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Posts Tagged ‘thankful’


The deal is the deal.

Sometimes.

Because sometimes the deal changes.

My parents were supposed to visit us in NY for a few days. My father has some things he wanted to talk about. But when your mother has Alzheimer’s things can change. She wasn’t up for a long ride to New York, and she really wasn’t sure who she was going to visit.

My father called an audible, which was okay. I’m not really sure how to handle this development with my kids. I’m not sure how they will respond if they realize my mother has no idea who they are.

So I agreed to travel to them and spend a night at a friend’s house. My plan was to leave around 7 am. Man plans, and God laughs. No, nothing dramatic. I just wanted to do a few things before I left. I packed light, except for books.  I needed my caffeine fix so I made tea. I needed a travel much to keep it in so I borrowed one from my in-laws. By the time I wrote down the routes I wanted it was nearly 8 am. I was off. I could still make it to NH around lunchtime.

Just before I reached the end of Route 8, about 10 minutes away, I realized I forgot the book I was going to give to my father. I’d picked up an extra copy of Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. I’m not sure he’d read it, but you never know what the Spirit might do. I knew that I should have taken it out the night before. Well, heading back wouldn’t cost too much head back and I really didn’t want to mail it. So I turned around. When I left, for real, it was 8:30. I didn’t see a cup holder, so I had to pull over to secure the travel mug because things were sliding around. Things just weren’t starting off well.

The radio in the Subee ( the nickname for  the Subaru) doesn’t have an aux jack, so I had to settle for the few stations. These were not good options. Mostly they were NPR. I learned quite a bit about Albany’s politics, including the stat that since 2000 10% of the state legislators have left due to corruption of one kind or another. I actually made pretty good time into Vermont. At times I got stuck behind the scenic drivers, the ones who drive 10-15 miles below the speed limit for unknown reasons. I recently read the Heidelberg Catechism on providence (actually I’m reading Kevin DeYoung’s book on it). I was neither patient, not thankful. I have a ways to go yet in this thing called sanctification.

When I finally took a sip of my tea, I made a shocking discovery. Teaffee! The coffee taste from the mug overpowered the taste of my tea. Not good, not good at all I say.

I had to change the station a few times to another NPR station, usually, as I made my way across Vermont. I often stop at a restaurant near the Quechee gorge. This time I was a little early for lunch when I arrived in Quechee. I tried to call my father to see if they had lunch plans but I had no service. That is another common problem alone Route 4 in Vermont. Shortly after getting on 89 I called my father and talked to him. We would be getting together for lunch. No more than 2 minutes after hanging up with him the highway became a parking lot. I had just passed an exit and was drawing near to a turn around. I quickly used my map app (thankfully I actually had service) and discovered a road that ran parallel to the highway to get me to the next exit. I turned around and got off the highway at the exit.

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This morning I was reading Colossians 4, and saw this:

2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  (NIV)

 

First, I was convicted by the encouragement to be thankful in prayer.  I’m (by both nature and nurture) a glass half-empty guy.  Paul wanted them to be thankful as they prayed.  They were to have eyes that saw the good around them, not just the sin & misery.   They were to look for grace & mercy that were already there and thank God for it.

Second, they were to pray that God would open doors for the message of the Gospel.  God is in control, and he must open doors for the Gospel.  I was reminded to pray for the 3 mission teams I know of that are heading out in the next few weeks to Russia, LA and MS.  I want God to open doors for the message.  As I preach this Sunday, I want him to open hearts since he’s opened a door to preach the message.

Third, he asked them to pray that he would speak it clearly.  God is sovereign, even in salvation, and he alone grants faith and repentance- even to unlikely people.  But Paul was responsible to speak clearly.  He recognized this- and we need to recognize this as well.  God’s sovereignty in salvation does not mean we can be lax in either looking for open doors or in how we speak when we have one.

But Paul also recognized that he needed grace from God to speak clearly.  He was dependent on God to fulfill his responsibility.

So, because of the gospel …….

  1. Are you watchful for evidence of grace & mercy, and expressing gratitude?
  2. Are you praying for open doors for the message?
  3. Are you praying that God would help you be clear when you have an opportunity to present the message of grace?

Sadly, all too often I’m not- but I want to be.  I am responsible to be- may God help me to fulfill my responsibility.

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