Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
An Attitude of Gratitude
God is so good, He loves to bestow His gifts upon His children. The Bible tells us that all good gifts come from God. If itís good, then itís from God.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
I know in my own life from time to time Iíve gotten complacent. This is easy to do in todayís hectic lifestyle, yet in a sense itís a type of laziness. Complacency can come when you start to take things for granted. I have recently been reminded that I have so much to be grateful for, I can not afford this attitude, and none of us can in the body of Christ. I have had to repent for this and realize as the Word of God declares I am not my own, I have been bought with a price.
If you are in Christ, you have a lot to be thankful for. You have escaped eternal punishment and have received eternal life. If you feel that you can not be thankful for anything else, this one thing should be a starting point to all of your praise to God. He is worthy to be praised.
We truly are in the last days, and our time is short. Our ability to walk in the path God has given us to walk in can hinge on whether we receive Godís blessings. I believe receiving Godís blessings is greatly effected by our attitude of heart. If our attitude of heart is bad and we can't receive Godís blessings because of this, how can we be a blessing to others? Lets look at some things that will help us, and give us encouragement to keep our attitude right. Understanding Godís will, will help us stay on the correct path. Knowing and understanding Godís will, will always be an essential step in our journey.
Faith is always thankful, you can see it clearly taught throughout the Word.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
People always want to know what Godís will is, well here it is in black and white. In everything give thanks, not for everything but in everything. This is Godís will.
The Apostle Paul was always giving thanks to God in and through every circumstance he came to be in. I believe this is one of the reasons for his great success. Faith is always thankful.
On the other side of the coin so to speak, unbelief is always ungrateful. The children of Israel were a good example of this. If you read about the wilderness experience the children of Israel went through, you will see that they were always complaining and grumbling.
1 Corinthians 10:10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Yet the word tells us to do all things without murmuring. Some translations say grumbling or complaining.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmuring and disputing, 15. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
One major way to squash unbelief is to keep your attitude grateful. A grateful attitude will always look to the positive and give God thanks. God is so gracious; He loves to bestow good gifts upon His children. Many times, we are not receptive to his gifts. We cut off the very blessing God wants us to have by our attitude of being ungrateful. It is all too easy to fall into this trap when we are surrounded by negative stuff.
It is difficult for God to be gracious to those who are not thankful for what they already have. Why would God give us more when we donít appreciate the things we have already been given? Have you ever given somebody something that you considered valuable and they just took it, like its no big deal? You may have saved up to purchase this present, and really put a lot of thought into it. After this you probably would not go to any trouble to repeat this experience, at least as long as they have this attitude, would you? Most people would not. Do you think God is any different? Is He going to keep pouring out His blessings on a bunch of ingrate children? We can see throughout the Word of God that the answer is no. I believe this greatly effects our ability to receive.
Iíd like to take a look at the parable of the talents. Because of space Iím going to just quote portions of it. The Scripture reference is Matthew 25:14-30. I encourage you to look it up and read it for yourself.
Lets start reading with vs. 24...
"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, `Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25. `And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' 26. "But his lord answered and said to him, `You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27. `Therefore you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28. `Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29. `For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30. `And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
The one servant took the talent his lord gave him and hid it in the ground. He didnít appreciate what he had been given, and because of this, he ended up loosing what he did have. The servant was given something that his master considered worth something and had some value, yet he did nothing with it. It was worth something to the master or he wouldnít have given it to a servant to do something with, would he? You can also tell by the mastersí response to his servantsí actions that he was highly displeased. He had the unprofitable servant cast into outer darkness. You might think, well it was only one talent, whatís the big deal? It is a big deal.
That is the same attitude many Christians have today. You might say well Iím just an usher at my church thatís not really a big deal. If you are being obedient to what God has given you to do, then it is a big deal. Do not lightly esteem what God has given you to do. If God gives you something then it is to be highly valued. Be faithful where you are. We can see what happened to the faithful servant in vs. 28. `Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29. `For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
The Word of God tells us in Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin, to see the plumbline in the hand of Zerubbabel. For these seven lamps represent the eyes of the Lord that see everywhere around the world.''
The word despise, in the Bible sense does not mean hate or disgust as what we often associate with it. It really means to lightly esteem or show very little regard for something. If you wonít cherish what God has given you, regardless of the size, and begin to act like it is the most precious thing that you have ever received, then you will lose what you have and get no more, and that is a big deal. As we appreciate and highly esteem the things God has given to us, then this will open the door for more.
We all have to start somewhere. We wonít start at the top. God doesnít work this way. We start where we are and through faithfulness and diligence continue to do what we have been given until such a time as He gives us more. This is how it starts, we have to make a conscious decision to be grateful and make a conscious effort to continue in what we have decided to do. Promotion will come from God and God alone. Anything else is vanity.
We know that the faithful servant highly valued what he had been given, because he did something with it. Gratefulness is always faithful. It always acts on what it has been given. It doesnít bury it in the ground. If something means so little to you that you bury it in the ground so to speak, then you surely have little regard for it. However, if you say thank you Lord for what you have given to me, and begin to do something with it to His glory, then God takes that thing that He has given you and multiplies it. He gives it to us, and when we use it to His glory, He multiplies it for us. Glory to God, this is the way He works.
Lets put to good use the blessings God has so graciously given to us. God has a purpose in all of this. As these blessings get multiplied then the bigger the blessing we can be.
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
11. while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13. while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,
If you have an attitude of ingratitude then the good news is that you can change. You donít have to stay where you are. It is the will of God that we give thanks in everything, not grumble in everything. We donít have to stay this way, we can develop a grateful spirit. This takes work on our part. We must start by changing our attitude and repent if necessary. Repentance is not just saying Iím sorry, but making a 180 degree turn from where you were. Start taking stock of the blessings of God in your life. Begin to thank Him for them continually. Whenever a negative thought or and ungrateful thought comes in and Satan will make sure that they do. We should immediately replace it with Godly thoughts. This is how we change. As we change with the Word of God, we renew our minds in the process. Godís will, will then be proven. You can not prove Godís will without faith, and your faith will not operate properly with a grumbling and complaining attitude. Be thankful and watch Godís multiplication at work in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.