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"Gratitude Can Save Your Life"

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"…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Romans 1:21


Being grateful really can save your life! It's obvious from reading Romans chapter 1 that the spirit of ingratitude has severe consequences. Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude regularly report experiencing more joy and pleasure, they express more compassion and generosity towards others, and are even less likely to become ill. Yet, being grateful can become difficult over the holiday season as we can easily get caught up and distracted by all the business in preparing for the special days. I wanted to pass along to you something I was reading just last night that caught my attention and has in less than 24 hours already impacted my own life in a very positive and exciting way.

First, remember that Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." That means being grateful isn't going to come without a fight. The devil doesn't want you to experience abundant life and he will do everything in his power to keep you from it, and busyness is one of his main weapons during the holidays.

Because Jesus wants you and I to enjoy abundant life He has given us the Bible to light the way. If you want to experience more joy this holiday season determine now to walk in God's will and put 1 Thessalonians 5:18 into regular practice day by day, "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

As I was reading a "Ted Talk" article last night the author pointed out 10 simple ways we can be deliberate in our growing in gratitude. Below I'll provide the list.

1. Write a note to someone from your past. Think of someone you are grateful for that you have not spoken to in a long time and sit down and write them a note simply telling them you were thinking of them and why it is you are grateful for them.

2. Look people in the eyes. When speaking to others focus on them by looking them in the eyes as it communicates that you are listening and hopefully as well, that you care.

3. Say "I'm grateful" instead of "thanks". The word "thanks" tends to be over used and under genuinely expressed. Like my friends at Chic Fil a who use the phrase "my pleasure" instead of "you are welcome" try saying "I'm grateful" instead of "thanks" and discover the difference it makes in your own heart and mind.

4. Put thought into your "grateful". Explain why. Your explanation will encourage those you are grateful for and at the same time it will serve to help you become even more grateful as you cultivate a spirit of gratitude in your own heart.

5. Savor. Life is made up of moments. Collect more moments. I appreciate that saying that goes something like this, "Life isn't made up of the number of breaths we take but rather the number of moments that the our breath away." Make sure to stop and smell the roses over the holiday's. Take in the little things and remember to give God thanks by expressing your gratitude to Him and to others too!

6. When angry, do something generous for someone else. The holidays can be tough for some who have family members that are difficult to be around. Remember, it's not a sin to become angry, just don't let your anger cause you to sin. As quickly as possible when someone makes you angry seek to do something generous for them or someone else. It doesn't matter who. Just do it! Romans 12:21 reminds us, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

7. Say it out loud. Say positive things out loud so that you can hear yourself. Self talk has been scientifically studied and proven to have a positive influence on those who practice regularly saying positive things out loud so they themselves can hear it. Don't be afraid to cheer yourself on through out the holiday's. It really works. You might even make yourself laugh out loud.

8. Practice A-Z Gratitude. Use each letter of the alphabet to express gratitude. Don't just wait for bedtime but if you do find it hard to fall asleep at night due to all the extra stress on your mind during the holiday's try taking a few minutes and starting with the letter A, then moving towards the letter Z, identify people, places and things that begin with each letter of the alphabet that you are grateful. This not only refocuses our minds to things that are pure and lovely (See Philippians 4:8) but it helps eliminate the stress that can build up more quickly over the holidays. (It might even work in holiday traffic). 

9. Gratitude makes me better not the ones I'm grateful for. That is, unless we share our gratitude with others. If you are unable to express your gratitude "eye to eye" because of distance and time doesn't allow you to sit down and write a letter, try social media. Don't just tell the ones you are grateful for, tell the world, or at least those in your world by using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to both express and explain your reasons why. Proverbs 25:25 reminds us, "As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country." Your gratitude just might be the best gift you give this year!

10. Gratitude is a muscle. The more you exercise gratitude, the greater the benefits will be. As jogging, working out with weights or riding a bike provide benefits to your physical health, exercising gratitude daily will help to strengthen your spirit and soul and dramatically improve your outlook on life. Try it for 30 days straight and see for yourself the difference it makes.

If you have read this far know that I am very grateful for you. You are the reason I seek to do a devotional in the first place. There is nothing I enjoy more than trying to help people connect with God, to come to know that there is a plan and a purpose for each of our lives, and that you are not alone in your journey. God is all around and in everything seeking to draw us to Himself. My hope and prayer is that something I share here assists you in taking a step closer to the One who loves you and gave His life for you! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I LOVE YOU!


"I am Grateful"

"How Deep Is Your Love?"