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Gratefulness – Pull Up A Chair

~Psalm 111:2 The works of the LORD [are] great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

I have had days where it was so difficult for me to be grateful for anything  😳 Haven’t you had days like that? On days like that, it’s difficult to even open my Bible to read so I can encourage myself!

I’m so thankful that the Father loves me so much that He has provided His beautiful creation all around me as a reminder of His grace! It is at those times that I can behold His beauty and wonder and turn that ungrateful heart into a grateful one! It’s not long after that I am reminded of my many blessings and I am able to count each one!

~Ephesians 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:

 

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it is fitting to focus on a thankful heart. I love Noah Webster’s definition of the word psalm:

A sacred song or hymn; a song composed on a divine subject and in praise of God. The most remarkable psalms are those composed by David and other Jewish saints, a collection of one hundred and fifty of which constitutes a canonical book of the Old Testament, called Psalms, or the book of Psalms. The word is also applied to sacred songs composed by modern poets, being versifications of the scriptural psalms, or of these with other parts of Scripture, composed for the use of churches; as the Psalms of Tate and Brady, of Watts, etc.

Can you imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when His children come before Him in their prayer closets or church services with this kind of grateful and thankful prayer? Can you imagine what it would be like if God’s children would make this joyful noise to Him with this kind of sacred psalm? I have chill bumps just thinking about it!

I know how blessed I am when my children are thankful for their blessings in life and say so. How much more our Heavenly Father? All blessings come from Him. He is worthy to be blessed, praised and worshiped! God enjoys blessing His children just as we enjoy blessing ours. Do we like it when our children are ungrateful? Of course not. Nor should we be ungrateful to our precious Heavenly Father. After all, He sent His only Son to take our punishment for sin so that we may inherit eternal life! There is no better reason to be thankful! (John 3:16)

Share with me today as we start preparing our hearts for one of the best holidays this country has. Yes, the world has turned it into a money-making holiday. As Christians, we must remember why we are thankful and sing sacred psalms to the One who has provided for us. I can think of many reasons why I am thankful – not just at Thanksgiving but every day: my salvation, my husband and the fact that he has survived colon cancer, my children, my precious grandson, my Pastor, my dear friends, my church family, my health, and the list goes on. When I focus on being thankful, I am not thinking about my problems and trials. (Ephesians 5:20, James 1:17, 2 Corinthians 9:15, Philippians 4:6)

O King of Kings, O Lord of Lords
Henry Burton, 1887

O King of kings, O Lord of hosts, Whose throne is lifted high
Above the nations of the earth, the armies of the sky,
The spirits of perfected saints may give their nobler songs
And we, Thy children, worship Thee, to Whom all praise belongs.

Thy hand has hid within our fields treasures of countless worth;
The light, the suns of other years, shine from the depths of earth;
The very dust, inbreathed by Thee, the clods all cold and dead,
Wake into beauty and to life, to give Thy children bread.

Thou Who hast sown the sky with stars, and set Thy thoughts in gold,
Hast crowned our nation’s life, and ours, with blessings manifold;
Thy mercies have been numberless; Thy love, Thy grace, Thy care,
Were wider than our utmost need, and higher than our prayer.

O King of kings, O Lord of hosts, our fathers’ God and ours!
Be with us in the future years; and if the tempest lowers,
Look through the cloud with light of love, and smile our tears away
And lead us through the brightening years to Heaven’s eternal day.


Numbers 13:31-33 (But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

If you take a moment to read this entire chapter, you will remember that God promised the children of Israel the beautiful land of Canaan. However, somewhere along the way, the children of Israel forgot the blessings of yesterday – how this same God had rescued them in times passed! This was the same God who parted the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh and his chariots! (Exodus 14) In today’s reading, it does not appear as though the children of Israel remembered God’s power. How sad it is that we soon forget God’s blessings and the miracles He performs in our every day lives!

