The Bible makes such a big deal about gratitude. God’s Word instructs us to give praise and thanksgiving to God for everything (Eph. 5:20), in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18), with all of our hearts (Psalm 9:1), with our words, (Psalm 9:1), with singing and with joy (Psalm 95:1-3).
The following biblical images will probably be familiar to you, either as word pictures or actual drawings and artwork. You’ve heard them described in sermons. You’ve seen them depicted in picture books, greeting cards, and artwork. You may even think you know exactly where to find them in the Bible.
There’s one problem. They’re not actually in the Bible. At all.
We love hearing testimonies of how God intervened in an amazing way in someone’s life. A child healed. A financial need solved. A marriage restored. A longing fulfilled.
Yet even as we celebrate with the person telling us the glorious story, there may be a part of us that (if we’re being totally honest here) can be a little distracted; a part of us that, instead of celebrating, might be quietly asking, “But what about my prayers?”
The Bible itself supports the idea that we can’t out-give God. For example, there’s the verse in Luke that says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38).
If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, it’s still good, right? Like eating broccoli. If I started eating broccoli every day simply to annoy a controlling neighbor who told me I must never eat broccoli again, wouldn’t my body still benefit? Wouldn’t the folate and vitamins K and C do their jobs, even if my reasons for eating the cruciferous veggie happened to be spite rather than health? In other words, isn’t doing a good thing for …
Around seven in the evening, the doorbell rang. I grabbed a butcher knife from a kitchen drawer and hurried to the front door. Someone rang the doorbell a second time. I slid the knife behind my back, took a deep breath and reached for the knob, my hand shaking. I’d been married a whole month and had just moved with my new husband from a very populated city in Southern California to a house surrounded by cornfields in Indiana. That …
Despite being diagnosed with ALS at 21 and given two years to live, Stephen Hawking lived decades beyond his predicted death, eventually dying at the age of 76. It’s easy to imagine that living more than 50 years on borrowed time may have inspired him to think about heaven now and then. In addition, the renowned physicist, by nature of his career, spent a lot of time pondering big-picture questions, like those surrounding the origin of the universe. And here’s …
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