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Summary: God wants our praise and gratitude to be as vital and habitual as the way we breathe.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Intro: Rudyard Kipling lived from 1865 to 1936. He was English, yet born in Bombay, India. He wrote poetry and is the author of books like Captain Courageous, How the Leopard Got His Spots, and The Jungle Books. Who was this man? Rudyard Kipling.

-Kipling’s writings not only made him famous but also brought him a fortune. A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, "Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over one hundred dollars a word.”

-The reporter reached into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred-dollar bill and gave it to Kipling and said, “Here’s a one hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now you give me one of your hundred dollar words.”

-Rudyard Kipling looked at the money, put it in his pocket and said, "Thanks!"

-Well, the word "thanks" is certainly a one hundred dollar word. In fact, I would say it is more like a million-dollar word. It’s a small word but it has a powerful meaning. It might only have 6 letters but it gets across a message that few other words are capable of achieving.

-When that little word is missing, we feel it deeply. You know what it’s like when someone doesn’t say "thanks" – you feel hurt, used, ignored, and taken for granted and you wonder why you bothered to do something for the person in the first place.

-No doubt God is above getting His feelings hurt when someone forgets to say thank you. However, gratitude is the proper response to His grace and love that He continually gives to us.

-Thankfulness can be described as the exhale of grace. We breathe in God’s grace when we receive His love and forgiveness and many other blessings. When we exhale we breathe out praise and thanks for who He is and what He has done.

-I’ve noticed something about breathing. Both the inhale and exhale are of critical importance. One might imagine that it is more important to breathe in. However, we can only inhale to the degree that we exhale.

-So, here is the main thought of today’s message:

Prop: God wants our praise and gratitude to be as vital and habitual as the way we breathe.

TS: Let’s look at a couple of thoughts about thankfulness that will help us recognize its importance and give us practical ways to express our gratefulness to Him.

I. The Importance of Thankfulness

[Play video clip- A Heart Fully Alive]

A. It gives us proper perspective- God is the source of all good things. We are indebted to Him. He is the giver. We are the takers. We are totally dependent upon Him.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

-There is nothing we have in this world that did not originate in God’s heart and mind, and ultimately come from His warehouse. When He releases His treasures into our care, it is only fitting that we should be grateful, recognizing where our help comes from.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

B. It helps us align with God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

-It is never God’s will for a Christ follower to be ungrateful. That is one of the quickest ways to miss God’s will – stop being thankful to God. It can also do a number on God’s reputation, affecting how people respond to Him.

C. It helps us see our true condition. Lack of thanks blinds us to our true condition and will stop the flow of grace. It leads to and feeds a sense of self-sufficiency - I have need of nothing.

-Look at Romans 1:20-21 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

-One of the big problems that has plagued the human race is the failure to acknowledge Him as God and express gratitude to Him. Ungratefulness contributed to the downward spiral of fallen man. As a result man’s thinking becomes futile and their hearts are darkened. No light. Blindness to our true condition.

-That sounds like the Church in Laodicea, when Jesus spoke to them about their sluggish, unresponsive hearts: Revelation 3:17 You say, ’I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

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