Tag Archives: gratitude

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

There is no simpler prescription for human joy than the one Paul wrote for the Thessalonian disciples.

As children of God, if we have no reason to rejoice, we aren’t paying attention to all of the wonderful people, places, and things that God has created.

If we have no one for whom to pray other than ourselves, we aren’t paying attention in the places God has stationed us for the purpose of knowing how to pray for others in their distress.

If our hearts lack gratitude, we aren’t paying attention to the blessings we receive without a thought (and without a “thank you”).

When we don’t pay attention, we cheat ourselves of the opportunity to be a dancing light in the darkness; a partner with God in the transformation of a human life; and a source of joy to our heavenly Father.

Take less notice of yourself, and greater notice of the situations and the persons around you with the perspective of God, and your life will become a joyful, holy adventure!  – Luther

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“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'”  (Psalm 14:1, NIV)

A term found in more than one instance in the writings of the late sage Oswald Chambers is “practical atheist.”

It is a term that is properly applied to anyone — regardless of his or her declaration of beliefs — who lives as if there is no God.  In a practical sense, even the disciple of Jesus can — and does — act as if God isn’t.

For example, when we are blessed with abundance, do we credit God or do we credit our own enterprise and initiative?  When we succeed where others have failed, do we thank God or do we chalk it up to “luck”?  When our minds are clear and when our bodies are ailment-free, do we make haste to the house of worship; or do we prefer instead leisure and activities of self-celebration?

A more rigorous test of our practical beliefs is not during adversity and personal suffering (when nearly everyone is seeking divine assistance); but during times of abundance and personal ease.  In such seasons, numerous are the temptations to live as if “there is no God.”  – Luther

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“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”  (Colossians 3:15, NKJV)

The word we translate as “thanks” is used more than 40 times in the New Testament. (And that does not include variants of that word, such as “thanksgiving,” and “gratitude.”)

We have so much for which to be thankful, yet even the children of God are admonished (as Paul did to the Christians in Colosse) to be thankful.  I wonder whether it is because — like it or not — it seems to be our nature to focus on the few things we lack, instead of the many things we have.

As a nation, a day in November is set-aside for giving thanks.  As the children of the living God, we are invited to make every day “Thanksgiving Day.”  Is there a dearth of evidence of God’s goodness?  – Luther

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