Wednesday, December 25, 2019

In gratitude not ingratitude.

You should never have difficulty thinking of reasons why God deserves your praise. You should enjoy the times you have to praise your Lord, both privately and publicly, in worship. If your life is not filled with praise, it may be that you have lost your appreciation for God's merciful activity in your life. Never forget what God has saved you from. Never take for granted what it means to have the assurance of eternity with God. Do not disregard the spiritual kinship you enjoy with other believers. Take time often to recount the blessings He has poured out upon you and your family. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We live in a society where one moment runs into the next at a harrowing pace.  It didn't use to be in this country.  Used to be that you would find people out on their porch waving at passersby.  Would see children playing with each other.  Joy in fellowship could be found.  These days faces are stuck in tablets or phones. Impatience has given rise to ignorance. Acceptance of things that cause serious dangers in things like driving because of not wanting to curb the speed of change. 

This day is a day to stop and reflect. 

In gratitude, to praise the God of Heaven for His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. 
In gratitude, to thank God for His mercy and grace.
In gratitude, to keep looking for real, personal, ways and things to thank God for.   Not in physical possessions.  To be truthful there's absolutely no reason to thank God for things outside of how He is growing your relationship with Jesus.  Sounds rather anti-Biblical?  Yes we should thank Him for what He has provided.  But was it from our wants or from our needs? God often grants wants not because He has to, but to have us show what we really meant by asking.  Was it to further His kingdom or to temporarily give us joy?  Where do I come from? "Love not the world nor the things of this world."  Sound familiar?

We are often not grateful.  We are often showing ingratitude instead.  I see people of all ages having tantrums.  They are both Christians and non-Christians.  Whining about what they deserve.  Whining about getting what they say they don't deserve. 

Gratitude should indeed come from the heart.   What may surprise you is ingratitude also comes from the heart. Whatever is present in our hearts is what comes out of it.  Our priorities are based on what's happening in our hearts. 

Think about your motives today.  Yes you might have received gifts you wanted.  You also probably put on a false smile at recieving what you didn't want.  Be grateful for the gift of eternal life.  Everything else is just stuff.  Be happy to be with people not anxious about things like gifts.  When all is said and done, people are far more important than any thing you could receive. 

I have seen over 50 Christmases.  If pressed, I could possibly mention a few gifts received along the way.  But what often pulls at my heart is who is and isn't with me that year.  I have to remind myself that what Jesus did was most important.  
Things can be replaced.  People cannot. 
What tugs at my heart is who is and isn't saved.  I know that there are those whom I know who are still in need of a Savior.  My gift to many oftentimes is my bringing their name before God in prayer.  

It's only too late to pray for someone after they have left this world.  That is my firm belief.  It was King David's too.  

I am often distressed by the behavior of people but time and prayer tells and shows me God can make a way.  Having people that I know showing signs of distrust of me just gives me a greater reason to pray.  I may be able to help but they have to want it.

I am very grateful of that day that Jesus came and took away my sin.  That great day when He signed my adoption papers in His own blood making me a Child of God.  I am grateful for the love and discipline He provides.  For the lessons He teaches to me.  For the inexpressible joy that has come since He came into my life. 
I deserved the death penalty for my sin. He took it away.  Said that I am forgiven. Gave me new clothes to wear that show that I am now a part of His family.  He promised to someday come back for me.  I believe Him!

It's very easy to be wrapped up in ingratitude.  To be focused on pain or suffering.  To be focused on a gift you really don't like.  To be separated by distance from people you really wanted to be with.  To sulk and stew over everything you have not received.  

This year let go of it all.  Be thankful for what Jesus has done for you.  Have the attitude of gratitude.  He jumped in front of you and took your punishment for your sin.  He loves you!  Jesus loves you! Read that again. Jesus loves YOU.  Is anything really more important than that?

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