VIDEO The Art of a Grateful Heart

The Art of a Grateful Heart

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

On our wedding day, Martie and I gladly vowed to be faithful “in good times as well as in bad, in sickness as well as in health, for richer or for poorer.” In a way it may seem strange to include vows about the bleak reality of bad times, sickness, and poverty on a cheerful wedding day. But it underscores the fact that life often has “bad” times.

So what are we to do when we face life’s inevitable difficulties? Paul urges us on behalf of Christ to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As difficult as that may sound, there is good reason why God encourages us to embrace a spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is grounded in the truth that our Lord “is good” and “his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1). He is present with us and strengthens us in the midst of trouble (Hebrews 13:5–6), and He lovingly uses our trials to grow our character into His likeness (Romans 5:3–4).

God, teach me to have a grateful heart. 

When life hits us with hard times, choosing to be grateful focuses our attention on the goodness of God and gives us the strength to make it through our struggles. With the psalmist, we can sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:29).

Lord, I realize that focusing on my troubles causes me to forget that even in the midst of trials You are good. Teach me the art of a grateful heart.

Thanksgiving is a virtue that grows through practice.

By Joe Stowell 

INSIGHT

The writer of Psalm 118 knew about the struggles of living in a fallen world. Even when surrounded by enemies, the psalmist’s confidence in the Lord remained strong (vv. 8–9, 13–14, 28). Note the opening and closing verses. Despite the dangers he faced, the psalmist begins and ends by choosing to praise God: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Are you in the midst of a trial? Meditate on the Lord’s goodness and His enduring love.


Give Thanks ( With A Grateful Heart )

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Peace, Be Still!

Then [Jesus] arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39

In ancient literature, water often represents chaos. In Genesis 1:1, water covered the formless, empty, dark earth. God used a flood of waters to judge the earth in Noah’s day. In Exodus, the Red Sea threatened to destroy the escaping Hebrew slaves. And during the ministry of Jesus, storms on the Sea of Galilee threatened the well-being of His disciples. In each case, God brought order out of chaos; God was bigger and more powerful than the disorder.

There is a lesson there: Whenever chaos or danger appears imminent, our concern is not how big the problem seems but whether God is with us or not. The disciples learned this lesson when a storm threatened to take their lives on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus commanded the storm (the chaos) to be still and peace was restored (Mark 4:35-41). They learned that having Jesus with them was more important than the storm that was against them.

If chaos is threatening your peace, let Jesus be your ark of safety in the storm. He can bring peace in any storm.

Jesus Christ is no security against life’s storms, but He is perfect security in life’s storms.  Wendell Loveless

Process of Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Many people act as if there’s no defense against temptation. With the first hint of desire, they immediately throw their hands up and give in to every little enticement. Can you relate to this? What we must realize is that temptation is a gradual process, and it can be short-circuited at any stage.

Temptation usually begins in the mind, where we live out imagined scenarios. The human mind has an amazing capacity to create entire exchanges and experiences out of nothing. Through fantasy, we can enjoy something without ever bringing it into the real world. Therefore, since it’s not real, we think it’s perfectly harmless.

But a fantasy world leads to a downward spiral of enslavement. Ultimately, our thoughts become so wrapped around the one temptation that it seems impossible to think of anything else. At this point, our minds are held captive by the desire. No matter where we go or what we do, we can’t outrun our own thoughts! And when our life becomes focused on anything other than God, we are trapped.

But the Lord is faithful and will provide the way of escape. Since temptation begins in the mind, that’s where the battle should be waged. The only way to disrupt the process is by filling our minds with the Word of God. As we continually feed on a hearty diet of Scripture, the Word will work in us— uprooting sin, transforming our thoughts, and overcoming the tempting fantasy. The Bible is powerful! We can trust it to set us free from the burden of temptation.

The Divine Power, Divine Nature

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Certain passages of Scripture simply take one’s breath away. Our text for today is just such a passage. To those He has called, God has promised “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” He has provided all that we need to live godly and productive lives. It is “his divine power” (emphatic in the Greek text), imparted to us in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which makes this possible.

