“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV
I have a good friend who plays the piano. She isn’t your typical pianist, though. She leads you right into the presence of the Lord as she plays. I remember sitting in a meeting one time where she was playing and I was thinking, “she is so gifted, I would love to be able to play the piano like that.” Before that thought was complete, I felt the rebuke of the Lord saying, “ be committed to practice like she does and you might play like her.”
We are so quick to assume that things just happen in life. Someone is good at something and it must be that they are over the top gifted. Yet, many of those gifted people display the type of ministry they do because they are committed to the gift that God gave them. We are a microwave generation. If we can’t do it fast, it isn’t going to happen. However, there are many things in life that won’t happen without commitment and dedication. We must be intentional.
This friend of mine would get up in the early hours of the morning when everyone else was sleeping and practice the same thing over and over again. She was dedicated both to the piano and to the Lord. Because she has been intentional God continues to use her immensely to lead people right into His presence. She knows how to make that instrument worship. It isn’t about the piano, it is about her intentionality and love for God.
She must continue to develop this gift if she is going to continue to overflow from it.
This is also true of gratitude. If we believe because we did a certain number of days focusing on gratitude that we will automatically become grateful, we are wrong. Gratitude must be something we commit our hearts to. Something we are intentional about, like practicing the piano. It will not come quick or easy, but the reward of being committed to it is the very presence of God Himself.
I am reminded that this is not a journey of a certain number of days but a journey of a lifetime with benefits that will go into the next life if I make this a priority. Gratitude is not an extra to add to our lives, but the overflowing character of someone who has been intentional in developing a reason to give thanks. Let’s be intentional. Gratitude will give us new eyes and hearts that release life.
Today I am grateful for the reminder that what I cherish I will work at. I realize that gratitude is not going to happen without making a decision to be a person who displays it. So, my heart seeks to be intentional. I do not want to be standing on the sidelines of life missing the riches that come to those who overflow with gratitude. Just maybe a genuine desire to be thankful might lead the way for others to pursue the same. Thank you Lord for confronting me with Truth.
Sue Holmes says:March 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm
I can’t think of any of the Apostles who put more emphasis on training & dedication than Paul. To me, he is the counterpart to Peter’s impulsiveness. The Apostle Paul was a man of discipline. He restrained his ‘self’ in order to be ‘all things to all people’ (1 Cor. 9: 19-23) & win souls to Christ. He spoke of disciplng his body, running the race & aiming for the prize. All these depicting the training & purpose of an athlete. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) Even before he accepted Christ, Paul knew that he had a life mission that would require a strong body to endure.
And yet he considered discipline in Godliness far above physical training. He had a zeal to enforce the Jewish faith & he would do so at great expense to himself. As a young boy he dedicated himself to sit under the teaching of Gamaliel, one of the most prominent of Rabbis. He knew the value of what he considered ‘right’ teaching & gave it a higher priority than boyhood triviality. His zeal (nor discipline) didn’t wane when he met Christ on the road to Damascus, “God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance.” (2 Cor. 2:14)
So, what does any of this have to do with gratitude … or me? I like Peter’s implusiveness. I like the fact that he would take Jesus at His word & step out of the boat onto the water. I want to be like that. But Christ urges us not only to have faith but to count the cost of taking up our cross or ‘stepping out on the water’. I wonder if Paul had heard the story of Peter’s reaction when he took his eyes off Christ? Did the Apostles swap tales around the campfire at night?
I come from a family familiar with alcohol addiction. I know my own ability to develop habits – not always the desirable ones. I would love to be addicted to gratitude. But I’ve noticed that addictions that are counter to the enemy’s plans are much harder to work at. They require the discipline that Paul encourages & Peter had to learn.
So, I am grateful for these 50 days of developing the habit of being grateful. I’m grateful for our Pastor being obedient to initiate this. I am grateful for each of the others who have contributed to and/or made use of this tool either online or off. And I am grateful to God for Himself being the reward of true gratitude.
