Gratitude | Practice #1

“To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to live with a grateful heart, aware of God’s work in my life…”

Scriptures: Psalm 136:1-2; I Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6

Gratitude is our thankful response toward God – for His presence in and with us and the world. Blessings can lead us into gratitude, but are not at the core of a thankful heart. Delighting in God and God’s good Will is at the root of our gratitude/thankfulness.

Practice of Gratitude: Offering prayers and singing songs/hymns that focus on God’s generosity to you; paying attention through the day noticing The Lord’s presence and gifts to you; practicing an “abundance” mentality – counting/marking the blessings of your day, week, life; expressing gratitude to others – pick up the phone and thank someone, write a hand written note or email; start a gratitude list or journal – add to it throughout the day, or the week.; take some small slips of paper which you can write on and throughout the week, use them to write a word or circumstance or name for which you are thankful- collect them in a bowl or jar.

Some Potential Fruit of Gratitude: Being with Jesus no matter what the circumstance and being aware of the abundance of mercies and benefits and gifts He has given to you; changing attitudes from critical evaluation and replacing them with thanksgiving; treasuring and valuing God and people in your life for who they are; being aware of what you have as quickly as what you don’t have; receiving everything as a gift as opposed to an entitlement.

A Few Questions to Ponder: When have you found in your life you can be thankful for something that you were not grateful for at the time it was happening? What changed in reflection/retrospect? Think of someone you know who is a most thankful person, and someone who may be bitter or the opposite. How does that affect your own vision on what matters in your life?; How does you personal disposition influence your attitude toward gratitude?; How might thankfulness be a corrective for a critical spirit – try practicing that!

A phrase often attributed to the psychologist Carl Jung who had this phrase posted above the door of his office, are the words from the Latin writings by Erasmus, “vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.” Translated- BIDDEN OR UNBIDDEN, GOD IS PRESENT.”

Gratitude/thankfulness is possible not because everything is going perfectly, but because God is present.

In the face of the pandemic we now face, GOD IS PRESENT, THANK GOD – even now!

-Rev. Dr. Care Crawford

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