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Giving thanks to God eternally

Posted Dec 2, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Revelation 7:9-12

9 After this I looked, and there was a great crowd that no one could number. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out with a loud voice:

“Victory belongs to our God
        who sits on the throne,
            and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels stood in a circle around the throne, and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying,

“Amen! Blessing and glory
        and wisdom and thanksgiving
        and honor and power and might
            be to our God forever and always. Amen.”

Reflection Questions

Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.*

A prisoner of conscience wrote the book of Revelation. The Romans exiled him for his faith on the small Mediterranean island of Patmos, isolated from the Christian churches he led and loved (cf. Revelation 1:9). Yet he produced (and somehow sent from the island) a work of awesome vision and praise. At its heart was the scene of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” in the courts of heaven praising Jesus as the self-giving, saving Lamb of God. Gratitude isn’t limited to this life or this world, Revelation said. Gratitude to our God and Savior is the vocabulary of eternity.

  • Jesus called his followers to have the same positive impact on our world as light in a dark place, or salt on flavorless food (Matthew 5:13-16). In what ways is your life brighter (not flawless, but brighter!) because of God’s love, forgiveness and presence with you? In what ways does the promise of an eternity of praise and gratitude shine into your life, your heart from day to day? How can you refract the light of God’s eternity in ways that brighten the lives of others, and add zest and joy to their world? Ask God to direct you to at least one person for whom you can be God’s gratitude-inspiring presence in this holiday season.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I offer blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might to you forever and always. (And when I don’t, please remind me.) Amen.

Family Activity

Play “Penny Praise!” Get one or two rolls of pennies from the bank. (Warning: Pennies are a choking hazard, so if you have very small children in your home, use an item larger than pennies.) Hide individual pennies all over the house, in the car, in shoes, backpacks, etc. Gather the whole family, set a timer for two minutes, and go on a penny hunt, with each person finding as many pennies as possible. Every time someone finds a penny, they shout out a praise to God for something or someone they are thankful for. Your house will be filled with voices shouting praises to God simultaneously! When the timer sounds, come back together. Have everyone share the number of pennies they found and name a few of the praises they shouted. Some pennies are probably still hiding, so continue the game all week, with everyone shouting a praise whenever they find a penny. Thank God for all the reasons to praise Him!

 

* Each day this week we’re sharing one tip from Robert Emmons, “Ten Ways to Become More Grateful.” November 17, 2010 from Greater Good Magazine. Click here for entire article.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides scripture and insights to enhance your journey.

Penny Ellwood

Penny Ellwood

Rev. Penny Ellwood is the Campus Pastor at Resurrection Blue Springs.

The “Penny Praise” family activity in the GPS today reminded me of something my mother used to do when we were small. When the weather was inclement or my brother, sister and I were complaining of boredom, she would load us into the car, and we’d set out for a little adventure. We’d head down our half-mile driveway from the farm, and when we got to the end, we’d flip a penny to see which way to turn next. Heads we’d go right, tails left. At every mile marker, we’d take turns flipping the penny to determine the next step in our journey. 

This would take us down roads we’d never traveled before. Mom taught us to keep our eyes open for animals, scenic spots, or other things of interest. Appreciating the new visage and beauty around us brought us out of our boredom and into an exercise of gratitude--although I didn’t appreciate it as such as a child. Mom knew that a change of scenery with a focus on the positive would change our moods. In the process, she taught us to take notice of the infinite beauty of God’s creation found in the everyday things all around us. 

If you find yourself experiencing the doldrums or complaining too frequently, you might slow down a little today to see, smell, taste, hear and feel some of the things you’ve been missing around you.

Be grateful if you have eyes to see these things, a nose to smell them, ears to hear them, a mouth to taste them, hands to touch them and a heart to feel them. If you have children, I urge you to nurture their sense of wonder as my mother did for us. Actually seeing what God has placed right before our eyes in nature, and by teaching the children in our care to do the same, we can grow together towards God. Nature offers us the opportunity to perceive the divine mystery in things, to have a better sense of God’s grace, and to have compassion for all living things. Psalm 34:8 instructs us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” So I say, “Grab a penny and head out to find inspiration.”

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