Sunday, March 19, 2017

Just Grateful

Colossians 3:16   "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

        Do you consider yourself  'grateful'?  Most of us would say 'yes', but what if I added 'grateful, in all circumstances'?  Well, those three extra words would eliminate the majority, if not all, of us.  It's hard to see a blessing in everything, but "all things work together for good for those who love the Lord."  So it is there, even if we don't recognize it at the time. We may see how God had worked later in hindsight or we may never know, because His ways are above ours.  We are thankful because we trust in His will for us.
       Who are you giving your gratitude to?  Psalm 16:2  "I say to the Lord, “You are my Lordapart from you I have no good thing.”  How often do we credit ourselves when good things occur, but then blame God when things don't go like we want them to? God is sovereign over everything in our lives.  Both the mountains of joy and the valleys of despair are ways in which He works on our hearts, minds and souls to love Him, like no other. Moses warned the Israelites to be grateful to the Lord for the Promised Land and not to feel deserving or entitled.  Deuteronomy 8:17-18  " You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today."  Today's society has both the sin of entitlement and self reliance that Moses warned against.  The consequences are already in effect, with worse and more to come.
        If you don't feel or express gratitude for what you already have, why do you feel deserving for more?  For those who know no appreciation for what is given to them, there will never be enough.  They will never be content or satisfied in their circumstances; rich or poor, sick or well, happy or sad.  We take so much for granted and don't realize that what we consider 'the basics' are gifts from God.  Breathing seems automatic, until you get weakened by bronchitis.  Walking is not even thought about, until you have to depend on crutches or a wheelchair.  Your voice is a defining part of your personality, until your humbled by laryngitis.   John 15:5  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
       Gratitude is all about your focus on what you have being enough and giving thanks for just that, without asking for more.  'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.'  Someone is struggling and praying for what you have at this very moment, are you thankful for it?  The benefits of a grateful heart are many.... freedom from bitterness and discontentment, a renewed sense of humility, a rekindled joy in your heart, and an ability to encourage others with the Spirit shining through you.

Have an attitude of gratitude because God is good all the time and all the time God is good!