Giving Thanks? For What?

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-221" style="width: 150px;" src="https://onesavedwretch.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/flap-logo.png&quot; alt="">As Thanksgiving weekend draws to a cold close in Siloam Springs. One more month left – if we have said it once, we have said it 100 times – what a year 2020 has been.  As Thanksgiving weekend draws to a cold close in Siloam Springs. One more month left – if we have said it once, we have said it 100 times – what a year 2020 has been.  

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday here in our great country, if we were to take just a few brief moments and look back over the headlines of FoxNews, CNN, or even President Trump’s friends over at Newsmax for that matter – regardless of your source of news – not a lot things worthy of our thanks jump out at you.

I had so much excitement coming into 2020. This was THE year that our family was going to do some new and fun things – this was THE year that the church where I pastor was going to reach more people and serve our community more, for a lot of people this was going to be THE year. But after getting off to a good start, Rona crashed the party. COVID took control of 2020 and in no time, sports were taken away from us, restaurants were closed, states were on lock down – and March introduced a new normal.

But little did we know that 2020 had a lot more up its sleeve. Throw in racial injustice and social unrest and we looked nothing like the UNITED States as friends were divided, houses were divided, we barely resembled One Nation Under God and we were far from Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All. I personally lost friends – real and social media friends – because of my active stand for people that look like my black wife and my bi-racial kids. Then came November 3. Election Day in America. Election anxiety, conspiracy theories, and claims of fraud. Our country became
“that” country; you know, the one we would watch on the news when there would be a country would have a transfer of power and there would be protests and rioting in the streets.

What could we possibly give thanks for in 2020?  That may seem like a question with no real good or easy answer.  It has felt like we are those Israelites in the Old Testament that wondered in the wilderness for 40 years to complete an 11 day journey.

They spent so much time in the wilderness because they were so divided, they spent days arguing with each other, and they did not want to listen to or trust in God. They all held a differing narrative of how things should be, and anyone that disagreed with their perspective was uneducated or needed more religion. From the outside looking in, it seems like they were not wondering through the Old Testament wilderness; but wondering the streets of America in 2020. 

Their 11 day journey was stretched to 40 years and it seems like these 11 months of 2020 has felt like 40 months. But it did not have to be that way for Moses and the Israelites – And I wonder how 2020 would have felt if we were united as a country, if we loved our neighbor, if we all sought to do justice, love mercy and walk with humility. Maybe – just maybe – despite all that 2020 has thrown at us, just maybe this year would have felt a little different. And maybe, we would find it easier to answer the question – what could we give thanks for in 2020?

Were they thankful that the Lord led them out of Egypt?  Hardly.

When they thought they would be murdered at the shores of the Red Sea – they complained. But when Pharaoh’s bad guys got swallowed up by the Red Sea after the Israelites made it safely through; then and only then were they thankful

When they were thirsty and had only bitter water to drink – they were ungrateful. But when they were provided fresh water from the rock in Chapter 17 of Exodus, then and only then were they thankful and drank it.

When they were hungry They accused Moses of bringing them out in the wilderness to die. But when God provided manna and quail to eat, then and only then were they thankful – and they were likely only thankful for a minute because God did not provide dessert!

So, yes at times they were thankful – but it is nothing special for someone to be thankful when everything is going their way; anyone can be thankful when you are living large on the mountain top, it is easy to be thankful when your team wins the game or your guy wins the election – anyone can be thankful when life is good.

However; in spite of these crazy times, we are created to worry less and praise more. To not just give thanks when we feel like it; but to enter each day with Thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says that we are to Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We do not wait for God’s provision before we praise Him with thanksgivings – we give thanks in all circumstances because we know God is in control.

  • We do not wait for the test results to come back before we give thanks – we give thanks even while we wait because in all circumstances – we rejoice, we pray, and give thanks to a God that is so very good and loving.
  • We do not withhold our thanksgiving until our finances are well – we give thanks even in the lacking because in all circumstances – we rejoice, we pray, and we give thanks to a God that cares about our every detail in life and hears our prayers.

The Israelites were thankful when and only when their needs were provided for – but if they were lacking they were complaining. But it is God’s will that we GIVE THANKS and GIVE THANKS in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.  Something jumped out at me as I read this verse earlier in the Thanksgiving weekend. 1 Thessalonians does not say be thankful in all circumstances – but to GIVE thanks.

Reading through that scripture, we see that those are not inherently the same thing…Being Thankful and Giving Thanks sound like they are  the same- but there is a pretty significant difference.

If you remember back in elementary school – or maybe those of you helping your kiddos through virtual school may have been reminded, A verb has two different jobs: Verbs show Action ; or A Verb simply shows a state of being.

Giving thanks is not a feeling, it is not a state of being: Giving thanks is an action.  Feeling thankful requires no action, feeling thankful is simply a state of being | 

It is the Giving of thanks – it is the action- the action of giving thanks that fulfills the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

In the Bible, best I could find – there are only a couple times in scripture where we are to BE THANKFUL (Colossians 3:15 Colossians 4:2 and Hebrews 12:28)… but there are countless numbers of verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:18 commanding us to take action and to not be thankful; but to GIVE THANKS

When things are not going the way we would like – we can still find areas in our lives to be thankful:

  • We can BE thankful that at least one part of your body does not hurt
  • We can BE thankful that at least our spouse did one thing right yesterday  (if you cant think of one – how about putting up with you)
  • We can Be thankful that our kids made – or at least considered making- a good decision.

