“No matter what happens, always be thankful ~
For this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (TLB)
It’s easy to have a grateful heart when life is moving in a positive direction, when there is smooth sailing ahead, when showers of blessings are raining down upon your head, when everything is “right” in your world. But it’s not so easy to be thankful when you face adversities, illness, financial pressures, relationship problems, or other trials. Yet grateful people seem to have an inner feeling of contentment, a supernatural sense of joy that can only come out of a thankful heart. They find ways to be thankful, even in the deepest valleys of life. Ungrateful people are grumpy, constantly complaining, and find it difficult to be happy in life. They haven’t realized that the “secret” to happiness is simply having an attitude of gratitude…no matter what happens.
If you are continually focused on the things you don’t have, you can never be grateful for the blessings you do have! God wants you to be thankful…no matter what. He knows exactly what you are going through, and when you thank Him in those tough times, your focus turns to Him instead of your problems. It’s amazing how the simple act of acknowledging His presence in your life makes Him seem larger and your problems seem smaller. Trusting that He works everything out for your good is one key to being thankful in ALL circumstances.
Take time today to focus on being thankful. Express your gratitude to God for His constant presence in your life and His never-ending love and mercy toward you.
I love the Lord because He hears my prayers and answers them.
Because He bends down and listens,
I will pray as long as I breathe!
Psalm 116:1 – 2 TLB
Imagine this scene: “He bends down and listens”…the Creator of the Universe bends down from heaven to hear the prayer you whisper from your lips…the King of Glory stoops down from His throne to incline His ear to your request…your loving Heavenly Father leans down close enough to listen to the words of His precious child….
This awe-inspiring scene is actually our reality. The blessed truth is that your prayer will always reach God’s ear. He knows your unique voice, and He hears each plea, request, and petition. He listens carefully to each prayer of adoration, thanks and supplication. Not only does He hear your prayers, but He also answers them. He doesn’t always answer them exactly how we think they should be answered, but He answers them according to His best for you.
If you are lonely, God is near. If you are discouraged, God is listening. If you are worried, God is attentive to your cares. If you are afraid, God hears your pleas for help. If you are heartbroken, God is leaning close enough to hear your cries.
“I love the Lord because He hears my prayers and answers them…” Because of this amazing truth, “I will pray as long as I breathe!”
“Give thanks in all circumstances;
For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…” What’s the will of God for you? That in everything you give Him thanks. That’s His will for you. The circumstances swirling around you aren’t necessarily His will, but He desires that you give Him praise and thanks in the midst of those circumstances. By doing so, you begin to infuse any situation with the possibility of His divine presence and His almighty power.
Sometimes it’s very easy to be thankful. When God’s blessings seem to be overflowing in our lives and everything is running smoothly, it’s easy to have a thankful heart. But in times of hardship or heartbreak, in times of bitter disappointments, in times of tragic loss, in times of painful suffering, in times when the diagnosis is bleak, in times when we’ve been treated wrongly ~ God’s will for us in those situations is to continually give Him thanks. Through these difficult times, we shouldn’t be thinking, “This terrible thing must be God’s will for my life,” because God didn’t necessarily cause the thing that happened to you. But as Christians “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This is not saying that God caused bad things to happen to bring about good in your life. No, this tells us that even when bad things happen, God can weave His power and love in it, through it, and beyond it to bring about good in your life.
So as His children, we know that God can take the worst of circumstances and weave in threads of hope and goodness to form a beautiful tapestry. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Begin to praise Him and thank Him in the midst of your circumstances, and invite His presence to permeate your situation. Your present condition may or may not be directly changed by God, but ultimately He promises to bring about good in your life as a result.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100: 4 – 5
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 100: 4 – 5 NIV
God is Good. His love for you will never end. He is faithful and dependable, and His promises never fail.
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.”
Psalm 107:8 NIV
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
Psalm 143:5 (NIV)
On New Year’s Eve, most of us are focused on the new beginning that we will face tomorrow with the birth of a New Year. But for every “new beginning” there has to be an “ending.” Today is a good time to reflect back upon the events of the past year and recall God’s presence in your life through each month, week, day and moment.
For some, the past year brought abundant blessings. It’s easy to thank God for good fortune that might have come your way, yet it is also easy to forget that all our blessings come from God’s hand. For others, the past year was filled with painful memories or difficult trials. During our darkest moments, we can lose sight of the fact that God is always by our side, helping us through any situation we face
Often we do not notice and appreciate all of the ways that God provides, protects, loves and cares for us along our journey in life. The fact that our daily needs are met is usually taken for granted. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, a warm bed to give us rest, and a roof to shelter us. How often do we stop and give thanks…genuine thanks…to God for these basic needs which are being met by His hand? Worse yet, we mistakenly take the credit ourselves for being good providers instead of recognizing God’s hand in the process.
As the past year comes to an end, I pray that God would engulf me with His spirit so that I may see my world through His holy eyes to envision His hand of blessing upon my life…even during the painful trials and darkest days of the past year. I pray that He would give me a spiritual mind so that I might understand His plan for each of my days ahead as His purpose for my life unfolds. I pray that He would give me spiritual ears to hear His voice as He speaks to me and that He would give me a spiritual heart so that I may love those around me the way He would want me to love them…unconditionally. I pray that I remain constantly mindful of the miracles He has performed in my own life and that I never take for granted that His favor and His hand of blessing is upon me and my family and that His presence never leaves my side…even in the deepest valleys. Amen.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.