Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 18, 2011 … Spirit-filled Gratitude

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 5: 20 [see in bold below] … 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My Journal for Today:
John MacArthur begins his devotional entry for this date in Strength for Today with a rather stark declaration: “I’m convinced that gratitude is the single greatest act of worship we can render to God.” And, of course, he is using the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in Eph. 5: 20 as support for this contention, pointing us toward this attitude of gratitude as a foundational element in our relationship with Christ.

When we have a life sustaining attitude of thankfulness (see also 1st Thes. 5: 18), it is probably one of the most “visible” evidences for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives; and it is released by our surrender to God’s Spirit working in our heart. It is the visible evidence of God’s love working in and through the Christian (see John 13: 34, 35) which shines the Light of our Lord into a dark world and glorifies our Father in heaven (see Matt. 5: 16).

Certainly being thankful or grateful “… for everything,” as today’s verse exhorts, is not something my human, ever deceitful, heart can sustain (see Jer. 17: 9), especially in times of dire challenge, privation, or physical tribulation (see also James 1: 2 – 5 or 1st Peter 2: 20 – 21). A believer who can carry the attitude of thankfulness, which only God can provide, into and through the trials of life certainly is one who never forgets God’s goodness and mercy (see Ps. 106: 1), the gift of Christ Himself (see 2nd Cor. 9: 15), the triumph of the Gospel (see 2nd Cor. 2: 14), and Christ’s victory over death (see 1st Cor. 15: 56 – 57).

MacArthur closes his devotional for this date by pointing his readers, as I will here, to Hebrews 13: 15, which presents a perfectly apt summary of this lesson of the heart …

SCRIPTURE: Heb. 13: 15 [NASB] Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His Name.

I have to ask myself, “Is my life being lived out as an offering of gratitude in worship?” I’m afraid not as much as it should; but I’m bolstered by 2nd Cor. 12: 9 as always, telling me that God’s grace is sufficient, even in my weaknesses, to allow His strength to give me the attitude of gratitude which the Holy Spirit offers me continually.

My Prayer Today: Thank you, Lord! Amen

Journal Author’s Note: As with today’s journal entry above, I often cite quite a few Scripture references to support what I’m writing with the authority of God’s word. I hope that anyone who reads my writings will have the Berean attitude and motivation to check me out, looking up the passages cited if the reader doesn’t already have any of these references committed to memory. I don’t pretend to be a biblical scholar or anything but a pursuer of God’s truth; and I pray that you are equally seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we study His personhood this month. … <’BB><

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