A Grateful Heart

There are three main holidays which we will be celebrating in these coming days. Each one of them bears a particular message that we will find to be important to us and to the world in our time.

The first of these is Thanksgiving. In a world of indignation, resentment, hatred, ungratefulness, the word thanksgiving seems like an anomaly. Nevertheless, the attitude of mind which is best described by the word thanksgiving is advocated for us many times in the Word of God. The Apostle Paul told us that we are to be “giving thanks always for all things” (Eph. 5:20). He is therefore telling us that ours must be an attitude of gratefulness for everything in life that happens. As hard as this may be upon occasion, this is the key to joyous living.

Thanksgiving is always to be the attitude by which we pray. It is indeed not merely the key to successful prayer, but it’s a component of prayer itself. We are to thank God for the answer to our prayers even before those answers may come.

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We Christians know this and, therefore, prayers before meals are practiced everywhere and they are basically a moment of thanksgiving for the very food that we eat. We know and confess, therefore, that our very sustenance comes from the Lord.

The pilgrims in colonial America knew this more than most. When they ordained a day of thanksgiving, they were thankful for their very lives. They knew that the good providence of God had delivered them from starvation and death. Therefore, their thanksgiving was often lifted with tears of joy as well as totally sincere gratefulness within the heart.

When we think of it, our situation is the same. The Bible asks the question, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). In fact, it is instructive to note the hundreds of times that the Bible uses the word receive or received concerning man and his relationship to God. One finally gains the impression that everything in all of life has come to us, not because of our works, but because of the grace of Jesus Christ.

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This is certainly true about salvation; it comes to us all of grace. There are spiritual subverters in our time who demand works as well as faith as the basis of our salvation. Their efforts are mistaken, however, because too many times the Bible announces that salvation and everything else is by grace. God gives us grace for saving, grace for living, grace for assurance and grace for everything. This is why the heart of the true Christian is filled with thanksgiving, because he knows that he would be instantly undone except for the gracious provision of God. Sincere thanksgiving is therefore the proper, indeed the inevitable, attitude of the perceptive Christian. But for the grace of God, the whole world would long since have sunk into hell and eternal perdition.

Therefore, at this time of the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, we must come before God with grateful hearts for His mercy and His love. Any attitude other than sincere thanksgiving is entirely mistaken and totally foolish. Thankfulness to God should surely be one of the first marks of a Christian.

081316 Blog - RC Box AdThe second holiday which comes to us in this season is that of Christmas. With the singing of familiar Christmas carols, the sight of falling snow, the sound of the wind getting brisker and the pleasant twinkle of lights everywhere, we will soon be reminded that the Christmas season is newly upon us. We also sense that the coming of this holiday is not merely a set of activities, but there is a certain feeling in the air. Many of the Christmas songs talk about how “it’s almost beginning to feel like Christmas,” recognizing a certain attitude that has come upon the minds of people. In one way or another, we have come to call this feeling “the holiday spirit.” A general sense of memory, joy, nostalgia, anticipation and similar things go together to make it that indefinable but very real thing, “the holiday spirit.” It is probable that every person in Christian civilization remembers, during the holidays, a score of past Christmases and a lot of people from the wise men to Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, these are days in which a very real holiday spirit comes upon the nations of the West. We do well to think about that holiday spirit.

This joyous day we call Christmas is more than toys and tinsel, of course. Rather, it is the day of remembrance of the most astonishing miracle in the history of the universe. That totally miraculous event was the birth of a baby, the Lord Jesus Christ. Born of a virgin, that baby was God Himself, taking on the form of human flesh and becoming like we are.

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Dr. Dave Breese (1926-2002) was an internationally known speaker, teacher and author. He founded the ministry of Christian Destiny in 1963, and through it proclaimed the gospel on weekly radio and television programs and in numerous books and booklets. In 1987, he also became the president and Bible teacher on The King Is Coming telecast, a role that he filled until his death in 2002. Other organizations that Dr. Breese served during his distinguished ministry career included Youth For ChristAwanaBack to the BibleNational Religious Broadcasters and National Association of Evangelicals. A frequent conference speaker and a master at explaining the relevance of Bible prophecy, he was also known for his wisdom and wit. It is a great honor to include him as part of the inaugural class of Revived Classics authors for Dispensational Publishing House.

This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Destiny Newsletter.
Copyright © 2009 Christian Destiny, Inc. All rights reserved.
The article is reprinted here by permission of Christian Destiny.
For more information regarding Christian Destiny, go to www.ChristianDestiny.org.

Other material copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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