GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 585• November 22, 2020
HOW TO SHOW GRATITUDE TO GOD
There are four levels of gratitude that one may reach.
- The level of the lips – saying “thanks,” or some words that convey gratitude. But if the words are insincere they are not valid – they are lies. Lying words may sound good to the one addressed, but they are a discredit to the one who speaks them.
- The level of the hands – doing something to show gratitude, in response to something done for you or given to you. But if the action is forced or coerced and is not an honest reflection of feelings it too is a lie. The act is good but the motive behind it is not.
- The level of the heart – actually being grateful. When the gratitude is heartfelt it will show up in the lips and in the hands, sincere and genuine words and acts of appreciation which is …
- The level of the life – one lives a life of gratitude. Continue reading
Rising Joy, Vicki Matheny
Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving! Let’s shout out to him in celebration! Psalm 95.2
What a difference gratitude makes! It helps us to focus on the positive things in our lives. God blesses us each day with the things that we need if we will obey him.
We basically have two choices: obey, not obey. When we do not obey, we live in rebellion to God. What are the results of rebellion? Many times it brings anger, resentment, selfishness, and many other negative things to our lives. Rebellion challenges authority. It tries God’s patience and brings his disgust.
God is the creator of the universe in which we live. He holds the depths of the earth is his hand. The mountain peaks belong to him. He made the sea and formed the dry land. We should bow down in worship before him. He cares for us and loves us! That is cause for thanksgiving and celebration!
#risingjoy #Psalms #gratitude
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1.3-6
There are certain people in our lives that are special for one reason or another. We are thankful that these people have crossed paths with us. There are friends that we do not see for years. Yet, when you get a chance to catch up, it is like you were never apart. There are people in our spiritual family that are as dear and as important as any blood kin. Paul must have had a long list of friends. He is writing this letter to the church in Philippi. He is thankful. He is thankful because this church shared in his work by sending him gifts of financial help. When he received word of how they were doing, he was encouraged and felt renewed. They shared the same purpose in life. Their spiritual goals were the same. They worked toward those goals with the same persistence. Paul prayed for these friends with joy giving thanks to God for them. Paul felt sure that the Philippians would stick to the task and not give up because of their attitude towards him. It is such a huge encouragement to hear that someone with whom you have shared the gospel is continuing to serve the Lord Jesus as a faithful child. It brings joy that renews the spirit to continue the work which we have been called to do.
#risingjoy #Philippians #gratitude
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Certainly the godly will give thanks to your name; the morally upright will live in your presence. Psalm 140.13
David is the author of this psalm. He writes asking God for protection from wicked men. The majority of the verses in Psalm 140 talk about the wicked men who are attacking David setting traps for his defeat. The last verse describes, in sharp contrast, the difference in the attitude and actions of the person who has respect for God. This person is grateful and acknowledges God’s care by giving thanks to him. The moral person will live in God’s presence. Gratitude is an important attitude to cultivate. Most of the time, however, you hear people complaining about every little thing. So many times the children of Israel were punished because of their complaining. Complaining indicates a deeper problem. It shows a lack of faith in God. We doubt that God is in control of the situation. We doubt that he cares for us and will provide for our needs. David reminds us of the importance of gratitude. There is no doubt that the godly person will be one who is grateful. Gratitude is a weapon against many illnesses that threaten to overtake us. What about me? Am I grateful? Let’s cultivate this important attitude and give thanks to God for his care!
#risingjoy #Psalms #gratitude
This little piece to encourage especially those who aren’t morning people.
Mornings call to life and new beginnings,
Awakens in the heart those tenderest feelings;
Words fly up to God in gratitude,
The early hour sets the day’s whole mood.
—J. Randal Matheny
#poetry #morning #gratitude
By: Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT — They had just placed membership, but were very infrequent at church. I wondered what the situation was with this family that had just moved into the community. After some investigation, I learned they moved into the Middle Tennessee area so they could be closer to Vanderbilt Hospital.
The father of the family, Greg, had a terribly bad and rare disease called, Syringomyelia, which was best treated at Vanderbilt Hospital and by their specialists. “Syringomyelia is a condition characterized by a fluid-filled cavity or cyst known as a syrinx that forms within the spinal cord.” Up until the time of his death, he was in the hospital for approximately eight months solid being treated for this condition. As the evangelist in the church they worshipped with, I would make regular visits to Vanderbilt Hospital to offer words of encouragement and support. Little did I know that I would be the one edified by this family who was about to endure the suffering of the family patriarch. Continue reading
Christmas decorations began to make their appearance in some large chain stores soon after Labor Day, and in some places sooner. Halloween decorations and “Trick or Treat” candy likewise made an early appearance. But what has become of Thanksgiving? Continue reading
“Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5.16-18
Paul specifically identified certain attitudes and actions as being the concrete and revealed will of God.
No need to look for signs or revelations of God’s will! What other actions in this letter can be identified as God’s will?
#will-of-God #gratitude #VOTD
A blessed and joyful day of thanksgiving to all today, for you and your loved ones. Much to be grateful for. On my personal site, I shared just now “7 Things that Thanksgiving Day Means to Me.” On those seven things today’s prayer was based as well.
This is the kind of list to check twice, is it not, the list of blessings? Continue reading
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” Colossians 4:2-6.