If one were to do a study on habits there probably would be as many answers as there are people as to how long it takes to develop a habit. I know, as a personal fact, that it only takes one slip up before we are in danger of exchanging a new habit for the old one we hoped to escape. Gratitude is something I will need to work on habitually and purposefully. I have an enemy yearning for me to mess up. But I also have a God smiling as I continue down a path of gratitude. He is there to supply every need as I keep my eye focused on Him.
I am grateful that Paul learned and passed on to us that “my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) Everything needed for a life of gratitude is found in God. I purpose to live a life of gratitude beyond 50 days 🙂 and not be one of the nine who goes on without a word of thanks.
Susan Craig says:March 1, 2015 at 7:03 pm
Thanking the Lord for you and for His wisdom that comes mightily through your words Sue. God is so Good!! 🙂
Jim Holmes says:March 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm
As today’s passage says, physical training has “some” value. For instance, it might strengthen your legs and enable you to run faster, or your arms to enable you to lift things easier, or by increasing your “how to” knowledge to enable you to build or repair something. There is some value in this, and it can lead to temporary satisfaction, but it alone holds no promise for you now or in the future. It does not produce faith which is the “…confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Heb.11:1)….”. Now, to be ”God-minded” has value! It holds promise. What is it to be thus minded? In Phil. 4:8 we read “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.……….” The embodiment of this is found in Christ who is the Truth
I remember one day a couple of Christians invited me into their home. They seated me at their table and prepared a dinner for me. That’s it! I tell you, the simplest act that one can do for Christ has eternal consequences. Perhaps I was just lonely at the time, or I was having a down time, but the love of God was ministered to me and still touches my life today, some 30 years later.
Another instance was when I had been again invited to lunch by another Christian. She had a guitar which she played, and upon picking it up, she began to sing to the Lord. The Presence of God came in this simple act of praise and worship…which again ministered to me…it broke the hardness of my heart, softens it, …enables me to submit myself into the Potter’s hand… Again, a simple act that touches me forever.
Let me share one more time with you…In this case, I was praying for someone in hospital (I didn’t know her, it was a friend of a friend). It was perhaps a year later that I learned that this experience was special in her walk with God.
What I am saying is, these special moments point to today’s scripture. When we allow God in our day…in all we do…everything has value both now and years later and for eternity. My life has been changed forever by many Christians who walk with the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Our lives as Christians bring grace from God, His mercy, and the love of God our Father, into the lives of those that surround us. This holds promise for both them and us…promise for the present and all eternity.
Never underestimate what God is doing through your life. You do not know how your life has touched others for the kingdom of God…how God has ministered to individuals through your simplest acts of kindness…”unknown” to you. Our walk is a faith walk…trusting God with the submission of our life to fulfill His purpose. All praise to Him. God is good. God is love. He loves you.
Susan Craig says:March 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm
Thank you Jim and thank you Lord for this timely reminder.
Susan Craig says:March 1, 2015 at 6:46 pm
Today is March 1st-the start of a new month. At the start of this new year I was determined to make a note everyday of all the blessings that God provided so at the end of the day I could not only read the list but praise God for those blessings. I was purposly trying to develop not only an attitude of gratitude but a habit of recognizing daily blessings from the Lord and change my thoughts from focusing on the negatives in life to the positives. Well, I am writing today to let you folks know the truth of what God and I already know, my consistancy in developing this habit needs more work!! But even though I have not been as diligent as I had planned and hoped for, not all has been lost in the effort. Keeping gratitude in the forefront of my mind every day has been pretty consistant even if it did not all get written down on paper. My point is this, when we set goals for ourselves, seeing we are weak and often weary, we are bound to not reach them 100% of the time. I am glad God understands our human frailties beyond our own understanding. I have to admit I am more like Peter than Paul. I have a sister who is very much like Paul-very goal oriented and persistant in consistantly taking the steps needed to accomplish a goal. But ME??? I have big ideas,the best of intentions,jump in feet first and give it all I got but when that initial burst of resolve and energy is gone, I slip back into the old familiar and easier ways of behaving. What then follows is regret-disappointment in myself and feelings of failure. I can so empathize with Peter and how He felt after he denied Jesus 3 times. He mourned and then went back to his old familiar life of fishing-sure he could never be forgiven for his failures. But after the resurrection,Jesus made a point to reach out specifically to Peter. “Go tell the deciples AND PETER” were His words. Also 3 times Peter was told by Jesus to feed His sheep-3 times to make sure Peter got the message that the 3 times of denial were forgiven and that Jesus still had work for Peter to do for Him. This gives me much hope. No matter what my intentions are, inevitably I do not reach the mark 100% of the time. Does that mean I should give up?? NO-Never!!! We confess our weakness and inability and ask for forgiveness, brush ourselves off and in God’s strength,we get back in the race. Never giving up is the key to perseverance in the race-rest awhile,lick our wounds if we must, evaluate what happened but get up, and get back out there and try again. But always keeping our eyes on Jesus and on the goal set before us. The goal I want to achieve is still a valid goal and with Jesus at my side cheering me on and the strength that God provides along the way, I continue on, knowing that with God all things are possible to those who believe.
