Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude

Jean François Millet (1814-1875)
L' Angélus (1859)

     It may seem trite to say that Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, focus, and remember the things and people we are thankful for.  But it's true!  And unfortunately, sometimes it takes a Holiday or surviving a crisis to remind us to stop and be thankful.

     Since caring for Mom, I have learned to try to cultivate an attitude of gratitude to the Lord because each day I still have with her reminds me how bless I am and how thankful I should be!  Not only do I have the privilege of being able to take care of her, I have tremendous support from my husband who is willing to help me and make it possible for me to do the day to day care of Mom.

     Being human, it's natural to focus on what we want and don't have, what we've lost, the messes we've made, the regrets we carry. Gratitude focuses us on what we have and lifts our hearts, minds, and attitudes to the Most High God who gave us more than we can humanly imagine.  

     Personally, I have found that singing the hymns helps me focus on gratitude.  Even a simple song such as "Jesus Love Me" reminds me of the Lord's sacrifice and love.  And "When We All Get To Heaven" reminds me of what the Lord is preparing for us in Heaven.  "How Great Thou Art" is awesome for focusing on the greatness of our Lord!   If you don't know the words to the hymns or just aren't inclined to sing, find an old hymnal and read the words!  They are beautiful even without the music!

     The Psalms in the Bible are a tremendous source for focusing on gratitude.  King David wrote so many of them during times of his own great pain, suffering, and betrayal, so they reflect a heart that knew where to turn!

Our Pastor says that it is tremendously uplifting to kneel, open your Bible, and read the Word back to Lord.  God knows His word, but it builds our spirit and soul when we read the Word out loud to the Author!  

     Here are a few Psalms on thanksgiving and gratitude that are becoming my favorites:

     Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
     Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
     Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
     Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
     For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
— Psalms 100.1-5

     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 118.1

     Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 118.28-29

      O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
      O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     O give thanks to the Lord of Lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
     The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
     The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 136.1-9

     Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God;
for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
— Psalms 147.1

     Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
     Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
— Psalms 147.7-8

     A third thing I began doing during a very dark time in my life was to start keeping a "Journal of Praises and Answers to Prayer". The notes in my journal may be silly or mundane to others, but they represent moments where the Lord has shown Himself real and active in my life.  Often, it can be those day to day things that are easiest to take for granted, so when the Lord answers my prayers by giving me "buy one  - get one free" purchases at the grocery store that help extend my budget, I rejoice and thank Him - and write it in my Journal!  And on those days when I'm emotionally down or don't feel the Lord working in my life, I can pull out my Journal and be reminded that God is real, Jesus loves me, and the Holy Spirit is at work in my life.

     Life and the demands of every day living will beat us down.  We need the uplifting of the Lord's grace to keep us moving forward. And a grateful heart is paramount in doing that.  

     Whether or not you are a care giver at this time in your life, try to take even a few moments every day to find something to be grateful to the Lord for.  After all, you are loved with an Everlasting Love, and the Most High God will never leave you or forsake you!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!  



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these passages!! Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!


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