Today, Thursday November 25
Grateful and Thankful
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Thanksgiving should not be just a one day holiday or celebration but should be a daily attitude that we experience because we have a grateful heart. A grateful heart is the result of a spiritual understanding of who God is and also knowing who we are. When we really believe in an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign God who is our creator and we have met and personally experienced Him through His Son Jesus Christ, our heart will be overflowing with gratefulness!
And when your heart is filled with gratitude, you will be rejoicing always and you will be always giving thanks! Have you ever noticed that a bitter person is usually an ungrateful person! Bitter people blame others and God for all their problems and suffering in life. Instead of looking at the goodness and the blessings that God has given them, they have chosen to focus on the negative and on the hurtful things that have happened in their lives.
A bitter person is also usually one who has not experienced genuine forgiveness from God. Because when you have truly accepted the responsibility for your sin and have ask God for His mercy and forgiveness, and your guilt is gone because of what Jesus did for you on the Cross, you will be able to respond to the offences of others against you with grace and forgiveness!
It is interesting that the Apostle Paul also told the church at Thessalonica almost the same thing he wrote to the church at Philippi. “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15-19)
We are not told to be thankful for everything that happens to us but “in everything give thanks…”. It would be crazy to be thankful for the evil and bad things that happen to us or around us! But when we believe and trust God like we should, and we are always rejoicing for His grace and mercy that we are experiencing every day, we will also believe that this same God is going to “work out everything together for good!” (Romans 8:28)
In Acts 16 Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into a dirty prison unjustly, but at midnight they were rejoicing and singing and praising God instead of complaining and getting bitter against those who had hurt them. Why? Because they believed God was still in control and would somehow use this experience to work something good out of it and bring glory to His name!
It is my prayer, that especially today, we would ask God to help us to always have grateful and rejoicing hearts, and in the midst of all the evil and unjust things that are happening all around us, we will be a thankful people bringing glory to His Son Jesus as we share His goodness with others!