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     Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7

Heavenly Father, I awoke today a grateful man—keenly aware of the number and variety of good gifts you have poured into my life. As someone who has every reason to overflow with thanksgiving, here’s a few of your gifts for which I give you praise this morning.

First and foremost, I praise you for being the changeless Father of heavenly lights, as opposed to being the impetuous god of shifting shadows. I cannot predict you. I cannot control you. I cannot presume on your ways. But I can completely trust you to be impassible (without mood swings), yet passionately good and faithful. I know this to be true through Jesus, who is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

I’m also thankful that twice you’ve chosen to give me birth. I was utterly dependent on you for both—for the first time I breathed in oxygen, or the second time you breathed the life of Jesus into my spirit, giving me the new birth. Life and salvation are “of the Lord”—from beginning to end. It’s all of grace—a grace which has taught my reluctant heart to sing, “the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Father, I’m also thankful for these things today: The watermelon I ate at a neighborhood party last night—the sweetest and crunchiest I’ve ever tasted in my life; my wife’s infectious laugh and my grandson’s face-decorating, room-lighting-up smile; the fresh renewal in the gospel you’ve been blessing me with in recent weeks; the music of Motown and The Beatles—the soundtrack of my high school years; the tear-producing taste of fresh wasabi on crunchy shrimp sushi; the assurance that you will finish making me like Jesus one day; an air conditioned home and car; and all the variegated hopes, dreams and longings you’ve placed in my heart, for the life we will eternally enjoy in new heaven and new earth.

Father, these are just a few of the many, many gifts that come down from you, all the time. What do I have that I have not received from you? Nothing! What gift have you given me that you don’t intend me to enjoy? Not one! How can I live as a “kind of firstfruits of all you’ve created”? (James 1:18) Show me! So very Amen I pray in Jesus’ most glorious and grace-full name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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