“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4 NIV).
I love Thanksgiving! It is a fun time of year to get together with family, eat some great home cooked meals, and watch football. Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on the past year and identify things which we are thankful. In some families, they go around the table and each person states one or two things for which they are thankful.
God has blessed us with many emotions with which we can express ourselves. Perhaps the healthiest of which is gratitude. Studies have shown that people that live a life of gratitude are at increased immunity to sickness and are generally happier. We all know an ungrateful person. They are never satisfied, and never seem to have enough power, money, houses, etc. I think many ungrateful people are not consciously ungrateful but are simply caught up in the “when and then” game. They are extremely focused on solving a problem and “when” it is resolved “then” they will relax and be happy. I have fallen into this trap before. The problem of course is that some problems can never be resolved and while we are working on one problem, another one or two will always occur. So, our happiness becomes postponed indefinitely.
Each day is a day made by our Lord and we should rejoice and be glad in it. Live and enjoy today! Tomorrow is not even promised so there is no need to worry about it. Yes, we need to prepare for retirement and do other things for our future benefit but there is nothing to gain by worrying about today or tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 teaches us, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” If we can learn to be thankful in all situations, then we truly cast all of our anxiety on Him and not be tempted to take it back. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.”
Gratitude can change everything. I had a friend tell me once that if you are feeling depressed, sit down and make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Here is an eye opener- some day you will be able to write down a few “bad” things on the list. For example, you may have been laid off from a job years ago but were later able to find a much better job. God turned the negative into a positive and for that you have something to add to your grateful list! Some negatives will always remain negative, but we can remain grateful through the situation but not for the situation.
Prayer: Dear God, Create in us a grateful heart that is truly thankful for all of the blessings that you have given us. Thank you for turning negative life experiences into blessings. Help us to great each day with prayers of thanksgiving. We love, need, and trust you. Amen.
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com and todd-shupe.com.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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