Gratitude

23 posts

When Christmas Hurts, Hope in Christ

Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving but not for everyone. Amid the colored lights and wrapped presents there are hearts that are as empty as the open gift boxes under the tree on Christmas morning. Christmas brings good memories but also the hard ones of broken dreams and relationships. When we are struggling, it is tempting to ask where is the joy in life?   David asked these same questions long ago. He wanted to know why God had abandoned him. He wanted to know why his prayers were not answered. He cried out to ask why God does not answer his pleas. So he writes these words in Psalm 22: My God, my God, why have you […]

Caring for One Another at Christmas

The authors of 31 Ways to be a “One-Another” Christian have provided a vital insight for gift giving this Christmas season. Do your gifts show that you care from your heart or do your gifts represent attempts to make others appreciate you? We tend to give gifts based on how much money we have to spend. However, by focusing on caring for one-another the funding that matters is that largeness of your heart. Listen to this distinction  from the eighth way to be a One-Another Christian: Caring for one another is not just having an affectionate feeling toward another believer. Caring is not merely an emotional feeling, just as love is not merely a feeling. Both care and love are […]

Why Be Thankful?

Thanksgiving is the one day in the holiday season about which there is no ambiguity. Store clerks, news anchors, strangers, teachers, pastors, flight attendants, TV commercials, salespeople, even government employees can say Happy Thanksgiving without fear of offending anyone. Almost everyone can offer some reason to give thanks. For the moment, at least, thanksgiving is not offensive in our culture. Christians especially have reason for thanksgiving. Our sins have been placed on another so that we can know the Lord of the Universe. There is much to be thankful for. But the most basic reason for Thanksgiving is the goodness and mercy of God. The simple truth is that if we were not commanded to give thanks we would not. […]

Gratitude: A Weapon of Victory

The Christian life is war. You have enemies both within and without. Some of these enemies appear larger than life. They dominate your thoughts when you wake and when you sleep. They are your Goliaths. However, they are pretend giants. They appear to have control, but they have no control over God and his ability to care for you. These pretend power players can never keep you from loving and following God. They may be able to overturn our plans, but they are powerless to stop God’s care for us. When you are confronted by your fears, the enemies of your soul, remember David’s to someone who thought he was in control: “All those gathered here will know that it […]

Gratitude or Impurity

Gratitude or impurity—you can have one but not both!  The language of the heart and mouth is an indication of the direction of the heart. People whose speech is dominated by a thankful spirit are often people who are grateful for the mercy extended to them by God.  However, impure, profane speech reflects just the opposite of gratitude.  This kind of talk frequently indicates an angry heart and movement towards the impure and profane. For example, the Ephesians had woven impure speech into the life of the church to the point where Paul addressed this issue specifically. Ephesians 5:4 describes the importance of gratitude. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any […]

I Want It Now!

How many time have you heard, “I want it now!” or similar language from children and adults? Whether the words come from an arrogant politician or an unhappy three-year-old they betray a craving for instant gratification. This craving is destructive. This intense self-focus will result in a life dominated by the desire for personal pleasure. Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of destructive, abusive relationships, pornography, substance abuse, and abusive behavior. If you hear a child frequently complain or grumble, you are hearing a child who is becoming a slave to his own desires. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate pleasure. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. […]

Occasional Gratitude

The Holy Spirit is clear: he wants me to always be thankful. He tells me this in the Psalms of David. He tells me through the pen of Paul: give thanks in everything. This morning I am conscious of how often I am disinterested in following the commands of God’s Spirit, commands that are meant only for my good!  The Spirit’s commands are not just for occasional situations when I feel “led” to follow them or when I “feel” like being thankful.  The Spirit’s commands are given to focus my thoughts on following God.  His direction informs me of how I should think about all that is happening to me. God is not a bystander observing me from a distance. […]

More Gifts To Give

The presents have all been opened. Christmas is done. For children, next Christmas seems more than a life-time away. I remember feeling sad that there were no more gifts to open, even as I was surrounded presents and empty boxes! As I look back, I am amazed at how quickly gratitude was replaced with self-centered longing for more stuff. Not pleasant thoughts! Now as adult, I find I still quickly forget God’s kindness to me. His goodness to me is quickly forgotten and replaced with, “I need more.” Loosing focus of God’s goodness skews my understanding of reality. The truth is that God’s faithfulness to me never stops! God is relentless in his pursuit to bring joy to our needy […]

 A Three Step Guide to a Miserable Christmas!

Giving gifts can be a dangerous activity. Gifts given for the wrong reasons can bring misery instead of joy and happiness. How can this happen? How can giving someone a gift be a bad thing? It is easier than you think. Here are three examples of gift-giving that can result in a miserable Christmas.  1. Giving gifts to receive. This type of gift giving is actually giving a gift to yourself.  No, I am not talking about the present under the tree that is labeled from you to you.  I am talking about the gifts you give to others because you want to be appreciated.  However, when the recipient  of your gift is not ecstatic you become discouraged and  miserable! […]

Our Duty?

Do we have a duty as Americans to acknowledge and honor the rule of God? Do we have a duty to obey God? Do we have a national duty to be grateful for the blessings of God?  George Washington thought so, as did both houses of Congress!  Wait! What? Yes, that is exactly what they believed! By today’s standards it appears that the first Congress and the first President didn’t understand the Constitution was against any mention of God, let alone proclaiming it is the duty of all nations to obey his will. Or is it possible that it is our modern judiciary, legislators and press that has misunderstood the intent of our Constitution? Thanksgiving Proclamation Issued by President George […]