Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

thankfulness Archive

Friday

27

March 2020

Thoughts around thankfulness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We should get in the habit of gratitude

A.W. Tozer once said that, “gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God. And it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” We often read throughout the Bible about the importance of thankfulness in our every day lives, but the reality is that most of us are more quick to take our blessings for granted than to show gratitude.

Thankfulness is an attitude

Thankfulness need not be an elaborate planned event – such as the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate each year – thankfulness is something that once a spark is created, can turn into an ever-burning fire. It’s an attitude that we can cultivate, regardless of the time of year.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”. Consider your own thoughts for a moment. How often do we think of a particular someone throughout the day: A spouse, mother, father, child, sister, brother, niece, nephew, or even our co-workers? Chances are, we think of several or all of the aforementioned many times throughout the day. And yet, how often do we give thanks for them? Paul wrote that he thanked God on every remembrance of his friends. A prayer of thanks, no matter how short, so long as it is genuine, is heard by God.

Thankfulness is our duty

An attitude of gratitude is part of our calling as Christians. Did you know we have a duty to thankfulness? Paul wrote in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica that, “we are bound to give thanks always to God for you,” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). We are bound to give thanks! Despite the second epistle to the Thessalonians being written after a somewhat discouraging description of coming events, Paul exhorts fellow believers that we should be thankful to God for all His blessings and for what He has called us to. He is our Comforter, our Rock, our Buckler, our High Tower, our Salvation! His blessings are everlasting.

Not only should thankfulness be part of the Christian’s character, it’s something we should do unceasingly. We’re all familiar with 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “pray without ceasing,” and for some reason we don’t as easily remember the other “cease not” counsel found in Ephesians 1:15-16: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” We should cease not to give thanks. We should get in the habit of gratitude.

“Thanks are the highest form of thought”

Small utterances of praise throughout the day can make all the difference in your life.  As G.K. Chesterton said, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say, grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Originally published as “Thoughts around thankfulness” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. November 28, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

17

January 2020

Victory in Jesus

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement, Published Work

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Enough with the fatalistic attitude!

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) | Victory in Jesus | read more at hoperflected.com

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

We aren’t called to be wimps. We are not called to get caught up in doom and gloom or bad news and bothered outlooks; enough with the fatalistic attitude! We are called to step up, get out there, and be game changers. Christians, remember and rejoice: We have the Holy Spirit living inside us!

Taking courage in the promise of Victory.

Take courage in the promise of victory in Jesus that David shared in Psalm 110. Consider the victory we have in Jesus through His resurrection from Acts 2:31-33: “He [God] seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Contemplate the awesomeness of the victory we have in Jesus Christ’s triumphant return from Revelation 19:11,13: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True…and his name is called The Word of God.” There is victory in Jesus.

The theme of Victory.

We see it throughout Scripture. During Paul’s ministry, though he faced persecution and trials, his communications all have this overarching theme of victory. Look at Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth. One of the central themes is the joy of the Christian’s life in Christ! Read through his letter to the church at Ephesus where he clearly talks about the church’s position in Christ. Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse considers Christ’s preeminence and our life as Christians in Him. Or what about Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi where he encourages believers about our confidence in Christ! Despite his circumstances, Paul’s attitude was still that of victory in Jesus. What an awesome example for us to follow and be encouraged by.

We have proof of Christ’s deity, we have our own detailed Biblical history, and we have the promise of Christ’s triumphant return. What are we doing in the meantime? Take a cue from Scripture and take action. Obey Christ.

Have faith in Christ!

Jesus Christ Himself encourages us to have faith, even if it starts as a grain of mustard seed (Matt. 17:20). He also encourages us to let our light shine: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14,16) We are not called to shrink back – we are called to step up. Don’t like what you’re seeing in the world? We aren’t supposed to sit around just waiting for Christ to come save us, we are to let our light shine and share the Good News.

Originally published as “Victory in Jesus.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. September 19, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

2

November 2017

Hope Reflected | The Grateful Heart

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"That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14 The Grateful Heart | See more at hopereflected.com

The Grateful Heart

Like most holidays, Thanksgiving comes and goes in the blink of an eye. In fact, here we are less than a month after Canadian Thanksgiving, and you’re more than likely already thinking about other things. More than a choice, having an attitude of gratitude the whole year through is possible when you have a grateful heart. So what are the characteristics of a grateful heart?

  1. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances. “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Take note of this portion of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. He says, “in every thing give thanks.” Not “in some things,” or “in happy things.” In every thing we are to give thanks. Can that ever be a challenge or what?! There are some things and times in which I just don’t want to give thanks! Even in challenging times or difficult seasons, we’re called to give thanks, even if it’s for the little things (because really, the little things are the big things, aren’t they?). Don’t concentrate on the circumstances that will always change; focus on God Who will never change and Who will always be there for you. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances.
  2. The grateful heart wants to help others. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others.” (Hebrews 13:16) We’re called on several times throughout the Bible to help others. It’s not always going to be convenient, and it’s not always going to be easy. In fact in Hebrews 13:16 “to do good and to share with others” is referred to as a sacrifice. The grateful heart wants to help others. Maybe for some that means lending a helping hand, or for others, it could mean being a listening ear. Whatever the case, we are encouraged in Galatians 6:2 to “carry each other’s burdens.”
  3. The grateful heart is content. “Be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5) The grateful heart remains focused on what it already has rather than looking for fulfillment in other places. I’ve written before about the importance of contentment, and a sure sign of a grateful heart is one that’s focused on all it’s been blessed with. You may have heard the old adage, “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greenest where you water it.” This wisdom is true. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing with us when we leave (1 Timothy 6:7) so where’s your focus? The grateful heart is content with what it already has.

Above all, the grateful heart realizes and treasures what is truly important. What’s in your heart? Is your heart a home for our Lord and Saviour? Or is your heart focused on building an earthly empire? Your answer will determine your eternity. The only One who can truly satisfy the human heart is the One who made it. There’s a longing in each heart that only Christ can fill (Psalm 90:14).

Originally published as “The Grateful Heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. October 12, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

23

August 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Attitude of Gratitude

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What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? | See more at hopereflected.com

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

This quote really resonated with me, and I was immediately convicted. It was the middle of the week, on a day where I hadn’t really taken much time throughout the day to be in conversation with God. This quote really spoke to me and reminded me of the importance of taking the time to give thanks, to express gratitude.

I’ve written before in my column about the importance of developing an attitude of gratitude, rather than getting caught up complaining about our circumstances.

What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? Can you imagine?

Take time today to thank the Lord for His goodness and His blessings. Take time to give thanks for the people in your life who care about you. The world would be a better place if we all took time to give thanks!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his lovingkindness endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

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Wednesday

16

November 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Practice An Attitude Of Gratitude

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wednesday wisdom give thanks be happy attitude of gratitude

“It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”

Sometimes it seems that people have this misconception that happy people are the ones who give thanks and practice an attitude of gratitude. Really though, it’s the reverse; people who practice an attitude of gratitude are the happy ones.

Take a few minutes today to count your blessings, and you’ll be surprised at how the day starts to look up.

I love this verse, found in Lamentations 3:22-23, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

God’s mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great. Remember to take time to acknowledge everything He’s blessed you with. Take time to give thanks, to acknowledge all the blessings in our lives and the kind acts of others.

If you’re in the practice of keeping a journal, remember to note even the little things that happen in your life that make a difference. When you look back over your gratitude journal, you’ll be encouraged at the Lord’s goodness and provision in your life!

“It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”

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