Being thankful to God is the essence of worship. To be specific and thoughtful about our gratitude is not only well-received by the Godhead, it is expected (Lk.17:17). We owe him nothing less than to catalog our blessings and prompt our own hearts to recite them in thanksgiving. We see this discipline in the lyrics of the Psalmist as he calls his own soul to “Praise Yahweh!” and “forget not all his benefits” (Ps.103:2). It may sound elementary to remind yourself to “count your blessings and name them one by one,” but nothing would capture the essence of spiritual maturity more than doing just that (1Th.5:18). And unlike the non-directed “thanksgiving” of our world, we must be careful and clear in our minds about the ultimate recipient of gratitude. It is not enough to passively feel thankful, we must actively direct our earnest expressions of thanks to the Giver of all good things (Jms.1:17). Though he has blessed us in countless ways, it is our responsibility to start counting anyway. As we do, God is honored, we are refreshed, and Christ’s Church is adorned with the worshipful hearts that befit his children.
-- Pastor Mike
When the storms of life sweep in and we become tossed about by things like cancer, unemployment, divorce, or foreclosure, it is absolutely vital we have something strong and reliable to grasp onto. In these critical moments we need alifeline.
As a pastor who comforts and counsels people through difficult times, I have seen a number of these turbulent storms. And I have also weathered a few myself. I’ll never forget the day the doctors informed my wife and me that our unborn daughter Stephanie had a congenital disorder called Spina Bifida. That day would mark the beginning of a whirlwind of emotions, questions, surgeries, tough decisions, and close calls.
The reality is we all go through difficult times and I recently wrote a book on this topic titled Lifelines for Tough Times: God’s Presence and Help When We Hurt. In this brand new release, I share my own story of the difficult months and years following Stephanie’s diagnosis, and more importantly, I examine the biblical lifelines we can cling to in any storm we face. I truly hope you will read this book and be encouraged. For a limited time, you can request Lifelines for Tough Times when you give a donation of any amount in support of Focal Point.
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