Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Power of a Grateful Heart

It's almost unbelievable how quickly 2010 is running its course.  Here we are past October and heading toward Thanksgiving in America.  I thought I'd pen a few words about Thanksgiving.  I like to call it a grateful heart or simply...gratefulness. Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about? It didn't start as a national holiday back when the first settlers started the concept. Actually after that first brutal winter and growing season, it was a celebration of life and harvest. The first settlers (the ones who were still breathing) gathered to commemorate God's protection and sustenance. The gratefulness was genuine. I mean think about it. Many of your family and friends died throughout that first year. Through the difficulty, death, and destitution...a group had survived and now wanted to give God all the thanks. Making it through hard times and difficulty produces a truly grateful heart.

Understand that a grateful heart is very powerful. It is a force that motivates a person to endure the most difficult of circumstances. A grateful heart can recall God's past faithfulness and envision His future faithfulness. The result is a steadfastness in the present that has a supernatural origin. No one looks forward to tough times. But it's the tough times that toughen us up! Connie and I understand tough times and I'm sure you do too. Tough times come in different shapes and sizes for different people but the result (should we choose it) is the same...a grateful heart. I'll admit, tough times can also produce numerous opportunities to complain and maybe even murmur (I'm sure you don't though.) But a truly grateful heart acknowledges that God is fully in control. We don't always understand the circumstances...but we can understand God does and has all the answers. This simply means that we can thank Him in the hard times as well as the easy times.

A grateful heart makes one sensitive to the needs of others. I don't mean this to sound bad, but there is always someone whose situation is worse than ours! What a great time to thank God for His faithfulness to us, and offer ourselves to Him to be an instrument to help others. A grateful heart. It's very powerful. A grateful heart endures circumstances because its eyes are not on the circumstances but on God.

Finally, I'm reminded of how Judah was completely surround by its enemies in II Chronicles Chapter 20. Jehoshaphat was a godly king and gathered the whole nation for prayer. If God doesn't intervene...the whole nation will be wiped out. In this prayer meeting Jehoshaphat leads the prayer and begins to thank God for all He has done and all He has promised for Israel. Then He says, "We are powerless against this great multitude, nor do we know what to do. Nevertheless...our eyes are on You." God moved in behalf of the nation of Judah and routed its enemies. It took three days for Judah's people to collect the spoils of the battle. A grateful heart is powerful. I encourage you in these hard times...remember His faithfulness, thank Him for His future faithfulness, and thank Him for all you have today. It will change things. It's the power of a grateful heart.

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