A Grateful Heart
The Lord invites us to “enter His courts with thanksgiving.” We’re to “come into His presence with praise.” Paul challenges the New Testament believers in Philippi, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, NASB). We can live in His presence and enjoy prayerful intercession with a spirit of gratitude.
We don’t owe Him anything — He just loves to bless those who are yielded and committed to His kingdom purpose.
I remember a while back thinking about all the things for which to be grateful and give God praise, I found myself saying, “God, you’ve been so good to me. You’ve done so much! I’m so thankful — I just want to do a lot of things for You!” It was as if He answered in that very high-impact, but still-small voice, “I don’t accept payback! I am a God of grace and blessings. I love to bless in order that you may be a blessing.”
I found myself overwhelmed by the greatness of God’s grace. We don’t owe Him anything — He just loves to bless those who are yielded and committed to His kingdom purpose. It was as if our conversation continued. He said, “James, you awaken every day with thanksgiving and praise on your lips! You live with your eyes wide open, looking for opportunities to be a blessing; to notice a need, a heavy heart, a sad countenance. You attempt to put My arms of comfort around those who suffer. For all of those who have found it is more blessed to give than to receive, they will continually experience My bountiful blessings in their lives.”
The Joy of Being a Blessing
I know, of course, the blessings of God cannot be measured with any material standard, although we may experience great monetary gain or extreme challenges. As Paul shared, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13, NASB).
I’ve made it a habit to carry some cash to help anyone God impresses me to share it with. This morning when I was shopping in a home improvement store, I sensed God asking me to give a large bill to a sweet family. I said, “You’re a beautiful family doing things together. I just felt led by God to give you this. I love to bless families, and perhaps you have a need for it. If not, it’s possible you know someone who does and you will have the joy of sharing it.” In amazement, they expressed sincere gratitude.
There are no words to describe the joy that flows so freely in my heart when I simply seek to release all God has entrusted to my watch-care. I am thankful for every friend of LIFE Outreach. I am thankful for every missionary and relief worker who sacrifices so unselfishly and yet tell us every time we comment on it, “We’re not making a sacrifice. We are seeking to live joyfully in the center of God’s will — alleviating the suffering Christ died to make possible.”
To all of you who are reading, I’m grateful for the opportunity to say, “Thank you for taking the time to read the words I share and for any prayer you have lifted before God in our behalf or for others. Thank you from the bottom of our heart.”
Much to Be Grateful For
Don’t we have a lot to be grateful for? Aren’t you glad we have the privilege of blessing others? Why don’t you consider doing what one of my friends did recently after blessing a large group of men. He said, “I know you will want to say thanks by writing a note or sending an email, but I am asking you to take the same time and write a note or email expressing appreciation to someone other than me who has blessed your life.” I thought this was a great suggestion. Is there someone you could send a message of appreciation to this Thanksgiving?
So often we hear our leaders say, “God bless America,” and I find myself responding every time, “Dear Lord, please help America to bless You by blessing others.” With all the turmoil and unrest, there is such a great need for grateful and compassionate hearts, along with caring and sharing hands. In response to what Christ has done for us, how can we not seek to bless others?
Betty and I are thrilled to have more than 30 members of our family and their special friends join us to celebrate this Thanksgiving together. This includes our children, grandchildren, their spouses or close friends, and our two great grandchildren. Wow! From our family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!