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November 28, 2014

A Grateful Heart

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28-29 (NASB)

Do you have a grateful heart?  When was the last time you said thank you to someone and expressed your appreciation for them?  Thanksgiving reminds us to show gratitude for all that God and others have done for us and mean to us.  The writer of Hebrews said, “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe….”  God loves a grateful heart. Gratitude demonstrates humility and allows me to recognize that it is God who has enabled me to be where I am and have what I have today.  In contrast, Paul describes the perilous times that will come in the last days and, among the laundry list of evil behaviors he describes, there is one word that seems to be out of place.  Look at it in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT):

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Did you notice the word that seems out of place?  Among the 19 or 20 descriptions that Paul used to characterize the difficult times in the last days, he listed the word “ungrateful.”  A lack of gratitude doesn’t seem to be that heinous a crime.  So what? The truth is that ingratitude is at the root of all the other sins listed in the last days.  An ungrateful heart assumes that I am the sole explanation for all that I am and have!  This Thanksgiving season, pray for a grateful heart.  Blow your family away with kindness and gratitude.  The Bible calls it our “acceptable service….”  Make a list of those for whom you are grateful and let them know how much you appreciate them.  Express your gratitude to God.  Give thanks for all that He has done.  Be specific in your praise.  The Psalmist said that we enter the gates of Heaven with thanksgiving, but we enter God’s courts with praise!  Discover the power of praise with a grateful heart!  Show gratitude with reverence and awe as you worship this weekend at church.