I recently began reading, slowly and carefully, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have to admit too I have really had to be honest with myself as I read, as to how grateful my heart is and how grateful it should be. Nancy states again and again:
Choosing to have a grateful heart in and through all circumstances is a choice. It takes intentional effort on our part and doesn’t just happen. If we’re not choosing gratitude we are choosing ingratitude – no middle ground here.
Throughout this book I was reminded to exercise gratitude in every moment of every day. Not just for the meal and the home, that new book I wanted or the other “stuff” that we have. I was encouraged to really dig deeper; look at those simple little things in each day: the breath I breathe, my salvation, baptism in Jesus name that washed me, the power of the Holy Ghost that allows me to daily be refreshed in Him; what a blessing Jesus is. Wind on a warm day; light rain falling on my garden and baby apple trees; dogs to clean the kids lunch off the floor (haha). And more and more I found myself simply being thankful for knowing Him as I do and being His chosen one. I do not ever want to forget what a blessing my Saviour is. More than enough.
As I have been reminded as I read, and in some cases shouldn’t I know by now? *ouch*
“Christian gratitude involves:
- Recognizing the many benefits we’ve received from God and others (including those blessings that may come disguised as problems and difficulties).
- Acknowledging God as the ultimate Giver of every good gift,
- Expressing appreciation to Him (and others) for those gifts.”
“I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.”
There is a song we have been singing a lot lately in our church that I am reminded of when I read the quote above: “Lift up your hands and sing for joy, clap your hands make a joyful noise; blow the trumpet and shout…praise Him for the victory….the weapons we use are not bombs and guns…worship is the way the battle is one…..praise Him for the victory…”
“Ingratitude is one of our enemy’s most lethal weapons. Do we give glory to God for the part of our life that’s going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him and give thanks, just because He is God–regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter in our journey?”
And then there was this beautiful pledge that was placed carefully within the final pages of this book written by Russell Kelfer. His suggestion was to write out this document on a piece of paper, sign your name at the bottom and recommit yourself to it on a regular basis. I signed and printed mine placing it within the pages of my Bible. It goes like this:
Having been born into the kingdom of God, I do hereby acknowledge that God’s purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all eternity. I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain or to have success or prosperity. He has not guaranteed me perfect health. He has not guaranteed me perfect parents. He has not guaranteed me perfect children. He has not guaranteed me the absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings, or persecution. What He has promised me is eternal life. What He has promised me is abundant life. What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life. Therefore I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations, and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit, for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life.
Such a beautiful prayer; a promise to God to always remember how precious His gift to us is. A gentle reminder that we were bought with a price, we are His, not our own. Let us always seek for His will to be done, not our own will, and be ever in thanksgiving and praise to the One True and Living God. Where would we be without Him?
Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.
~ Charles Jefferson ~
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.