6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV
The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation. So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude. From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thoughts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires. There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve. Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV
Every time we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations. — Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV
This is for now and all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God. Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
8 So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. — Joshua 4:8 NLT
Often when a major event had occurred in the lives of the children of Israel, God would instruct them to set up stones or build an altar. These stones or altars were built or erected as a token of remembrance for God’s help in bringing them safely this far. It was also a reminder to tell future generations about the goodness and the mercies of God. They were unique in that they were always built with natural, uncut stones. Crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime major event. The Israelis put twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan to mark the spot of the crossing and carried twelve stones to Gilgal and erected them there to mark the spot of their first encampment in their new homeland. We need to be aware of the major events in our lives and construct mental and/or physical landmarks as a way to remember these events. We need to point out these times to our future generations as a remembrance of what God has done for us. When Samuel erected the stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah (1 Samuel 7:12) to mark the spot where God had defeated the Philistines for the Israelis, he named it “Ebenezer” which means a stone of help. It is by the help of God that we have come this far safely. Let us stop, set up an Ebenezer, pray, worship and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies in our lives.
*From the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV
Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation. This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing. This fact has an upside and a downside. The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel. Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans. His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier. For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel. Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV. Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well. The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family. We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives. That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means. But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves. Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family. Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family. Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family. If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ. There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family. And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.