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Overflowing With Gratitude

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2023 12:00 am

Overflowing With Gratitude

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 23, 2023 12:00 am

Seek to have a grateful spirit so you can be close with Jesus and share your love for Him with others.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, November 23rd. Today we start with a good reminder of the spiritual wealth we have as believers, and we conclude with a challenge to respond to God by living a life that's overflowing with gratitude. I want you to turn in just a moment to Colossians, and Paul talks about overflowing with gratitude. So, if you'll turn to that second chapter for a moment, and I want us to read just a few verses. He's been talking about our relationship to Christ and all that that means. So, he says, beginning in verse six, and whenever the Bible says, Therefore, that means on the basis of what I just got through saying, Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted, and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

So, Paul is reminding the Christians in their Colossae of who they are and why they're where they are, and the fact that on the basis of that, they should be overflowing with thanksgiving. So, let's take just a moment to think about some things you ought to be grateful for. If I should ask you, tell me what you're grateful for.

More than likely, most people would start out with their good health or their family and so forth. And so, we're going to get past all that. And let's think about what you should be grateful for.

Watch this carefully. Are you listening to say amen? Amen. That you have nothing to do with, except that you accepted it. So, number one, you were chosen before the foundation of the world. Have you ever thought about thanking God for that?

He had nothing to do with that. Then also, you were indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Well, what's so important about that? Because He's the one who will enable you and give you guidance and direction in your life and the power to do what God calls you to do. You are eternally secure. Once you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, nobody can erase that. Nobody can erase your name from the Lamb's Book of Life in Heaven.

You're eternally secure. Then, you have the gifts of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit came in your life, what did He do?

Watch this. Knowing you perfectly, knowing the perfect will of God for your life. He gifted you. God gifted you, enabled you, makes you ready to be able to do and to do well whatever God called you to do. That's what He does.

That's not something we do. That's what He does. Likewise, you have the privilege of having an intimate relationship with God. Do you understand what that means, to have an intimate relationship with Him? That you can talk to Him and listen to Him and pray to Him? That God can work in your life and do anything?

All the things that are involved in a personal, intimate relationship, satisfying every need and every desire of your heart. That's something He did. Likewise, He's given you peace. Show me somebody who's not a Christian. I'll show you somebody who doesn't have peace.

I don't care how much money they have. Show me a lot of Christians who out of the will of God, they don't have peace either. But we have the privilege of having not only peace with God, but the peace of God in our heart.

You know when the final test of that is? When the person comes to face death and know that any moment it could be all over. Then there's no jockeying around about, well, I sort of believe no. You either have peace or you don't. You either have assurance, what the Bible says, absent from the body or present with the Lord, or you don't have it. There's no fooling around about it.

It's crystal clear and very sharp. Then there's the unconditional love of God. Think about this. Every single moment of your life, God loves you unconditionally. He doesn't love you if, and, but, when, where.

None of that. He just loves you. You say, does He love me when I'm sinning?

Yes, He does. Why doesn't He stop me? He's given you the privilege to be wise enough not to sin against Him and to walk in obedience to Him. But He loves you just the same. You say, well, if He loves me, why does He create such pain when I disobey Him? Because He loves you.

If He didn't send you enough discipline, you just keep on living in sin. All that is an expression of His love for us. Then, of course, His moment-by-moment presence. Think about this. When you got up this morning, if you live alone, you weren't alone. You woke up in the presence of Jesus Christ.

You got in your car, He was riding with you. The very presence of God is a gift from God for every single one of us. And I wonder, when's the last time you ever said, Lord, I just want to thank You that I'm living in Your presence.

And I want to thank You, God, for Your provision for me. He has promised to meet every single one of our needs. We can't promise that to anybody, but He's promised that.

And think about His promise of our protection. None of us know till we get to heaven, and I'm not sure that God will ever show us a lot of those things we say them now. When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask this. Well, I don't know that it's going to make any difference at all about what happened down here when we get to heaven. None of us will ever know how many times God protected us from an accident or from some ill, whatever it might be.

We'll never know how many times He protected us until we get to heaven, or we may never know, but the fact that He does all the time in our life. Then, think about this, you have the promise of a bodily resurrection. You have the promise of having a body when you get to heaven. You have the promise of knowing each other in heaven. Where'd that come from? That came from God.

Not anything that you and I could possibly do that could create that. And then think about this. If I should say, how many of you would like to live in a little better house, a little better home than you live in?

Probably most of you say, well, if I had a choice, yeah, I'd take you up on that. It didn't cost me anything. Well, do you know the one that God has prepared for you?

