Gratitude

In our Christian lifestyle we are used to hearing the words “Praise the Lord” when good news is shared. Some of us are even used to saying “Praise the Lord” or "Hallelujah!” or “God is good” whenever we hear a wonderful testimony of protection, provision, or healing. In fact most of us will likely be relatively comfortable uttering “Thank you Jesus,” when a prayer has been answered. 
 But what about when the news is bad, the protection or finances or healing didn’t come, or the prayer hasn’t been answered the way you thought it should be? When your circumstances deeply test your faith and make you ask “Where is God?” can you praise Him? If you are still suffering in pain, struggling to make ends meet, or worried about your security, can you praise Jesus? Can you be thankful to God when a close loved one passes away or you find yourself homeless or you are diagnosed with the Big C?
  When we perceive our hearts hardening due to fear and hopelessness and confusion there’s only one thing left to do: Make a sacrifice. 
  • “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” Hebrews 13:15.  
What is the importance of acknowledging the Name of God? 
 El Shaddai, Adoni, Yaweh, and our Savior Jesus Christ, Son of God, Immanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords. HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED – DESPITE OURCIRCUMSTANCES! 
 
He says He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and we need to acknowledge His presence and praise his name…even in the darkest of circumstances! Gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving are weapons of spiritual warfare! If we don’t “sacrifice praise,” which means to praise God anyway, just because He’s worthy, then the devil can use our circumstances to cause fear, confusion, doubt, and strife. And we know that when the enemy gets a foothold in our lives, we take our eyes off Jesus and place them firmly on the “logical and necessary.”
 
How can gratitude be a weapon of spiritual warfare?
 When we are praising God despite our circumstances, we are acknowledging that God is with us (even when it doesn’t seem like it), and that He is worthy to be praised (even if He never did another thing for us!). 
 When we declare God’s presence and God’s worthiness, the lies of the enemy can’t take hold on our hearts. We are declaring that “Whatever happens in my life in this 5-senses physical realm won’t remove the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, and the salvation of Christ from my life.” And that’s a powerful spiritual warfare weapon! 

What about being thankful to people?
 Whether you’re thankful for a friend you can confide in, a favor that was granted, a raise at work, a kindness extended, a chore completed, a gift given, or a simple smile, your gratitude to people can also be a powerful tool in the Kingdom of God…a tool that allows the Light in you to shine, or the Love in you to spread. By saying “thank you,” you may be revealing something good to someone who needs to see the Good. You may be speaking Life into someone by appreciating them. 
 Light, Love, and Life—Awesome potential for just saying “Thank you!” But tell me, how does it feel when someone appreciates YOU? 
 
But how do you cultivate a grateful heart amidst dire circumstances?
  • “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Phil. 4:8.  
 Despite your circumstances in the physical world, you can enter your Father’s courts in the spiritual world, just by thinking on the things that are worthy of praise and thanking HIM!  Keep your eyes open to the true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy. God is near. God is here.
  • “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Ps 100:4  
Activity
 After praying the following prayer, read the quotes. Keeping Jesus in focus, let them inspire you. Let the Holy Spirit impart Gratitude into your heart! Write out your gratitude to the Lord on the following page. Then, write a Thank You card to someone. Mail it or give it to them, if you know where they are.
Heavenly Father,
By the Holy Spirit impart to us a Grateful Heart! Forgive us for needing perfect circumstances in order to be thankful. Open our eyes to the spiritual implications of appreciation and praise. Thank you for never leaving us and for always wanting YOUR best for us!
In Jesus’ Precious Name, AMEN! 
 
  • "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie 
  • When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck 
  • “Seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving.” Hannah Whitall Smith
  •  “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward
  •  “Gratitude is twin sister to humility; pride is foe to both.” James E. Talmage
  •  “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon 
  • “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise Him, all creatures here below; praise Him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Thomas Ken

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