Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful Gratitude

Here is a Thanksgiving message from our dear brother in Christ, Michael. He writes: 
If you reach a man you reach a family, a culture, a community and a nation.  Christianity in Africa and an outreach called ‘Rock of Africa’ is exploding as men of God stand as lights shining in the world of darkness.  African Tribal leaders and a hundreds of men walk from miles around to attend their meetings.  These ‘men of God’ are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  They are honored to call each other "Brother in Christ" and they're proud to be pronounced "guilty by association."  In contrast, Christianity in America has been eroding gradually for the last 70 years.  Our culture is deteriorating as Americans have succumbed to the influence of the powers of sin and unbelief.  Most Americans have been deceived by the schemes and snares of the devil and do not realize that they are walking in darkness.  However, even in the midst of encroaching darkness, we Americans still celebrate Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday.  Thanksgiving is the one remaining vestige of the American culture where Americans continue to turn their hearts to the Lord to thank Him for his Divine providence.  This is a time when the nation reminds itself of the bounty with which America been blessed. 

The true purpose of Thanksgiving is to lead our hearts to the one for whom we are most thankful...  our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the means by which God has shown us his love, mercy, and grace.  It's not what's in your pocket that makes you grateful, it's what's in your heart.  As Christians, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the great love wherewith he loved us.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ – Philippians 2:5.  He who does not keep a thankful heart will never know the depth of grace, joy, mercy, and peace.  A thankful heart rests in the knowledge of righteousness in Christ. Peace is not contingent on the circumstances of our lives, rather it is contingent on our fellowship with the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ.  He has reconciled us unto himself and to God through his sacrifice as the sin offering on our behalf, thereby making peace between God and those of us who believe.

Virtuous character always starts with a heart of gratitude.  A grateful heart produces thanks giving by thanks living.  Grace is the root of thanks giving.  Lord, thank you for mercy and grace...  for giving me what I don't deserve and not giving me what I do deserve. An ungrateful heart belittles God as if he were not able, as if he were not our provider and the source of our sufficiency.  However, our fore fathers knew the meaning of divine providence.  They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on firm reliance upon the Providence of almighty God.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works which he hath foreordained (by his Divine Providence) that we should walk.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18  contains the secret to a thankful heart:  Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Keeping a Godly perspective is the key to keeping a heart of thanks.  As men of God, we must keep our ear close to the mouth of The Lord.  Jesus said, "my sheep hear my voice and they know me and they follow me."  To pray without ceasing is to keep in constant communication with The Lord, to align my heart with his heart and my will with his will.  Keeping our heart aligned with his heart allows us to rejoice in the Lord always.  It allows God to work within us to will and to do as his good pleasure and in everything to give thanks unto him and bless his name...  for The Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth forever.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your bountiful goodness and for allowing us to humble our hearts in gratitude for your divine providence...  for preparing the path before us and for allowing us to walk in fellowship with you! May we continue in a spirit of thanksgiving by thanks-living to will and to do of your good pleasure. In the name of Jesus Christ who gave us access to your throne of grace both now and forever.  Amen.

Your brother in Christ,


child of God said...

Happy Thanksgiving Brian! Hope you have a weekend full of family love centered around our awesome Father.


Brian Ray Todd said...

Thank you Child of God and blessings to you and your priceless family. God bless you and keep you. We all have so very much to be thankful for! Praise be to God!