Listen, I don't know all the details, but I know this. Everything about God is fantastic. Everything about Him is perfect. He doesn't do anything halfway. He doesn't leave anything unscrewed, un-nailed.

He says, I'm going to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I'm coming again to receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And then the last thing I want to mention is not any of those. Of all the physical things that I could put my hand on, the thing that you and I ought to be most grateful for is the Word of God. Now, that's about thirteen things that I've mentioned we ought to be grateful for that you didn't have anything to do with except accept it.

So, how can we be grumblers? How can we not be overflowing with gratitude, thinking that God has done all of that for us? And every single believer has the privilege of enjoying that or not. And I think one of the good tests of a person's real relationship to God is whether they're grateful or not.

Now, listen to what He said. He said, overflow with gratitude. And the reason He used that word overflowing, He's talking about the use of that term. And the way we find out the many uses of a biblical term is to go back and read in the days in which it was written, how was that word used in those days? So, if they want to talk about a river overflowing, they would use the same word, overflowing and abundantly. And so, twenty-six times the apostle Paul uses that word.

Most of the time it's translated abounding. That is abounding and overflowing. That is, it isn't just a little thanks, it's gratitude. It's overflowing. That is, we're so grateful about what God has done in our life and what He's doing, we can't keep it to ourselves.

That's why I can't imagine anybody not being willing to share their faith. Look what you've got to tell. Think about what you've got to tell. You have the most awesome knowledge and the most awesome message the world has ever heard and will ever hear. You ought to be excited about telling it.

You've got it. It's inside of you. We have this awesome message. We have this awesome possession of what we've just discovered here. So, what I want to do is I just want to give you a little friendly test. And if you're watching or listening, I'll give you a second or two there to go find you a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. And I want to give you a little test that let's see if you would fall into the category of a person who is grateful.

Because it's some things are very evident when you're grateful. Let's find out what kind of a Christian are we? That is, is my life overflowing with anything? Oh, does my life look like a sandy bottom? Or am I overflowing like a river? Overflowing what? I'm going to show you what it is in just a moment.

I want you to take a test. Now, number one, if you have a grateful heart, you're going to have a positive attitude. You can't help but have a positive attitude if you have a grateful heart.

Look what God's doing in your life. Secondly, you're going to be aware of God's presence. If you have a grateful spirit, you're going to be aware of God's presence because you know that He's the one who is at work in your life creating the things around you that you're enjoying and maybe difficulty, hardship, pain, but you're still aware that God is there helping you through it. A third one is a humble spirit. A person who has a grateful heart is a person with a humble spirit for the simple reason you recognize that it's all of God, none of you. That He's the source of every good thing that comes your way, and so there's a humble spirit. Then there's going to be a sense of peacefulness about you. A person who is overflowing with gratitude is peaceful.

Why? Because they've placed their trust in Him. They're watching Him work in their life. They're so blessed in so many ways, and they're aware of it. You see, there are many people who are very, very blessed, not even aware of it, and therefore, they're not grateful. And then, of course, a person who has a grateful spirit is thoughtful of others. If you are a person who has a grateful heart, you're going to be thoughtful of others. What can I do for him?

What can I do for her? I wonder how I could help that person or help this person. Then you're going to be generous because you recognize what God is doing for you. Your gratitude toward God is going to make you a generous person. And I think oftentimes we collect stuff when what we ought to be doing is thanking God for what we have and passing it on. And as we pass it on, here's what happens. When you give away what you have, God already has it stacked up over you.

He's going to give you something to take the place. And you can take any facet of your life, whether it's money, whether it's clothes, whatever you give away, God is going to give you something in return. That's the generosity of God, and therefore, He wants us likewise to be generous, and we're going to be unselfish. We're going to be willing to share whatever we have. In fact, we will do so joyfully because a person of gratitude, it's just in you.

It's just flowing. That is, you don't have to wonder about that. That person is going to be expressive. For example, if a person has a sense of gratitude, you know what?

They've got to tell it. They're not bragging. What they're doing is saying, here's what God is doing in my life. Or they may be saying, let me tell you what God will do in your life if you will trust Him, if you will rely upon Him. If you really believe in your heart that He is who He says He is and that He provides all of our needs, meets those needs, whatever they may be. God's already showing His blessing toward you. And we started out by saying a positive attitude and awareness of God's presence. Oftentimes, it's our negative attitude, and we're so wrapped up in ourselves, we don't even recognize what God is doing. A person of gratitude is going to be a person who is expressive and you're going to be friendly.

Now, I don't think many of us probably like to meet grumpy people because there's nothing very pleasant about them. This is wrong. That's wrong. He did this.