I’m certain that you’ve been in situations in life where you have felt like you were a grasshopper in comparison to the giant of a problem you were experiencing. I know that I have been in those circumstances many a time! Some days it felt as though I had to climb a mountain in order to get over the crisis of the day. Today’s photo of this beautiful mountain really spoke to my heart as I was working on this devotional. As impossible as it seems to be able to climb this mountain, the solution to my crisis seemed just as impossible! I really felt as though I was that grasshopper in the midst of giants. I can almost feel exactly what the children of Israel were feeling!

So how is a Christian suppose to act when he is confronted with a ‘giant’? I love the Jewish holy days that the Jews were commanded to celebrate. God knows our weaknesses. He created days where the children of Israel had to take time out of their busy schedule to honor Him, to remember His blessings and how He gave them shelter during their storms! God knows that when we take a moment to remember His goodness, our discouragement or feelings of being overwhelmed will be easier to handle. The storm of life does not go away but we are aware that the Lord can help us through them. (Psalm 121:1-2) In giving the people holy days to remember, God gave them an opportunity to reflect and remember what He had done for them. The Psalmist, David, practiced this very thing as he shared in three of his psalms: Psalm 42:6, Psalm 77:10, and Psalm 77:11  A Christian who makes it a practice to remember God’s goodness on a daily basis will be able to fight the giants in his spiritual life.

What giant are you facing today, reader? Do you feel like a grasshopper in the midst? Think back on the problems and trials in your life thus far. If you’re reading this devotional, then I can safely assume that you survived each one through the grace of God! 🙂 Remember how the Lord worked out the details and blessed you?! Those were yesterday’s giants – you are yesterday’s grasshopper! Yet the Lord conquered your giant, my friend. What makes you think that He would not help you with this giant? Meditate on the details of yesterday’s trial and how God worked every one of them out! This will make your heart tender and will prepare it for praise, honor and worship.

We are exhorted to give thanks in all things. Wow, Paul, really? But how can we give thanks when we are in the midst of a severe trial? How can I thank God for this crisis? Paul gives us the answer:

Eph. 5:19-20 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

When I sing hymns and spiritual songs, my mind cannot focus on my problems. In so doing, I place a song in my heart – I’ve converted my sorrowful heart into a joyful one. A thankful heart will not have room for defeat because it is too busy being thankful – it is too busy being grateful for what the Lord has done in days gone by. Christians need to celebrate days of remembrance of their own – our own personal ‘holy’ days, if you will. When our prayer life includes song, worship and thankful praise to our Lord and Saviour for the many blessings that we have, we do not have time for bitterness. A grateful heart does not give himself an opportunity for complaining! (Job 5:8-9)

When we complain about our lot in life, we place ourselves in a position where we display a bad testimony. It’s a bad testimony to have an ungrateful heart because it shows others that our God is not able! It is also showing our children and other Christians around us just how much we do not trust the Lord to take care of our giants! (Proverbs 3:5-6) We reveal just how much of a grasshopper we believe that we are!

Is our God able or isn’t He? He is still the ultimate Conqueror! (Romans 8:37-39) He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. This same God who parted the Red Sea and conquered the giants in Canaan, will help you with your giants! David not only faced his giant (Goliath), he ran towards him. (1 Samuel 17:48) David knew that his God was able to help defeat his giant because he remembered how his God brought him through previous trials! (1 Samuel 17:37)

Proverb 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalm 111

1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. 2 The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. 3 His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. 5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. 7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

As Christians, what comes out of our mouths? Are we constantly complaining or moaning about our circumstances? If an unbeliever were listening to our conversations, would they be able to tell that we are children of the King of Kings? These are pretty poignant questions, aren’t they?

No matter what our lot is in life, we have so much for which to be thankful! Just take a look around you. Psalm 111:2 says that those who have pleasure in God’s good works seek out His works. The Lord must delight in His children’s praises as they sit in awe looking out the stars, don’t you think? The Lord made all these things just for us so that we could behold their beauty and remember Him (PSalm 111:4)! Even in our day-to-day needs, we can see how He has provided (Psalm 111:5). Every time I think of His blessings in my life, I am reminded of:

“Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

As the heart is prepared by praising the Lord for His marvelous blessings, Psalm 111:9 then leads us into the ultimate blessing, our salvation! Even the most pessimist Christian must acknowledge this blessing! We deserve judgment and Hell because the Lord’s words are truth and He will carry out those judgments (Psalm 111:8).

