Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18
God... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:17
Heavenly Father, I awake today a very grateful man, and I want to live that way all day long. Though this attitude is sure to be challenged when the thermometer reaches the forecasted 107 heat for this day, here are a few of your gifts for which I give you praise this morning.
First and foremost, I praise you for being the changeless Father of heavenly lights, as opposed to being the impetuous god of shifting shadows. I cannot predict you. I cannot control you. I cannot presume on your ways. But I can completely trust you to be impassible (without mood swings), yet passionately good and faithful. I know this through Jesus, who is the same "yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8).
I'm also thankful that twice you've chosen to give me birth---the first time I breathed in oxygen and the second time you breathed the life of Jesus into my spirit, giving me the new birth. A praise you for the sealing of the Spirit, a standing in grace and a seat in the heavenlies. What a generous God you are!
And I'm also thankful for all kinds of gifts you bestow---perfect ones and otherwise. (Here's my list, make your own!) Most recently, I'd include these: A just concluded week of rich fellowship with grace hungry brothers who make me hungry to know you better; the almond-encrusted dark chocolate I ate yesterday and the box of blueberries the day before; watching my grandson catch his first fish a couple of weeks back---a moment I'll never forget.
The call from a friend that came this week with the perfect life-giving rebuke; the color blue with its many hues; air conditioning in my home and care, the understanding look my wife gave me yesterday; pistachio gelato; the assurance that you will finish making me like Jesus one Day, for you know how weary I get in this journey of sanctification; an evening of playing rock and roll trivia with friends, the hope (numberless hopes) of the life we will enjoy in the new heaven and new earth with your gathered pan-national family.
Father, these are just a few of the many, many gifts that come down from you all the time. What do I have that I have not received from you? Nothing. What gift have you given me that you don't intend me to enjoy? None. How can I live as a "kind of firstfruits of all you've created"? Show me. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus' most glorious and grace-full name.