Shipwrecked Hearts, Empty of Thanks


Not too long ago we were in the south of France to preach in different churches. We decided to make a trip to nearby Monaco to show our visiting grandson the incredible oceanographic museum.

I was impressed with the museum and the beauty of the little principality. You know what blew me away, though? Cars actually stopped for people in crosswalks! Incredible!

In the Paris area you enter crosswalks with fear and trembling. Mama told you, “Look both ways before you cross!” In Paris you do that two or three times, then you hurry across praying and interceding for mercy (that may be just a tad exaggerated).

If you get run over make sure you bleed in the crosswalk so that the authorities will know that you had the right of way.

Sometimes cars actually stop for you. Once my wife and I stopped for a young lady crossing the street. I felt very proud of myself and she gave us a little nod of thanks. I told my wife, “You don’t mind stopping when people are appreciative.”

But, another time I stopped for a young man who pranced across like a prima donna, never even acknowledging the presence of inferior human beings in the vicinity. Now, it was his right to pass and I was supposed to stop. You know what though? I wanted to rev the motor of my car and  … “Vroom! Vroom! Screech! Boom!”

I didn’t, though.

When we’re thankful to others, it connects us to them.

So, what keeps us from being thankful?

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom. 1:21, NIV)

It seems we’ve had an election and voted man as God. And since we don’t see God as the Source of Life or as the One who reigns over the universe, man does what he thinks is right.

We’re the center and if things don’t go our way we scream for our rights, we pout, and we burn with anger because we don’t have what we think we should have. Or someone else has it.

We deify our passions.

Praise and thanksgiving? We don’t even want to hear about God because that might cramp our style.

The results are catastrophic. God lets men go their own way and you see the results of a “free” society. If God has said “no” in an area it’s because He loves us and wants to protect us from the consequences of disobedience.

God must be egotistical, though, if He commands me to thank and praise Him. Really? He is who and what he is whether I admit it or not. But, when I praise Him I acknowledge that He is God and everything that statement implies. When I see that, I am changed by the vision.
I need to say, “Thank you,” more than He needs to hear it. When I’m not thankful I open the door to all the sins listed at the end of Romans 1. Read it.  Sin starts with an unthankful heart.

On the other hand, thanksgiving to the Lord AND others can change your life.

Next week : Power through thanksgiving

Do you find it hard to keep a thankful heart? What do you do to cultivate thanksgiving?
Hmmm …
Seems the internet is ablaze with inspiration for “going to the next level” in 2014 or some variant thereof. What if you haven’t fully explored this level and are leaving valuable treasure behind? Maximize where you are, and maybe you’ll move up when you need to. Charles Porter

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