Monday, November 7, 2016

Blessings & Gratitude

Blessings & Gratitude

During November in the United States, we tend to be more intentional about being thankful. We KNOW it is something we should all do more often, but in the busyness of life, what is urgent is what often gets our attention. I want to challenge you to look for ways to be grateful to God daily, rather than at one time of the year.
Here are four ways you can begin to implement gratitude into your routine.
Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

In Song:

Sing Praises to the Lord, thankful for His loving watch care over you. Matt Redmond’s song, “10,000 Reasons” is a great example of this as it encourages the listeners to name God’s faithfulness in praise each and every day of their lives and recall the many reasons to keep recounting His praises forever.
“You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find…”

In Word:

There is a popular book out (actually it has been out for a while now) called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, that challenges us to “Live Life Fully Right Where You Are.” In this book, we discover that as we “express gratitude to God for what we have, we find that we already have the life that we have always wanted.” I haven't read this book, but I know it is pretty popular with many.  A couple of years ago, I took Ann’s Joy Dare and chronicled 3 gifts for each day for one year. Some of those things were VERY EASY to jot down. Some needed more thoughtful reflection, but some came with many tears as it was a season of hard things. Through that exercise though, I found peace, I found a deeper relationship with God as I recounted His faithfulness to me, I found great joy and a stronger faith as those became memorial stones for me.

In Deed:

Do something kind for someone or fill a need just because of what God has done for you.   Prepare a meal, send a card, make a phone call, buy a gift, or help with a chore. There are so many ways this could be done…think about what you do well or pay attention for what is needed and then bless another in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Sometimes, just knowing someone cares or is thinking about us helps us in ways we might never really understand. I try to keep stocked up on Freezer Meals, just so I have something prepared if a need arises. Taco Soup is one recipe that is easy to get into the freezer and most people have really enjoyed it

In Prayer:

My prayers can get dry, repetitive and all about me. A tool I use from time to time is the acronym ACTS to help me get my eyes off of myself and focused on worshipping God. You can use this method to pray using Scripture as your starting point or you can just use it as you step through your prayer time. Another method is to use your fingers to step you through your prayer. I have seen a few of these through the years, but I liked this one from Bob Young.
  • Thumb: pray for those closest to you
  • Pointing finger: pray for those who guide us: teachers, doctors, counselors, mentors
  • Middle finger (tallest one): pray for those who lead us: government, civic, and business leaders, police and firefighters
  • Ring finger (weakest one): pray for those who are weak: the poor, sick, disabled, infants, homeless, the powerless, the persecuted
  • Pinkie (the smallest, the least): Pray for myself
This year, let us be a people of God, filled with gratitude; and when people ask why we overflow with such joy, we have the opportunity to share with them the wonder of our Glorious God!

Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics

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