From the Couch to the Throne

By nature, I am a couch potato.

I don’t mind a day at home with no plans, a blanket and a couch to myself.

That, to me, is a picture of a wonderful day.

However, I came to realize today that this “couch potato” personality trait can become more of a hindrance than I once thought.

Thanksgiving Break. A chance to break away from the routine of work (for me a teacher) and relax. Every year, I look forward to time spent at home being a “couch potato”. And if I’m honest, this is simply all I really want to do. Yes, spending time with family is something I enjoy as well but there’s just something about waking up, eating breakfast, then hitting the couch.

However, this break was a little different. Without even realizing it, every day of break was full of a list of “to-dos”. As I looked at the week ahead of me, I saw a rushed week instead of a relaxing one. This is where the bitterness began.

Bitter about no free time for me…

No time to relax watching the Today show, my Hallmark series, the back of my eye lids etc…

Bitterness, by definition, means “anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly“.

After reading the definition, can I say guilty as charged?…

As I sat on the couch this morning for the first time all week, the Saturday before going back to work, God woke me up. (I was not sleeping I might add…)

For me, when God wakes me up it feels at first like a little tug on my heart, or a whisper to me heart and today that is exactly what occurred…

His whisper to my heart said, “Come”.

But my heart said “No”.

You see Jesus, all week I have been running around or letting my schedule run me but today, I finally get to do what I want. I finally get to lay here with my blanket, my coffee and the TV. I am finally getting to “relax”. I would rather “come” to You later….

Ouch… Hearing that come out doesn’t feel quite like it did the first time…

But in all honesty, this is exactly what my heart whispered back to God this morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE spending time with my Jesus but this morning, I chose Me instead of the Master.

In James 4:8, James says,

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”

His drawing nigh to me is dependent on me drawing nigh to Him. He longs to draw nigh and invade our moments but experiencing His “nighness” is up to us.

He, the Creator of the Universe, longs to draw nigh to me.

And this morning, I rejected that.

I chose to cling to my own bitterness instead of the presence of the Almighty.

Although today was just one example, if I’m honest, I reject Him more than I care to admit.

I choose selfish over selfless almost daily.

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James goes on to say in verse 8,

“Wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

So, I am washing my hands.

This verse should be my response each time I see my selfish heart for what it truly is, a dirty, filthy mess.

But, when I choose to wash my hands and my heart, Jesus honors that.

After continually rejecting Him, He still chooses to look past my mess and see Himself.

Now looking back on my rushed week, I see God given opportunities to create memories and moments with others which was in a way, relaxing.

That’s just what God does, transforms what we see into what He sees.

So today, I am choosing to get off my throne of a couch and enter the “throne-room” of my Father. Where He always bids me come….

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First Thanks, Then Giving

I love the Thanksgiving season. Time to reflect, enjoy and spend cherished moments with family. Whether that be around a dinner table, at a special location or at a family member’s home. For some this year, holidays may not be a time that has been anticipated but a time that brings great sorrow for a loved one that isn’t present around the “table” this Thanksgiving. Whichever situation you find yourself in this season, we can all choose to make this Thanksgiving the most memorable one yet.

As I began to think on the word Thanksgiving, being the teacher that I am, I started to break apart the word. “Thanks”, “giving”. Not only is it a time for great thanks but it is also a time for great giving. What if we stopped not to think upon what we’re going to gain from this Thanksgiving but instead, chose to think about what we can do for others. No matter if this is a time of sorrow or a time of joy, we can choose in either situation to give, out of the abundance that we have been given.

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In God’s Word there are many instances where various people chose to give thanks but one instance, in a room filled with His closest friends, Jesus gives us direction in regard to giving thanks.

“He took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves.”

Luke 22:17

In reading this verse, a few things Jesus chose to do should be our guide in giving thanks this Thanksgiving.

  1. Give Thanks

It sounds so simple but how often we choose to meander through our days without stopping to give thanks for the blessings God grants us each and everyday. The air we breathe, the house we live in, the food we eat, the shoes we put on our feet. All blessings granted by our gracious God! One thing God has been teaching me lately is that He never guaranteed that when I became a child of His, I would have the necessities of life, but He chooses to bless me with them. Me, even me.

2.  Accept or Take His Blessing

The necessities of life, that we just discussed, are not earned but freely given by a loving God. He, the Creator, loves His creation so much that He chooses to lay out blessings before us. We can choose each day to accept those blessings or reject them. I’m sure we can each think of family members that have rejected the blessings of God. Whether it be a wandering son or daughter, husband or wife. However, not only are they quick to reject His blessings, but we as believers can choose to reject His blessings as well when we fail to take part in His will for our lives. Our days can go by with us choosing to go our own way instead of God’s way full of blessings with each obedient step. One obedient step would be to take part in God’s way this Thanksgiving, share His good news with those wayward family members. Another way would be to follow His lead and listen to what He would have you do in order to bless others with food or encouragement. Who then would be receiving the bigger blessing?

3. Divide or Give Among You

Blessings are even more joyous when we have the opportunity to share them with others. What a miraculous event a child being born is but it is even more joyous when family and friends come to celebrate and share in the special day. How wonderful it is when a child comes to Christ, but how much more joy we receive when we share the occasion with others. Choose this Thanksgiving to divide, share or give blessings to others. Whether that be the blessing of food to a needy family, a kind word or encouragement to a hurting friend or family member during this season, or the gift of Jesus to a wandering heart. Choose to share out of what has already been given to you.

 

Give thanks, accept the blessing and then divide it among you.

The night before Christ gave it all, He chose to spend it modeling what it truly meant to give thanks. Around a table, with His closest friends sharing in His blessing and enjoying a meal.

Let us choose to do the same.