Have you ever crawled under a house
where it is dark, musty, and where bugs are scurrying everywhere?
I did many times, but I would only do that for one human being
on earth my grandfather, Clifton King (1907-1987).
He grew a big garden on his extra
lot in the small town of Windom (population 200). He grew many
varieties of produce, including potatoes. He stored the potatoes
in the cool crawl space under his old frame house, all spread
out on a canvas tarp.
In his older years, it was hard for
him to get down that low to get potatoes out so he would
use a hoe to pull some out. But eventually, the potatoes out of
his reach needed to be retrieved. And when I would come to visit
him, he would sometimes ask me to get a bushel basket full of
them out from under the house.
I always shot under there without
being asked twice and dragged a basket around until I filled it
up. I won't go into detail about the rusty nails sticking out,
or how some of the potatoes always rotted under there, and I won't
tell you the story about how he killed a snake that was living
under the house eating bugs. But I will tell you I never complained
once about the chore, and I always had an eager attitude when
he asked me to help him. Do you know why? The answer is one word
You see, my Grandad King was the
most influential person in my life. He was the most like Jesus
of any human I have ever known. He was a man of great accomplishment
and character, while being compassionate and humble in everything
he did. And he did a lot for me.
Grandad King always had time for
me if I had time for him. He took me places, did things with me
I wanted to do, and showed sacrificial love like few people I
have ever known. And he hardly ever asked anything of me. He just
invested himself into my life in all the ways that count.
And so I naturally felt great gratitude
towards him, and I was willing to help him any way I could. It
was like I had Olympic will-power to do anything he asked.
One day, I was reflecting on why
I was so willing to crawl under that house for him. That's when
the Lord gave me the revelation about the connection between gratitude
The King James translation addresses
this concept, but it uses the word "thanksgiving." When
most Americans read "thanksgiving," they think of a
Thursday in November with turkey. But the New American Standard
translation sometimes uses the word "gratitude" in the
place of thanksgiving. Because of this, I found that the New Testament
teaches us to make a priority of gratitude towards God
especially so that we can have the will-power to do what's
Consider these verses (my comments
in Italics). "Let us show gratitude, by which we may
offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe."
12:28 (NAS). (It's saying it is by gratitude that we can successfully
serve God in an acceptable way.) Also, "As you therefore
have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been
firmly rooted... in your faith... and overflowing with gratitude."
2:6-7 (NAS). (It is implying that if we have overflowing gratitude,
we can walk successfully in the Lord as easily as we received
God is telling us to have gratitude
for what He has done for us. And we certainly should, when we
think of His forgiveness for all our sins, because He gave His
only son Jesus. And think about all that Jesus endured to provide
that forgiveness. His death process was excruciatingly painful,
agonizing, grueling, cruel, and full of suffering. And He did
it all for you and me, not for himself.
Even if we never received a special
healing from God, a special answer to prayer, supernatural provision
in a time of need, divine protection in a moment of danger, or
any of God's other special works in our lives, we should still
have tremendous gratitude for eternal life deliverance
from Hell and the future Lake of Fire!
The more we reflect on God's gift
of Heaven to us who do not deserve it, the more will-power we
will have to live right and obey the Word of God. This is a secret
source of strength, zeal, enthusiasm, and determination! In my
experience, few people have fully utilized this amazing source
of power over temptation and sin. And that is a primary reason
that I have worked at developing gratitude towards God. Along
the same lines, I also try to demonstrate gratitude towards those
people who have been a blessing to me. I want to keep a focus
on gratitude and keep that secret source of will-power
at a peak at all times.
Think about whatever it is that you
might want to accomplish or change. Perhaps it is overcoming a
bad habit or sin, perhaps it is starting a good habit, or perhaps
it is just losing a few pounds. If we do it for the Lord
and keep ourselves motivated by gratitude for what God has done
for us we can find amazing strength and will-power. But
if we are just doing it for ourselves, or because we are concerned
about what others think of us, we will have a much harder time
We need to cultivate "an attitude
of gratitude" towards God to help us keep our will-power
up. Actually, gratitude is the number one reason we should obey
God and not sin. It does not reflect gratitude towards God for
us to sin after He has provided so great a salvation for us on
His own initiative.
Satan accused God of being less than
totally good to Adam and Eve, and the enemy is still accusing
God of being unfair, not answering prayer, etc., to believers
who will listen. However, the Bible contains many verses telling
us that we are the ones at fault. It is just not popular to accept
the responsibility for the condition of our lives. It is human
nature to want to blame someone else. But in spite of the fact
we have all blamed God at times, He is still willing to help us
climb out of whatever circumstances we have found ourselves in!
And gratitude is even harder to maintain
in these "last days." The Bible says in 2nd
Timothy 3:1-2 (NAS), "But realize this, that in
the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers
of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient
to parents, ungrateful..." It is part of the spirit
of this age to be ungrateful. So we have to deliberately remember
to be grateful to God for what He has already done for us, and
not let the enemy cause us to dwell on the things we still want
God to do.
I have a tape on this topic that
goes into more detail than this teaching letter permits. And as
always, we will pray over any prayer
requests you send us. We need and appreciate your
support of this growing ministry. Anything you feel God would
have you do financially will help us greatly at this time, and
enable us to minister to more people.