From about the middle of March we haven’t been able to meet here as a group because of the issues obvious to us. We have been meeting at the family, friends, and cell levels but we thank God that we are able to meet though with some restrictions. We are excited to be in the presence of God. it is safe to be in the presence of God.
Fathers’ Day wishes
The first day of our meeting happens to coincide with the Fathers’ Day celebration so I want to wish all fathers a happy Fathers’ Day, especially the fathers of the church and the fathers in the house.
A heart of gratitude
I am excited to be in the house of God and I believe you are also excited and have been waiting for this day all this while. I want us to briefly discuss what I have titled “A heart of gratitude.” I believe one of the things that made David a man after God’s heart was that he was a man of worship, thanksgiving, and gratitude. He may have had many weaknesses, but he was still described as a man after God’s heart. He was always praising and thinking God. When you look at the book of Psalms you see his psalms in adoration and thanksgiving to God.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; it is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
The scriptures expect us to come to God with hearts of thanksgiving
Going through the scriptures, we find that it is the expectation of God for us to come to him with a heart of thanksgiving. As we come into his presence, we have to come with thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100). I like how the Message Bible puts it. He says enter with a password. The password is “Thank you.” It also says to make yourself at home, talking praise and thanking him. God expects us to be thankful at all times and to always have a heart of gratitude.
Is there a basis for thanksgiving?
Why should we have a thankful heart when not all things may have gone our way? Is there a basis for thanksgiving? The greatest gift that God has given us as his children is our salvation. By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, you receive the gift of eternal life—something you have not worked for. There is no way you could have purchased this salvation. For that reason, we have every cause to thank him. The gift of salvation is a free gift that God gives to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 6.23 says the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life. Salvation is described as a free gift because some gifts have strings attached to them. God’s gift, however, is a free gift. We were candidates for hell. We were already condemned and on our way to hell but somewhere along the line, somebody appeared on the scene and decided to die the kind of death we had to die to save us from hell and condemnation. Because of that there is now no condemnation for us who are in Christ. Why don’t you rejoice in this and be glad and worship him for this gift? You are not more worthy than those who have not be saved. It is just by grace we have been saved.
By his grace we stand here as people who have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. The wrath of God is no longer upon us. When God looks at us he is happy and glad because we are his beloved children. If for nothing at all, for the sake of your salvation you have to give him gratitude.
Benefits in addition to salvation
Beyond the salvation he has given us, he has given us what David describes as benefits (Psalm 103). He forgives all our iniquity, heals our diseases, redeems our lives from the pit, and many more.
There are some things we have got free of charge. Because of these, we are to bless his name. Examples of the benefits are forgiveness of sins. By reason of the work of Jesus we have received the benefit of forgiveness of sins. God does not see us as sinners. When the devil accuses us before God and God looks into his records, he finds no such thing against us. Why wouldn’t we be grateful and come to him with a heart of gratitude? Like the prodigal son, we went far away but when we came back, our father, who is the good father, run to us with outstretched arms.
Another of the things our salvation has brought is the healing of our diseases. Sickness came into the world as a result of the fall. When we fell our bodies also fell but he is the Lord our healer. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree and by his wounds we have been healed (1 Peter 2.24).
He redeems our lives from the pit. To redeem one’s life from the put is to redeem from danger and destruction. Sometimes you get to a point where when you lift up your leg, the next point is destruction but there is an unseen hand and a divine intervention that comes and redeems your soul. They expected you to fall but he has taken away the disgrace. People expected you to fall into a ditch but he has redeemed you. David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I wall not fear any evil because God is with me.” (Psalm 23.4) A snare was planned for us but it is now broken and we are free.