In order to properly utilize our resources, we must continue to grow in “the [full] knowledge of him.” Only then can we attain any measure of His “glory and virtue.” He has empowered us to reflect His glorious character and virtuous acts as we know who He is and what He has done. In so doing, we are “partakers of the divine nature” (also emphatic in the Greek).

Initially, of course, at the point of salvation we are given the Holy Spirit, always present in the life of a believer. As we increase in the knowledge of Him and yield to the work of the Spirit, our nature is ever more conformed to the divine nature of Jesus Christ.

This appropriation of divine power to sample the divine nature comes to us through “exceeding great and precious promises” bestowed by His glory and virtue. Since God has promised, these promises are sure, and through them we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” JDM

Remember me, O my God, for good

Nehemiah 13:15-31

Nehemiah was a very strict disciplinarian, and very earnest to prevent breaches of the divine law. He narrates instances of his determined action.

Nehemiah 13:15

They made a market of the Sabbath, but the godly governor would not permit it; he warned them to desist.

Nehemiah 13:16-18

He blamed the buyers more than the sellers. The men of Tyre were heathen, and knew no better, but the nobles of Judah were instructed, and should not have encouraged Sabbath-breaking.

Nehemiah 13:20

Hoping to do a sly trade in the suburbs.

Nehemiah 13:21

He used his authority vigorously, and would not be trifled with; fathers and masters should be equally resolved to have the Lord’s day observed in their households.

Nehemiah 13:22-24

Marriages of Christians with the ungodly are highly injurious to their children, who are sure to follow the worse side of the house.

Nehemiah 13:25-27

And I contended with them, and cursed them or denounced God’s curse upon them

Nehemiah 13:25-27

This stern ruler saw that the mixed marriages placed the whole nation in jeopardy, and therefore he was indignant. Love to his country made him intolerant of that which would prove its ruin.

Nehemiah 13:30, 31

Here we leave this true patriot, and eminently conscientious ruler. We are not called to govern, as he did, with an iron hand, but we ought to be equally inflexible, decided, and resolute for God, and for his holy will. The sin of other men will lie upon us if we do not bear our protest in every possible manner, for the Lord has said, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”

 

Money Is Still Not Truth

The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22)

It is a fact in human history that men and women have never in any great numbers sought after truth.

The young people who stream from our halls of learning each year confess to having no more than a passing and academic interest in truth. The majority admit that they go to college only to improve their social standing and increase their earning power.

So, the average American will confess that he most wants success in his chosen field; and he wants success both for prestige and for financial security.

The ominous thing about all this is that everything men and women want can be bought with money, and it would be difficult to think of an indictment more terrible than that!

Real seekers after truth are almost as rare as albino deer! Why? Because truth is a glorious but hard master. Jesus said, “I am the Truth,” and followed Truth straight to the Cross. The Truth seeker must follow Him there and that is the reason few men seek the Truth!

 

Becoming Fit For Glory

“The Lord will give grace and glory.” Ps. 84:11

Grace is what we need just now, and it is to be had freely. What can be freer than a gift? Today we shall receive sustaining, strengthening, sanctifying, satisfying grace. He has given daily grace until now, and as for the future, that grace is still sufficient. If we have but little grace the fault must lie in ourselves; for the Lord is not straitened, neither is He slow to bestow it in abundance. We may ask for as much as we will and never fear a refusal. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not.

The Lord may not give gold, but He will give grace: He may not give gain, but He will give grace. He will certainly send us trial, but He will give grace in proportion thereto. We may be called to labor, and to suffer, but with the call there will come all the grace required.

What an AND is that in the text — “and glory!” We do not need glory yet, and we are not yet fit for it; but we shall have it in due order. After we have eaten the bread of grace, we shall drink the wine of glory. We must go through the holy -which is grace, to the holiest of all — which is glory. These words “and glory” are enough to make a man dance for joy. A little while — a little while, and then glory forever!

 

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