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Gratitude, shmatitude, double batitude, I hate gratitude

Last Wednesday the owner of Plate 21 asked me how many people were coming to my fundraiser and I wasn’t quite sure what to say to her. I told her that around 30 people told me they were coming, but I honestly had no idea how many would come beyond that. I was a little nervous about how many people were going to show up. I was a little nervous until I just felt a peace about the whole thing wash over my body. I knew God had it and no matter how many people showed up it would be a success. Little did I know how much of a success He was going to make it.

I’m not going to go into every detail about the fundraiser and why I viewed it as a success, but the success of the fundraiser did inspire me to dedicate the month of April’s blog posts to one topic, gratitude. If you are like me, you view gratitude similar to the way Randy from the Christmas story viewed meatloaf. My all-time favorite line from that movie is “meatloaf, shmeatloaf, double beatloaf, I hate meatloaf.” I can’t personally understand his hatred of meatloaf because my mom’s meatloaf is literally the best meatloaf I have ever tasted. It’s just plain delicious! That aside though, I have been known to view gratitude this way. I mean, how can I be grateful when I’m sick, or when a family member dies, or even when I want to be in Germany and yet I’m not. How could I have gratitude during these times? I am more likely to hate the idea of being grateful, so I want to take this month, no matter what happens, and view everything with gratitude and look to the Bible to see just how I have been directed to do so.

Today is purely an attitude of thanks like the Psalmist says in chapters 106, 107 and 136:

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)

It is easy to praise God for the good times and that is what today is, a good time. It is easy for me to praise God for the large number of people who came to my fundraiser to show their support of God’s mission for me. It is easy for me to praise Him for the new recipients of my newsletter. It is easy to praise Him for the donations that were made at the event. Just because it is easy doesn’t mean I always do it, or that since it is easy it isn’t necessary. It is necessary and I will say:

Praise the Lord! For He is good and His love endures forever! Amen!

Coffee, with cream and theology? part 3

If you didn’t read my blog on Monday, let me catch you up really fast. As I am today, I normally do most of my work at Plate 21, a coffee-house in South Toledo. Last week I was house-sitting about 15 minutes away so I decided to go to The Flying Joe instead. While there I noticed three pieces of art hanging on the wall and I wanted to share with you all my thoughts about the sayings contained within each one. Monday I talked about living a little each day for Christ which for most of us would be an improvement over our current day-to-day lives. Wednesday I talked about living with the fantasy of Heaven in mind.  Below is the third piece of art.

“Redeem Yourself, You Are Your Biggest Cash Prize.” Let me let that sink in for a bit…..

Ok, so what do you think about this saying? Do you think that if all of your potential was released that it would be as amazing as a big cash prize? Are what you are made of that awesome?

My answer to that last question is a simple yes…..and no. Alright it’s not that simple, but the first part is very simple. We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) so therefor we are made of some pretty amazing stuff.

The no part is pretty simple too. As Paul says, “So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:17-19) I can attest that personal, I suck. I can do good things here and there, but overall I suck compared to how I am supposed to be living.

The awesome thing is what Paul says later in Romans 17:24-8:2, ” Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the powerof the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

So really, I guess what I am saying is that we aren’t the biggest cash prize we could receive. Anything that is good within us is only because of God. Jesus is the biggest cash prize we could ever receive and it is my honest hope that you experience just how amazing it is when you win the lottery that is a relationship with Jesus.

Coffee, with cream and theology? part 1

Last week I was house/dog sitting for my mom and step-dad in Perrysburg, so instead of going to my normal coffee-shop/office (Plate 21) I decided to go to one that was a little closer. I ended up at The Flying Joe in Perrysburg and while I missed the service of Plate 21 it served my purpose of getting me out of the house and giving me a place to do some work. While there, my ADHD (never officially diagnosed, but I have a hard time concentrating on……) kicked in and I started to check out my surroundings. I noticed three pieces of art on the wall and at first glance they did nothing for me. They were nothing too exciting, but they fit very well into the “flying” theme. After checking it out for about the 50th time, I noticed the saying on it and it kind of sparked a little something inside me. Then I looked at the other two pieces of art similar to it and every one of the sayings got my brain working a little. Over this week I am going to do a short blog post about each piece of art and just a few thoughts about how we can apply these sayings into our everyday life to advance the Kingdom of God. Below is the first saying. “How great would life be if we lived a little everyday.” I am going to switch this up a bit. Instead of “How great would life be if we lived a little everyday” I want to change it to “How great would life be if we lived for God a little everyday.” We all know that as servants of the Almighty God, we kind of suck. We do not do nearly do as much as God calls us to do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I am going to be honest with you, sometimes I don’t fulfill that verse completely. I know, shocker! Scandalous, even! If you are honest with yourself you might just find out that you too are not that great at fulfilling those words. We don’t even do it when we consider the reward that Paul states two verses later. “I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.” So maybe if we try every day to live a little for God, with the hopes of eventually living completely for Him, then we too can say that “many may be saved.” Every day make a conscious effort to do something for God and see the results in your life and others too.