Gratitude Every Second
The word thanks is probably one of the shortest words, but it carries a big meaning. How many times do we forget to give thanks? How many times do we forget to look at the sky, observe our surroundings, and smile with thanks?
We are not always disposed to express gratitude. I remember one of the saddest days of my life was when my 18-year-old niece died. I would never see her again, and I did not have the opportunity to hug her and say goodbye, due to her unexpected death. Remaining grateful during this very difficult time was the last thing that crossed my mind.
Over the years, we understand that, in a split second, the circumstances in our lives can change and rob us of that desire to be grateful. For a long time, I prayed,
Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food (Psalm 102:1-4 NIV).
For several months following this painful event, I decided to be silent and simply observe how everything was happening around me, see how each second passed. I stopped being grateful because, in the midst of this difficult process, a part of me had also died.
Pain can take us captive, and we can easily forget that God is always on our side. But, when the Lord shows us His love and His presence guides us in everything we do, He touches our hearts. Through serving in an organization like CBN, I have seen Him reflected in the lives of many people who contact us, write and call. They continue to trust and remain grateful, despite the difficulties they are experiencing, and God, through this, has touched my own heart.
Seeing and rejoicing together with people who, despite everything, give their lives to Jesus and decide to follow Him no matter what produces in me the greatest gratitude that can be expressed. It makes me realize that even in our difficulty:
The Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
With time, we can learn to always be grateful, even without understanding, without knowing what tomorrow will bring. And as every second passes, life teaches us to be grateful and to understand that, with God, all things will work for His good, redemptive purpose.
I would like to ask you, are you ready to be grateful for every second of your life?
2 Chronicles 27:2, 6 2He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the LORD. The people, however, continued their corrupt practices…
6Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the LORD his God.
Uzziah’s son, Jotham, learned from God’s quick and severe dealing with his father’s pride. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and no exceptions to that are noted. The problem was the people. Sometimes God will place a godly leader over a people whose hearts have turned away from God. Jotham’s example to them should cause them to see the blessing of God is upon those who walk in His ways. Do you know someone who is full of the fruits of the Spirit? The peace, joy, and patience in his life should give you a hunger to walk more closely to the LORD.
Sometimes the people will not heed the example God has given them. Then you can count on future leaders not to be as godly and the nation not to be as blessed. Everyone makes choices, and those choices not only affect you but those around you. Jotham’s faithfulness showered a rain of blessing upon ungodly people. Perhaps that is why he died at the young age of 41. The people did not deserve the blessing he brought them through his godly life.
God gave power to Jotham because of his godly life. The word “steadfastly” is two words in Hebrew. It means to set one’s direction. He laid out a course and stuck with it. He aimed for God and would not swerve off course. In Colossians 3 the Apostle Paul tells us to set our mind and heart on things above. The writer of the Hebrew epistle tells us to hold unswervingly to the course we have set (Hebrews 10:23). Is your course set like Jotham’s, or are you drifting? Do you know your goal, and have you decided to pursue that goal with all you have? Distractions are many and are often subtle.
Remember: Learn from both the good and bad examples of others, and keep your eyes fixed upon the goal Christ Jesus.
Making light of Christ
By charles Spurgeon
“But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.” Matthew 22:5
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 13:9-17
It is making light of the gospel and of the whole of God’s glorious things, when men go to hear and yet do not pay attention. How many who frequent churches and chapels to indulge in a comfortable nap! Think what a fearful insult that is to the King of heaven. Would they enter into Her Majesty’s palace, ask an audience, and then go to sleep before her face? And yet the sin of sleeping in Her Majesty’s presence, would not be so great, even though against her laws, as the sin of wilfully slumbering in God’s sanctuary. How many go to our houses of worship who do not sleep, but who sit with vacant stare, listening as they would to a man who could not play a lively tune upon a good instrument. What goes in at one ear goes out at the other. Whatever enters the brain goes out without affecting the heart. Ah, my hearers, you are guilty of making light of God’s gospel, when you sit under a sermon without paying attention to it! Oh! What would lost souls give to hear another sermon! What would yonder dying wretch who is just now nearing the grave, give for another Sabbath! And what will you give, one of these days, when you shall be close to Jordan’s brink, that you might have one more warning, and listen once more to the wooing voice of God’s minister! We make light of the gospel when we hear it, without solemn and awful attention to it.
For meditation: Hear—listen—remember—obey (James 1:25). A sleeping congregation is no more use than a sleeping preacher.