• by Rev. Joseph A. Bias

Love Prompts Gratitude, Gratitude Magnifies Love


“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and forHis wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:21

“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting upholy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1 Timothy 2:8

A song came to my mind as I woke up this morning. As I listened to it I began to worship the Lord and in my heart thank Him for His amazing grace, His amazing mercy, His amazing love He has given to me. I know that without Him my life would be nothing but rubble, and all my “good works” would be nothing but wood, hay and stubble. I feel so humbled by His goodness that He keeps pouring out on me, though He knows and I know I don’t deserve it and never could. And that’s what makes it all the more amazing. There is nothing I can give Him in return that would even come close to His blessings to me, even if I gave him everything I have and then laid down my life it wouldn’t be enough, as one writer put it,

“It wouldn’t be enough no it wouldn’t be enough

to buy one splinter on the tree that Jesus died on.

And I couldn’t pay the price for one single drop of blood

that was shed for my salvation.” [by Lanny Wolf, sung by The Archers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0-zapmPNcw]

And what is so amazing about God’s love and grace is He never asks us to do anything to repay Him for it. His love just gives freely and without judgmentalism, condemnation, threat or unattainable conditions. He never demands that we “make bricks without straw.” He gives us everything and demands nothing in return. Even when we turn away from Him or forget Him, or act in ways contrary to His love for us, He still maintains the same level of love, grace and mercy for us. And by His kindness He leads us to repentance so that we can enjoy the benefits of His love and His inexhaustible store of blessings and favor.

The only thing that we can give God that He does not already have is our hearts and our wills. We can love Him in return. That indeed is the greatest commandment, to love Him with all our heart, soul mind and strength. But that is not a grievous or unattainable thing. No. It happens naturally as we begin to acknowledge through our gratitude, the things that He has done for us, is doing for us, and has prepared for us for all eternity.

Gratitude, sincere heartfelt thankfulness is the key to understanding how truly amazing God’s love and grace are. Love causes you to do “crazy” things, like forgiving offences quickly; not holding grudges or harbor unforgiveness. Love makes you want to give extravagantly, to go the extra mile or two or three. Love causes you to be patient with someone who is not “getting it” quickly, and to extend mercy to someone who owes you but struggles to keep his promises. Love makes you humble in the face of praise or adulation knowing that whatever good you’ve conveyed the source of it is God. You’re just the messenger. Love makes you caring, compassionate, empathetic, so that you genuinely feel another’s pain and struggle as though they were your own. This is what Jesus demonstrated for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Love did that. He took on himself the pain and shame of our sin so that we could take on ourselves His Righteous, sinless nature. Love sent Him to live and die for us. Love raised Him from the dead for us. Love will send Him back to receive us up to live with Him in Heaven for all eternity.

While we are here then, how can we show Him our love? How can we express to the fullest capacity of our human abilities how much we value Him? We can in the most immediate terms, be grateful; grateful in everything and for all that His love pours out on us. We express that gratitude in our worship, in our singing, in our prayers of thanksgiving and in the trust we demonstrate in His Word. If we love Him we will trust Him. We honor Him with our trust.

When we are truly grateful it changes our perspective on everything. Gratitude reminds us that we are not alone, that we are not without resource, that we are blessed just by being one of God’s children. And the implications of that are unfathomable.

How much do you love your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and your great grand children, your closest friend(s)? What are you unwilling to do to bless them and give them the best that will make their lives as rich and full as you can? How much do you want only the best for them in everything and to see them grow up to the full measure of their gifts, talents, abilities and potential? There is no limit. Right?

Then, how much more does God, whose love is perfect toward us, want to give us everything that makes for the abundant life in ways we can’t begin to fathom?

Gratitude and thankfulness to Him opens the pathway to blessings and joy unspeakable from our Father, God in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is something supernatural that happens in us, something that stirs up joy deep down in us, when we sing our songs of praise and thanksgiving, when we worship and lift our hands in praise to God. The more we think about God’s Love for us, the more we are grateful for Jesus, the more we freely give voice to our love for Our Father, Our Lord, Our Savior, our Comforter, Our King, Our Healer, Our Deliverer, Our Defender, Our Provider, Our Helper, Our Way Maker, Our Miracle Worker, Our Promise Keeper, Our Transformer, Our Light in darkness, Our River in the Desert, Our Way in the Wilderness, Our Hope, Our Confidence, Our Joy, Our Peace, Our Life, Our Wisdom, Our Righteousness, Our Sanctification, Our Justifier, Our Advocate, Our Intercessor, Our high Priest, Our Refuge and Strength, Our Treasure, the more our passion and capacity for gratitude will be expanded.

He is worthy of our praise and deserving of our gratitude because He alone is God. He alone is The All in All. He is The Alpha and The Omega, The Soon Coming King, The Beginning and The End, The First and The Last, the King of All Kings and The Lord Of All Lords. And He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Here’s a link to the song I was thinking about as I woke up this morning. I hope it blesses you too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yqJoWJDGwk

#Gratitude #Thanksgiving #LiftingHolyHands

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