Welcome back to the Bible Cafe™ for a gratitude study. We’re continuing to read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Since starting this online Bible study, we have seen a beautiful transformation in the book. The author is demonstrating her exceptional writing skills and her “voice” has moved from dark to Light.  This is similar to how the Book of Psalms is written. It is both poetic and beautiful.

In Luke 21:14 (NLT) Jesus instructs “Don’t worry in advance…” In Luke 12:25 (NIV) Jesus says, “Worry cannot add a single hour to your life.” In Matthew 6:34 (NIV) Jesus says, “Why worry about tomorrow.” Ann Voskamp conquers worry by giving thanks.

I like how Ann Voskamp puts a name on this: “the affliction of worry.” Because worry can become so comfortable, we do not realize we are projecting this in our words and actions.

Worry becomes an identity of the flesh (worldview). Not the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Worry travels wherever we go. We bring worry to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the vacation, and the holiday meal. We wear the worry affliction like a wound. By reading our Bible and by taking our EYES off worry- we become more like Christ and less like the world.

Every day from the time we open our eyes to the time we fall asleep- we battle our mindset! Use Scripture for your battles, not your past or present experiences. Some of us were raised to be worriers. We learned this from parents or grandparents so it “feels normal” As we transform through Bible study we look less and less like the generation before us. And more like Christ in us.

Through Bible Cafe™ studies, I learned to adhere to God and to remember I am called, chosen, beloved, and blessed. And so I am walking in His truth and love. Guarding my mind. Staying out of the lion’s den where I may be tempted towards a pity party. Keeping a pure heart as I feed myself on Good News.

Open your Bible to Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) and Acts 4:31 (MSG).

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1 NIV)

While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence. (Acts 4:31 MSG)

Fearless confidence is anchored in Christ. It’s not a people-pleasing confidence. It’s not competitive confidence. And it’s certainly not perfectionist confidence. Break free my friends, Break free!!!

In the pandemic…God has shown me NOT to be confident in so many things! The news, the government, the politicians, and even some of the church leaders and authors. My confidence is rooted 100% in Christ.

Can you speak Grace when your politician wins (or does not win)?

Can you speak to Grace when your hair salon is closed (or open during a pandemic)?

Can you speak to Grace when your church modifies the Christmas service (or does not)?

Can you speak Grace when someone is frightened by covid (or not)?

Too many people are speaking without grace. So the atmosphere is saturated with an uncomfortable “stench” this year.

To speak with grace is to speak in LOVE

My friend, this is your year of speaking Grace (or not). Did you pass the test? There’s still time to grow and learn.

My gratitude journal is the antidote to everything! When I pick up the Thanksgiving heart… I release the attitude of worry!  Bigger things lead us into the comparison trap. Smaller things help us see our individuality.

Ann Voskamp writes, “I can’t be receptive to God unless I receive what He gives.” During the year pandemic, there were many things I was not “receptive” to receiving. Yet they came along, and so we modified our family activities and continued to seek God. As misery lingers… so does grace.

Maybe this strengthens my faith and gives me hope.

As we anchor to Christ in the storm(s) of life, we magnify Christ.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.