Monday, December 27, 2010

A grateful heart will remain unshaken

Where I stand as this year draws to its close: I stand on the Cornerstone of all creation, because the mercy of Jesus has saved me. Gratitude fills my heart and my life with the blessings He has delivered to me, first fruit of which is that precious salvation. He Who is the fount from which all beneficence flows, in His mercy accepted my piteous cries for forgiveness and smiled upon my soul, bringing light and peace.

He continued to bless me by installing the Holy Spirit within me to rely upon as my guide and teacher. He allows me to grow in His light and remain upon His paths by sending me wisdom as I read His Holy Word. He gives me earthly fulfillments- I am not hungry, I am in a warm home, I am clothed and I am employed. I learn from Paul who said to the Philippians, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Phil 4:11-13)

Contentment no matter the circumstance is truly a gift. Do you have a grateful heart as this year closes? The end time is a period when the Lord is shaking heaven and earth, and we see what remains. "At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-19). In the meanwhile, here on earth, He is shaking loose governments, mountains, economies, hearts...so what remains? Believers! The Kingdom is within us and we must not be shaken as the the end time warnings continue to deepen. Gratitude and contentment in the midst of terrible circumstances is key to remaining unshaken. Paul was unshaken, content in all that occurred. So was Abraham Lincoln. The basis of Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation was gratitude to the LORD. Notice how his decree began, not with a listing of current troubles, and if any man had a right to complain it was Lincoln. But the proclamation began with gratitude toward the Lord for blessings. Lincoln begins:

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom."

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."

"It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three..."

Friend, you are of the Kingdom - the Kingdom that will not be shaken! My prayer for you is that your heart is filled with gratitude for all things, no matter the circumstance. "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." (Col 3:16)


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