“The Gifts: My Praise, My Thanksgiving”

This series is still being shaped in many ways “right before your eyes” based on what you are sharing with me! That’s really exciting!

You’ll notice that the main title has changed to “The Gifts,” and it looks like the graphics will be built on two frameworks.

One is “The Gifts Of God For The People Of God.” Those are words from the Eucharist or Communion celebration, and that’s what the first graphic in this series was about. This framework seeks to ask and answer the questions “What if the only thing Jesus has to give us is Himself? Would we be satisfied?” This is about relationship and seeking Jesus for who He is rather than “getting stuff” from Him.

The other is new today and is “The Gifts To God From The People Of God.” It seeks to ask and answer the questions “What if the only thing we have to give Jesus is ourselves? Would He be satisfied?” This is also about relationship and “being enough in ourselves” to please God.

I think that both of these are things that many of us may struggle with from time to time when we focus on “getting stuff” and “being enough.” I think it’s right to say that is usually the way that the world operates, but it’s not the way that God operates.

For me, so often I’ve felt like I have nothing to give God that will please Him, that in one way or another, I just wasn’t good enough. Maybe you’ve felt like that too? It really wasn’t until recently that my feelings about this have changed as I’ve rethought “Things That Are Pleasing To God.”

Here’s the turning point realization for me: My Faith may please God, but He gave it to me in the first place and Jesus is My Coach to improve My Faith.

What if we looked at Our Heavenly Father like a loving earthly parent? (Even one from an old TV show like “Family Affair” or “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” if imagining a loving earthly parent is tough for you. Seriously, I get that. I really do.) He gives his children money to go and buy a Father’s Day gift to give to him. Even lets them use his wrapping paper, his scissors, and his tape to dress it up like a great Father’s Day gift. He even gives them the materials and some ideas for the Father’s Day card to go with it all!

What if that’s really what Our Heavenly Father does with us? Only He gives us the faith, the courage, the generosity, the love and all of the other things we have to then give back to Him? And He lets us believe they were all from us! (Because we haven’t held on to those things.) And it’s exactly what He wanted! (Because they really are.) And we are the best children ever! (Because we really are.)

Yet all the time we know He gave us the gifts to give back to Him, and Jesus served as our guide for the tough parts, and the Holy Spirit helped from start to finish! That’s like a family relationship, wouldn’t you say?!? Yes, it is! And yes, you are enough!

But I am lowly and in pain; let your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. Psalm 69:29-31 (NRSV)

So what about the gifts of “My Praise, My Thanksgiving”? What about “Even In Afflictions And Pain”? Just think about this. Jesus never stopped offering praise and thanksgiving, even during His most anguishing and painful moments. He is our Example. He is our Guide. We can embrace Him and say, “Jesus, please show me and help me to have praise and thanksgiving, even though right now it feels like life is crushing me.” He gets it. He’s been there.

If I could give you “Ten Easy Steps,” I would, but I can’t. I really can only give you “One Often Difficult But Not Impossible Step,” and that is “Grab Onto Jesus.” He is enough. You in Him are enough.

15 thoughts on ““The Gifts: My Praise, My Thanksgiving”

    1. Thank you! Those old Bible story books were the first art I ever really saw. Those pictures were just fascinating to me! I’m glad that what I’ve done here brings back some fond memories for you. It’s funny you would say that because I was thinking this morning, “This looks like an old Bible story book only for grown ups!” Thanks for your encouragement! John

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks. Good post. Since we are made in the image of God He knows who we are and what we need. He knows we also need to create. He will give us the basic tools and materials to a degree, starting small, because we must prove our faithfulness and that we respect Him and the things He gives. From this we can begin to create. I believe what He loves most is that He made us all to be unique with a free will and though He is the Lord and has all knowledge He also, from another perspective, never knows what we may come up with, and it pleases Him greatly to see our creations. What parent isn’t greatly pleased to see the initial scribbles of a three year old? From these early beginnings we learn to be better at our craft. In this way we are not just offering the Lord Jesus ourselves, with which He is always, every time, greatly pleased and blessed, but also the product of our lives which He made possible but did not do for us. We are the ones making the choices and doing it. All for Him. Be blessed.

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    1. Thanks so much for adding your insights. I really love the part about “He never knows what we will come up with, and it pleases Him greatly to see our creations.” That is so exciting to me and I hope to others as well! Thanks again!

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  2. Great post! A favorite story in Acts is when Paul and Silas are beaten and put in chains in prison and start singing hymns of praise to God and everyone is listening, dumbfounded that these guys who have no worldly hope seem so joyful. Now there was a couple of guys in a deep relationship with God!

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  3. Very thoughful post. I did feel “not good enough” most of my life. I am trying to change that feeling within me by thinking about how much I love my children and grandchildren. They don’t have to do anything to earn my love.

    Praising God in the midst of our pain is a good thing to do, for ourselves and God. I read a book many years ago called, (I think) “Praise God Anyway.” But I found it impossible to thank God for bad things that happened. I can, however, praise and thank him for who he is. Ģ

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    1. I agree, and I believe we shouldn’t be concerned about praising God “for” the bad things, just “in” the bad things…He sees us through the bad things and can bring hope and healing from some of the worst things in our lives, and that really is who He is, just as you said! (I’m thinking here of the concentration camp survivors in World War II as an example of that.) Thanks, Belle!

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