Wednesday, November 10, 2021

One of the great dangers to gratitude is forgetfulness.  We simply fail to recall the importance of being grateful people and to express that gratitude to God.  If we are first grateful to God, we can easily develop the ability to be thankful for others and the ways that they have blessed us.  One of Israel’s great problems was forgetfulness.  You may recall that not long after God successfully led Israel across the Red Sea on dry ground the people of Israel built idols to worship.  They attributed their deliverance to golden calves and not the Lord.  We might think that we would never forget a miracle like the exodus and the crossing of the Red Sea but Israel did.  However, we often do forget the blessings that God gives us.  We often lose sight of the great price that Christ paid for our salvation through His death on the cross and resurrection.  A commitment to being grateful helps to keep us mindful of who God is and what He has done for us. 
            Deuteronomy 8:10-11 says, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.”  God knew the human nature of Israel.  And their nature was the same as ours.  We can easily forget the Lord and grow proud and cold.  God’s message to Israel, and us, is threefold...praise the Lord, remember the Lord and observe His ways. 
            Functional atheism is an ever-present danger for us.  We may confess our belief in God with our lips but often our daily living and actions are far-removed.  We do not seek Him, walk with Him, lean upon Him and thank Him.  Functionally, we can easily live as if God does not exist and organize our lives in that way.  Praising the Lord, remembering the Lord and observing His ways are how we ensure that we bring what we say we believe in line with how we are choosing to live.  God shows us the terrible consequence that results when we do not remember the Lord.  A bit later in Deuteronomy 8:14 we read, “then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” 
            One of the enemies of gratitude is pride.  Pride creates the sickness of spiritual blindness.  We lose sight of God and all that He has done for us.  Daily thankfulness is the pathway to remembering the Lord and keeping Him in our hearts.  With fifteen days till Thanksgiving arrives, how is your level of gratitude?  What steps have you taken to ensure that you remember the Lord and His goodness?  You certainly have time to cultivate a grateful lifestyle that will last well beyond the fourth Thursday of November.  One way to practice gratitude is to use your five senses.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  What do you taste?  What do you smell?  What do you touch?  Your answers to those questions can reveal some things for which you are grateful and ways that God has blessed you.  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Missing our blessings is the same thing as forgetting them.  Pause today to give thanks for where God has been at work.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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