Gratitude can change your life.
Psalm 136:1-4, 23-26
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.
The Psalmist is reminding us to give thanks. Being thankful is a command. We should say that it is the will of God for us to be thankful. We did not read the whole Psalm, but it is praise directed to God. He gives some reasons for his gratitude. Let me reread the last few verses again. He is grateful for God’s goodness to him.
There is also a recurring theme throughout this Psalm, it is the mercy of God. He never forgot what he was (sinner) and he did not get what he deserved.
I want to make a point. We tend to take for granted the good that is already present in our lives. imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy. We need to appreciate each day’s gifts.
Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?” The Bible teaches this. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thes. 5:18
There are a number of ways that we can express our gratitude. We can keep a journal. A written of the abundant blessings of God will help us not to forget. We can write a thank you letter to those who have been a blessing or an influence. We can tell others. We should set aside a time every day to practice “Thanksliving.”
I believe that attitude is everything. Life is what we make it to be. When we are thankful it affects our daily lives and those who inhabit it. When we are unthankful it does wear on us and others around us. Look for the good and not the bad.
There are 12 until Thanksgiving day. I would like to issue the “Thanksgiving Challenge.” Let the next 12 days be filled with praise. Make your homes a “No Complaining Zone.” We cannot complain if we are grateful for the goodness of God.
Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.