I am going to start things off a little differently this month. I’m going to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and then I am going to politely ask said elephant to leave the room. The elephant being how very different this Thanksgiving will likely be with the fact that we may not be able to gather with family and friends because we are in the midst of a global pandemic. I am lovingly patting this elephant on the head and excusing it to go about its day. The reason being is that all of this chaos and turmoil is changing and will change just as all of the horrific happenings in the world were in flux at the time when Paul and Peter wrote encouraging words to us from their prison cells, but the unimaginable beautiful truth that I am writing to you about today and that they wrote about thousands of years ago will never change. You and I temples, sanctuaries of the Living God and for that we can be grateful regardless of what is going on in the world around us.
As I was thinking about this theme of Relentless Gratitude I was reminded of the lyrics of a song written by Randy Scruggs:
“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,
pure and holy, tried and true
with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
sanctuary for You”
We can sing these words in church and we can read these words on a screen, as you are now, but let’s not miss this, let this sink all the way in and ask how this truth should inform our daily lives. When I was thinking about how to bring this to life with some powerful imagery to help us remember that we are God’s sanctuary and that this truth can be a catalyst for relentless gratitude, I was reminded of how personal God is for each one of us. If you haven’t experienced or been aware of the personal attention of God in some time, let me share what he did for me in writing to you and understand that it was intended for both of us.
God brought to mind a Pastor whose transcripts I used to read while I supervised a high school study hall. I hadn’t read or watched any of his messages since February, but I chose to watch one of his sermons. I clicked on one of his most recent messages, and there he was..
Pastor Schuller talking about being a Temple of the Living God and what an honor that is when you think about it. Keep in mind, God was not bringing to mind a message that I had heard before, that would be neat, but less remarkable. God was leading me to a new sermon that affirmed and added to what I was already working on for the benefit of you and me. As the saying goes, “Won’t He do it?” I found my imagery when Pastor Schuller was saying that since we are home to the Spirit of God that when we walk into a room we bring a bit of Heaven into that space with us. I would add that this also applies to the space that we occupy on social media and in the workplace whether it be in person or virtual. Isn’t that beautiful? We bring Heaven with us! If you have a perspective that may be a bit unbalanced toward works, this might sound daunting, instead of beautiful, like you need to strive to hide your humanness. Thankfully, for you and for me, it is so much simpler than that. When we approach God from a place of humility and relentless gratitude, God works through our humanness to give others a glimpse of Heaven, doing only what He can do and what we could never do on our own.
Think of it this way, if in those first couple of steps on the water, if Peter had been filled with gratitude over Jesus giving him the power to walk on water, there would have been no room for doubt. He could have just kept on gratefully walking on the water. If the woman with the issue of blood wasn’t humble and grateful to merely touch the hem of the garment that Jesus was wearing she would not have shown the faith she needed to be healed. If we use the term vicious cycle for when negative circles back around to negative, then surely we should call this the glorious cycle when faith bring us to gratitude and then circles back around to faith.
So, what does this mean from a practical standpoint for you and me? First, we can start our day focused on Relentless Gratitude, acknowledging that it is an incredible honor that the almighty God of the universe wants to not only commune with us each day, but He wants to partner with us. God wants to operate through imperfect and very human you and me to demonstrate to others Who He is and how rich their lives could be if only they would welcome the best House Guest of all time to stay forever. God doesn’t have to include us in this, but aren’t you grateful that He does? Second, we can seek out ways to bless others and thank God for the opportunity.
We at Shazzy Fitness are always eager to journey with you toward spiritual maturity and this November we are in pursuit of Relentless Gratitude right along with you. November’s readings and activities are going to be very interactive as we set out to live in the knowledge that we are a sanctuary (by one definition a place of worship) for the One Who made us. The Creator of Creation, upon invitation has set up residence in our hearts and wants to fill our minds with thoughts and our mouths with words that will reflect His love to others.
Gratitude overwhelms our daily circumstances when we allow ourselves to dwell on the miracle that God The Almighty, lives on the inside of you and of me. He wants to use us as a sort of Holy Walkie Talkie, communicating with others through us. I also like the imagery of us as a home for God, then instead of our eyes being the windows to the soul, how about if they are the windowsfor the Spirit, allowing the Holy Spirit to peek out and inform our minds of the way that He views all of His children?
You may have made gratitude lists in the past, but we are hoping that this month we can show you perhaps some new ways of remembering all of the good that God has done for us and through us. Again, we can do this each morning by intentionally thinking about how He chose to make a way just to be with us, through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, and everything about God says that He would it again. Remember, all of this going on around us is temporary, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but the work that we do now in connecting with our Holy God and with Heaven will be with us eternally. We, at Shazzy, want to remain grateful and we bet that you want this faith building, joy giving, relentless gratitude, too.
Start each day of November with the following suggested prayer or a prayer of your own that gets your heart in a place of gratitude:
Week 1 – OT: Psalm 95:2 & NT: 1 Cor 15:57
Challenge: Pray the suggested prayer each day, and then find an uplifting song that you love that talks about gratitude or the goodness of God. Share the title of the song with us in a post and don't forget to tag Shazzy Fitness and include the
hashtags: #relentlessgratitude #shazzyfitness
Week 2 – OT: Psalm 13:6 & NT: 2 Cor 2:14
Challenge: Do something to be a blessing to someone else and don't tell anyone. You can let us know in a post or comment just don't share the details. You can simply post the word done and hashtag: #relentlessgratitude
Week 3 – OT: Psalm 30:11 & 12 & NT: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Challenge: Go to our Shazzy Fitness FB page or tag us in a post sharing your best moves to some upbeat Christian music. Make sure you include the hashtags: #relentlessgratitude #shazzyfitness #mourningintodancing
Week 4 – OT: Psalm 107:1 & NT: Col 3:17
Challenge: Grab a jar and either rocks that you can write on with a permanent marker, or strips of paper and create a thankful jar. Start this Nov but fill it all year round and then read next year starting Nov. 1, 2021. It can be answered prayer, talking with an old friend, the sunset, anything at all that you are grateful to God for, you can include in the jar. Take a pic of your jar and tag us and use hashtags: #shazzyfitness #relentlessgratitude