The Altitude for Living

   Written by on November 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men (Psalm 107:8, NKJV)!

When God’s Word talks about giving “thanks to the Lord,” it isn’t saying just go through the motions. God is looking for our heart response, our genuine gratitude.

logo-macdonald-jamesGratitude means to express that a kindness received is truly valued. And as it relates to the Lord and to others, we’re to show them that their kindness means a great deal. So He instructs us to give thanks.

The Lord knows what He’s talking about; He made you. He knows how you operate, and His Manufacturer’s Specifications for the human race include gratitude. Ungratefulness is destructive—physically, emotionally, and spiritually (Romans 1:21). But thankfulness takes you to a better place with God and with the people in your life.

In fact, gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for living. There is a lifestyle that grovels, complains, and flies down low where it’s dirty and dark. This attitude is ungrateful, unthankful, and unhealthy. And there is another lifestyle that soars above it all, where the air is clean, the sun is shining, and the future is as bright as the promises of God. This mindset is grateful, thankful, and healthy.

And it’s in our power to choose it. “Oh, that [we] would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness.” Notice the verb would. If God had written could, we’d be able to blame Him as if He didn’t design us with the capacity to be thankful. But the text is clear that gratitude is a choice.

And it is a life-changing decision. If you’re an ungrateful person, if you don’t see the good that exists because you’re so consumed by what you’re unhappy about, that mindset is doing a lot of damage to you and those closest to you. It’s time for a change.

Let yourself be arrested by gratitude. As you calculate what you wish was different, know that, by God’s grace, some of these things will eventually change. Yet you are here, now, and you’re far better off than you would be apart from His grace. Can you make the decision to turn from the things that are not and focus instead on the abundant graces that are before you right now?

About James McDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel (HarvestBibleChapel.org) which now has 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend. Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (WalkintheWord.org), was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’s leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship (HarvestBibleFellowship.org) was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020. James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, and most recently, Come Home.

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