Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”
Have you noticed how many people seem to be walking around under a cloud of discouragement lately? For years we have heard that "MORE suicides occur during the winter holiday-seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, than any other time of the year. After some research, I discovered that appears to be UNTRUE. So, I decided to blog about something that is "TRUE".
What is true is this: The Thanksgiving Holidays can get lost in the "busyness" of food, football, and GIFTS. After food and football, the next things is "Black Friday". After the turkey has been eaten, the football games have been watched and digestion is fully under way, millions of Americans stay up all night so they can be at the front of the lines for their "Black Friday" shopping spree.
Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving in the United States — signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Although it's not an official holiday, millions of employers give their employees the day off, and many people use that day to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping. Black Friday has become a marketing sensation in recent years. Since 2005, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year. It lures shoppers to think "spending", and the "thankful thoughts" of Thanksgiving now turn to "stuff". (Yes I meant "stuff/things" not stuffing!)
So, let's take a moment, and talk about the title: "WHAT FILLS YOUR HEART". I'm hoping this question will bring to mind, things for which you can be thankful. Things that will encourage your heart. Let's start this holiday season off by reflecting on the blessings that have brought you growth and wisdom. In addition to Jesus' saying in the scripture at the top of the blog, we have also heard that: "out of the heart flows the issues of life."
Surely, we all experience challenging and troublesome seasons of life. It is so easy to contend with ungratefulness. Not many people take to kindly or grateful thoughts, or consistent expressions of gratitude. While we may not be grateful for certain events or circumstances that we face, we can certainly find something to be thankful for and major in that and minor in the negative things. RIGHT? When someone close to you dies suddenly, without any warning, it causes you to think about how you are spending your life. It causes you to think deeply about what really counts in your life.
Here's where I'm going with this blog. When I ask the question, "What fills your heart?" I'm asking, is your heart:
1. A CRITICAL heart,
2. A SELF-RIGHTEOUS heart,
3. A BITTER heart,
4. A WEARY HEART, or an UNGRATEFUL heart? or, is yours a heart filled with the love that Jesus has for us?
When we encounter "little things" it is easier to get through them; but having a grateful, encouraged heart will help whether they are big or small. Whenever you have a grateful heart you can give thanks even in the midst of calamity or chaos.
"Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God your requests. With THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, that passes all human comprehension, will guard your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-9).
Another reason why it’s a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, is because thanksgiving is an indicator of our true heart condition. An indicator of our true spiritual condition. Psalm 140:13 says, “The righteous shall give thanks to your name.” The person who gives thanks, show evidence that he/she has a righteous heart.
I read somewhere that "the Gospel is guilt, grace, and gratitude". Why would someone make that statement? Think on that and remember: We have a responsibility to be channels of God’s blessing to others. Yes, we have "guilt" because we all are sinners. We have "grace", because Jesus gave His life on the Cross for our sins, and we should be "grateful" because He did! That's the Gospel.
What if we refocused all our heart issues on just that thought? Being blessings and not just receiving blessings. Sharing encouragement, and lifting the hearts of others daily and just being grateful in general. If we did, our hearts would be filled with:
1. Having an attitude of gratitude as opposed to a spirit of entitlement.
2. Seeing the good and positive in life and focusing on that.
3. Tuning out negative thoughts inside our heads.
4. Celebrating God, life and others.
5. Being thankful for the good times, the happy times, and the sad times, because we can learn from them all.
Finally, although having a grateful heart means having positive regards for ourselves as well, it doesn't mean being arrogant or narcissistic. Henry Ward Beecher wrote and I quote: "Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."
After all, we should be "Trees with roots". Meaning that we keep giving something of ourselves to other so they can grow. Or, it could mean "Paying our blessings forward." So let's allow our words to be daily encouragement for those we encounter. Question: What fills your heart? Gratitude produces the peace of God in our hearts. Gratitude turns whatever we have, much or little, into ENOUGH!
This Thanksgiving season, encourage yourself and others in the Lord. Let us examine our hearts continuously, wiping out any trace of ungratefulness or selfishness. Whether we have LONG LIFE, OR ONE THAT ENDS SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECTANTLY REMEMBER THIS... it's not the length of our life or the things of our life that counts, but the DEPTH of our life. How DEEP is your life?
"Father, create in us all, a clean heart. Create a right spirit in us all."
Until next time... Blessings upon All and...
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!
Elaine J. Jones