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Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2005

Faith forum

November 19, 2005

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How can we give appropriate thanks to God?

Identifying what God has given each of us

The Rev. Paul Gray, senior pastor, Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt.:

If we work or pay for something, we don't have to thank the person - it's a fair exchange. But thanks is always appreciated; it's the polite thing to do. Thanks is always appropriate for something we get that we haven't earned: a gift.

So, first we have to identify what God has given us. It's easy to thank God for an unexpected inheritance or a random windfall, but God actually deserves way more than that.

He gave us life to begin with. He gives us the air we breathe and the health we enjoy. He gives us the ability to earn a living and enjoy sports, music, art and friends. Actually, everything we have is a gift from him! And he loves to give and give and give. He loves to give us the desires of our heart!

When my three children were little, I loved to give them gifts, take them to Worlds of Fun and Branson and to ball games and fairs. And while I freely gave with no expectation of anything in return, every "Thank you, Daddy!" and each smile and hug were appreciated and deeply enjoyed.

We're created in God's image, and our heavenly father also delights in giving to us and in hearing "Thank you, Daddy." He sees our smiles and delights in what delights us.

Many times Christians wonder what God's will is for them. We don't have to wonder any more. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us what God wants: "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

In other words, just tell him "thanks ... for everything!"

- Send e-mail to Paul Gray at hartland@sunflower.com.

We are the hands and feet of the Lord

The Rev. Darlene Strickland, pastor, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Drive:

"Believe in yourself as a spiritual being of grandeur, and recognize your Divinity. Moreover, contemplate the Truth that you are here to release the imprisoned splendor that is within." - Joseph Murphy

Recently, I saw a T-shirt that stated, "God cannot be everywhere at once ... so God made grandmothers!"

The statement made me smile, and it reminded me of a powerful truth: We are the hands and feet of God. Therefore, whatever we choose to do with our hands, feet, heart and mind is our demonstration of how God shows up in our world. And, consciously or not, it reflects how we acknowledge and revere our creator.

The ultimate gift that life gives us is the opportunity, in every moment, to deliberately choose to discover and live the truth of who we are - sharing the gifts that are uniquely ours to give. As spiritual beings, made in the image and likeness of pure spirit, we have the resources and ability to transform our life ... and thereby our world. The greatest tribute we can give our creator is to honor, cherish and cultivate life - all life.

Within each of us is the ability to choose harmony and peace over dissonance and vengeful, fear-based reactions to the circumstances of life. If we choose to follow our hearts and listen to our spirits, we can choose a better way of thinking and acting. We will have an impact and lasting effect on others and the world around us.

This is the highest form of gratitude we can offer life. When we give thanks to life, we are giving thanks to God.

- Send e-mail to Darlene Strickland at revdarlene@unityoflawrence.org.

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