Gratefulness

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, it paves the way for Christmas. I love to give, but being thankful puts me in a frame of mind to be more giving.

I think it’s really good to focus on being thankful before the Christmas season begins. Thankfulness gets us to thinking about what we have and how blessed we are all year long. Then we won’t be disappointed when we don’t get what we want and we won’t become self-centered. Gratefulness paves the way for being a giver.

Grateful people are giving people even when they don’t have a lot. They give of themselves as well as give what they have.

There are lots of benefits to being a thankful person. Here are a few I’ve found.

Grateful people are happier.

Gratefulness improves our relationships.

Gratefulness improves our health. 

An attitude of gratitude causes us to be more optimistic.

Gratitude increases our ability to appreciate and enjoy the good things in life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 states it very simply – “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

God wants us to be thankful. He’s given us everything in Christ Jesus. What more can we ask for? As we think about all he has done for us, it should cause us to be grateful from now and throughout eternity.

I want to encourage you to keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down at least one thing you are thankful for. You can write more than one if you like. It will help to keep your perspective on the good report. It will make your life better in every way. It will bring you great peace.

Listening to the Holy Spirit

Did you ever think you were supposed to do something & you didn’t?

Has the Lord ever spoken to you about something minor and you dismissed it?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. There have been a number of times when a thought came to me to go in a particular direction, call someone, do something now, etc. and I didn’t do it.

For example, one day I was driving home from downtown and the thought came into my head to take the Dan Ryan Expressway vs. Interstate 55. I took I-55 because it was the way I usually take. There was a lot of traffic. What should have taken me 35-40 minutes took me an hour and a half!!!! I never checked to see what traffic was like on the Dan Ryan, but I’m sure Holy Spirit was trying to show me a better way. Obviously, this wasn’t a life threatening decision, but it could’ve been. Sometimes the Lord reroutes us in order for us to avoid an accident. We never know what could have happened had we gone another way, but God does. We only need to listen and obey.

When I go shopping for people, I always pray and ask the Lord to lead me to the right item for the person and for a good price. He always comes through for me. Before I started praying, I did not enjoy shopping. I would go from store to store thinking I would discover something better at the next store and leave the mall empty-handed.

God cares about everything in our lives.

He cares about the little things. As we listen when He tells us something minor, it is training to hear and obey concerning the big decisions in life. Each step in life leads to another. Oftentimes, we do not understand how little steps prepare us for big ones.

Think about a baby. When a baby begins to walk, they take small steps, are not stable and kind of waddle from side to side. The more they walk the more proficient they get at it, until the time comes when they are balanced and fast. It takes practice. The muscles have to be used. When they are used it becomes natural for the muscles. It is no longer a consciously learned response.

It is the same concerning listening to the Lord.

He is always talking to us. He doesn’t speak loud. He is a gentleman. His voice is soft and clear. The other voices in our head are usually loud. God doesn’t get down on us when we don’t listen. He encourages us to listen next time.

Hebrews 5:12-14 tells us that as we use God’s word our senses get exercised to discern good from evil. Following the Lord takes practice. As we follow we get better at listening and then our actions follow.

-- Linda Thompson


CONFESSION 

The Holy Spirit leads and guides me into all the truth and shows me things to come.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. - John 16:13


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