Developing a Spirit of Gratitude (Part 1)
It is inevitable that as human beings we will sometimes forget things. Although some people are more forgetful than others, everyone forgets things occasionally--even the highly organized (if they deny it, then their memory is really in bad shape!). Sometimes we forget to take out the garbage on pick-up day or get the oil changed in our cars every 3000 miles. Sometimes we forget about an appointment we made or that research paper that is due at the end of the semester. Sometimes we forget to wish a friend or family member happy birthday on their special day. Sometimes we might even forget our anniversary (though typically that won't happen more than once!). The pace of our lives in the twenty-first century is quick--often too quick--and thus, sometimes things get forgotten--even important things.

Of all the things that people forget, I believe one of the worst is forgetting to be thankful. Oh yes, I know we have a holiday in America to promote gratitude, but let's face it, being thankful one day out of the year is certainly not sufficient. There are things that we need to be thankful for every day--not just once a year!

A perpetual problem for humans is forgetting to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed. James 1:17 teaches that every good and perfect gift comes from above. There is no good thing in your life for which you can claim full responsibility! If you have a nice home and family, realize that God has made such possible. If you have good health and many abilities, praise the Lord for blessing you in these ways.

For the remainder of our time today, I would like to read a passage and stress certain phrases wherein Moses warned the Israelites about becoming forgetful and complacent. He predicted that such days would come upon the nation, but he desired to prevent them. He urged the people to remember the Lord and the blessings He gave.

Moses said in Deuteronomy 8:6-20 - "Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks and water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of the valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest--when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end--then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God."

We will say more about this passage and topic tomorrow.