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Devotionals

The Grateful Heart

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The Grateful Heart

 

1Thessalonians 5: 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

 

Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed by George Washington in his first year as President of the United States. Washington set aside November 26th as a "day of public thanksgiving and prayer." Signed by Washington on October 3, 1789 and entitled "General Thanksgiving," the decree appointed the day "to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God." While the country may have moved on far away from God, there is no doubt where our roots lie. But something always didn't quite sit right with me about Thanksgiving Day; and not just my aversion for mom's creamed onions (talk about the fear of God!). It was the notion that we had to stop one day out of the year and give thanks to God. I mean, God is good every day, no?

 

That is where we find the key verse for this devotional. God's will for us in Christ Jesus is to be thankful in all circumstances. To possess the grateful heart Washington spoke about. But we live in a "what have you done for me lately" society. Our thanksgiving is usually reactive. Someone does something and we thank them. God however wants our thanksgiving to be proactive. We thank Him for who He is, regardless of whether something specific happens. It keeps the proper focus on God in this life; where it belongs. Let's face it, the enemy wants us distracted. The older we get, the more distractions we have. Career, family, spouse, children, the economy, and any number of other things fight for our attention daily, if not on a minute by minute basis. Being thankful to God keeps us focused on God. If we focus solely on our problems, then our problem solver slips into the background. Jesus taught us:

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6: 25-34 (NLT)

Worrying can consume us beloved. It can lead to great trepidation about what has happened in our past or where our future lies. It can lead to anxiety and all sorts of worldly diagnoses regarding our mental health. Look at the important lessons Christ is teaching us here:

 

Firstly, do not worry about everyday life. Everyday life bogs us down with minutia. We tend to fret over things that have no true value or things we have no real control over. In the story of Mary and Martha we see this in action. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening while Martha was worried about everyday life:

 

But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me." Luke 10: 40 (NLT)

 

We are likewise distracted in our lives. Often times it can be like Martha, in working for the Lord. After all she was preparing a dinner for Him! Ministry work is never supposed to distract you from your relationship with God. I have seen too often where people have turned their relationship with God into their ministry. That is not what God intended. What inevitably will happen is what happens here things will start to seem unfair to you. You will see the Mary's of the world as being lazy instead of seeing them for what they are:

 

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