What Does it Mean to Have a Grateful Heart?

Some of you may be reading this and thinking – “A blog post about gratitude, but it’s not even Thanksgiving…”

I know. You’re right. Yet, the Lord moves in creative ways and is teaching me this timely lesson right this very moment.

Psalms 107:1 – “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever.”

I have always liked this verse, because it reminds me of one of my favorite worship songs – “Forever” by Chris Tomlin. Moreover, it reinforces the point that God is good and merciful, regardless of our circumstances.

  • Although the student loans are accruing interest, literally moment by moment – He is my Provider (Luke 12:31).
    • When I am exhausted, beat down, and fatigued – He is my Healer (Matthew 14:14).
      • When I am challenged by the overwhelming needs of the students that I serve – He is my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
        • Even if I’m approaching thirty and still living with my mother-in-love – He is still somehow SO good (1 Samuel 16:17).

If I’m being honest – I’m so bad at being grateful. I take many of my material possessions for granted, struggle with being content in this season of my life, and look with envy on the lives of others.

The Lord is using the flood that has been plaguing Houston this week to point out this sin in my life.

Here’s some statistics about the Houston flooding:

Want a better visual of how much water we’re actually talking about? Check out this video footage of the flooding in Cypress, Texas.

Many of my coworkers and friends have experienced damage to their cars, homes, and property. Some of the items that they have lost in the flood can never be replaced.

Other Houstonians have lost their lives and I’m complaining about my circumstances. Really!?!

Sometimes I am so ashamed at the thoughts that travel through my head. Even still, if we revisit the truth that we started with in Psalm 107:1 we are reminded that His mercy endures FOREVER. God’s grace and love covers a multitude of sin – even my selfishness – and it extends throughout this lifetime. Thank you, Jesus!

Want to help those impacted by the flood?

  • If you’re local, then you can partner with the Langham Creek YMCA or one of the many churches planning flood relief for our community.
  • If you want to help, but you live outside of Houston, then please visit the American Red Cross website to learn how you can support our city.

What Does the Bible Say About Worry?

Are you a worrywart? Prone to anxiousness? Fearful about the future? Me too.

If we ask around we will find plenty of advice, like the quote depicted below:

worry quote

There’s nothing wrong with this quote. I actually like it and think that it summarizes the burden that worry can leave in its wake, but I cannot be assured that it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).

As a Christ follower, I should look to God’s word for wisdom and truth regarding worry.

Matthew 6:25-34 says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I am by no means a Biblical scholar, but I think that this passage is pretty straightforward – do NOT worry. That does not leave a lot of room for interpretation. If I choose worry over trust, then I am being disobedient.

UGH! Then, why is it so difficult for me to choose to trust in the Lord? Maybe this is a challenge, because I think that my plans are better than His plans. Maybe I struggle, because I do not want to relinquish control. Francis Chan provides another perspective:

Francis-Chan-worry-quotes

Whatever the reason, I can confidently say that it is a sin issue and something that the Lord is working on in me. Some days I am defeated by my worries, but the more I talk to God about my stress the easier it gets. When I feel the fear creep in, I will seek to meditate on Psalm 56:3“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” 

There’s another piece to this worry puzzle that is much more important than our struggle. This passage is full of God’s goodness – He really is our loving, Heavenly Father! He knows our needs and cares for us in unimaginable ways.

How do you fight your fears and renew your trust in the Lord? Do you have any examples of God’s faithful provision? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear an encouraging testimony from you.