November 25, 2009
Grumbling to Grateful
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) "Give thanks in all circumstances."
Friend To Friend
Yesterday, we looked at how the grumbling Israelites were not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief and grumbling attitude. Now, let's take a look at what happened with the next generation.
The next generation learned from their parents' mistakes. They worshipped the Lord, praised Him for His provisions, and believed His promises.
Here's what the first generation of freed Israelites did not understand. When they grumbled and complained, they were not speaking against Moses. They were speaking against God. "You are not grumbling against us," Moses said, "but against the LORD" (Exodus 16:8). God had miraculously delivered them from slavery, parted the Red Sea, provided food from heaven, placed a cloud in the sky to protect them from the scorching sun, provided a fire to warm them in the chill of night, prevented their clothes and shoes from wearing out the entire time they were in the desert … and yet they grumbled.
Can you imagine such ingratitude? Unfortunately, I can. God provided a sacrifice for our sins and pardon from eternal punishment. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). And if that wasn't enough, take a look at these promises:
- "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it" (Ephesians 4:7).
- God has given us the "Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" (2 Corinthians 5:5).
- "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3).
- "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (1 Peter 2:1).
- "We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit" (1 John 4:13).
- "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true" (1 John 5:20).
…and yet we grumble and complain.
Could it be that when we grumble, we too are complaining, not simply about our circumstances, but about the sovereign God and His provision for our lives?
It all boils down to our attitude and perspective of who is in control.
Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll says this about attitude:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home, or an individual. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.
And what is the attitude that changes grumbling into gratefulness? It is an attitude of gratitude that Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances."
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this brand new day. Thank You for eyes to see, ears to hear, a voice to speak, hands to feel and a nose to smell. Thank You for a heart that beats, lungs that breathe, and organs that function to keep my body moving. Thank You for the sun that rose this morning! I am just bubbling over with thanksgiving and praise!
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19.
How many men thanked Jesus for what he had done?
What does that tell you about the other nine?
Today, have an attitude of gratitude and thank God for even the little blessings.
While you're at it, thank others for their service and acts of kindness.
If you noticed a change in other people as you showed an attitude of gratitude, I'd love to hear about it. Just log onto www.sharonjaynes.com/blog and let me know.
More From The Girlfriends
Today's devotion is taken from Sharon's book, The Power of a Woman's Words. In this book, you can explore the power you possess, the people you impact, the potential for change, and the profound possibilities. As you harness this mighty force, you will begin to use words to speak life to those around you. Get one for yourself, or gather a group of girlfriends to learn and grow together.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Wednesday, 25 November 2009.