Luke 6.12 Now it came to pass in those days that He (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (NKJV)
As we come to God in daily prayer, we ask Him for a deeper, clearer understanding of His nature. To the very best of our ability, we recognize Him as Creator-Lord-King-Master-Sustainer-Judge and Father. We carefully consider just Who it is that we are speaking to and assign to Him the proper honor, respect and fear.
Recognizing Him, we realize that it is futile to make any pretense of goodness or righteousness about ourselves. We freely admit our sinfulness to God, humbly asking for His forgiveness, and much more than that, we rest in the freedom of knowing that He will help us overcome our sin. We can enjoy the liberty and peace that comes from freely admitting our sins and accepting God’s unfailing mercy and compassion.
Now we are truly prepared to spend time in His presence. We can begin to thank Him for what He has already done, and ask Him for those things that need to be done.
Heb 13.5 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Gratitude and appreciation are rare commodities in modern day America.
We have fostered and encouraged a society who feels like every comfort of life is their right by birth; that freedom and peace are owed to them; that success and opportunity are due them simply because the exist.
We have become a nation of whiners, complainers and gripers acutely aware of and engrossed in every thing we DON’T have and constantly communicating it in every way imaginable.
- When is the last time your children expressed gratefulness for the lifestyle and privileges you have worked so hard to obtain for them?
- When was the last time one of your employee’s expressed genuine appreciation for the very fact they have a job?
- When was the last time one of your students thanked you for your hard work preparing for class?
- When is the last time you remember anyone for ANY reason express tearful appreciation for anything except under extreme circumstances?
Now, let’s make it personal.
- Are you thankful for your job, or just complain about your pay, working conditions and boss all the time? Have you ever expressed humble gratitude for the very fact you have a job?
- Can you rattle off a list of complaints and shortcomings about your church or Pastor? Have you ever thanked anyone for their service at your church? Have you shown appreciation to your teachers and preacher? Have you ever thanked the Sunday school teacher? Do you appreciate the church janitor, lawn keeper, handyman, trash man… the person who runs the copier, fixes meals, gets flowers, writes cards, changes diapers, greets visitors, prepares worship, sweeps the parking lot, cleans the windows, vacuums or refills the toilet paper?
- Stop and think truthfully for a moment… how many things can you think of that is “wrong” with your church versus how many things you have expressed thankfulness for before this moment? Convicting, isn’t it.
- Have you thanked God for your freedom? Do you live in amazement that God has blessed us with such comfort and luxury (even the poorest of us)? Do you thank God every day for the incredible ease of our American life? Do you thank Him and truly appreciate our almost embarrassing bounty of food, clothes, houses, transportation, entertainment, comfort and material blessing?
Are you a person who is continually overwhelmed with appreciation for God’s blessing, or continually focused on the one thing you don’t have?
Col 3.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
How do you feel when your children, employees or subordinates constantly demand more, complain, never thank you for anything you do? How do your feel about the attitude that it is not only their right to “have” what they have, but that they deserve more?
Do you treat God the same way?
I can remember my Dad saying:
“All I ever hear is ‘gimmee, gimmee, gimmee’”.
Is that all God ever hears from you?
Eph 5.20 …giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…
Determine that for today, you will become a person with a thankful heart and an attitude of appreciation for all you have:
- Socks and shoes, heat and air, mouthwash, convenience stores, mail, computers, books, music, art, fingernail clippers, pencils, microwaves, stop signs, iced tea, soccer balls, flea collars, lawn mowers, telephones, hearing aids, doctors, trees, water, sidewalks, airplanes, aspirin, coffee cups, pets… and on and on.
Note: if you found yourself refuting this list of blessings (“my life isn’t comfortable”; “my job stinks”; “I’m not healthy”; “I’m not happy”) then you are truly missing the point. Pray that God will change your heart and reveal these truths to you.
Spend today recognizing all the wonderful gifts in life (big or small, obvious or subtle) that we take for granted, and worse, think that it is our “right” to have. Thank God for them.
Ps 100.4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
A life of thankfulness and appreciation is the most liberating, exciting and enriching life you can live. Thankful to God and thankful to others.
No matter what your situation or circumstance,
the ONLY proper response is thankfulness to God.
Lord, help us today to become appreciative. Transform us from “complainers” and “wanters” to “thankers” and “blessers”. Clear away the selfishness in us and reveal to us all the many wonderful blessings you pour on us. Let us then shower you with love and appreciation for Your goodness. Amen.
Contemplation: Are you full of thanks or complaints? Do you focus on the 99 things you have, or the one you don’t? How would others describe you? Appreciative or whiner? Grateful or griper?
Application: In the Bible, being rich was having more food than just today’s food. Having mutliple sets of clothes and a house with a room for each person was considered “super rich”. We classify people today as poor who live like kings compared to the truly poor. We need to keep things in perspective. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for every single thing you have.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?
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