It should go without saying that I am thankful, but then again sometimes it should go with saying that I am thankful and just what I am thankful for. I find it healthy to verbalize these things and to give thanks to God for the rich blessings He has given me.
So today I made a short list of some of the things I am thankful for:
First off I am thankful for my Savior Jesus who came to this earth as a man, lived a perfect life as an example for me, and then sacrificed His life for my salvation.
To be able to see the variety of God’s wonderful creation and all the beautiful places I have been fortunate enough to visit.
To be able to tell my family “I love you” to their face, and be so open to them. Also for the great family that surrounds me.
Friends who are truly friends no matter what, and will be there for me under any circumstance. I count just a few people in the world with this description. I also love it when I can call one of these guys up after a long break from seeing each other and start off cutting up like we just spoke yesterday.
The special friends who showed me what it was like to follow Jesus at an early age, and those who still do it today.
Those people who tell me they are thankful for me.
The mistakes I have made – now that they are behind me. I have learned so much from them and they have formed me to be the man I am today.
The gifts and talents God has blessed me with and the times I am fortunate enough to use them.
I hope you will take some time today to give thanks for the blessings in your life as well.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3
I read this scripture again a few weeks ago and realized something significant – God rested. Wow! The creator of our universe, who is without boundaries or limitations rested. Why on earth would God do that?
I think he rested to provide an example for us to follow in our lives. We have to rest or our body will shut down on its own. Sometimes we think there is no time for rest because there is so much to do. Or does that just happen to me?
I’ll admit, I have so much to do at times that I really feel rest is a waste of time. It doesn’t get me anywhere. It just lets me, well ……. wind down – recharge – refocus. Oh yeah … rest.
I need rest in my life for no other reason that to refocus at times. I get so wound up with the things in my life I think must be accomplished. I also am a bit of a perfectionist at times. I think some things I do have to be absolutely finished and completely right before I can stop or let it go. Now sometimes that is a good thing of course, but sometimes it just drives me to the end of my physical and mental usefulness.
Three kinds of rest we need
I don’t know about you, but my body needs 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep every day. It would be awesome if I could keep a consistent rhythm of getting that much sleep every day, but I usually don’t. And when I get behind on a good night sleep it seems to affect me in a lot of ways. I find it hard at times to just quit what I am doing and go to bed – I have so much more to do! But what I make up in productive activity … I lose in rest. My body will suffer as a result. So only when I get wise do I lay things down and get a good nights rest.
Here is the Biblical example we are given – to take a weekly rest. Some call it a Sabbath day, the Lord’s day or even the day of rest. For my family it is Sunday. That is the day we set aside to rest from work and worship our Savior. I will do everything I can to keep this day set aside and not work. I don’t like to do business on this day if I can help it. I also like to spend Sundays visiting with family. We usually eat lunch with family members on Sunday and it is so good to recharge those relationships during those times. I also like to get in a good Sunday afternoon nap. For me that nap gives my body that extra rest that I missed during the week. It also gives me peace knowing all is well with my family that I can check out for an hour or so to just rest.
One of the best ways we rest is with a good vacation.
Think about the best vacation you have ever had. Was it a fun vacation? Was it a restful vacation? Usually the two are not the same. During the season of our lives when we have young kids – rest is the furthest thing from a vacation. However, I have felt the releasing of tension from work and my hustle/bustle life. I may not have rested in the sense I would like, but my mind let go long enough to recalibrate the priorities in life. Like spending time with family.
So for six days God worked. I hope I showed you last week that work is actually a good thing. Then God rested. So let’s think about a couple of things. God cannot be a part of anything evil. So if God is in rest, then it must be a wonderful thing. Notice that God blessed and sanctified the seventh day. What God did was declare the seventh day good and set apart. Since work was also good, God gave a separate time and weight to resting.
For me God speaks to me and says that I need that same time of rest. I need a break from work to let my mind and body separate the activities. Both work and rest are good and they both are something we all need.
Note to reader: I finished this blog one night and thought I had it complete. I went to bed and after resting had some more insight to this topic. So I included it this morning before posting. The overnight rest gave me a more clear picture to describe rest. I hope this topic is as beneficial to you as it has been for me.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men – Colossians 3:23
Before sin came to our world there was work. Did you ever think of that?
In Genesis 2:15 we see that God put man in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. This means that gathering fruit and vegetables was work, but in a good way. Imagine loving to do work! It brought Adam joy, food for life and a sense of accomplishment.
Then when sin came along that same work became toilsome. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said that the ground then would produce thorns and thistles. You know what they are – competition for healthy plants. God also said that work then would cause us to sweat and make us exert a lot of effort. Sometimes work is physically hard and sometimes it is just mentally draining.
Most people in our American society look at work as something that is hard and a duty they don’t look forward to. Commercials, TV shows and movies all give work a bad name. But we should realize that God created us for work, and by realizing that is part of our human design accept work as a way of glorifying God!
In Colossians 3:23 we are instructed to work heartily – just as if working for the Lord instead of humans. To work heartily means with all your heart, to work genuinely, sincerely and warmly. Is there anything in your life you do this way? I know of people with a commitment to a team or cause with this kind of zeal, but not usually to work. If you think of it, the matter comes down to a heart issue. I think we need to work from our heart just as we love, play, sing or dance.
