A Thankful Heart 1 - A key to overflowing joy!
The Lord has shown me recently how important and vital a thankful heart is to our spiritual health. This sounds very elementary, but there is much to be learned here! This teaching was broken up into three parts because it is so long:
1. How God sees a thankful heart & Even when things fell apart
2. The seriousness of unthankfulness & Symptoms of an unthankful heart
3. How to become thankful
God has been prompting me to write this teaching for some time now, and now I know why! The Lord has revealed to me how a thankful heart can change the whole way you see life! It is a flood-gate opener to blessings, joy peace and all sorts of goodness. With thankful hearts, we can even touch the very heart of God, and King David even told us that when we approach God, enter into His gates with thankful hearts!
Psalms 100:4, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
I mean it when I say that developing a thankful heart can revolutionize the quality and enjoyment of one's life!
How God sees a thankful heart
Let's say that you had a grandson, and you went out and built him the best backyard playground in town. You spent thousands of dollars on it, and invested countless hours to put this together. When you're all done, you walk your grandson into the back yard to show him to new surprise. He first screams with excitement and then he cries because he thinks of how wonderful of a grandpa he has, and gives you the biggest hug you've ever received. Then for the next month, he can't stop playing in his new playground and continually thanks you up and down for such a wonderful gift. Wouldn't that make you feel good inside for blessing him in such a way? You would probably want to run out and do it all over again, just because he loved it so much and was so thankful for everything you did.
Now consider if you went through all that work and spend all that money, only to have your grandson go jump on the swing a few times and leave, and act as if you haven't invested a dime in it. Never once did he show any appreciation, or thankfulness for all you've done. Wouldn't that make you feel awful? Wouldn't that make it hard for you to continue blessing him in the future?
How do you think God feels, when He's done so much for us (He made us, gave us such wonderful bodies and minds, then when we messed up, He sent His son to die for us, etc.), and then we go throughout the day not even stopping to think about all He's done for us? We're too busy taking our children to the baseball game, watching TV, and countless other things... that we don't even stop to think about all God's done for us. How do you think that makes God feel? Do you think He gets overwhelmed with joy, and can't wait to send us more blessings? If you were in His position, would you feel that way? Wouldn't you want your people to be thankful for the goodness and blessings you have showered upon them?
When we are thankful for the goodness of God in our lives, it touches the very heart of God and encourages Him to shower even more blessings upon us. A thankful heart is truly a floodgate to the blessings and goodness of God in our lives!
Psalms 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Even when things fell apart!
A couple really neat stories in the Bible stand out to me when the subject of thankfulness is brought up. One is when Paul and Silas were cast into prison, but instead of grumbling... can anybody tell me what they were upto? Let's see...
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (Acts 16:25)
Now if you ask me, few of us have circumstances like Paul and Silas had to complain about. But instead of complaining, they lifted their hands to the Lord with thankful hearts and began to sing praises! Why? Because they took what Jesus said literally when He told them...
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." (Matthew 5:11)
They were taking God's Word seriously, and praising God despite the physical (here and now) circumstances... shouldn't we be doing the same thing today when things turn black around us?
So what happened to Paul and Silas and their reservations at the local prison? Let's find out...
"And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed." (Acts 16:26)
Their praises during that time touched the very heart of God, and as a result, the very ground the prison was on shook with an earthquake and they were loosed!! All I can say is... WOW! I guess you could say that their singing out in praises in the face of despair touched the very heart of God! My question to you is, would God not be touched by our praises today? Would He not do the same thing for us today that He did for them?
Another powerful story of thankfulness is the story of Joseph. God gave him visions of his brothers bowing before him, but on the earthly plane he was sold into slavery. Did he once complain? Did he once turn his back on God? He was even offered sex by the wife of Potiphar, and turned his back on sin for the sake of doing what was right! So then what happened? She lied about him and had him threw into prison! Come now, how many of us are in such positions? This man was a beautiful man of God, putting His walk with God above everything in life, and yet he was sold into slavery, then cast into prison? If anybody has a place to grumble, I think it ought to be him! But he had his mind so much on the goodness and promises of God, that it didn't even phase him! What happened? God promoted him to an extremely high position in the government, and was put in charge of the food (the #1 need of the land) during a famine!
> A Thankful Heart Part 1: How God sees a thankful heart & Even when things fell apart
A Thankful Heart Part 2: The seriousness of unthankfulness & Symptoms of an unthankful heart (Think your free from unthankfulness? Thank again!)
A Thankful Heart Part 3: How to become thankful