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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 09/23/15

More Than Expected

willis-gratitude

STORY: TOO MUCH!

It’s just too much! Too much pain, too much suffering, too much confusion. If you’re like me, not only are you dealing with some sort of trial—so are your friends. Too much bad stuff going around! 

How does God expect us to cope when times are so bad? When we lose a friend to cancer. When a loved one is waiting for test results. When someone from church just lost his job. When someone we care about is so overwhelmed by all the demands in her life that she says she can't take one more thing. 

It’s common to want to tell God that things are getting to be too much—as in too many trials going on. But do we ever tell Him when things are simply too good? Because we’ve been hurt too much, burned too much—we develop a soured perspective. In that frame of mind, do we even see our lives as God blessing us too much? Do we ever ask Him to take some blessings back because we just can't handle it? I doubt it!

When I was a young adult, I started compiling a gratitude list. At least once a week I name the big and small ways God has blessed me. When on road trips, I often ooh and ahh over what I see. Every season has special dressings. Russ teases me about my childlike wonder over the scenic drive—says it’s like I’m watching fireworks! It feels like God is playing peek-a-boo with me and each time I top a hill or round a curve, I see another amazing view. Even though Russ teases, I seriously doubt God gets tired of hearing me praise Him for the beauty of His creation. Never does He say too much.


STUDY: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Bring our thanksgiving and praise to Him

Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. (Psalm 95:2 NLT)

• How are we to come to God? Oftentimes, we tend to start out our prayers with our needs or venting about our trials. How would our prayer life change if we started out with thanksgiving?

• How else does this psalm invite us to approach God with our positive words? So many people say they can’t sing, so they won’t sing. God doesn’t care about how it sounds! He is pleased with our praise. 

He Gives Good Things

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17 NLT)

• According to this verse, what can we thank God for? 

• What gifts are from God?

• Don’t forget the fact that God never changes. This is also a gift—we can count on Him. He is the one consistent in our lives.

Acts of Thankfulness

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:15-17 NLT)

• This passage starts by talking about peace. I’m not sure if we start with peace and that leads us to being thankful, or if we gain more peace when we have an attitude of gratitude, but I do know that peace and thanksgiving go together. Need more peace? Thank God more!

• How often are we to be thankful? Easier said than done, right? 

• If we do the next part of the verse—if we let the rich message of Christ fill our lives—then we can more easily have a mind of thankfulness.

• Notice this passage also talks about singing to God with our thankful hearts. Do you think Paul means for us to sing just at church?

• After telling us about singing with our thankfulness, Paul takes it to the next level. Not just our songs are to show our gratitude, but how much of what we do and say? 

• Our words and actions are supposed to reflect our assignment. What is our job title, here?

• The last part of this passage mentions how we give thanks to God the Father. What position allows us access to Him? Aren’t you glad Christ is our access to the Father?

All of me

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. (Psalm 103:1-2 NLT)

• Notice the words all and whole in this Scripture. What do you hold back when you praise the Lord?

• If you have a hard time knowing what to praise God for, you can praise His ____ ____.

• What is a good way to never forget the good things He does for you?

 

STEPS: NAME THEM ONE BY ONE

1. List them. What are you thankful for today? Make it a point not to only be thankful for the big things. By being grateful for the small things, you can develop an attitude of gratitude no matter what the big bad wolf brings your way. 

2. Categorize them. Medical blessings. Provision. Relationships. Indulgences. Nature. Work projects.

3. Rehearse them. Tell the Lord what you are grateful for. Gratitude lists magnify the positive and diminish the negative. Be sure to put His holy name on the top of the list and praise Him. In song. In words. In deeds.

 

 

 

 

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