weekends are for slowing & smelling roses
A Man, A Dog & How to Form Up a Life

When You Want to Turn Your Life Around

A Holy Experience

It’s after I cut the squash right open.

The two halves split and quartered there on the cutting board.

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After the paint brushes are washed out, after the pawns of chess game are all returned to their squares, after the potatoes are baked and served, the dinner plates are pushed back empty.

He splits the Word right open then and that’s when I’m cut to the quick.

First, I thank my God…” That’s what it reads, right there in Romans 1. The Farmer reads it slow — what should always come in the beginning.

And Paul, he writes more, peels back the hot holiness of God. I hold it there in my hands.

These are the holy words that hollow me out.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men….

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity… For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions…

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind – to do what ought not to be done.

The light fills the cups on the table.

I can feel it’s warmth on the nape of my neck. Spring coming. The  hot heat of it melting everything cold.

One of the best writers I’ve read and a kind friend, Pastor and fellow Canadian, Mark Buchanan, he’d asked the most critical questions of them all:

“What initially sparks God’s anger?

What is the root sin, the molten core of wickedness and godlessness — that convinces God to turn us over?”

~Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild

Isn’t that what we have to figure out?

It’s right there in Romans 1.

It’s not the sinfulness that you’d think:

It’s the thanklessness — that we do.

It’s thank-lessness that first stirs the full wrath of God.

The beginning of Genesis and Romans 1 pivot on the same point: Eve’s thanklessness for all God does give and her resentfulness of the one fruit He doesn’t give, this is the catalyst of the fall. Which Romans 1 confirms: “For although they knew God —they did not… give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Our fall is always first a failure to give thanks.

The pride of thanklessness always comes before the fall. God’s makes Himself plain and there’s no excuse – but they did not give Him thanks.

I have done this and just this morning, there spooning potatoes. The house upended with ridiculously messy and wondrous living. Paint smeared on a shirt, across a table. The chess loser in loud tears.The stringy inners of squash all over the counter. Instead of falling on my knees in thanks? I fall into sin and anger.

G.K. Chesterton had offered: ‘Thanks is the highest form of thought‘… And Romans 1 concurs and expresses how non-thanks is the lowest form of thought — of life: “When we don’t give Him all thanks, all our thinking become futile.

Thanks is the highest form of thought — precisely because it rightly orders everything: Us laid low. Before God on High. But refuse to give God thanks? God lets our very lives become refuse. Our thinking becomes futile and God on High lets us live low.

It would make a strange but right cross-stitch and I’d do well to stitch it into the fabric of me: A lack of doxology leads to depravity.

If Christ is the cornerstone of true doctrine, then doesn’t true thankfulness have to be the cornerstone of our days?

That is what Buchanan discovers in Scripture, right there in Romans: “The heart of wickedness and godlessness is that: a refusal to glorify God. It’s the refusal to thank Him.

It’s brings me up short, there in the noon light. Scripture doesn’t say wickedness is rooted where I think it is: wickedness isn’t rooted primarily in some ghetto, on some shady backstreet. I could drive a sign in here:

The root of godlessness is thanklessness.

Wickedness springs up in me — when I am thankless.  

There is Buchanan’s startling realization: “All the wickedness in the world begins with act of forgetting.”

I nod slow. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom — and the forgetting of the Lord is the beginning of all sin.

Forget to give thanks — and Who you forget is God.

In a thousand, infinite ways God turns His glory round for us to see, but we can shrug; we can turn a blind eye. And so He lets it come, what we want — and everything, us, it all goes black.

There is light at the table, these open pages filling with it.

Isn’t that what Paul is saying: When, in light of everything, we don’t turn to God in thanks — God gives in to what we want — and turns us over to the dark…

Don’t bother to acknowledge God with thanks — and God no longer bothers you with Himself?

I don’t know. I don’t know.  Or maybe I do. Yes, cut to the quick.

Hope, she looks up from me from across the table, from across the sunlight.

I printed out 21. Twenty-one of those “7 Gifts Good & Perfect” sheets? And if I did my math right?” She grins and glances over at her dad.

The Farmer winks.

“Seven a day for 21 weeks — and that’s more than a thousand thanks for a thousand gifts.”

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Hope looks down at Romans 1 open before her.

“I’m turning my life around.” Turn in thanks and everything turns — and God doesn’t turn away.

And there is this: If all the dismembering wickedness in the world begins with an act of forgetting — then the act of literally counting blessings, literally re-members to God. This is the making whole.

Hope’s hair’s radiant in the sun.

Her smile, this shining.

After lunch, I clean off the counter, gather up the squash inners, and Hope, she’s turned in the light, turned in thanks.

All these halves finding their wholes.

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Related:
The Science behind Why Giving Thanks Turns Everything Around
How to be Great Thinker

An offering of thanksthe stress becoming this song #3196 – #3178 of One Thousand Gifts

#3196… raspberry cupcakes on Sunday afternoon

#3197… the eaves all dripping in late February

#3198… a friend who shares notes on Francis Chan’s talk @ the Justice Conference & I lay awake into the night

#3199… a sister who brings me one of her almond flour chocolate cookies to try out after Sunday services

#3200… the surprise of this in People Magazine? The startling ways of God… turning us all around to give thanks to Him 
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#3201… making kale chips

#3202… her wrinkling her freckled nose and wiggling that one front tooth of hers

#3203… friends that hold me accountable to begin hard things

#3204… the Farmer making the bed, pulling up the white quilt, before he leaves for the barn

#3205… #6 on the NYTimes — God working a His own turning, this revolution towards Him

#3206… Hope writing out her one thousand gifts — beginning her Ten Thousand Reasons to Bless the Lord

{Consider pausing music by clicking the slider directly under the header? If reading in a reader or via email, click here to view video? }
Unspeakable, unending thanks be to God…

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Take The JOY DARE for February– and Count 1000 Gifts in 2012 (maybe winning the NikonD90 camera would be a gift too?)

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world!

Share the joy? {March Joy Dare Coming!}

oneThousandGifts-February{Download to print here}

{P.S.: Some were wondering where/how to chronicle their #1000gifts in 2012? Any way that works best for you:

in a private journal, with the free app, on your blog and join us in linking up here on the blog every Monday, on the free Year of Graces calendar, or on facebook or twitter (#1000gifts). I’ll be sharing thanks to God each day, Lord willing, on my personal facebook page and on the One Thousand Gifts facebook page — the community there is profoundly encouraging. You are more than welcome to join us! And yes, we will post a new Joy Dare Calendar here on the blog, the first of every month, Lord willing — you can use the Joy Dare Calendar for each month — or not at all.

The point is? Just count any 3 gifts a day — to count 1000 gifts in a year. That’s all. Any way that works for you! Just count your blessings!

And yes — we’ll be updating the blog with more information about the draw for the Nikond90 camera for those who complete the dare and count 1000 gifts in 2012! Open our eyes, Lord, Open our eyes! The Whole Earth is fully of Your Glory! }

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Free Printables : 3 Ways to Find Joy this week

1. A Year of Graces {A Free 12 Month Gratitude Calendar} Click to print here
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2. Count all His Gifts Wherever You Are: {One Thousand Gifts Free App}:

Click here for the free #1000gifts app : The gift of joy for a friend? Print this card about the free app for a friend Picnik collage

3. 1 Paper = 1 Week of Joy
Tuck 1 sheet of paper in a pocket & jot down 7 gifts for 7 days:
(perfect booklet to cultivate the habit of the joy hunt for kids)

(folding instructions for booklet here)

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Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!


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