I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles. For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, "The person who is put right with God through faith shall live." God's anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. God punishes them, because what can be known about God is plain to them, for God himself made it plain. Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! They know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him, nor do they thank him. Instead, their thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. They say they are wise, but they are fools; instead of worshiping the immortal God, they worship images made to look like mortals or birds or animals or reptiles.
Pray: "It is wonderful to be grateful and to sing your praises, LORD Most High! It is wonderful each morning to tell about your love and at night to announce how faithful you are" (Psalm 92:1-2, CEV).
Reflect: To what degree would you say your struggles with thanksgiving are simply spiritual carelessness, and to what degree are they willfulness? Paul says, "God's eternal power and character" can be recognized in Creation (verse 20). How do you recognize them? What "good news" is Paul proud of, and what is your attitude toward that "good news" (verse 16)?
Respond: People may not be delighted to be told that at the center of our distance from God is sin, which is often exemplified by our ingratitude. But we often approach God as if He should be thanking us for acknowledging He exists. Thanklessness is a significant indicator of the condition between a person and God. So we should appreciate when God points that out to us!
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