I shared this message at a church in Beaumont Alberta a in 2014. It’s still relevant today. If you want to live LIGHT… gratitude, generosity and growth are the trifecta you need in your life.
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Why Thanksgiving is so Essential
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
When was the last time you met a bitter Christian?
I wish I could ask, “Have you ever met a bitter Christian?” but I know it’s much too common.
We see in Romans what happens when people know God, but don’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.
…They begin to think up foolish ideas of what God is like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
As Christians, we have the most to be thankful for, it should be the default choice we make in all things.
But when was the last time you heard a parent, grieving over their wayward child and say, “I only want them to be thankful?”
No, we say, “I only want them to be happy.” As if happiness was the chief purpose in life.
The secret is, thankfulness actually makes us happy.
How do I know this?
Science tells me so.
6 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About
(Scientific studies) BTW – the links to all the stats I gloss over here are at The Benefits of Gratitude
1. Gratitude makes people like us. – more friendly, better marriage, more respect, more friends, deeper relationships.
2. Gratitude makes us healthier. – better sleep, less doctor visits, live longer, more energy, exercise more, look better
3. Gratitude boosts our career. – better manager, increased networking, goal achievement, improved decision making, increased productivity
4. Gratitude strengthens our emotions. – more resilience, more good feelings, happier memories, less envy, more relaxed
5. Gratitude develops our personality. – more optimistic, less materialistic, more spiritual, less self-centred, more self-esteem
6. Gratitude makes us happier.
Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you’re grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others. Gratitude fosters forbearance – it’s harder to feel disappointed with someone when you’re feeling grateful toward him or her. Gratitude also connects you to the natural world, because one of the easiest things to feel grateful for is the beauty of nature.
None of these people and none of these studies touch on the word of God. And yet they affirm it time and time again.
What does the Bible say thankful people do?
Thankful people know thanksgiving is a choice
And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will.
(Leviticus 22:29 NKJV)
Thankful people give thanks to God
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”Psalms 69:30, NKJV.
and are grateful he’s still on the throne
“Saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.” (Revelation 11:17, NKJV.)
Thankful people start and end the day with thanksgiving.
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night,” (Psalm 92:1-2 NKJV.)
even thank in the middle of the night
“At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119: 62, NKJV.)
Thankful people give thanks for all the good God does.
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8, NKJV.)
that they’re redeemed
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalms 107: 1-2, NKJV)
that Christ leads them into victory.
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NKJV.)
that God qualifies them.
“giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Colossians 1:12, NKJV)
Thankful people give thanks for the good people in their life.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,” ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2, NKJV.)
even for those in authority.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” ( 1 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV.)
Thankful people let their thankfulness replace sin
“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” ( Ephesians 5:4, NKJV)
Thankful people let their thankfulness sanctify creation
“Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4).
Thankful people give thanks in every situation.
I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
even before the miracle.
John 11:41, NKJV. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”
Thankful people give thanks in everything they do
Colossians 3:17, NKJV. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Christians have the responsibility to be the most thankful people in the world. If we were we’d be the happiest people in the world. Happiness is not the goal. Obedience is.
How can you be a thankful person?
You need to make it a habit.
4 Steps to living Thankful
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
1. Worry about nothing.
Jesus talks about worry more than he talks about love. I think it’s because when we worry less, we can love more.
I’ve got something you to think about… when you worry are you blessing or cursing?
blessing = thinking or speaking well of someone or something ;
cursing = not thinking or speaking well of someone or something.
A lot of our worry comes out of our lips.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
Romans 12:14 (NLT)
A thankful heart can’t worry. It naturally blesses.
2. Pray about everything.
Prayer is mentioned in all academic papers on how to cultivate thankfulness.
Especially prayer that focuses on thankfulness.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)
Prayer that places God as God is prayer from a thankful heart.
3. Thank God in all things.
Thanking in the Negative
Be Thankful ~ Author Unknown ~
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
b. Look to what God is doing, not to what is left undone
Living offended at God.
And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed. Luke 7:23 HCSB
4. Think about the right things.
Each day for two weeks, at the end of the day, think about 3 things you’re thankful for.
- Be Specific. (my dog vs my dog licked my hand when I was sad)
- Feel thankful for each of them.
- Truly thank God for them.
In two weeks you’ll change your wiring and be 10% more grateful = same increase of happiness as a doubling in income.
21 days forms a habit. Challenge for 21 days