Pastor Mark’s Devotions March 25

“Thank You!”

“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Can we realistically be thankful today as the coronavirus is spreading exponentially? Can we be thankful when 30% of the value of our retirement funds have disappeared. Can we be thankful knowing that schools will be out for 6 months and families are searching for a way to survive. It truly depends upon our focus. We know we are to be thankful, for it is God’s will, but it’s still very hard to do. Maintaining a thankful heart through the ups and downs of these unprecedented times is extremely challenging. Does it help to understand that being thankful is a spiritual exercise. The Greek word for thanksgiving, “eucharist”, is related to the words, grace, joy, and character to name a few. To receive and retain these qualities is only by the power of God and the exercise of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that wakes us up to the gift of grace in Christ Jesus. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings forth greater joy in life dipped from a spiritual well. It is the Holy Spirit that hones, shapes, and prunes in order that we grow greater character and bear much fruit. And it is the Holy spirit that exercises in us a thankful heart in difficult times. Finally, it is God’s will for this to take place. Thank God!

I am thankful for the wonderful perogie and goulash Isaiah and I ate together at a Polish restaurant two weeks ago in La Conner. But the following story about the Polish railway worker, Jan Grzebski has much more food for the soul.  

Back in 1988, a Polish railway worker named Jan Grzebski was hit by a train. He lived … but only barely. For the next 19 years (until the year 2007), Grzebski was in a coma.

He awoke in 2007 to a whole new world. Nineteen years earlier, Poland was a communist state. Grzebski noted that back then meat was rationed and there were huge lines at nearly every gas station. And, “there was only tea and vinegar in the shops.”

But 19 years later, he awoke to a free nation where he said there were “people on the streets with cell phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin.”

But something puzzled him. “What amazes me is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and yet they never stop moaning.”

These people had freedom, and food and wealth greater than Poland had had for decades … and yet Grzebski woke from his coma to find that ALL they seemed to want to do was grumble!

If the habit of thanking God is not firmly exercised by the Spirit for what we DO have, we soon we become soft and flabby and ungrateful for what we don’t have.

Holy Spirit, exercise in us your power to see all for which to be thankful!

I Thank God for ALL of You!

In Christ, Pastor Mark

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