There are so many day that I rush through life and forget to stop and say thank you to the One who has given me all of those gifts. Today, join me in thanking our Almighty Father for the bountiful gifts He has given us, including:
Free will - I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I'm super competitive. And, while that can be fun and great when you're on a collegiate volleyball team or playing in the state finals in tennis, it can also be a curse if you're playing against someone who isn't really that into it. There is nothing worse than playing against someone who is letting you win. It takes all of the fun out of it. That is why I am so thankful that God designed His creation as free moral agents. We aren't robots that are forced to do His will and serve Him. Instead, we are creatures who get to choose to love Him and choose to serve Him.
Maybe you have never been in a relationship or friendship that was one-sided, but let me tell you, it is no fun. And so, while there are some who will not choose to love and serve their Maker, there are others who will, of their own free will, choose to enter into a relationship and covenant with God; one that will be enriching and beautiful. Would I enjoy being a Christian and having a relationship with God if I had to? Maybe not. But do I love being in a relationship that I choose to be in with the Almighty? Absolutely; because I recognize that this isn't a right I have. Instead, it's a gift. The created have no right to be so close to the Creator, and yet He loves each of us individually and I, for one, am so thankful that He does.
Being members of the church - Just recently I was hanging out with two of my friends and I thought to myself how amazing it was that I was a part of their spiritual family. It is so amazing to have like-minded people--people with some of the same struggles and fears and hopes and dreams--who only want to help you get to heaven. It is so uplifting and encouraging to sit around a table with 10-15 people your age who are all interested in going to heaven. It is absolutely amazing to sit under a shed with 1500 people who have all gathered together to sing praises to their God! I am so thankful that Jesus designed His church to be a family. Every single week I am encouraged by my brothers and sisters--those who live in the same town that I do and those who are spread out over thousands of miles. There are even some days that I don't think I could make it if I didn't have their advice or encouragement or support, which is exactly why the church was designed this way. I am so thankful for the foresight and mercy that was shown in creating the body of Christ. Truly God and His Son had people's feelings and emotions in mind when they made such a beautiful thing.
Prayer - If you are like me, sometimes you stand in awe of the fact that at any given moment, you can go to God in prayer. Most of the time, it is when I am in need of forgiveness or strength that I find this blessing to be so awesome. It is unfathomable that we, lowly and sinful human beings, can have a direct line to the Creator of the entire universe at any time we wish. Truly we are a blessed people, whose Maker only has their best interest in mind.
Today, I am so thankful for so many things, but for these especially. I am thankful that I get to choose to be in this relationship with God, and not only that, but that the choice is even made available to someone as sinful as I. I am thankful that, not only do I get to be in a relationship with God when I put on Christ in baptism, but I also get to be a part of a huge family whose one desire is to be in heaven when this life is over. And probably the greatest blessing of all is that we have a direct line to our Father, so that when we mess up (which for me is so often), we can beg for His forgiveness at any time, day or night.