Thursday, March 14, 2013

the other side of the coin

If prayer were a coin, one side would be the asking and the other would be the thanking. Odds are, I should be doing one as much as the other when I'm talking to Jesus.  Heads or tails ... 50-50 chance.  There lies in my minutes plenty more time for gratitude.  I request so much from God ... but do I thank Him just as much?

Found this treasure from a classic tonight - The Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White (pub. 1898)

"Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven's chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world.  We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience.  We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine ... These precious acknowledgements to the praise of the glory of His grace, when supported by a Christlike life, have an irresistible power that works for the salvation of souls.
When the ten lepers came to Jesus for healing, He bade them go and show themselves to the priest. On the way they were cleansed, but only one of them returned to give Him glory. The others went their way, forgetting Him who had made them whole.  How many are still doing the same thing! The Lord works continually to benefit mankind. He is ever imparting His bounties. He raises up the sick from beds of languishing He delivers men from peril which they do not see, He commissions heavenly angels to save them from calamity, to guard them from "the pestilence that walketh in darkness" and "the destruction that wasteth at noonday" (Ps. 91:6); but their hearts are unimpressed. He has given all the riches of heaven to redeem them, and yet they are unmindful of His great love.  By their ingratitude they close their hearts against the grace of God. Like the heath in the desert they know not when good cometh, and their souls inhabit the parched places of the wilderness. 
It is for our own benefit to keep every gift of God fresh in our memory. Thus faith is strengthened to claim and to receive more and more. There is greater encouragement for us in the least blessing we ourselves receive from God than in all the accounts we can read of the faith and experience of others. The soul that responds to the grace of God shall be like a watered garden. His health shall spring forth speedily; his light shall rise in obscurity, and the glory of the Lord shall be seen upon him. Let us then remember the loving-kindness of the Lord, and the multitude of His tender mercies. Like the people of Israel, let us set up our stones of witness, and inscribe upon them the precious story of what God has wrought for us. And as we review His dealings with us in our pilgrimage, let us, out of hearts melted with gratitude, declare, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people." (Ps. 116:12-14) "     [emphasis mine]

Again, I'm amazed at the power of gratitude.  Today I share a few of my "multitude of His tender mercies":

- the gift of compassion for my daughter, like a cool breeze to blow away the heat of my anger

- the promise of Your Spirit's powerful presence if we will lift You high, and this anticipation to feel You during corporate worship ... I feel like doing back flips!

 - "When I don't understand, I will choose You" (I breathe You in by Kim Walker-Smith)

- a new morning to choose You, Your ways, Your vision, Your gifts to me

-red roses opening wide with such brilliant glory

-the way you make a boy's shoulders to grow into a man's - and the significance of what they will bear

- the favor You give me to work 1/2 day at my kids' school, and talking about it with LC in the copy room

- vulnerable email from a friend, and the privilege to pray for her

- encouraging call from H, and the hope she'll get a job soon

- laughing with R at Panera, and the way you've brought her this far

- a good Life Group, and thinking deeply about being fully present in the now - "The only place I can meet Him is here." -Ann Voskamp

- snowflakes

- students reading and cheering for one another's rewards

- the way my Guy's arms are always open to me

- powerful tears and prayers and dreams

- "You will find that the [bad] habit absolutely dominates you because you willingly yielded to it ... But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person's life." -Oswald Chambers 

When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve. They knew that God was behind this work. - Nehemiah 6:16 (Msg) 
Lord, once again, my gratitude rises to You in praise.  Forgive me for the countless days I close my heart against Your grace by allowing it to be unimpressed by Your gifts and permitting my thoughts to be unmindful of Your great love. That is not the way I want to honor You, because that is no way to honor You.  What I do have is an awareness of Your constant shower of goodness over me.  Goodness as You define it.  Gifts - constant and ever-present.  And, Oh Lord - I'm so thankful!  My soul knows what it is to drink of Your faithfulness because gratitude is the vessel of my noting. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  Over and over I declare it because ... Jesus I know I don't deserve this astonishing loving-kindness.  Here now are my stones of witness.  These frail letters and lines - written for all who will give eye as I proclaim.  You are good to me.  You do love me.  Here, oh here - is proof and may I ever be mindful.  My heart is melted with my gratitude for Your benefits.

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