26 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 27 "How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me?...28 Say to them, 'As I live, declares the LORD, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness,...31 But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. Numbers 14:26-31

Life is all about choices.

Attitude is our first one. When I encounter a situation that is not what I think it should be, I must choose to see it like the proverbial glass half full or half empty. Those two perspectives take me to two very different places.

God cares very much about our choice between the two. Apart from the Cross itself, I believe the most radical thing He ever did in Scripture is in Numbers 14 where He said to a whole generation of His own children, "I can't take your grumbling anymore. Go on back into the wilderness and die." He loved these people; He miraculously and dramatically rescued these people. But no matter what He did for them, they flat out refused to stop stirring each other up with all their whining. So, God decided to give their kids the blessing that they wouldn't let Him give to them. All because they refused to look at their situation with a grateful attitude. Very simply, God would have been pleased if they had just drawn the line between all the ways He had protected and cared for them and a heart-felt "thank you, Lord." Their gratitude would have changed history.

Even pagans see the impact of a thankful attitude. Pick up most "self-improvement" bestsellers or tune in to the talk show circuit and you'll hear this same word on the top of everyone's list on how to have a better life: gratitude. A grateful life is a healthier, happier life-this from people who don't even know the Lord. Just imagine the joy available for those of us who are His own.

Yes, joy flows when you stop circling on difficult circumstances and turn your attention to the blessings that are yours in Christ Jesus. How? Start by giving thanks for all that you have received from Him. Be personal and specific, rehearsing His faithfulness from big things to small. Like a fragrant offering, your gratitude rises to God and blesses Him and in turn, His blessing fills you with such faith that the pattern of your life turns from complaining to thankfulness.

—James MacDonald