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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 10/21/15

A Season of Gratitude

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STORY: Golden Gratitude

Shades of yellow, gold and orange splash across the hillsides. Air crisp as a saltine cracker fill the lungs of life-breathers; deeply inhaling the scents of fall. Trail-walkers crunch across the Rice Krispy paths carpeted with fallen leaves and twigs. Fathers and sons stuff duffle bags with indulgent snacks and camping gear for their annual deer hunt. Cinnamon smells waft from the kitchen—laced in apple cobblers and nut breads. Harvesters empty fields of Earth’s bounty, leaving behind the barren fertile soil filled with hopes and dreams of next year’s crop. Cider mills produce liquid gold, chilled to perfection. Spotless apples saved for caramel or candied treats. Leaf forts raked to the curb ignite into smoldering mounds; smoke signals sending Morse code messages. “Hello. Good-bye. Fall has come. Fall has gone. Day is done.”

As you can guess, I have fond memories of autumn. I must reminisce about autumns past because I live in an area of the country with two rather than four seasons. When I lived deep in the Gulf of Mexico I traded memories of fall for subtropical beauty. When I dwelled in the desert of New Mexico I savored the wide-open grandeur. Now I live in the heart of Texas where we have a muted rather than vibrant fall. I not only miss the scenes of autumn, but the smells and moods of autumn that speak to hearts.

No matter where you live, allow this time of year to remind you of how blessed you are. Let God’s creation inspire you to give thanks. He gifted us with this beautiful world to enjoy. It sustains us physically, and gives us what we need emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. Pick up a leaf, and you will notice some points on each side, and a point at the top of the leaf. This tells me I need to look to each other and to my surroundings for fellowship and inspiration, but most of all I am pointed to look up to my Heavenly Father (at the top).

Take time to breathe in God’s bounty before winter comes. Let this time of year inspire gratitude.

 

STUDY: Go Tell

Generosity Begets Gratitude

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! (2 Corinthians 9:11-15 NLT) 

• When God enriches us, it’s for the purpose of us being g__________.

• When we receive generous gifts from others, our reaction is not only to thank them but to thank G__.

• When we give, needs will be met and the recipients will j________ express thanks to God.

• One ministry goal of generosity is that those who receive it will give g____ to God.

• Generosity proves o_________________.

• Look at the last sentence. When we are a part of something bigger than ourselves for the cause of Christ, we will experience this kind of gratitude, and so will those to whom we minister. Let’s look at it again: ‘Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!’

 

Broadcast our Thankfulness

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. (Psalm 105:1 NLT)

• One way we can give thanks to the Lord is to:

• Who are we supposed to tell about all God has done? How can we do that?

 

Dedicated to Thanksgiving and Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2 NLT)

• Why do you think it’s important to have a thankful heart when you are devoted to prayer?

• How will having an alert mind help you with being thankful as well as being devoted to prayer?

 

STEPS: Intentional Acts of Gratitude

1. Be generous. Think of ways God has been generous with you, and then come up with a plan to create an intentional act of kindness with someone else.

2. Be alert to God’s blessings. Every time you receive a blessing from someone this week, take time to not only thank the giver, but to thank the Ultimate Giver.

3. Be intentional. Determine to praise God so the whole world knows. One way to do this is to proclaim how great God is on social networking, so they know what He has done in your life.

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