So when you work in retail you are obviously serving a customer, but you are also working to please God. If your job is to make widgets, then make them as if God paid you. At staff meetings, sales conferences, deliveries and while answering the phone see to it that you are pleasing God with your efforts. If mowing, cleaning, chores and the like is your thing – then do them all in a way that would be pleasing to God!
One of my favorite quotes gives a great description of what somebody looks like who is working heartily:
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. – James A. Michener
Today I would like to do my part in honoring the military veterans of our great country. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice – all gave some and some gave all.
As a veteran, I have several thoughts and reflections that are going through my mind. I served three years as an Infantry mortar man of the 10th Mountain Division in Ft Benning, Georgia. In my 3 years, I earned the rank of Sargent, was Airborne qualified, field medic certified, trained in Alaska and spent many days carrying an oversized rucksack in the field as a light-fighter. I am thankful to God that there was not a military conflict while I was in the service, and so abundantly grateful to those who had engage in combat.
I have at least four veterans that have made a huge impact on my life, and I try to honor them this day when possible.
My cousin Chuck is a few years older than me. He was a Marine, and while I was floundering in college he came to visit one time right after his basic training. The change of discipline I saw in him influenced me to see that the military might be a good thing for me.
Wes is my buddy and as close as a brother to me. We didn’t know each other before, but joined the 10th Mountain at the same time – from the same hometown. The three years in the Army was only the beginning of a lifetime of friendship. We experienced life in many ways over the years – good and bad times, hard and fun times, even in life and death. Sometimes I would talk to Wes and he would just know what I need – without me asking.
Jeff is a friend I met through work around twelve years ago. We were both veterans and had so many things in common with each other. We worked together for years, but were separated by three hours and a state line. Jeff taught me integrity through golf and the value of a friend when needed.
The last person I want to honor is my grandpa – JB Grigsby. He was the first veteran I ever knew, and the one I never appreciated until after his death in 1990. Grandpa fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, and was among very few who came home alive from his platoon. He never spoke of his military service and I never really asked. Oh how I wish I could ask him just a few questions today, and thank him for the sacrifices he made. I wish I had took the time to lean from his wisdom, but I was just too foolish at the time.
Military service is not for everyone.
For those who do volunteer for service to our county I am grateful. I am thankful that men and women still love this country enough to sacrifice themselves and serve in our military. I also know this fact to be true:
All will give some Some will give all
Remember freedom isn’t free.
God, please continue to bless and heal this great nation of ours.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters
Before sin came to our world there was work. Did you ever realize that?
In Genesis 2:15 we read that God put man in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. I think God intended Adam to gather fruit and vegetables daily to provide for nutritional needs. Harvesting was work, but in a good way. Imagine loving to do work! Work brought Adam joy, food for life and a sense of accomplishment.
Then we see that when sin came along that same work became toilsome. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said that the ground then would produce thorns and thistles – competition in several ways for healthy plants. God also said that work then would cause us to sweat – to make us give a lot of effort. Those same fruits and vegetables now became more difficult to harvest because of the weeds choked them out.
Most people in our lifetime look at work as something that is hard and a duty they don’t look forward to doing. Commercials, TV shows and movies all give work a bad name. But we should realize that God created us for work, and by realizing that is part of our human design accept work as a way of glorifying God! Work is another way to worship God!
So if you work in retail you are serving a customer, but you are working to please God – that’s how He designed you. If you stack, ship, move or manage for a living – do your tasks to please God. If your job is to make widgets, then make them as if God paid you. If mowing, cleaning, chores and the like is your thing – do them all to be pleasing God!
Below is one of my favorite quotes that gives a great description of what somebody looks like that loves working and is bringing glory to God.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”
of high quality;of somewhat high but not excellent quality; correct or proper; of a favorable character or tendency; free from injury or disease; not depreciated; commercially sound
So which is it – how are you really?
And then to hear it is good that I am good. Well that is just good to hear.
I propose a new wording for our greetings. What if we greeted each other with something other than good? And how about how I am doing is something other than good?
I have tried in the past few weeks to eliminate good from my greeting vocabulary. It is hard at times because good is just so ingrained in our minds to respond when asked how you are doing. But I am trying.
Here are some of the responses I have been providing:
I am well.
I’m just fine.
Doing better than I deserve!
Does anyone feel the way I do? Am I on my own on this one?
My son planned a cookout and bond fire at our home this past Friday night. He contacted his friends and made food plans with his mom. Then he and I prepared the yard and fire pit for the evening.
A couple of his buddies came over early to help us finish off the last details of moving cinder blocks and gathering wood. Each of them were giddy and willing to do just about anything I asked them to do as we prepared. Why? Anticipation
They each anticipated who would show up for the event. What conversations they would have. Maybe a new friendship would develop. For sure, somebody was going to do something so funny that the whole school would be talking about it Monday morning! That’s the beauty of anticipation – it is hoping for something great that is unseen and uncompleted.
Their anticipation reminded me of two great anticipations that I have on my mind:
1st – I am anticipating the new acquaintances, friendships and adventures I will have as a result of writing and maturing this blog. The ability to purposefully share my thoughts and adventures makes me just giddy! God is giving me wisdom as I journey, and I am so glad to share with anyone who will listen.
2nd – I am also anticipating the glorious meeting I will have in Heaven with my Savior! I know in Heaven there will be a great reward for the things I do for the glory of God here on earth. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I have never seen Heaven, but I sure do have faith that it will be a wonderful place to be for the rest of eternity!