I want to start out by telling all of you how much your comments and prayers have meant to me. I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. My mother called me twice harassing me to go to the doctor, and I promise that I will on Monday if I am not showing signs of improvement. I still am not feeling great, I just have a hard time concentrating, so I am going to share a devotional that I had read earlier and had saved. I loved it, and I think you will really enjoy it also.
Let’s Bring Gifts to God
August 27, 2019
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!” Psalm 105:1-2 (NKJV)
“Mom, I need some school supplies, hand sanitizer and some fruit!”
That seemed like an odd after-school request from my fifth-grade daughter, Lucy. It turns out she was collecting gifts for teacher appreciation week at school. Each day had a theme:
Monday — Treat your teacher to something sweet.
Tuesday — Bring hand sanitizer or wipes so germs will be gone.
Wednesday — Bring a school supply.
Thursday — Help create a fruit basket by providing a piece of fruit.
Friday — Write a thank-you note.
It got me thinking. What about having a “teacher appreciation week” for the Holy Spirit?
Jesus tells us in John 14:26 that “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”(NIV). Even more than a terrific earthly teacher, our heavenly Teacher is worthy of many, many thanks.
Our key verse, Psalm 105:1-2, calls us to praise and thank God with exuberance. Notice the exclamation points, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!”
Using the creativity of teacher appreciation week as a guide, here are a few ways we might show appreciation to God at home and in our hearts:
Give thanks daily. In a world of grumbling and wickedness, our words of thanksgiving rise as a sweet fragrance before God. We can always give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
Confess our sins to God regularly. Similar to how hand sanitizer kills germs, confession kills the power of sin to enslave us. First John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV).
Donate supplies to missionaries, churches and/or ministries. We can tangibly show God our appreciation through our financial gifts. Generosity is one way to praise and thank God for His incredible goodness. There is a connection between grateful hearts and open wallets that contribute to God’s Kingdom.
Inspect your fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Is this fruit growing in increasing measure in your life by the power of the Holy Spirit? These character traits would certainly make a beautiful fruit basket to give to any teacher.
Write God a thank-you note. A few verses down from our key verse, the psalmist writes: “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders …” (Psalm 105:5a, NKJV). Remember what God has done for you, and write Him a note to say thanks.
When I was away on a business trip, I bought some T-shirts for my girls. When I returned, gifts in hand, I could tell they liked them. I waited for those magic words … thank you. I didn’t want to ask for the thanks; I just waited to see if they would remember. They eventually did. There have been many times in my life when I’ve been slow to express thanks, too.
On the bottom of Lucy’s teacher appreciation instructions, it read: Participation is completely optional, and students are not required to bring gifts. Isn’t that like our relationship with God?
For each of us, praising and thanking God is optional. We’re not robots required to bring gifts to God. How much more meaningful is the gift which is given voluntarily with great joy! Look around at creation, and think back on what God has done. Read about His wondrous deeds and character in the Bible. God has done great things for each of us. Let’s bring gifts of thanks and praise — not just for a special week, but every day of the year.
Holy Spirit, thank You for being my teacher, for instructing and leading me through this classroom called life. Thank You, God, for Your enduring love and perfect peace. I remember the marvelous works You have done in my life and in the world. I give You praise for Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.