She did that. And on and on and on and on they go. And the truth is, if a person is really a person of gratitude, they're going to be a friend of what? Because you see, their heart is melted. It doesn't take much to move the heart of a grateful person.

That's just who they are. Then, of course, there's this whole idea of being contagious. Now, all of us have met people that when we see them, we smile. Amen? Let me ask you this. Don't you have some people in your life, you don't have to see them, you just think about them and smile.

You know what? There's something about them that's contagious. And when you see them, you don't stand off and wait for them. You're out there awake, shaking hands. How you doing?

Glad to see you. There's something about it. What is it? Well, ultimately, it's Jesus within them because there's something about them you like. And if I say, well, what is it about Him I heard you like? You may not be able to express it at first, but I'll tell you what it is. Your heart connects to their heart because two grateful people, there's a connection. And the love of Christ is a love within them. The forgiveness of Christ is a forgiveness in them.

The understanding of Christ is understanding in that person. And then, of course, they're going to be motivated. A person of gratitude is motivated. Motivated to give, motivated to share, motivated to serve, motivated, you name it, they're motivated. Likewise, they're going to have a servant spirit. They're going to have a servant spirit because they want to be used, they want to give of themselves. They want to do what God wants them to do. And therefore, they're going to have a high level of faith. A person with a spirit of gratitude, they're going to have a high level of faith.

Why? Because they're watching God work in their life over and over and over again. They see what He's doing. And therefore, it's just a part of the way they think.

And then, of course, we would say they're going to be fruitful. A person who has a grateful heart wants to give themselves away. They want to be involved. They want God to use them.

They don't want to sit around always looking for something for themselves. And I would say if I use just one last word, and that is they're going to be joyful. A person with a heart of gratitude, you know what? Everything could be wrong in their life. And somehow, deep down inside, there's that joy. Not necessarily happiness, but joy.

Joy is that indescribable feeling and attitude and spirit within that, listen, no matter what's going on, there's this positive outflow, and that outflow and overflow of gratitude. God is doing something in their life. Now, without looking at anybody else's, can't look at anybody else's, look at your sheep and see how well you did. Did you check off the things that you thought would be true of you, put your cross marks by them?

Or were you scared to death to do it? And what you have to decide is this, am I or am I not? Am I really grateful for what God has done for me? Am I really grateful for what He's doing in me? Am I really grateful for the wonderful privileges and opportunities? Am I grateful for what He gives? Am I grateful for all those things we've talked about? And if you're not, there's only one person who can change that. You can decide today, Lord, I want to be a believer, a follower of Jesus who is overflowing with gratitude.

And when you come down your list and you've got an X on it, so I'm going to work on that, and this, and this, and this, because God, that's who I want to be. You know what'll happen? God'll open doors in your relationships that He's not opened before, because God is going to use your spirit to reach that other person. And it may be that in your life it's people who are hurting.

And somehow He'll begin to work in your life and other people's lives that you would never imagine. And watch this. You know what? It won't be any effort.

You don't even have to take any effort. Why? Because it's the flow. It's the flow of God in your life. And this whole issue is about the flow of God and His love and goodness and mercy and kindness and generosity and all that.

It's flowing through you. It's a choice you make. You may say, well, I'm not even a Christian.

Does it work for me? No, because you see, we started out by saying being in Christ, established in Him, rooted in Him, built up in Him, it's all about your relationship to Him. When He comes into your life and you want to confess your sin and repent of your sin and surrender your life to Jesus Christ as the final atoning sacrifice at Calvary, that God sent, prophesied it way back on. In fact, all the way to the garden when Adam and Eve sinned. You remember what the Bible says?

They found them some fig leaves to cover them. God covered them with skins. That meant that God had to kill something and shed blood. First hint of the sacrificial atoning death of His Son. Jesus went to the cross for you.

How could you not surrender your life to Him? Now listen, your whole eternal destiny, you're going to die. You know you will.

The Bible says it's appointed unto man once to die and after there's the judgment. You're going to die. And you go in some way. You say, oh, I just think you disappear.

You may think it, but you're going to realize too late that you didn't disappear. It's a choice you make to receive Christ as your Savior and watch Him work. Everything we've talked about in your life.

You can't beat that. Listen, there's no one who can promise you that but Christ. And I plead with you in His name, Jesus, to surrender your life to Him.

Let Him change your life. You know what? You'll be overflowing with gratitude for all eternity. Thank you for listening to today's podcast titled, Overflowing with Gratitude. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-23 05:27:36 / 2023-11-23 05:36:19 / 9

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