I wonder if you have ever had a moment of complete amazement when the goodness of God surprised you beyond measure. I feel blessed to have had a number of these moments in my life.

Most recently it was my little boy’s fourth birthday. Watching his excitement and joy at so many small things on his birthday made me reflect on how good God is. He has given me beautiful children, and in their child-like responses to things like presents and birthday cake I find myself reminded how everything that is good in this world (children, family, nature, food, music, art, poetry and more) are all made to reflect a small part of God’s goodness and glory.

James reminds us, ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (Jam 1:17)

There is a perception that Christians are dour, ungrateful, rule-oriented people who are bound by religion and confined to a narrow-minded world-view without joy. This is not what the Bible teaches. Christians are to be free and living free (Gal 5:1), and rejoicing always. (1 Thess 5:16) We are to be overflowing with joy and thankfulness to God!

Peter says, ‘Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.’  (1 Pet 1:8)

And Paul exhorts us, ‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.’  (Col 3:15)

This can be very hard when things are not great in our live – when something horrible is happening or we are facing trials, grief or heartache.

What we need to learn is that, in these difficult times it is more important than ever to be thankful and hold onto God. For our God is a God who meets us in the darkness, picks us up and carries us through the storm.

We have been talking a lot this year about ‘Seek First, Find Hope’. I do not mean to over- simplify too much, but some expect to just ‘Find Hope’ without doing the ‘Seek First’. Might I encourage you this day to accept that you will only find ultimate hope in Jesus Christ.

Seek him, have joy and be thankful.

I’d like to end by providing you with a link to a song that has hit me afresh this week. If you have a few moments, you can have a listen by clicking here. I think it reflects well what I’m trying to say and probably more.

Much love
Dale

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