Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will refresh your souls. Take My yoke upon you; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find relief and blessed quiet for your souls.”
Matthew 11: 28, 29
“Think not life’s burden thou dost bear alone.
No sorrow thine but that its keenest dart
Lies in the depths of One most sacred heart:
No penance thine but that God makes His own
Its loneliest thought, its bitterest tears of brine,
Unto thy weakness lends His strength divine.
So, when thou tremblest beneath the cross’s weight,
When sharp-edged stones beset thy bleeding feet;
And shadows of strange shapes about thee flit,
He, who hath hallowed suffering’s sad estate,
Shareth thy body’s woe, thy spirit’s pain,
The cross, for thee, up Calvary bears again.
‘My yoke is sweet,’ Ah! wherefore did He call
A ‘yoke’ His law that is so light to keep,
But that thy wondering heart should thrilling leap
With such sweet yoke-fellow to wear the thread
Of bondage blessed! – self-binding thy free will
The fields He consecrates, with joy to till.
For thinkest thou, O soul, that one, alone,
Shall bend beneath that which fashioned is for two?
Making that drag, with balance all untrue,
Which else were light, with even burden thrown?
How shalt thou falter, how discouraged be,
When Jesus stoops to bear His yoke with thee!”
B. Alphonso Rodriguez
Today’s Study Text:
“We give praise and thanks to you, O God, we praise and give thanks … Your name is near.”
Consequence #3: “A Spirit of Gratitude.”
“Gratitude” – Thankful. Appreciative.
What am I grateful to God for in my life?
“Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
A Native American saying
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:14
“Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better.”
It may be because he is identified as a physician. Whatever the reason, the book of Luke contains many stories about the healings Jesus performed on people with a variety of illnesses.
At that time in history, no disease caused more distress than a diagnosis of leprosy. When one was found to have contracted leprosy, they were banished away from family and friends. In order to let others know they had a problem, they were forced to cry out, “Unclean,” as a warning to keep other people as far away as possible.
Just imagine how your world would be turned upside down if you were torn away from those you loved; forced to live in a colony with others who suffered like you; and then, to add insult to injury, you were instructed to cry out “Unclean” to passersby.
If this was how you had to live, you can begin to understand the overwhelming joy that entered the hearts of 10 men in a village when they heard that Jesus – the Man who healed people with leprosy – was coming to their town.
These men, the Bible says, lifted up their voices crying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13, King James Version). Jesus instructed them to go show themselves to the priest, and “as they went they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14).
But here’s the best part of the story. “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15, 16, King James Version).
This is the 10% theory. Only 10% of the lepers were grateful enough to say, “Thank You, Jesus.” Just think what these men regained when Jesus came to town. They could go back to their families. They could enter the Temple. They could enjoy their friends. They could go back to work. From a life of “could nots” they regained a life of “coulds.”
Yet in a moment of joy, only one leper was grateful enough and took time from his own pursuit toward a new life, to thank God for the gift he had been given.
We can learn from these words penned by Fred Van Amburgh: “None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude … Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”
Over the past few days, we have discovered that when we allow God to “fully fill” our lives, when we begin to experience Heavenly fulfillment, the first consequence is that we develop an attitude of contentment which fosters a satisfied frame-of-mind, and leads us to have a spirit of gratitude. When we are filled to overflowing with contentment and satisfaction, a spirit of gratitude is the natural result. From the bounty in our lives flows the desire to share. As Samuel Johnson noted, “Gratitude is the fruit of great cultivation.” And when we cultivate contentment and satisfaction – our harvest will be laden with the fruit of gratitude.
May the consequence of God’s fulfillment find your spirit spilling over with gratitude today.
“Gratitude to God makes even a temporal blessing a taste of Heaven.”
“For What We Have Today”
“I heard my little boy one day
Kneel down and fold his hands to pray;
The words he spoke were all his own,
No formal prayer as yet he’d known.
I watched him as he raised his head
And looked at Heaven; then he said:
‘God, take care of what we have today!’
That’s all there was for him to say.
He rose and tumbled into bed
Serene and sure in what he said.
And oh, how deep the thought struck me,
How foolish we must seem to be
To our Creator when WE pray
To give us this or that today.
Perhaps a thank-you now and then
Just to show courtesy again;
But greater wisdom, purer joy
Came from lips of my small boy!
Now in MY prayers I always say:
“God, please take care of what we have TODAY.”
Lillian J. Loyd
“Precious Saviour, I am not only surprised at all of the most wonderful things You have done for me since I think on them so rarely, but, I am so embarrassed that I can be so foolish as to not recognize the abundance of Your love which grants me one good thing after another.”
Margaret Fishback Powers
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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