So today I am grateful for a new day,a new week and a new month to start afresh. It is a warm sunny day and I am thankful for that because my men here have gone to work after 4 days of being home this past week. The house is quiet and I have had some moments of calm,peace and refection- and much needed quiet time for prayer and bible study. Thankful that in February, God has provided for our needs-all of our bills for the month have been paid. Thankful that God brought us through a crisis of a missing son and that he was found safe and is improving in health. Thankful also that my Dad has recovered from his 2nd catarract surgery this month and is recovering from bladder surgery this past week. God has indeed been good to me and I thank Him for all He does in my world and in the whole world. I am glad He has us in His Hands and that His plan is always perfect. Thankful for Freda and her leadership in this study-ThanKful she remains faithful to the One who has called and equipped her for the work she is doing for Him. Thankful for this study which is helping me to grow and remain faithful in my own walk with the Lord. Thankful for the lessons taught through each person who has contributed to this study. Thanking God for His faithfulness and for proving to me over and over again that He is trustworthy and worthy of all praise and honor. Praying for diligence in pursuing and practicing gratitude on a daily,moment by moment basis. Help me Lord as we work together to develop this habit.
Pat McRae says:March 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm
Well here is another example of the world’s way verses God’s way. The world sells billions of dollars of products all advertised to do something so wonderful, they will make us feel young and beautiful, wrinkle free, skinny, more energized or less energized, stronger, yes a different us. And when we spend our money on creams that don’t work, diet pills that help us gain weight, and exercise that causes our muscles to ache, we think there is something wrong with us! They worked for that person in the photo, so why not for me? Oh we may lose a few pounds and enjoy the machines at the gym and may even think a few wrinkles are gone, but the real us has not been touched at all. Our frustration level is still the same and maybe even a little worse because now we have added to it by not being able to accomplish the goals. The anger and hurts are still there, the joy and peace seem to escape us.
Godliness according to a commentary in the Faithlife Bible Study application reads like this: the word eusebeia (godliness) refers to living according to religious standards and values. In the Pastoral Letters, godly people uphold and conform to sound doctrine. As a result, they treat others with love and respect.
From this explanation we can certainly see why Paul tells young Pastor Timothy to encourage people to seek godliness over worldly things. The worldly things might improve a few things in this life but it will never have any affect on eternity. But godliness will produce joy and peace here and now. Our attitudes and characteristics we want will be developed here and now. The best part is we will be ready for eternity. Now I know someone is saying, “I am not frustrated, I enjoy my life, I have a kind of peace that satisfies me and I am generally a really great person, possessing good attributes and character.” Well all I can say to you is, “good glad for you, but if you have not made Jesus Lord of your life your self-workers will not get you an eternal home, in that which is to come”.
I am thankful to God today that as His child I know where I will spend eternity. I am thankful God is teaching me how to keep my tent in shape, but more importantly He is teaching me godliness so I can love and respect others as He has loved and respected me. I am thankful godliness is profitable for ALL things. So when the world doesn’t understand me because I am acting as God would have me act, and they take offence I can just smile and know profit is coming. I just need to be still and know if God’s Word says it, it is so!
I hope you have been blessed in His presence today. I surely was!!