Gratitude: Keeping It Straight

Once up on a time there was a group of ordinary individuals who came from humble beginnings, were dependant on God and thankful for His blessings.   Coming from many nations and backgrounds they eventually became A People who proclaimed themselves to be:

” . . . one Nation under God . . . Indivisible . . .With Liberty and Justice for all.”

Time passed, and The People got busy with all the trappings life on this earth has to offer.    In their busyness they became absorbed with obtaining what they referred to as, “The Dream.”  It seemed a reasonable though lofty goal: Prosperity, Success, Upward Social Mobility for every citizen willing to work hard.  Sadly, as The People pursued The Dream they forgot their foundation:

“All men are created equal” and are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” that include “Life . . . Liberty . . .  the pursuit of Happiness.”

Dissatisfaction grew throughout the land as The Dream for possessions replaced Gratitude to their Creator and Provider.  God was forgotten by many and replaced by an inflated self-regard.  Strangely, as ingratitude toward God entered there arose loneliness, loss of purpose and hopelessness in the land . . . and there was no Peace.

Too often, when we think about gratitude we think about what we are thankful for rather than Who we are thankful to.   Just last week, while talking about doing her Journey Notes, one of my newer clients remarked that she was “having a hard time coming up with anything new” to record in her daily praises.  When I asked her to read some her praises to me, they pertained to her possessions, her immediate family and the things she could buy.    There was little mention of the Provider of the things she holds dear.  I encouraged her to broaden the scope of her gratitude to God’s character and the riches we possess in Christ.  The beauty in this is that as we draw closer to God with gratitude to Him in our minds and hearts, He then ministers to our needs in unimaginable ways.

It is sad but true that culture has impacted the church; we have become so “in the now” that we have lost sight of God and eternity.   The Apostle Paul wrote a powerful and passionate letter to the church in Rome.  In it he wrote about the love of God in relationship to His people:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38, 39)

Paul was right about God’s passionate love for His own; His love was fully and publically evidenced through the crucifixion of His only Son.   But there is there is one thing that separates us from God . . . cold, ungrateful hearts.

Friend, what is going on in your life today?  What does your heart yearn for?   Where do you find peace?  If your peace is tied up in this world, then the loneliness, loss of purpose and hopelessness experienced across the land will continue to haunt you.   Consider the eternal wisdom of James:

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.   Be wretched and mourn and weep.   Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  (James 4:8-10 ESV)

In humility and in faith give thanks to God for His amazing love that can warm even the deadest heart . . . .

All to His Glory!


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