Cultivate your Gratitude

One of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible is found in Daniel 2:20-23. Daniel was a young Jewish man who was taken into captivity in Babylon. He was trained to help in the king’s court as one of his wise counselors. The king had a dream and demanded that his ‘wise men’ tell him what the dream was and what it meant or they would face execution. Daniel asked for time to consult His God for answers. In this prayer Daniel is expressing his thanks for the answers God gave him so his life and the lives of others could be saved. As you read this prayer, consider your own thanks to God- why are you thankful and what do you know personally about God?

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matte
r.”

Daniel knew God was eternal, sovereign, wise, the giver of understanding and wisdom, the revealer of deep and hidden things, total light and purity, and the one who controls the future. Do you know God because you have seen some or all of these attributes of God as He interacts in your life? Do you trust Him fully to know what is best for you? My go to verse for trust and the goodness of God is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I claim this verse over my life, my mind and my will as I seek to trust God fully. Daniel trusted God and gave thanks for His love, devotion and care for him. God had answered his prayers and allowed him to grasp in the greatness of God in a new and tangible way.

I pray this thank giving time of year has brought a new realization of who God is and what He has done and is doing in your life. Give thanks to God in this season of your life. Recall what God has done and how He has blessed you. Your love and gratitude to God needs to be cultivated so it will grow and reflect outward towards others revealing the God you love.

Linda

Gratitude vs. Ingratitude, Which Reveals the real You?

Many times we do not take the time to say ‘thanks’ for something that is done for us or towards us. We think later, ‘O, did I remember to tell them thank you or not?’ Giving or saying ‘thanks’ is something our parents taught us to say because it shows good manners. But, why do you say thank you? Is it a rote response or is it from your heart? The reason I am going down this road is we need to find the root of our gratitude or the root of our ingratitude and the consequences of each.

Repeatedly this month we have seen that scripture tells us to give thanks. Gratitude is an attitude response for all God has done. 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Our response to God and His goodness towards us for both physical and spiritual provisions is to be one of thanks. The giving of thanks creates within us a sense of peace, well being, hope and assurance of God’s love.

What about ingratitude? Romans 1:20-23 explains what happens when we refuse to give thanks and recognize that all good things come from God.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Paul is saying that we are without excuse when we fail to recognize and honor God. We have the world around us as proof of His existence and goodness. So what happens when we are ungrateful to God? Paul says our thinking becomes ineffective and useless, unproductive and our hearts are darkened or turned away from the goodness of God, His light. In our lives we can see that not being thankful leads to a hardness of heart towards others and perhaps a sense of entitlement. Somehow we feel the ‘world’ owes us good things. The reality of life is the truth of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” and 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Let your heart, mind and words be filled with gratitude today. You will be blessed as you experience His hope, love, peace and joy. Let your gratitude come from your love for God so that it may have an eternal effect on those around you.

Linda

How Long? Forever in Faith

Have you ever thought about How long you intend to praise God? Is it just a fleeting thing for you when times are hard? Or do you intend to worship Him forever? The psalmist wrote in

Psalm 79:13 “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;  from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”

Israel was going through a time of discipline from the Lord when this psalm was written. They had been taken captives in Babylon for their idolatry and rejection of God. The psalmist was questioning how long the Lord would have them suffer for their sins at the hands of the ungodly who did not know Him. The psalmist emphatically concludes with verse 13 and gives his proclamation that His people would give thanks to Him forever, each and every generation to follow.

We are finite and cannot see God’s plan for mankind in detail. We know He wins! He redeems and saves! He will reign in heaven for all eternity. But, we do no know the exact timing… So the life of a believer is one of trust, obedience and resolve. Just as the children of Israel proclaimed, we need to live trusting God knowing He is sovereign and has good plans for His people from generation to generation for all eternity! Will you give thanks to the God who knows the beginning from the end and has each detail within His control? How long will you thank Him? May it be in and by faith, forever! Praise God!

Linda