Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Benefits of Thankfulness, part 2

My heart overflows

Thankfulness Produces Satisfaction

by Jeana Gladstone

If I don’t focus on the things God has given and pause to express my thanks to him, then not only do I miss many of his blessings, but I put myself into a constant state of wanting.  Always asking, always desiring, always wanting, but never being satisfied with what he gives; never recognizing every good and perfect gift that comes from the Father.  

If I’m always asking, but never thankful, then I am not receiving from him.  There is so much he wants to give, but it’s not always the same as what I would ask for - his ways are not our ways.  How arrogant of me to think I know better what I need than the One who created my inmost being.  

If I’m always asking, not only am I not receiving from him, but neither am I giving to him.  My gratitude feeds him.  It satisfies him deeply.  He breathes in my praise; he drinks my expressions of thanks, and he is fulfilled.  Something in the heart of God is touched and made content.  

It’s like fruit to him.  The fruit of my lips becomes his food.  Mind boggling.  

At some point in our lives we’ve probably all been told to slow down and chew our food -  receive it with thanksgiving; savor it, carefully chew and swallow receiving nourishment - not just scarf it down.  In the same way we must learn to savor and carefully chew life’s blessings.  This is the only way we can receive fulfillment and satisfaction.  

Hebrews 13:15-16
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Proverbs 15:15
A cheerful heart has a continual feast 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.  Isaiah 55:2-3
At the beginning of this verse instead of first instructing us, he opens with a question - why?  The answer is implied.  Why would you do this; it doesn't make sense.  Why would you spend your time, energy, money, and labor on something that will not bring you fulfillment?  The human heart naturally seeks satisfaction.  He doesn't say there is something wrong with that.  In fact the implication is that the heart should be satisfied.  Interestingly he does not say: "You should not seek satisfaction and fulfillment - those things are wrong.  You should be a stoic, never experiencing pleasure."  No, instead he wants our souls to delight, to live, to be satiated.  The main point here is made by implication - you're wasting your time if you try to find that satisfaction somewhere besides what he offers us.  People seek satisfaction in all kinds of things - money, power, position, family, entertainment, as well as drugs and riotous living.  But the Lord is asking us to evaluate these things based on whether or not they truly nourish and feed the soul.  Does this cause my soul to delight; will this cause my soul to live?  
Listen, eat, delight.  Now he gives us direct commands.  Listen to me.  He has words that will cause our souls to delight.  The word of God in and of itself has power to give us life.  He again draws the analogy to eating actual food.  He says - eat what is good.  His words are truly good and good for us.  They are the "superfood" of spiritual nutrition.  And he says not only are they good for us, but, if we eat them, we will delight in them as in the richest of foods.  What he offers is a gourmet feast.  Why would you go anywhere else?
Again he implores: give ear and come to me; hear me - that your soul may live.  He is concerned for our well being.  He wants us to be healthy and to thrive, not just get by.  And right here, more than once, he tells us the secret, the key, the formula, the pattern, the way to abundant, prosperous, fulfilling soul life - Come to ME.  He is the way.  
So what would you rather?  Waste your time striving, working, and laboring for something that ultimately will not satisfy your hunger; or come to him and allow him, as only he can, to feed your soul with delightful, delectable delicacies that will cause you to flourish and be fulfilled?  
Eat what is good.  Your soul will live.