until I met a man who had no feet."
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.
This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
Just a few more thoughts on being filled with thanks...
Thankful people are easy to spot. Oh, there are the obvious proofs, like receiving cards from them or seeing them respond with a word or a gift that expresses gratitude. But you might be surprised to hear that you can most easily identify a thankful person by things that they DON'T do! Over the next three days, I want to offer three characteristics of thankful people...
First, Thankful people don't FORGET
When gratitude marks a person's life, they rarely forget what someone else has done for them. This is far more than just having a good memory. A person who is filled with thanks makes a conscious effort to recognize others' kindness or generosity. Gratitude demostrated reveals something about the character of a person. Thankful people are humble, caring, thoughtful, and aware of others.
Humility is a virtue that is integral to gratitude! We can't recognize the need for gratitude without humility.
People who are puffed up with their own accomplishments and who do not see how dependent they are on the Lord or on other people who have favored them are rarely grateful. They are blind to the ways in which they have been favored, perhaps beyond what they deserve. So this virtue of humily helps them REMEMER what has been done on their behalf!
Our society has a "what have you done for me lately" attitude, an attitude of entitlement. Thankful people DO NOT FORGET that they didn't arrive where they are on their own!
Today, continue to make a list of the blessings of God in your life. Thank Him for those blessings one by one.
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalm 78:35
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11
Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—Psalm 103:2
These sum it up! We desire pleasure, we want, we crave, we desire. Lust is most commonly associated with unrestrained sexual desires. However, these obsessive desires could be thirst for power, knowledge, or worldly possessions, which fill our daily thoughts in an unhealthy manner – causing us to pursue such things no matter the cost – many times creating a wave of pain and consequence.
God wants to bring fulfilment into your life, yet temptations come to stir dissatisfaction. John Piper says that "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him". He longs to meet your needs and satisfy your soul...Seek Him as your provision and you won't be disappointed!
GRATITUDE IN THE
STORMS OF LIFE
Let's enter an imaginary time tunnel and journey back about twenty centuries. As we do, remember that in the place we find ourselves there is no United States of America. The modern civilizations of Europe, Australia, and Canada—as well as other contemporary cultures—do not exist. Even the nation of Israel looks completely different. In the first century, there are no Christian traditions, and we certainly find no denominations or churches. Where we're imagining ourselves standing, no one has even heard the word church before. And the Jewish culture of the day exists in the context of a pagan Roman government that dominates the land of Israel. On top of all that, the official religious leaders of the day are proud, self-serving, and corrupt. It was in such an environment that "the church" began.
Whenever we want to understand a topic or term, such as church, we should begin at the passage of primary reference. It helps to ask, where did the word first appear, and in what context was it used? Surprisingly, the first mention in the New Testament of the word church wasn't from the pen of the apostle Paul. Peter didn't coin the term, nor did any of the other apostles. It was Jesus.
Matthew describes the scene for us. He writes of the time Jesus took His disciples up north into the Gentile area of Caesarea Philippi. While there, the Lord asks His men what the public is saying about His identity:
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:13–16)
The culture around Jesus viewed Him as nothing more than a great man. But Peter voiced a different opinion. Speaking for the disciples as a whole, Peter was never more accurate: "You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One . . . the Son of the living God." Peter nailed it! At that point in the discussion, Jesus changed the dialogue to a monologue and commended Peter for his statement:
Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:17–18)
In commending Simon Peter for his spiritual insight about who Jesus was, the Lord unveiled even more truth about what He would do. In essence, Jesus told Peter, "Your words about Me are true. In fact, they are a foundational statement—like a rock. And on this rocklike declaration I will build My church." He also promised that the gates of Hades would not erode it or erase it. The church would have staying power. Against all odds, it would prevail. Not even the adversary would overpower it. I will build My church…
…When Matthew recorded Jesus' word for "church"—the first mention of that term in the Bible—he chose the Greek word ekklesia. It’s a compound word, from ek, meaning "out, from," and kaleo, meaning "to call." It refers to those who have been "called out" from among others. The term more accurately reflects an assembly of people defined by a distinct purpose. The word was in use hundreds of years before Jesus was born, but by adding the word My to the term, Jesus revealed that He would build His own ekklesia—a people defined by faith in the truth that Peter had just revealed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." We now call this unique assembly over which Jesus serves as Head "the church." How valuable it is to return to the origin of this term and make a serious examination of its purpose!
Why study the origin of church? Because it's there we see God's intention. Our understanding and application of what church should be will erode if we don't examine and keep in mind its Founder and its foundation.
This is an excerpt from THE CHURCH AWAKENING by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Reprinted with permission from FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved.