Saturday, November 29, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

by Tim Howard

Thanksgiving Day celebration may be over but giving thanks should never end. Every day is an opportunity to express thanks and grow an attitude of gratitude. 

If you are going to give thanks every day, you will need to focus on what is good. Paul the apostle says it this way:  “… friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Phil. 4:8.  When you do this, you are able to give thanks.

You see what you look for! If you look for the good, you will find it. If you look for the bad you will find that. There are a lot of good things happening all around us but with all the negativity in the press and the preoccupation with the dark side of life, it’s difficult to stay focused on the things Paul mentions.

The challenge is great but remembering to give thanks is imperative. When you stop giving thanks you open the door for a downward spiral to occur. This happened to some people and it’s recorded in Romans chapter one. They knew there was a God but they didn’t respect Him, they didn’t give Him any of their time and they stopped giving thanks – thinking they didn’t need Him. The result was devastating. You can read about it in Romans 1:24-32. Their unwillingness to give thanks to God opened the door for a critical spirit and judgment.  When people forget the blessings they have received, the temptation to complain and criticize increases.

I remember reading an article by Jay Leno. He wrote:  “Are the American people complaining because they have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?  Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?  Or perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.  You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.”  Maybe we have forgotten how blessed we are!

Giving thanks and offering praise is a discipline - a deliberate focusing of our thoughts on that which is good. King David made this commitment: Every day I’m going to find something to praise God for. I will never stop looking for good because God is good. It is always the season to give praise. I too have made that commitment. I don’t thank God for everything that happens because everything isn’t good but in the midst of everything I do commit myself to giving thanks. Why? Because God uses everything to grow us up. He even uses the bad things to accomplish His purposes.

You and I would be wise to end our day with thanks to God and begin our day with praise. Remember this as you walk through the Christmas season at a frantic pace. It will help you stay on track and develop an Attitude of Gratitude. 

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