The child of God who obeys God’s Word is wise and will have His praises on their lips (Psalm 111:10). So Christian, how’s your mouth today? (Matt. 15:18 and Luke 6:45) Better yet, how’s your heart?

Psalm 107

1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

The best New Year’s resolution a believer could make is to be more thankful for the blessings God has bestowed upon him (Psalm 107:1). [Note to Reader: I’ve added the new widget that allows you to see the Scripture verse by positioning your curser over the Bible reference and a small pop-up will appear with the verse.] The natural display of emotion after receiving a blessing is to tell others, hence Psalm 107:2. The child of God who does not see these blessings or stays silent after being blessed is self centered and ungrateful child. This may come across as harsh to some who read this but let’s stop and discuss why I am saying this.

Psalm 10:4 says that the prideful man does not have God in his thoughts. In fact, the verse regards this person as wicked. Surely the child of the King does not want to be in the same category as the wicked and ungodly. If the Christian does not have God in his thoughts, he loses focus. He does not see that the very bread on his table is there because the Lord has blessed him! (Psalm 37:25) He does not see that the bills are being paid because the Lord has provided a job and finances to pay for those bills. The ungrateful believer is absorbed in himself. He has succumbed to the sin of pride and taken his eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 2:16)  The cares of this world and all that it offers has consumed him and he has forgotten the Lord.

Don’t you know that God will get your attention one way or another if you are His child? (Proverbs 3:12)  It is a fearful thing to ignore God!  Would your earthly parents have “taken it” if you had ignored their instructions?  Absolutely not!  You would have been punished for sure.  Why would you think it different in your relationship with your Heavenly Father?

It is a miserable believer indeed who does not recognize the blessings that flow from the Throne of Grace! Dear friend, if you are reading this and think me foolish, I beg you to try this resolution! Dig down deep if you have to but find one thing to be thankful for each morning! Start with your salvation! Meditate on what was done to our Saviour before and during the suffering of the cross! My word, no royalty has ever left his kingdom to pay a punishment for you! But our Lord and Saviour did! He left His Heavenly throne to take on the form of man so He could die for us! Such love!!

Can you do it? Will you do it is more the question that needs to be asked. I know way too many people who call themselves Christians and are absolutely miserable! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! If your salvation is the only blessing you can be thankful for, then start saying so. It won’t be long before your heart allows the Holy Spirit to do His job!

Start your new year off by committing to God that you will make Him the center of your life. Start by recognizing the day’s blessings when you review your day at bed time. Thank Him for these blessings. Then when you wake up the next morning, make it a point to tell others. There is a person out there that needs encouraging and sharing your blessings may be just the thing that person needs!

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~Psalm 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

It is good to remember our blessings and to thank God for all that He has given to us. He has blessed us with so much, hasn’t He? But I believe that the blessing that leads all blessings for me is in Christ’s holiness! Without Christ’s perfect holiness, we would not be able to enjoy salvation. It is this perfection that made Him the only one qualified to die for our sins because He lived a sinless and perfect life. He was our spotless Lamb!

Thank You, Lord, for dying for us! Without You, we would be lost and on our way to Hell. Praise Your Holy Name!!!

24. October 2007 · 1 comment · Categories: Poetry · Tags: ,

There is no other who can fill my heart
The way You can, dear Lord.
There is nothing else that can satisfy
Like a drink from Your precious word.

Each page has just what I need to read
To guide and to light my way.
When my heart is heavy or overwhelmed
Your words are fresh like winter air.

There is none other like you my Lord
You know exactly what I need
On each page Your Spirit whispers truth
And the waters of doubt recede

You raise me up when I am down
My spirit you cause to soar
As I look unto the hills for You
I find Your love and so much more!

Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour is.
So deserving to be adored.
The Alpha, Omega, first and last,
And King of Kings forever more!

Kate Plourde
October 24, 2007