Those are all good things to be thankful for every day – but they are just states of simply being thankful – But we were created to Rejoice Always, Pray continually, and GIVE thanks in all circumstances (Those are action verbs)

  • Give thanks that your back does not hurt today
  • Give thanks that your spouse put the laundry where it went and not in the bedroom floor
  • Give thanks that your children did not fight for a whole hour while playing

THERE IS ALWAYS REASON TO GIVE THANKS; SOMETIMES YOU MAY NOT FEEL THANKFUL; BUT THERE IS ALWAYS REASON TO GIVE THANKS FOR SOMETHING IN YOUR LIFE – 

What if we made an intentional shift in our homes to continually give thanks – not when everything is going great – not once a year before we eat turkey – but because we want to do better in giving thanks in all circumstances.  We could not only change the culture in our homes, be we could change our workplaces, we could change our churches, we could change our communities, we could even change our country by not just being thankful but by taking action and giving thanks 

Here is one way you can start making that transformation right now – think of that person that knows you well, knows your good, bad, and ugly AND still loves you! Post a picture of them on your social media, tag them, and give them thanks for being such a positive influence in your life.

Be Human – Be Kind

Peace and Love – One Saved Wretch

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says that we are to Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Humor me – it is therapeutic

I don’t know about you; but I have been seeing some talk about fraud and the evidence or the lack there of… it fills my social media feed and every channel I turn to… not sure what all that noise is referring to – but – this Razorback game was full of fraud and there is live video evidence for everyone to see.

Foucha comes out of a pile after a fumble – holding the football – after review, no immediate clear recovery. Say what?


Catalon called for targeting though no launching or leading with the crown of the helmet; or even contact with the receiver’s head or shoulder area – after further review, he is ejected. What?

The Auburn crew admitted their participation in the Bo Nix fraudulent fumble – again no clear immediate recovery?! They were sit down for a week. This crew needs to take the weekend off next week as well.

Now, after venting, I know that calling an SEC game is intense – and at the end of the game – the other team had more points than the red team. They won the boot and it is time we move on to focus on the Tigers from the north next week.

Before the game, I had friends that cheer Geaux Tigers as proud and loud as they can – and they are still my friends even after this game was…stolen; I mean won by the other team. Some frustration; most definitely! But No unfriending – No bad mouthing – No ill will wished. Even though I saw the plays and the fraud filled calls after the plays with my own eyes in real time and in slow motion.

Loved the class Coach showed after the game – and love how these Hogs compete with a will and belief they can beat anyone. #WPS

Be Human Be Kind – Stay Classy & Lighten up

Peace and Love – OneSavedWretch

One nation under God, indivisible?

A country that is divided is a land in dire need of church that is united. Unfortunately, a quick scan of my social media feeds cannot hide the appearance that our country is anything but indivisible; but our churches are divided as well.

I have close friends and family members that voted for President Trump. I have friends and family members that voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. I have friends that are no longer friends on social media and I have family members that have made it a spoken rule to not discuss ideologies. Unfortunately, not only is our country broken, I believe our churches are broken in the same way, and I know personally my heart is broken – and it breaks more and more with each quick scan through the posts that fill my social media.

Oh, and those friends and family members on both sides, they are all followers of Christ. Most of them do not hang out on the far right and most of them do not condone the far left. Regardless, they are quick to use false allegations and photoshopped memes from the far right “news sources” or the far left “web sites” to stand on. I am reminded of that song I sang in Sunday School with Ms. Fern Duncan about the wise man building his house on the rock and the foolish man building his house on the sand. I see a lot of houses being built upon sand and as allegations continue to fall down and the finger pointing goes up, those houses not built on truth (I mean like real truth) they are going to come crumbling down. Therefore, I would humbly suggest that it is this division in His church that breaks the heart of God so much more than who you voted for. His bride is divided and instead of us seeking reconciliation which is the very heart of God, we are willfully abusing His bride and fighting without boundaries to prove how right we are -how we voted for the right person and they voted for the wrong person- at the cost of relationships.

As a pastor, it saddens me that people making up our weekend services on Sunday morning can be found worshipping together, encouraging each other, loving on each other (all with masks on and socially distancing of course). But, then when they return to their corners – whether the red corner or the blue corner – they start throwing misinformation and spewing hurtful words toward people that they were just praising God with and are not even aware they are doing so. Of course they are not intentionally calling each other out by name (for the most part), but proclaiming generalized untruths and calling people who voted for this guy being (fill in the blank) or the typing as fast as they can that people who voted for that guy is (fill in the blank). Unknowingly at best, recklessly at worst; they are tearing down and abusing the bride of Christ in the name of patriotism in a world that Christians do not even belong.

That is what an unbelieving post-Christian world finds unbelievable. Take an honest inventory or our current climate. How many boxes can we check off? Do we look like ONE nation? do we look like we are under God? Do we look indivisible? That is a hard sell no matter how much you believe you voted for the right man. We are a better America than what the world is watching. Lets do better because together we flourish; divided we fall.

To all humankind: Be Human & Be Kind

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.“ – John 13:35

Peace and Love – One Saved Wretch

2020 Why Not?

So, after feeling led to start a blog and try to entertain, educate, and (can not think of another e-word right now) but, after finishing a devotion with our church on the importance of resting, I finally took a minute to sit down and create a blog.

There have been so many distractions this year trying to steal our joy. I was ready for 2020, my yearly calendar was complete and ready to go; and i t was great until Corona entered stage right and to date, never left.

I look forward to connecting with others that are passionate about the things I am passionate about, with people that are polar opposites of who I am and what I think, and everyone in between. I believe 2020 is a unique opportunity to provide light to the world that is so dark and growing ever more distressing.

I know these things: God is good, America is blessed, and we as human beings are better together.

Eliminate division – that is the third E-word!

To all humankind: Be Human & Be Kind

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Peace & love – One Saved Wretch