Monday’s Thankful Choices

It was a joyful weekend. Our son, Sean, came to spend a couple of days with his Mom and me.  Sunday we celebrated baptism at Faith Discovery Church. What an awesome privilege to immerse  individuals in the water where they were “buried with Christ and raised to new life!” Now, it is Monday and a new work week is just starting.  And, I choose thankfulness. How about you? The seconthanks3d week of the challenge starts today!  Who have you thanked so far? Are you going to do what the Bible says?  “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

One of the primary enemies of thankfulness is discontent brought on by comparisons. If you start to look around yourself, you will inevitably find someone who is apparently better off than you! Unless your name is Bill Gates, somebody else has more money.  There are those who have won the ‘looks lottery’ who are thin, tall, with a full head of hair. (This from a bald guy!)  Many will have opportunities that I did not have. Some will enjoy pleasures that are not mine. If we decide that happiness and gratitude are circumstantial, achieved only when we arrive at some state of perfection, the curse of ingratitude and misery will wrap itself around us like chains of slavery.

Richard Carlson wisely observes that “Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realization that life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around. As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing on where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present. Then, as you move around, try new things, and meet new people, you carry that sense of inner peace with you. It’s absolutely true that “Wherever you go, there you are.”  (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)

The serenity that comes with true gratitude blesses both the thankful person and all those around him. When I let my heart fill up with complaint, I feel miserable and so do all those people who have to deal with me while I am in that sorry state. But, what a difference when I choose, and yes, it is a choice, to meet life with thanksgiving.  Our gratitude does not simply rest on a positivel mental attitude. That’s a great start, but the reality of life sometimes is too brutal to overcome with a smile or “happy talk.”

Today, Monday morning, I want to leave you with this statement from the Word.  Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT) Go back and read that passage aloud to yourself.  Do you get it?  The world shakes around us. Terrorists blew an airplane out of the Egyptian sky last week. The stock market goes up and down as the Fed ponders raising interest rates. Wars rage on.  Friends report divorce and cancer.  These things happen to Christians of great faith just as they do to those who do not know the living Lord.  But, there is difference.  Those who are in Christ possess an inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:4-6, NIV)

Our gratitude, our thankfulness, is anchored to the rock solid assurance that our God reigns!  Pause right now and thank God for the hope of life eternal that is yours (unquestionably!) because of Christ Jesus.  Now thank Him for that last breath you just took. Yes, life is a gift.  And, be thankful throughout this day, for God’s sake.

 

“Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.

Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.

Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.

Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits. “ (Psalm 136:1-4, The Message)

 

“God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.

Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.

Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.

Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!” (Psalm 136:23-26, The Message)

The 21 Day Gratitude Challenge, continues

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