“Making Gratitude a Part of Your Style”

David, known as the “sweet psalmist of Israel,” wrote many songs throughout his lifetime. Whether he was offering words of lament, gratitude, worship or wisdom, David freely expressed the depth of his heart. One of my favorite songs lies tucked in the book of I Chronicles, chapter 16. Here, David writes a song of thanks after the ark has been brought into Jerusalem and placed in the tent. His heart is fixed on the Lord as He powerfully worships him for who He is and what He has done throughout the ages. This week we will spend time examining five verses of his song so that we can get a deeper sense of what it looks like to wholeheartedly honor the Lord.


“Making Gratitude a Part of Your Style”

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!

I Chronicles 16:8

Gratitude AttitudeGratitude is definitely in fashion these days. Walk in any big box store or local gift shop and you are sure to find wall decor, pillows, notepads, clothing, accessories, and even polished rocks emblazoned with beautiful mantras about being thankful. Turn on the TV or surf the Internet and you will find articles and even craft ideas inviting you to adjust your attitude by regularly expressing gratitude.

Even though I think every one of us could improve in this area, I’m a bit puzzled by the sudden tidal wave of stamped art reminding us all to be grateful. Perhaps we are all tired of seeing entitled kids growing into selfish adults. Maybe many of us are finally realizing that the “I deserve” culture in which they were raised didn’t yield the happiest of adults.

Or, maybe the plethora of studies linking gratitude to health and happiness have made people realize that a shift in our mindset can lead to a better quality of life? I have heard many famous people talk about the emotional, physical and mental health benefits they reap when they incorporate thankfulness to their daily schedule.

Despite the possible reasons for this trend, I have to say I am both pleased and concerned. On the one hand, we should all be grateful for the many blessing we possess. The quality of life we possess as Americans far surpasses that of most around the globe. I am concerned, however, because unlike David—who gives us a glimpse of his heart in this passage—many neglect thanking the Giver of our gifts. “I am thankful for my children” is simply not the same as “I thank God for my children.” The posture and tone are vastly different. The first expresses an emotional state associated with a possession. The second, however, conveys an attitude of humility as God is recognized as the Giver of the gift.

If you haven’t joined the gratitude movement, I strongly encourage you to start today. According to God’s Word, it should always be in style. He commands us to do this not because it looks good or makes you feel better, but because He is worthy. As you read David’s song, notice the way that his gratitude leads to a massive melody written to ascribe glory and honor and praise to His God. May our words of thankfulness be just the beginning of a tune we are singing to our Maker.



Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NKJV)


SHOWER_HEAD-e1414453757107The warm water cascaded over my head, seemingly washing away weeks of stress and fatigue. I could feel the muscles in my back and shoulders melt against the strain of three weeks and 16,000 miles of travel.

“Ahhh, this feels good,” I thought. And then it hit me. The simple blessing of hot water. Of the soothing comfort of it beating down on my shoulders, feeling warm and clean. So normal in our culture. I looked around my bathroom. There were four water faucets within eyesight. One simple turn of the handle and warm clean water would gush through each one of them. Wow. What a luxury. In American culture at least.

Having just returned from a small town in Brazil on a mission trip, I’d learned how to appreciate a little thing like hot water. While there, I’d found myself in need of some modern conveniences for which I am accustomed. Hummm … could it be that I am just spoiled rotten and in need of a little “thanks” giving?

I remembered being in one village—in a very simple cottage—with running water. Cold water. Sometimes. The weather was hot and sticky, with dirt roads and puffy clouds of dust. I remembered the times the water shut down, and we’d go to night services without a shower … or to bed without one. Or had to pour water from a bucket to flush the toilet. I remembered we couldn’t drink the water even when it was running.

Standing there with the hot water beating upon my shoulders, I thanked God for clean water that you can even drink, and paved roads and clean air. And I thanked Him for America where opportunity abounds … even in these harder times for which we are unaccustomed.

And I thanked Him for the opportunity to travel to that simple village with the sporadic water supply and puffy clouds of dust. Because it is in that place that I am reminded of my blessings at home, and the blessing of sharing Hope in this new land. It is because of the blessings we have in this country that I am able to travel and share blessings in theirs.

I am also reminded that even the great blessing of warm, clean water, and paved roads, does not offer peace in my soul. Only Jesus offers that. And we can take that blessing with us no matter where we travel, or whereever we live-—or no matter what we have or don’t have. Peace of the soul is an intangible gift, that when given by God, no one can take away.

So, today, I’d like to offer you that peace. It’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make, and you’ll never regret it!

Until tomorrow,

Your Traveling Partner,