Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV) Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Emphasis Added).

According to Psalms 100, if we desire to maintain an attitude of gratitude, we must…

  1. Sing a joyful song!

Psalms 100:2b (TLB) …come before him, singing with joy” (Emphasis Added).

When we sing praises to the Lord, He does not care whether we can “carry a tune” or not; because He is the One Who provides the talent.  However, only WE can provide the sincerity with which we sing!  We must supply the heart, He fills it with joy, and we return it to Him!

God is drawn to the song of a broken heart!

Several children had been recaptured, who had been so long with the Indians, that they could give no account of themselves. A mother who had lost two children years before went to seek her lost ones among them. The children were drawn up in line for inspection; but she could not recognize any of them as hers. She turned away, weeping, but soon began to sing the hymn that had been her children’s lullaby-song. Scarce a line had been sung, when her two lost children rushed from the line, exclaiming, “Mama, mamma!”

According to Psalms 100, if we desire to maintain an attitude of gratitude, we must…

  1. See that the Lord is good!

Psalms 100:3 (TLB)Try to realize what this means—the Lord is God! He made us—we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (Emphasis Added).

Have you ever watched a bumble bee get stuck in a glass of water? That bee will fly around in the glass. It will hit the sides of the glass and it will look down, look around, and look at the water. The bee will look everywhere but up! We need to look up and see that the Lord is God!

“Someone has said that our great matters are little to God’s power and that our little matters are great to his love. As soon as we have this conception of God, we shall see that he invites us to come at every moment, and that he is really longing for fellowship with his children. Sometimes he brings us to the end of our resources so that we shall ask him for what we need.” –Donald Grey Barnhouse

As we discussed earlier, our perspective is determined by our vision.  What we focus on will determine our direction.  We fallen humans tend to take God’s Goodness for granted.  We relish, even demand, our right to choose, yet we tend to blame God for what does not work well in our lives and take personal credit for what appear to direct results of our wise choices.

Many are in the same “relationship” with God as Voltaire was reported to be…

It is said that the French unbeliever Voltaire tipped his hat as a funeral procession went by. A friend said, “I didn’t know you acknowledged God.” Voltaire replied, “We nod, but we don’t speak.” — Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997)

James 1:17 (KJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Emphasis Added).

When we walk with an attitude of gratitude, we will recognize that our Father is working “all things together” for our good.  This includes even the selfish, self-serving, and self-willed decisions that we make.  He is the Good, Good Father Who is willing to take our mess and turn it into a masterpiece.  However, we must first be willing to give Him all the “pieces” of our mess.

After He has put the pieces of our lives back together, He does NOT call us before Himself to remind us of the mess we made.  He rather opens His arms to us, cradles us to Himself, and simply says, “Go, and sin nor more!”

“Some people are appreciative by nature, but some are not; and it is these latter people who especially need God’s power to express thanksgiving. We should remember that every good gift comes from God and that He is (as the theologians put it ) ‘the Source, Support, and End of all things.’ The very breath in our mouths is the free gift of God. Thankfulness is the opposite of selfishness. The selfish person says, ‘I deserve what comes to me! Other people ought to make me happy.’ But the mature Christian realizes that life is a gift from God, and that the blessings of life come only from His bountiful hand.” — Warren W. Wiersbe, A Time To Be Renewed

An attitude of gratitude will also enable the person who walks with such to “see” the good in others.  When one is walking in right relationship and fellowship with God, he can more readily walk with his fellowmen in peace.  Having been forgiven by God, and being grateful for such forgiveness, enhances the ability to forgive others. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is easier when we keep count of the good things God has done and is doing!

According to Psalms 100, if we desire to maintain an attitude of gratitude, we must…

  1. Say a word of thanksgiving!

Psalms 100:4 – 5 (TLB) Go through his open gates with great thanksgiving; enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.  For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (Emphasis Added).

It’s one thing to be grateful.  It’s another thing to express gratitude!  I think it is far more important to praise the Lord for what He has done than it is to seek His Face to move on our behalf.  When I call to remembrance His Goodness and His Grace, it should provoke the shout of praise with which we began this discussion on Psalms 100.  You see, when we praise the Lord and give Him thanks, we are being the most unselfish we can be.  We are not seeking Him to do anything further.

As a grandparent, I’m always happy to see my grandchildren.  Because I desire to be a loving grandparent, I look for opportunities to show my love for my grandchildren.  Therefore, I give gifts, surprises, and “just-because” treats as an extension of my love.  It would sadden my heart if my grandchildren came into my house or office with an expression of expectation on their faces instead of an expression of love.

An “expression of expectation” would present an attitude of expectancy for finding what gift, surprise, or treat I had prepared to give them instead of satisfaction for just being in my presence.

How often do we pass up the opportunity to praise the Lord and give a word of testimony and thanksgiving to the Lord?! Instead, we often attend a worship service with an “attitude of expectancy” rather than with an “attitude of gratitude!”

Speaking of expressing gratitude, we must keep in mind that how we speak with others reflects how we speak with God.  How we talk about others reflects how we talk about God. I wonder what our “encounter” with God would be like in the worship services IF we took extra care how we interact with others?

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   Back in the very early thirties, William Stidger was seated one day with a group of friends in a restaurant. Everyone was talking about the depression: how terrible it was, the suffering people, rich people committing suicide, the jobless, the whole thing. The conversation got more and more miserable as it went on. There was a minister in the group, and he suddenly broke in and said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do, because in two or three weeks I have to preach a sermon on Thanksgiving Day. I want to say something affirmative. What can I say that’s affirmative in a period of world depression like this?” And as the minister spoke, Stidger said it was like the Spirit of God spoke to him: “Why don’t you give thanks to those people who have been a blessing in your life and affirm them during this terrible time?”

He began to think about that. The thought came to his mind of a schoolteacher very dear to him, a wonderful teacher of poetry and English literature from years ago who had gone out of her way to put a great love of literature and verse in him. It affected all his writings and his preaching. So, he sat down and wrote a letter to this woman, now up in years. It was only a matter of days until he got a reply in the feeble scrawl of the aged. “My Dear Willy” –Stidger says at that time he was about 50 years of age and was bald, and no one had called him Willy for a long time, so just the opening sentence warmed his heart. Here’s the letter:
  “My Dear Willy: I can’t tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and like the last leaf of autumn lingering behind.” Listen to this sentence, will you? “You’ll be interested to know that I taught in school for more than fifty years, and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has done in many years.”

Stidger says, “I’m not sentimental, but I found myself weeping over that note.” Then he thought of a kindly bishop, now retired, an old man who had recently faced the death of his wife and was all alone. This bishop had taken a lot of time, given him advice and counsel and love when he first began his ministry. So, he sat down and wrote the old bishop.  In two days, a reply came back. “My Dear Will: Your letter was so beautiful, so real, that as I sat reading it in my study, tears fell from my eyes, tears of gratitude. Before I realized what I was doing, I rose from my chair and I called her name to share it with her, forgetting she was gone. You’ll never know how much your letter has warmed my spirit. I have been walking around in the glow of your letter all day long.”

— David A. Seamands, Instruction for Thanksgiving

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