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Message Monday: A Thanksgiving Meditation

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  • Just a few months ago I finished a counseling case that I thought would especially apply to our message today.
  • After talking with her and gaining her permission, let me share her case with you. I am going to call her Lisa, though that is not her real name.
  • In our first few sessions when Lisa entered the room it was evident that she was an emotional wreck. At times it was all she could do not to hold back tears. At other times she was livid.
  • For years her mother had berated her and put her down.
    • Lisa was told a number of times that she should have been aborted and that she owed her mother for deciding to have her.
    • She was berated for converting to Christ as a young lady, and for raising her family in church – even though the mother claimed to be a Christian.
    • She was also mercilessly criticized for taking in her sick father and caring for him because her mother and father were divorced.
  • Lisa had tried talking with her mother to let her know how much her words hurt, but Lisa’s mother only continue to berate for sharing such things.
  • At the same time when Lisa would try to distance herself from her mother, her mother would inevitably find a way to rope her back into her life – from fake illnesses to imaginary emergencies.
  • Lisa had recently begun to try to distance herself from her mother before we began counseling, but did not know if she was in God’s will.
  • As our counseling began, I wanted to share with Lisa the great joy she should have in trying to please Christ.
    • In our counseling I began to share with Lisa that she had followed the right process laid out in Matthew 18:15-20 by talking with her mother first and trying to get her to understand.
    • I also shared from Titus 3:10 that says after warning a divisive person twice that you have nothing else to do with the person because they are warped, sinful and self-condemned.
  • Towards the end of our counseling I began to share with Lisa one final challenge. You see, Lisa needed to have a forgiving attitude towards her mother – in spite of all the suffering she had been through.
    • Jesus commands us to forgive others that our trespasses may be forgiven by the Father in Matthew 6:14-15.
    • If Lisa’s mother was not able to ask for Lisa’s forgiveness, it was a pretty good indication that she had never experienced God’s forgiveness.
    • While Lisa’s mother may never ask for her forgiveness Eph. 4:32 says that she should have a forgiving attitude like the one Christ exhibited as He desired to forgive us.
  • We began to try to build this attitude of forgiveness by asking Lisa to put together a scrapbook of her life that she could give to her sons.
    • Instead of communicating all the pain, hurt, and disgust about her mom we asked her to write with the pictures the reasons she thanked God for her mother.
    • Lisa began this assignment with gusto – she was a scrap-booker. She gather the materials and all the special papers and pictures.
    • As she began to layout the pictures Lisa just could not bring herself to move forward because she could not think of anything for which she could give thanks to God.
    • This went on for several sessions and I encouraged her that even in spite of her suffering and trial God could take what was meant for evil and work good out of it (Gen. 50:20).
    • Soon thereafter she came in with the scrapbook and told us she had a breakthrough.
    • In the midst of all the suffering she found two main things for which to thank God.
      • First she thanked God that her mother had not aborted her.
      • Second she thanked God that at the birth of her sons years before, her mother had dropped everything to be there for her daughter.
      • Finally, she thanked God that through this trial with her mom that He had built her testimony to minister to others.
  • With this revelation, I encouraged Lisa to remind herself of those things as God’s way to work grace into her life in spite of her mother.
    • For the sake of God’s best in the relationship with her mother, I asked her begin to pray earnestly for her mother to have a changed heart and come asking for her forgiveness.
    • As she prayed I encouraged her to add more reasons to be thankful to God.
  • By the end of our counseling Lisa had the peace of Christ and was eager to share her experience with others who may have been suffering like her.

Hook:

  • Do you have situations in your life that keep you from being able to give thanks right now?
  • Is there suffering or some kind of hurt that will keep you away from family members or friends that you know you should gather together with at this special time?
  • Perhaps someone in your family has died, and it was their home where the family gathered. Now that is no longer an option.
  • The reason I wanted to share Lisa’s story with you is that her journey so well explains this passage.

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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in Ministry of the Word

 

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