Grateful Hearts

November 2014: A Word From Dr. Stanley

Expressing gratitude is something Scripture clearly commands us to do. But have you ever wondered why it’s so important? Since God needs nothing from His creations, the obvious conclusion is that expressing our appreciation both honors Him and benefits us.

So let’s consider how a grateful heart contributes to the good work the Lord wants to do in our lives. First of all, expressing gratitude to God redirects our attention toward Him. Throughout the day, our thoughts naturally drift toward our own concerns, activities, or problems. Even in our prayers, we often focus more on what the Lord can do for us than on who He is. However, if we start the day by offering thanks for blessings, protection, and guidance, our perspective will shift from ourselves to our awesome God, who loves and cares for us.

Counting our blessings also reinforces our faith. As we consider how the Lord has carried us through each trial in our life, we’ll realize that we can trust Him for today’s problems and concerns. So the next time you’re feeling as if God has somehow overlooked your needs, try recounting all He’s done for you. I bet you’ll discover there’s much more to be thankful for than you realized.

Another benefit of gratitude is that it refreshes our relationship with the Lord. The quickest way to dig yourself out of an emotional ditch of discouragement and negativity is to starting praising God. When burdens are weighing me down, I often open a hymnbook and sing praises to the Lord. As I worship, my spirit is lifted. There’s just something about magnifying the Lord that puts troubles in the right perspective and reminds me nothing is too big for Him.

We don’t have to wait until we feel grateful to thank the Lord. In fact, the best time for thanksgiving is when we’re feeling the least appreciative. That’s when we need it the most. So if you’re feeling down, forgotten, frustrated, or distressed, start praising God. Rehearse all His past blessings, rejoice in the ways He’s guided and protected you, and see what a difference it makes in your outlook.

My prayer is that you will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day celebration and a grateful heart every day of the year.

Related Topics:  Growth of a Believer

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