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Posts Tagged ‘psalm 138’

A thankful heart is a shield, an antidote, and a bridge. Psalm 138 begins, “I give You thanks O God with my whole heart.” It is our right response.  God is the giver of all good gifts and He is worthy of all praise and thanksgiving.  And within this dynamic world He has made, thanksgiving freely offered releases God’s power in marvelous ways.

A thankful heart is a shield.  Bad things happen in life.  Some we can see coming while others we cannot.  Our response to difficulties shapes us more than anything if we let it.  During difficulty it is easy to lose sight of the things most helpful… that God loves us, that He is with us, that God truly cares for us.  These truths, and they are fundamental truths that remain even when all hell breaks loose against us, are a bulwark against fear, doubt, despair, and the host of other negatives that accompany pain and loss.  When we focus our eyes upon Jesus and give Him thanks for what He has provided, a wall against the secondary effects of difficulties is set in place to protect our heart.  Pain, suffering, and grief are not removed.  They are natural and right responses which will eventually diminish.  However despair, hatred, revenge and other attitudes are not God’s best for us.  Thanksgiving sets a barrier against the intentional acts of the enemy to keep us down.

A thankful heart is an antidote.  Giving thanks to God, not only in the midst of a bad thing, but for the bad thing, requires an act of faith.  When we do our faith is enlarged and the load we carry becomes a bit lighter.  But thankfulness should also spring forth when things are going fine.  Complacency is one of the most subtle and effective of satan’s tactics.  When we are complacent and satisfied we are prone to believe that we are fine and we have everything under control.  Thankfulness at this point is essential to propel us toward the vibrant faith and action to which God has called us.  Perhaps the most obvious area where thankfulness serves as an antidote is when things are going great.  At the point of receiving good news it is right to open our hearts and mouth in immediate thanksgiving and praise to God.  Pride is a real challenge for the persons who have much.  True thanksgiving springs from a humble heart.  It is based upon the recognition that there is One greater who has provided the gift and verbalizes this reality.

A thankful heart is a bridge.  One of the most powerful acts a person can give is forgiveness.  Jesus exhorts us to forgive one another as the Father has forgiven us.  Our natural tendency is to hold on to our anger until we achieve justice (or more precisely justice as we see it).  The Lord knows that grudges only do damage.  And they generally do much more damage to the person holding the grudge than to the one who is the focal point of the grudge.  How do you find forgiveness when you have a legitimate complaint against another?  I have found that when I consider God’s legitimate complaint against me for ignoring His standard for living, for breaking His law, for treating His overwhelming love and grace with low regard and yet He died on a cross for me, I am thankful.  And from that place of thankfulness I can extend forgiveness toward another.  In this way a thankful heart begins building the bridge.

We have so much to be thankful for – we can begin with the things of beauty God has placed in our lives.  I saw a beautiful sunset last night that was worthy of a “thank You, Lord”.  The people who God has placed in our lives.  My son-in-law called last night and we had a great chat.  “Thanks for calling Jeff, and thank You Lord for another son in my later years.”  My wife who makes me laugh… a lot.  “Thank you Lisa for the sparkle and spice you bring to my life, and thank You Lord for the blessing of a soul mate whom I love and who loves me.”  Now I am giving examples from the last hour or so of my evening and I could name many more.  Yet just that little bit has me so encouraged and thankful to our Father that I am ready for the day.  That makes me think of one more benefit of a thankful heart – it is a motivator.

Lord give us eyes to see Your hand at work in our lives today.  Then give us thankful hearts to express the gratitude that You most assuredly deserve. 

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