Summary: This message focuses on our need to remember all that God does for us ...rather than independent, we are dependent on Him.

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This morning, we are continuing our series on living in thanksgiving - and lets begin again by reading this text - (read Psalm 100:1-5)

Over the last couple weeks we’ve been talking about how to become people who live with a thankful heart. We’ve talked about learning to delight ourselves in God and in the things of God, and last week we looked at learning to serve with a grateful heart. If we live our lives in service to Him, then chances are we will be thankful people. this morning we turn our attention to Psalm 100:3 and look at another key to living in thanksgiving - one we are going to call ‘dependence.’ The problem is that dependence isn’t usually something that we make as a goal, and its not something that we are often thankful for...

For us, the goal, is independence, right? If you really stop and think about it, most of your life is built on the idea that you want to become independent - self-sufficient. You start life as a baby, and everything you have is given to you: you are fed, changed, and repeat the process - but as you grow, you begin to assert your freedom, and you begin taking greater and greater steps so that you can become your own. In fact, those first steps are celebrated, right? From those first steps on, each new step in celebrated too... The goal is not dependence, the goal is independence.

But listen to the Psalmist... He says, “I am thankful that I am yours. I am your sheep, and you are my shepherd.”

Sheep and shepherd are common images throughout scriptures. Jesus is said to be the great shepherd, right? Actually, Jesus said that himself in John 10:14,15 “ "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

But if you know anything about sheep - sheep are not very bright... In fact, sheep are very dependent animals. Sheep need a shepherd to survive. One of my favorite illustrations of this comes from Psalm 23 - “ The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” That phrase, “leads me beside quiet waters” sounds tranquil to us, we see green meadows and tranquil waters - but it means more than that. I learned not too long ago that sheep can’t drink from moving water. They are too afraid. if the shepherd doesn’t calm the waters, then the sheep won’t drink...

One of the reasons why we don’t live lives of thanksgiving is that we forget how much God has really done for us. We begin to believe that we can take care of ourselves.

In our pursuit of independence, we don’t even realize how much God is really helping us...

Imagine if you will a young man that wants to be a ship maker. He wants to sail the ocean. He loves the wind on his face and the salt in the air - so he goes to work for a ship builder. Day after day he works hard and eventually he builds up a nest egg - enough to build his own sail boat. So in his off hours, he begins to build his boat. Its a thing of beauty. He finally gets it done. Look at all that he’s been able to accomplish. His day has arrived. He quits his job to sail into the sunset. He gets the boat in the water ...but there is no wind.

So how do we cultivate a spirit of dependence? We have to pause and meditate on what is God’s blessing and what is us.

We have to nurture what I cal a “Soul” dependence - We have to begin to realize how much I truly need my heavenly father... I think that’s what Jesus nurtured and mentions is John 15. (Read John 15:1-5) - I am not fruitful, unless I depend on him. I can do nothing without his strength and power.

He is the wind... I go no where without him pushing me...

That kind of dependence must be nurtured. Its nurtured as we serve and give and pray and read God’s Word - but its really seen in our lives when we Take Bigger Steps...

When my mother was in the hospital, my sister and her daughter Abby came to stay with us. I haven’t been around a baby for a while. My kids are all grown now, and Abby is just 10 months. She’s at that stage where she’s just about to start walking and when we were in Wichita Falls, one of the joys that I had was in walking with Abby. You have experienced this, I know. I would put Abby on the ground. She would be standing and her hands were wrapped around my fingers. I would lean her forward and we would walk together... But If I let go. She stopped. She had no ability to walk without my help.

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