J. Gordon Duncan

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I’m so Thankful…I think

Have you ever had something amazing happen to you, and when you go to tell someone about it, they have had something even greater happen for them? It can be disappointing because you want to revel in what’s happening but you also feel shortchanged a bit.

Maybe something like this has happened to you.

• You tell someone you got a $500 raise, and they got a $5,000 raise.
• You have 50 people going to your church and someone else has 100 (or even a thousand).
• You get a B in really hard class, and your sister gets an A.
I remember when I was in high school, I got straight A’s one time, but my brother, who did not enjoy school, finally graduated. He got the praise and I didn’t. I was like, “Hey, how about something for the effort?”

Hopefully we mature through those things, but honestly, being thankful and sharing in other people’s joys is not as easy as we think.  But look at Mary and Elizabeth’s interaction in the Gospels. Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist and Mary is pregnant with Jesus. Now if two people ever had the right to be excited about what God was doing in their lives, it was Mary and Elizabeth. But if you examine their interactions more closely, you will see that their joy and thankfulness was not just for themselves. They were thankful about what God was going to do for others through them.

In this, we have a simple lesson that doesn’t even require a sermon, (don’t be selfish in your joy – share in the joy of others). One way to do that is to explore Mary’s genuine joy for God’s work in other people’s lives (scripture below). During the holidays, it’s almost a given that we are supposed to be kind to those in need and remember others, but genuine care for others goes beyond holiday customs. Genuine care begins when we are thankful for what God has done for others.

Luke 1:39-56
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.


December 7, 2009 Posted by | church, church planting, gospel, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Thankful For…

As we all prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the proper response even before going into a turkey induced coma is to…give thanks.  Any list like this will fall woefully short, so I wouldn’t be surprised if another shows up tomorrow.  In light of that, here are few people for which I’m thankful.

Amy – truly the only women in the world with whom I would want to be married.  We still catch ourselves staring at each other with that look that reminds us just how much we love each other.  Truly, the person with whom for me, face time is essential.  She has the prettiest smile and the most intoxicating laugh.

Meredith – an incredibly bright and Godly young woman who shares my love of reading.

Landry – my little energizer bunny who reminds me so much of myself.

Emma – the cuddliest of our 3 who always begs for one more book at bedtime.  She has my hair and the ability to smile her way out of trouble.

Sovereign King Church – an incredible group of people who display their love of Jesus by loving my family, each other and Garner.

Mom and Sam – 2 parents who have always believed in me and supported whatever I wanted to attempt.  I can always call them if I need someone to encourage me.

Awesome Siblings who do a better job keeping up with me than I do with them.

Friends who have heard the depths of my frustration and honesty yet still choose to love and respect me.

And finally, Jesus Christ – my Savior and my God whose patience and grace astound me daily.

Who are you thankful for this year, and how can you let them know it?

Look tomorrow for a list of things for which I’m thankful.

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.  Read their and help me earn a penny.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment