Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
"Out of Joy and Deep Gratitude"
In God’s kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill. This gives your life great significance and value. It cost Jesus His own life to purchase your salvation…We don’t serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty, but out of joy, and deep gratitude for what He’s done for us. We owe Him our lives. Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning, and our future is secured.
"Gratitude For Those Who've Eased Our Way"
When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.
“Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings”
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some
“Only Freeze Frames”
The faithfulness of God is why the perseverance of man (and little girls) is so important. What you’re seeing now is middles, freeze frames, the crest of the curve and not its falling arc, the ball as it looks snapped in mid-air by your Polaroid... So wait on the Lord, little one, wait. Because of the promises. Because “the proper time” He will lift you up (1 Peter 5:6). Because His compassions are new every morning. Because He is good to those whose hope is in Him (Lamentations 3:22). Wait on the Lord, child, and be still. Because we haven’t seen all the fallout yet.
“Receive Joyfully The Blessings of Today”
It seems to me that we often, almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some other good. Do you know what I mean? On every level of our life—in our religious experience, in our gastronomic, erotic, aesthetic, and social experience—we are always harking back to some occasion which seemed to us to reach perfection, setting that up as a norm, and depreciating all other occasions by comparison. But these other occasions, I now suspect, are often full of their own new blessing, if only we would lay ourselves open to it. God shows us a new facet of the glory, and we refuse to look at it because we’re still looking for the old one...these golden moments in the past, which are so tormenting if we erect them into a norm, are entirely nourishing, wholesome, and enchanting if we are content to accept them for what they are, for memories. Properly bedded down in a past which we do not miserably try to conjure back, they will send up exquisite growths. Leave the bulbs alone, and the new flowers will come up. Grub them up and hope, by fondling and sniffing, to get last year’s blooms, and you will get nothing.”
"Remember Where You are. Give Thanks. Pray For the Persecuted"
Every day that I am making my bed, a persecuted Christian in the North Korean gulag is getting up off his rat-infested floor. Every morning that I am eating my savory yogurt with fresh fruit, he is headed out to the logging site or mine or quarry or factory on an empty stomach. Every morning that I sing to the Lord in the beautiful sycamore-tree lined cemetery, she is working her 13- to 15-hour day and forced to sing patriotic songs while doing it or incur a beating. Every noon when I stop for a sandwich, he gets his only food allotment of the day, a few ounces of corn. When I feel a chill and reach for my sweater, she is put outside for the freeze treatment.
I don’t know if most Christians pray for the martyrs, but I’ll bet they pray for us. Why wouldn’t they? They see things more clearly, their vision undulled by entertainment and comfort.
"Injuries And Benefits"
Write Injuries in Dust, Benefits in Marble
"Forget None Of His Benefits"
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits . . .”
At a wedding recently I met a woman whose husband spent the whole summer in nothing but repentance. She sensed that it was becoming morbid and said to him, “Will you stop repenting!” Repentance is a good thing and I do it all the time, but it is important for the soul’s health—it is chicken soup for the soul and strength for the body—to do a lot of rejoicing in God’s “benefits.”
“Benefits” is such an understated word for what God has done in my life—the Rube Goldberg orchestration of my conversion; the improbability of Him even wanting me after the evil child I was; the way He suffered through my first two decades of sham Christian life; the way He was planning, even during that period, the good things I now enjoy; the way He keeps this widow with modest abilities financially afloat; the way He has given me joy.
The Psalmist isn’t telling us not to forget God’s benefits because it’s impolite. He’s telling us not to forget God’s benefits because it’s deadly. After all, all we have to go on as our encouragement in this present day’s troubles is the record of God’s faithfulness in yesterday’s troubles. And not only our own yesterdays, but other people’s yesterdays (our own individual histories being so short a paper trail). That’s why fellowship is crucial (Hebrews 10:25; Malachi 3:16). You need to hear about the impossible things God has done in other Christians’ lives.
Pastor Bill Johnson of California made an absolute statement—that every time ancient Israel backslid it was because she had forgotten God’s miracles. Said Johnson, “Read Psalm 78 and see if you can reach any other conclusion.”
So I read it, and it is so. “The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle” (78:9). Why? Because what use is a bow where there is no mindfulness of God’s past miracles? What courage do we have to tackle spiritual strongholds when we don’t remember what God did before or believe that He can do them in our day?
“Those who feared the Lord spoke with one another . . .” (Malachi 3:16). Wonder what they spoke. I bet they reminded each other of God’s benefits.
"See God In His Gifts"
...if you refuse to see God in His gifts, they will turn out not to be gifts but High Court evidence of ingratitude.
“Filled To Overflowing”
The heart can hardly contain my humble gratitude for the grace in which I stand.
“The cultivation of gratitude and joy is the way home”