I’ve spent a lot of time and expended a lot of energy to help people before with never an acknowledgment of what it had cost me to do so. And, it’s not that I need to be thanked; I didn’t help them for the gratitude I would receive. But rather, it is the attitude of the person I helped that bothered me. She felt entitled to the help, and so I was simply discharging my duty “owed” to her.
Entitlement is the opposite of thankfulness. In thankfulness, we acknowledge that the other person (or God) didn’t need to do what he did and that our needs were placed before his own.
That’s why over and over again we are told to be thankful in the Scriptures.
Besides the help that God gives you each and every day that He doesn’t need to, He gave us His Son to die in our place on the cross when He didn’t need to. We all had sinned and deserved death. God would have been within His rights to turn His back on us and let us face the consequence of our transgression. But He didn’t. He loved instead. He died to give us eternal life when He didn’t need to. No one’s entitled to heaven.
Are you thankful?
Saints sometimes find it difficult enough, among themselves, to keep from complaining. They must beware that the world may influence their spirits greatly, causing them to fall by being discontent with God’s provisions. Many in our midst who claim to be saints are actually “foreign rabble” who bring in other ideas and, in order to insert their preferences, show unhappiness with the truth of the gospel. Continue reading
Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from the severe burns he suffered when his Humvee exploded in a raging fireball in Iraq. Medics gave him a one in one hundred chance of survival. But in spite of the odds and after 29 surgeries, Gabe, as his family and friends call him, traveled the long road of recovery. For a long time he went through the process of rehabilitation in San Antonio at the Brook Army Medical Center. At the time he was just happy to be alive. Now he spends a lot of his time encouraging other soldiers recovering from their injuries. When I last read of him he was 20 and he was looking to the day when he could return to his Illinois home and resume a normal life. In my book Gab is a hero and is owed a great debt of gratitude from America. This is Just A Minute
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!” (Psalm 106:1). Thursday, perhaps all of last week, we were conscious of our blessings and expressed our thankfulness to God. We used our national day of “Thanksgiving” to remind ourselves of the fact that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). On “Turkey Day” most of us gathered with our family, ate a delicious meal, reminisced and, perhaps, watched a football game. Most importantly, we gave thanks to the Lord “for He is good.”
Keep it going! Keep your heart in tune to the manifold blessings of God! Express your thanksgiving! Live a life of thanksgiving! Every day is “Thanksgiving Day” for the Christian. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We may struggle with the idea of giving thanks “in everything.” Sometimes our circumstances do not lend themselves to being thankful – there are dark clouds. I am reminded of the story of Matthew Henry, the respected Bible commentator. When robbed of his purse, Mr. Henry expressed thanksgiving! He wrote, “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” Thanksgiving is always a matter of perspective. Even in the storms of life we can thank God for the cool breeze. We can always find something (many things) to be thankful for. Have a blessed day…and be thankful!
Dwight Fuqua – via Focus on Findlay (Findlay church of Christ – Sparta, TN)
After a great visit with the overseeing congregation (as usual), we made another trip today from central Arkansas to Nashville, back to our son’s house.
Somewhere along the way the rental agency goofed or the travel agency in Brazil failed, and we wound up with an extra-small car. None of our suitcases will fit in the trunk. It runs well enough, but it’s a bit cramped. So I’m still unfolding my body after the several hours in the sardine can.
Good thing we’re not making any of the longer trips out to Texas or up to Illinois.
We can still be grateful that we’re not in the horse-and-buggy days.
When I hear men pray in public, I like to hear the usual requests put into different terms. It is more thought-provoking to me if I am a bit surprised by the way something is said than if I can stay three seconds ahead of the “pray-er” as he treads down the ever-trodden path of “guardguide’n’direct,” “keepusuntilthenextappointedhour,” “happyrecollectionofthethingshehasprepared,” “keepusinthehollowofthyhand,” etc. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with those phrases. They can be just as genuine as a newer, more creative arrangement of words, but I confess that I find myself being judgmental when I hear the “standard” phrases because I tend to use them when I have not been especially attentive to my own prayer life. God forgive me for thinking that way.
What made me think of this was either hearing someone begin a prayer recently or beginning a prayer myself with “Dear Lord, thank You for this day.” I sometimes give myself an internal kick when I begin a public prayer this way, because it rolls off my tongue unconsciously if I am underprepared. But it struck me a few days ago that I am silly for thinking that way. Just because that phrase has been overused a bit doesn’t mean that it has to be meaningless. After all, what more are we promised than this moment? We can’t thank God for tomorrow–Christ might return at midnight, or 30 seconds from now. When people are assembled with their heads bowed in prayer, it means God has granted them an opportunity to be together fellowshipping, studying, edifying, exhorting, encouraging, and basking in God’s lovingkindness with each other one more time. It means there is yet one more opportunity for those who have not obeyed the gospel to soften their hearts and make that decision. It means the Lord yet has some work He’d like to accomplish in each one of us, and He’s not done with us yet. Yes, come to think of it, “Thank You for this day” is no shameful way to begin a prayer. Perhaps there is a reason it has become one of our “standard” phrases. God help us not to let the rich meaning of those syllables be lost on us the next time we hear them uttered.
You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)
Lord, thank You for this day. Help us use it to lift up the name of Jesus Christ.