Enjoying the Journey

Blessed people often become the most rebellious. If you don’t believe me, look at God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. When we are full of good things it is easy to get full of ourselves. How quickly we forget! When we are seeing answers to prayer, opportunities to serve, favor with people, and gifts of His goodness it should drive us beyond the blessings to the Blesser. Every thing we receive from His hand should cause us to seek His face. When we are blessed… We must remember that it is all mercy. We don’t deserve any of it! In fact, the only thing we deserve is hell and anything better than hell is better than we deserve. “…that…

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Several years ago I had the joy of speaking to a large group of children on the subject of thanksgiving. In preparation I learned how to say thank you in several languages. While I am quite sure that my pronunciation was not perfect, we had fun teaching the kids to say thanks in Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, German, French, and Russian. To this day it is the only word I know in most of those languages! Sometimes the hardest thing we have to do is learn to say thank you in our own language. As a small child I remember my parents giving me something and quickly asking, “What do you say?” The longer I live I am convinced…

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God’s people are commanded to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances – not when we feel like it. Praise is a choice and gratitude is a discipline. Thanks doesn’t begin in the emotion, it begins in the will. Will we obey? “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Every good fruit grows in the garden of gratitude. When we give God thanks the Lord works in every direction… Only God gets the glory. Praise is a humbling thing, a recognition that we are…

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Through the years I have written a number of brief articles on the subject of gratitude. From time to time we all must be reminded how good God has been and how worthy He is of our praise! I thought that today you may enjoy reading one of these Bible meditations in your personal devotional time. Perhaps you could read one with your family as you gather to give thanks. My Thanksgiving List In One Sentence God’s Greatest Provision Why I Am Grateful For What I Never Got For Thanksgiving Day WHO Are You Thankful For? Don’t just “be thankful” – “give thanks!” Personally, intentionally, specifically set aside time today to give God praise and praise Him to others. We…

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All month on Enjoying the Journey we have been studying the life of thankfulness. Around many tables today people will share a list of things for which they are grateful. On this Thanksgiving Day I am taking a few moments to reflect on one question: Am I truly a thankful person? Are you? You might be surprised to find that grateful people have always been in the minority. It is more natural to grumble and groan than to give thanks. In the Old Testament the Lord sent twelve spies in to the land to spy out all that He had provided for them. He didn’t need their opinion or their idea. He just wanted them to see it and share…

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Today is my son’s 13th birthday. We have had a wonderful time celebrating this week as a family. How could we have three teenagers?! I asked Grant to lead us in prayer for our meal the other night. Near the end of his prayer he said, “Thank you, God, for giving me 13 years.” It was a simple statement. It made a profound impact on me. Indeed, God is the One who gives us every year…every day. And we should be grateful for every one of them. As a dad I was encouraged by his prayer. As a Christian I was convicted by it. How often do I pause just to thank the Lord for life? He gave it. He…

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Society is full of people who speak as though they made themselves what they are. Churches are too. It is so easy to think that it was our own effort or ability that brought us to where we are. It was not. Any good thing in our lives is because of God’s goodness to us. He alone is the Source and He uses many channels. The only thing I can make is a mess! Every blot on my life was made by me. Every beauty in my life was made by Him who does all things well. The hymn writer said it beautifully: Naught have I gotten, but what I’ve received. Grace hath bestowed it, since I have believed. Boasting excluded;…

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We take family for granted…until they are gone. We take health for granted…until it is broken. We take sleep for granted…until it refuses to come. We take children for granted…until they are grown.   We take the church for granted…until we have to find a new one. We take friends for granted…until they are not near. We take sunshine for granted…until the clouds descend. We take rain for granted…until the drought.   We take our mind for granted…until its thoughts are clouded. We take Christ’s fellowship for granted…until our heart grows cold. We take senses for granted…until they begin to fade. We take youth for granted…until we are old.   We take the gospel for granted…until a lost friend dies.…

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I must be getting more sentimental in my old age. Over the last few years I have developed a great love for poetry. In so many ways it expresses the deepest feelings of the soul. It is my conviction that this is why the Holy Spirit used poetry in the Word of God to articulate some of the deepest truths surrounding our relationship to God. Poetry is one of God’s beautiful messengers. In my office I keep some volumes of famous and favorite poems. This week I came across a poem that I had never read. It was written by one of the truly great Bible teachers of another generation, Dr. James M. Gray. As I read it for the…

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Families will gather around tables this week and briefly mention the many blessings for which they are grateful to God. For most of us the emphasis will be on the good things we have received. God truly has given us so much. This Thanksgiving I am thanking God for something else. I am grateful for what I never received. I have not received what I should have received. You see, I should have been in hell right now. But I am not there…and I am never going there! God in His mercy has withheld the judgment that I deserve. Christ took it so that I would never have to. I thank God. I have not received what I could have…

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