The Grateful Heart: Finding Joy in Gratitude
By: Stephanie Russell
Turning Griping into Gratitude: A Study in the Psalms
By: Ronald J. Lavin
Thankfulness: Even When it Hurts
By: Susan Lutz
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Other Articles By Lucas Hawkins:
Gospel of Grace
Falling from grace is painful. It is something we should strive to avoid. However, it does not close heaven's gates, as the context of Galatians 5:4 makes clear. Sadly, those who believe that it does do not believe the gospel of grace.
The Compassion of Our Savior
Our new eyes are tender, sensitive, and intimate, because the Holy Spirit reflects through us and in us the truth that love is never going to change, that grace will reign beyond sin, and that mercy will rejoice beyond judgment. God's light is eternal, and it will never, never fail as it lives in us and flows through us like a river of living water.
Explore More Whosoever:
Living in Gratitude
This issue on gratitude is very special to me because I'm able to bring forth one of my favorite Scriptures that is loaded with love, grace, and mercy that God has shown to us. God is serious about bringing reconciliation to us. He had planned it all out before the foundation of the world. His provision sets me free and gives me liberty and peace with my God, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His sacrifice and suffering on the Cross is why I am grateful to have a Savior that would place Himself in my shoes and die in my place even though I didn't deserve it and was an enemy to Him. He has compassion for me and gives me mercy. Now, I am able to return that filling and bring mercy to those that come my way with the ever flowing love I have for my brothers and sisters who are lost and need the gospel.
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Ephesians 2:1-22: "And you, He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
My gratitude is overflowing, even when circumstances don't go my way. But circumstances can be put there for my sake. It's all part of the plan to build my faith, exercise my spiritual muscle, maturity, and maybe even a promotion. It can show me just exactly where I need to improve on my life, my vocation, evangelizing the people God has put in front of me. It expands my horizons, enlarges my coasts, and makes me useful for our Almighty God.
"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called 'uncircumcision' by what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." (NKJ)
Beautiful and Majestic are God's Children
"Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more that wine: the upright love thee" (Song of Solomon 1:4).
The bride was brought into the inner chamber. Over her in the banqueting house was the banner of love, which refers to Calvary, the banner over every Christian.
"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love" (Song of Solomon 2:4).
"Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:4).
"Thou are beautiful as Tirzah" is a wonderful statement. "Tirzah" means God's greatest delight. When we understand that we are seated above, hid with Christ in God, we realize that we are beautiful within (Psalm 45:13) and that there is no spot in us (Song of Solomon 4:7). We are especially beautiful because we have Christ's life. Jesus said it Himself: "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you" (John 15:9).
Manifesting Glory and Majesty
"Comely as Jerusalem" is another great phrase. Jerusalem is the place that was and will again be used to manifest the glory of God. It is where Jesus Christ will reign one thousand years in peace. When we manifest the glory and peace of God, we are "comely as Jerusalem."
The next phrase used to described believers is "terrible as an army with banners." The word "terrible" speaks of majesty. We are as majestic as an army going out to war.
"O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God" (Psalm 68:35).
We are God's people, seated together with Christ as ones hidden inside the veil of the Finished Work. Even in this life, we are powerful and majestic. We receive power and strength from God because of our position in Christ, which is above everything else. Because of the Truth, we have the banner of victory.
Therefore, we are made free from a life of sin and its consequences (Romans 6:18-20). We are free from the Law (Romans 8:2). When love abounds in our hearts, we have no fear (1 John 4:18). We have no guilt and no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We are free from oppression (Exodus 3:9-10). We are free indeed (John 8:36). I am truly grateful!
The Majestic Heavenly Armies
"O God, thou art terrible (or majestic) out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people" (Psalm 68:35).
Beyond words, beyond knowledge, and beyond sight, try to comprehend what it means to be in the Holy Place. We are as majestic as armies that have won the war through Christ. We are individuals who have overcome and are seated in heavenly places with God. We are individuals to whom God does not impute iniquity or sins (Romans 4: 7-8). We are those who have been justified by faith because of grace, as expressed in the Word of God (Romans 5:1-2). We have the majesty that belongs to members of a royal family. We are children and heirs of the King of kings.
"Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant?" (Isaiah 42:19).
This verse reveals that God's people must walk by faith, not my sight. We are to walk as children of promise, seeing ourselves and each other in Christ. The Father sees us as complete in Him who is the head of all principalities and powers (Colossians 2:10). Jesus Christ sees us as members of His body, flesh, and bones (Ephesians 5:30). Jesus Christ sees us as one spirit, being joined to Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). He sees us as absolutely perfect - without spot or wrinkle - and our beauty overwhelms Him. He says it in Song of Solomon 6:5. "Turn your eyes away from Me! I have a Bride just as beautiful as I am, and her beauty has overcome Me."
The fact is that we are as He is in this world (1 John 4:17), and His love is made perfect in our when we believe in every verse that proclaims who we are in the Finished Work.
Most religious systems today have their origins in bondage, not freedom. But we are children of promise, made free of bondage, and we are citizens of the New Jerusalem, which will one day descend from above. There we will reign over the earth with Christ for one thousand years.
There will always be people and even nations who will persecute the people of the promise, the people of the truth. They lust after power, desiring to have more, and wars rages outwardly and in their own members (James 4:1-2). What they don't realize is that all who receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior have amazing freedom and power that comes from being hid with Christ in God. Those who attack God's people have already been defeated. They have already been conquered, yet they don't even realize it.
Thanks be to God for the peace, joy, and freedom from fear and oppression that come because we understand the obsolete principle of life, which we have in Christ.
We have overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of our testimony, and that we love not our lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11). We have strength and beauty, therefore we walk in places that no one else can walk, because we walk in the Spirit of the living God.
These are the things that God has given us, we should be grateful for that. He pictures each of us as being in Christ, hidden within the veil of the Holy of Holies. We are His children forever - children of His promise - and all of His promises are for us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this inheritance. In our position as kings and priests before You, keep us humble yet bold before men, ready to serve and to lead them to the Promised Land through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In His precious name, Amen.
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