And here is where I think the author is wrong (or maybe misguided is a better word). We ask God, the giver of all good gifts, to bless our food because of His promise in Exodus 23:24-26: “Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” I think it’s wise to ask God to bless our food and water and make us healthy. He alone has the power to take sickness away from us.

The verses start, though, by reminding us to WORSHIP the Lord Your God (and no other idols). We can’t worship the food and expect God to bless it.

I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s assertion that we were created with a hole in our heart that can only be filled with God. Instead we try to fill it with any pleasurable alternatives we find, including eating food we don’t need, for sheer enjoyment. Yet, if we think about our actions long term, we certainly don’t enjoy the effects – the tight clothes, the muffin tops, the obesity and eventually for some the fall into diabetes or even death. Maybe if we take the time to pray before meals, we can search our hearts and ask God if we truly need the food we’re about to partake. We can give thanks that we live with plenty. We can also ask for Him to be our all in all – our center of worship and adoration as the One and ONLY true God – and that He will fulfill His promise to bless our food and water and take sickness away from us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your truth in Your Word. Lord, we want to take the opportunity to pray to You at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17), with thanksgiving in our hearts. Thank You For blessing us with an abundance. We have so much wealth in our country that we struggle with eating too much. Please forgive our sin and help us fill the hole in our heart with more of You rather than the food we don’t need. We desire to worship You only, and we ask that You bless our food and water and make us healthy (and thin!) and give us a full life span. May we live to glorify and honor You in all we say, do and consume. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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