Saturday, February 17, 2018

Freeing Gratitude

Year 6-Day 48: Today, I am grateful for the freedom found in gratitude.

Freedom? I know that choosing gratitude is life changing. Every once in awhile, I uncover a new way to put it into words. Today is that day. This quote is from John Ortberg:

"Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation." 

John Ortberg is a tremendous teacher and speaker. He has a wonderful way of summing up big ideas in just a few word that keep me stewing, brewing and reviewing them for weeks. This statement succinctly expresses the wonder of living each day gratefully. 

Gratitude begins when we recognize that every new day is a gift. We didn't earn it. We don't really deserve it. God grants us with each new dawn, the chance to try again. This quote, also, points out that self-preoccupation is a prison. Yes, a prison.

Wow! I did not see that coming, but it is so true. There is liberation that comes when we open the gift of each new day and hand it back to Him saying "Not my will, but thine be done in my life today." In submission to His sovereignty comes peace, hope and true freedom. He is the chainbreaker. When we experience a soul deep desire to be His... it sets us free.

Our God seems to love a good paradox. Recognizing and trusting His hand, even when we don't understand his ways, allows us to be more joyful. Embracing that he understands the big picture, while we can only see one chapter... or one page... at a time. We can feel a little sick on the roller-coaster ride of life when it goes too fast or takes sharp turns. Still, we are challenged to be grateful in all things. When we surrender in gratitude, the chains of our burdens start to loosen and slip away. 

That childhood memory verse that seemed scary and mysterious at times, now calms my soul. It seems to be a theme in recent posts. That usually means I still have more to learn. I have not exhausted its lessons.  Here it is in the NLT version: 

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him." -Romans 12:1 

When we live our lives in gratitude it is an act of worship... from sunup to sundown. A satisfaction, the world cannot give and the world cannot steal, begins to fill our day. In gratefully laying each day before the King of Kings as an offering, He guides and directs our paths. It never was about what we can do for Him. It has always been about gifting him our hearts and lives and discovering what He can do through us and with us. Yes, God with us.

Immanuel... Jesus... Yeshua...God with us, for us and not against us. In knowing him as Lord, the chains that bind us to the meaningless things of this wanton world fall away. 

When God instructed the Israelites not to covet, it was to free them from obsessing over the possessions or blessings of another... from their homes and their well-behaved thick hair to their wives. When we are grateful for what we have... what we have becomes more than enough. In gratitude, our souls are refueled and set free.

Today, I am grateful for the freedom found in gratitude. 

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