#16 A Thankful Heart

20 December 1999

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift"- 2 Corinthians 9:15 Paul's epistles abound not only with doctrine and practice, but also with thanksgiving unto God. In his epistles, Paul uses the word "thanks" 24 times; "thank" 11 times; "thanksgiving" 7 times; and "thankful" 2 times. Thrice beaten with rods, stoned once, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequent, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in weariness and painfulnes, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness(2 Cor. 11:23-27), Paul remained positive, thankful to God for all of his blessings. As we read his epistles, we hardly read a line or two before we find Paul bursting forth with a heart full of thanks. With all of our blessings today, should we not be thankful as well? A thankful heart is an evidence of grace, a mark of Christianity, a token of divine favor. A thankful heart is more than saying "thank you", or "I appreciate that", it is a mindset, an attitude, a way of life, the emblem of true spirituality. Paul would preach Christ and for his testimony he would be stoned or beaten. Many times, the majority of his hearers would not receive his message. But rather than allowing the negative influences of Satan to frustrate his life, Paul chose to focus in upon the positive things that God had done, and was doing, in his life and the world in which he lived. Rather than talking about his stonings, Paul would return to the churches and rehearse the positive things that had happened during his journey(Acts 13). Paul was satisfied with his position in life, who he was, and whatever success God had blessed him with. Paul lived a life of thanks. We all have that choice. Of the many things he was thankful for, Paul mentions a few in his epistles. Paul was thankful for the brethren(Romans 1:8); he was thankful for God's grace(I Cor 1:4); he was thankful for the spreading of the gospel(II Cor. 2:14); from prison, he was thankful for many precious memories with the brethren at Philippi(Philippians 1:3); he was thankful for the love that the Colossians had to all the saints(Col. 1:4); and, of course, He was thankful for Jesus Christ, the unspeakable gift of God. Are we thankful for these as well? A thankful heart is a healthy heart. It is good for "PLOM" disease. Thousands of people die from this disease every year. I've had it before and I can tell you it is no fun at all. "PLOM" disease is quite common at this time of year and a good dose of thankfulness to God for His blessings will cure it every time. "PLOM" stands for "Poor Little Ol Me". Have you counted your blessings today? Thanks is the attitude of praise. The Psalmist wrote, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name"-Psalm 100. Apparently, "PLOM" disease has been around a long time. Even in the psalmist's day, some of God's people had forgotten their blessings, even as they harkened the doors of Jehovah's tabernacle to worship. We can be sure they got little out of the sermon that day. So the psalmist wrote these words to remind them the attitude they needed as they approached God's house: a thankful heart. Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115. Sincerely, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.