Tag Archives: Epistle to the Colossians

Cultivate Thankfulness

Definition: to prepare and use for the raising of crops; to loosen or break up the soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care or study.

Synonyms: acquire, develop, form.

We regularly cultivate things such as:

  • Relationships
  • Gardens
  • Health
  • Resources
  • Careers
  • Ideas

But have you ever considered what it would look like to cultivate thankfulness?

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (The Message)

From what Paul mentions here, to cultivate thankfulness involves at least three things.

The first is the Word of Christ. The narratives of Jesus; the Bible; Scripture. And what great imagery Eugene Peterson uses here – letting it have the run of the house.

The second is to instruct and direct one another. It’s something we do together.

The third is to sing about it. Other versions refer to this as psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

I could elaborate on each of these elements but… I’m not going to; at least not now. But I will encourage and challenge you to wrestle with what all of this means by inviting the Spirit of God to bring it to life for you.

As we enter into another week of celebrating Thanksgiving, what better to occupy our minds than what it means to “cultivate thankfulness“?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Gratitude, involvement with the church, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual growth, Thankfulness

How will we choose to view our hurts?

A cloudy spring day with temperatures in the mid 60’s seems like poor weather to someone living in San Diego, Ca., but to a person living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan it would seem balmy and warm.

A bologna sandwich seems like cruel and unusual punishment in a four star restaurant, but to a starving child in the inner city of Atlanta it would seem like a feast.

The context of an experience completely changes the nature and value of that experience.

“God’s decision to forgive Peter required the death of his Son; Peter’s decision to forgive those who had offended him would cost him little more than his pride. The same is true for us.

In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.” – Andy Stanley

We are a fallen people living in a fallen world. Live long enough and you will be hurt by the actions or inactions of others.

When I view my hurts only in the context of my experiences, they become enormous and overwhelming. They seem completely unfair.

When I view my hurts in the context of what Jesus endured on the cross, they suddenly become rather small and insignificant.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” ~ Colossians 3:12-13 (The Message)

Being hurt is inevitable. Holding onto that hurt is optional.

How will we view and what will we do with our hurts?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Forgiveness, Freedom, Grace, Humility, Life in General, Loving others, Mercy, Suffering

Business as usual?

Imagine being in your local bank for an ordinary transaction. As you finish up and get ready to leave the teller asks: “Now, is there anything I can pray about for you?”

Sound far-fetched? It happens every business day in Otsego, Minnesota at the Riverview Community Bank. Co-founded by Chuck Ripka, the bank was designed to minister to the needs of the people in the community. 

Businessman Ken Eldred writes about it in his new book, The Integrated Life. The bank is so popular that people drive up to three hours to do their business with “the bank that prays with people.”

This approach has made Riverside Community Bank not only popular but successful. The bank actually exceeded its own asset and income projections by nearly two years! 

Too often, those of us who follow Jesus compartmentalize our lives, separating the spiritual realm from all the other aspects of our life – especially our work. That’s not what Jesus taught. Paul understood this when he wrote:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

You don’t have to own or start a business to integrate your work and your faith. Every job is a mission field with daily opportunities to demonstrate the values and priorities of living out God’s kingdom – loving God and loving others.

Surrender your work to God and invite Him to use you to touch the lives of others!

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Filed under Authenticity, influence with the world, Life in General, Work