Making the Thanks genuine
Hello brothers, sisters and friends,
So, I’m finally getting to that study on how we can keep our thankfulness beyond the day we all remember it. First, though, I thought I would mention just a few things I’m thankful for:
> Trials (to grow closer to Him)
> Pain (to remind me that I need Him)
> Sorrow (to lean on Him more)
> a special family – Dad, Madre, brother, and relatives, as well as many, many friends here on FB and elsewhere.
> a roof over my head
> work to pay the bills
> healthy food and filtered water
> an many blessings that I do not have time to list.
*** ~ I hope you (and your family) worked on a similar list – and hopefully your actual list is longer than the short list I posted above ~ :)
So, now that we are heading in the most covetous time of the year (all around the world), we especially need to remember (and be reminded) of how we can keep our attitude of gratitude not just on Thanksgiving Day, but all year long – as an intentional practice. So, here’s some thoughts on how we can do just that! ~ :) And, btw, all feedback is welcomed! ~ :)
A key characteristic that God notes about those in this world who rebel against Him is: ungratefulness. Taking advantage of His grace, and using the time, energy, food, material wealth for their own selfish wants and desires – and not even saying ‘Thank You!’ ~ from a sincere heart. God notices, and it bothers Him. May we learn from their example what not to do, and how not to be, that we might keep our hearts tender toward pleasing Him, day and night.
“… so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
~ Romans 1:20-22,25
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…”
~ 2nd Timothy 3:2
What God does, and how He shows His love to those who appreciate it and those who don’t:
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
~ Luke 6:35
“Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.’”
~ Luke 17:12-19
How often do we say the words ‘Thank you’ and yet they have no weight or substance, and they fall to the floor as empty words? When we see that’s where we are, the best thing to do is to swallow our pride, as quickly as possible, and ask God for forgiveness, and then recount – even write a list of all that God has done for us, and blessed us with. Maybe this year is a great time to start that, maybe we can even do that every year – as long as we do not let it lose its meaning to us.
“Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, ‘This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ So he said, ‘Teacher, say it.’
‘There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.’ And He said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’”
~ Luke 7:36-50
Enemies of gratitude – our bad attitudes, heart-emotions to watch out for and grow in self-control over:
“Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."”
~ Matthew 18:23-35
This may be obvious, but followers of Christ don’t lose their relationship with God just because they hold in bitterness and unforgiveness, they (we) just lose their (our) quality of relationship and ability to hear His clear guidance, wisdom, and correction, and enjoy His love.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” ~ Matthew 6:14-15
Correcting grumbling and complaining:
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.” ~ Numbers 14:27
Notes: All complaining is against God Himself, and yes He takes our complaints seriously… a lesson some in the Old Testament times learned the hard way. ~
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” ~ Philippians 2:14-16
“… nor complain, as some of them [people of Israel in the wilderness] also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” ~ 1st Corinthians 10:10-14
“Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.’” ~ Jesus’ words in Luke 18:8
Becoming dead to covetousness daily:
“Do not covet the house of your neighbor, or lust for his wife or servants or animals – or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” ~ Exodus 20:17
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” ~ Colossians 3:5
A line from the disciple’s prayer –
our model for talking with God:
“Give us this day our daily bread.” ~ Matthew 6:11
“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” ~ 1st Timothy 6:8
Till next time, let us intentionally meditate on this and pray that God teaches us in it, that we may be more effective, gracious, and useful servants of our Master and Savior, Jesus the Christ. ~ your bro/friend, and a growing servant/life-slave of Jesus, SH