Gather the Outcasts

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Friday, November 22, 2013

A Heart of Gratitude

Dear beloved: At this time of the holiday of Thanksgiving, it is important that we don't get so focused on the turkey and pumpkin pie that we forget the One who gave it all to us. Because of the abundance we have of everything here in America,  it is very easy to take our eyes off of the the Creator of all the abundance and settle for worshiping the things that He has given us. While it is good for the nation to pause and reflect on our abundance, and to give thanks because of that, we have come to a place where many here in America do not know who to thank for what they have.  After traveling in many places in Mexico, Central America, and Africa where people are desperately poor, I have come to the conclusion that there are very few in America that are actually poor.  Most who think they are poor are that way because the government tells them they are, but by world standards they are not even close to being poor. So I think it behooves us all to give thanks to the Lord, the God of provision, not only for this one day set aside to do that, but to adopt a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving each and every day, even to the point of making it a hallmark of our lifestyle.

I want to highlight three things that happen in our life when we give thanks to the Lord, and adopt a heart of gratitude in our daily walk.  First, giving thanks helps us to acknowledge God for who He is, and allows us to see His love for us. Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting, v2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for His lovingkindness is everlasting, v3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, v4 To Him who alone does great wonders, For His lovingkindess is everlasting.  Everything we have has been given to us by God, we are deserving of nothing, but by His grace and lovingkindness we are able to stand and enjoy the beauty of the earth and the abundance of it.  So when we praise and thank God each and every day, we position ourselves in front of Him in our "lowly estate", and acknowledge that because of His great love for us, we have the privilege to abide with Him and His son Jesus Christ for all eternity. Our salvation is because of His love.

The second attribute we obtain when we thank the Lord is that God gives us the strength to walk the walk here on this earth even in the midst of great trials and troubles.  Psalm 138:21 I will give Thee thanks with all my heart; I will sing praise to Thee before the gods. v3 On the day that I called Thou didst answer me; Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul.  v7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me; Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Thy right hand will save me.  And so God, who allows and knows our every struggle and trial, is also the One who gives us the strength to withstand those same trials; His right hand, Jesus Christ, is the One who saves us from our enemies.

The third blessing we receive when we give thanks is that God gives us the peace in the midst of our trials.  Phillipians 4:6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication (plea for mercy), with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. v7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Matthew 6:31 Do not be anxious then, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" v32 " For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things, v33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

May we cultivate a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude as we ponder the greatness of our God today.  May God bless you, in Christ, Jim    Gather the Outcasts, Box 92, Norton, Ks. 67654

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