How to make life richer today

wordswag_1510576977997Thanksgiving sort of crept up on me this year. Business? Preoccupation with the stuff of life? I do not know why but this morning, the thought arrived in the front line of my mind – it is almost Thanksgiving!  Why not start the celebration today, right now? Before you read on, send someone a text that says a simple ‘thank you.’  Then, breathe a sincere prayer of thanks – for life, for love, for Jesus, for friends, for … you can do this.  Just make it more than ‘thank you, God.’

If there is one ugly part of being American, it is the entitlement that causes us to believe that we are owed happiness, respect, or things.  Every time I ask “Why me?” I reveal that I think I deserve better.  When I start to think that life is conspiring against me, that people are out to get me, that God is ignoring me –  it is  short leap into misery and meanness. I do not want to be ‘that guy.’  How did we avoid that pit of pitifulness?  Learn ‘thanks-living’ – for God’s sake, really.

Gratitude is a spiritual issue. When the Holy Spirit is given access to our heart and we begin to practice genuine gratitude, we open up great possibilities for God to do amazing things in us and with us. Luke tells a story about 10 men who approached Jesus  because they were in a desperate situation.

They were ‘lepers.’  They had a skin disease and because of it, they had to live isolated from friend and family, begging and generally despised because most people thought they had leprosy because ‘they deserved it.’  To be a leper at that time was a kind of living death!  These men heard about Jesus’ healing work and when they saw him, they yelled “Have mercy on us!”  He directed them to an act of faith. “Go show yourself to the priest.”  If a person’s skin issue cleared up, the priest could certify that and allow them to return to society.

Do you remember what happened when they did want He told them to do?  A miracle. “And as they went, they were cleansed.”  How many times have you thought, “If I just received this, got that, solved this problem, … I know I would become a more thankful person.  This story reveals something about our human nature that is not very pretty.

Read on …  “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:14-17, NIV)

Just one even thought to go back to Jesus and express his gratitude. Luke includes the detail that the grateful one was another kind of social outcast, a Samaritan; not a ‘true child of God’ in the opinion of the majority. He was  ‘praising God in a loud voice.’  Today we might say he was freaking out. He was yelling, pointing at his new skin, jumping up and down, and crying. He didn’t kneel reverently when he found Jesus. He threw himself at His feet in an expression of complete humility, realizing he deserved nothing and received everything.

Does the Lord give life and blessings only to find Himself looking at a person who, like those nine healed men in Luke’s story, has forgotten the Source of those blessings? Do you remember to give thanks?

Real gratitude begins with bent knees and an open heart. The Bible urges a ‘sacrifice of praise.’  Some days we must make the choice of thanksgiving when for a thousand reasons we would rather complain.  From personal experience, I can tell you that when I choose to thank the Lord for people, situations, and past mercies, I often find that the joy of the Lord finds me. Is life all that I would like it to be?  Not always, but He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Ready to get thankful? Take a pointer from Paul. We cannot become grateful just by trying to handcuff our negativity!  Instead we look up, becoming Jesus focused. He says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV)

Here’s a word from the Word.  “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV)

Don’t be one of the 9 who forgot their Source! Be the 1 who worshiped!
And, by the way, did you send that text of thanks yet?

___________

10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)

(worship with this great song)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul;
Worship His holy name!

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

 You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger,
Your name is great and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing.
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

 And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.

 Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul;
Worship His holy name!
Sing like never before, O my soul,
I’ll worship Your holy name!

Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman
© 2011 Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
SHOUT! Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

1 Comment

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One response to “How to make life richer today

  1. April

    Amazing!! The very message preached yesterday. I love how God always confirms things multiple times!! Have a blessed thanksgiving.
    God is good!!🙏

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