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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17 NIV
#1 Which do you tend to talk about more – your blessings, or your disappointments?>
#2 Are you a complainer, always grumbling, always finding fault with your circumstances?
#3 Are you content with what you have, or always dissatisfied and wanting more?
#4 Do you find it easier to count your blessings, or is it easier to count your afflictions?
#5 Do you express thanks to others when they help you, or do you just take it as your due?
#6 Would others say that you are a thankful person?
First, recognize that God is in control. Nothing escapes Him. He knows what we are going through and He is in control. I was speaking with a pastor friend sometime ago and he told me of what he was going through. Their daughter who is only 12 years old was diagnosed with an illness that is causing her spinal column to be deformed. She is in pain and she would need a surgery. He talked about how bad he felt and how he processed this in his life. He said that he had been serving the Lord for 20 years. He gave up so many things to serve the Lord. He had worked hard in building the church and seeing many lives transformed. He wondered how did this happen? He said that he felt like he was entitled for something better. He didn’t understand how this situation can be any good. Then he realized that God is still in control. He knows what He is doing.
Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Eph. 1:18-23 NIV
Secondly, to have a grateful heart we must avoid complaining. Complaining puts you into a negative attitude. If all we do is complain about our circumstances, we fail to see the blessing of God. Quit complaining about your job, your spouse, children, parents, finances, etc. Complaining makes us miserable. Complaining is a spirit of ungratefulness. God hears our complaints. When you whine and grumble, you are not in the attitude of thanksgiving. Complaining is the enemy of thanksgiving. The two cannot exist in the same heart. You cannot complain and be thankful at the same time. When you are tempted to complain, begin to praise instead and offer thanks.
“ Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Phil 2:14-15NIV
Count Your Blessings
Lastly, count your blessings. Learn to appreciate what you have. We become ungrateful when we don’t recognize the blessings that we already have. The Bible shows us how God can provide and multiply our blessings when we are thankful for what we have.
“As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. "Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matt 14:15-21 NIV
The disciples looked at the problem and failed to see what they have. Jesus showed them and modeled to them how they should live out what they have. Instead of worrying about what He didn’t have, Jesus gave thanks for the 5 loaves and 2 fish. And God multiplied it many times over that there were 12 basketfuls leftover. God blesses us when we are grateful for what we have. You may not have the biggest house, but thank God for what you have.You may not have the best job yet, but thank God for your job right now.
How about you? What can you be thankful for? If there is someone you want to be thankful for, do it now. It’s sad to see people give all their appreciation in the funeral home when the person can’t hear it anymore. Yet when they were alive, they didn’t take the opportunity to appreciate them. So, this week is an opportunity for us to give thanks to the people around us. More importantly, take time to thank God for His gift Jesus Christ who died for us so that our sins may be forgiven and have eternal life.
2. Look at the interest of othersGod looked at our interest more than Himself. He gave His one and only Son for our sakes
3. Give out of loveGod gave because of love. He didn’t have to do it. But, He expressed that love for us by giving His only Son as a sacrifice for our salvation. Give to people because you love them. Don’t ever give because you are obligated to do so. Let your giving be an expression of your love for others.
4. Give your bestWhen God gives, He gives the best – He sent His only Son. He was willing to give someone who is dear to Him. When you give, do you have the same attitude? Or are you looking for ways to “cut corners” just to get by - to settle for less when it is in your power to do better.
5. Bless those who persecute youPaul said, Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
6. Forget the things that are behindSometime ago, there was a movie that became popular, called Grinch. It was about the character Grinch who was a very miserable person. He didn’t want anyone celebrating and having fun, especially Christmas. Every time he heard people enjoying, he would do everything in his power to destroy the excitement. Later in the story we find that the reason why he is like this is because he had a traumatic and painful experience in the past. When he was a child, his friends and classmates made fun of him. This hurt him so bad that he carried it all through his life that it affected him and the people around him.
7. Be thankfulA giver is one who is always mindful of the fact that he is blessed. On the other hand, a taker is not thankful because he feels he deserves it - and when he doesn’t have it he is upset.