Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s a good thing to be grateful and express gratitude. I know I was taught by my parents to say ‘thank you’ and we sought to train up our kids, and now grandkids, to appreciate and be thankful for what others do for us, and for all the great blessings of God. Actually, according to numerous studies, there is an incredible power in gratitude. One online article from Psychology Today says, “people who feel gratitude are less likely to be depressed and worried, and more likely to feel satisfied with their lives.” The choice to be appreciative does make life better. God does challenge us to be thankful…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
And being that…
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
It does us good to lean in and appreciate God for who He is, what He does, His protections, provision, and providence. I know I am incredibly thankful. Just a few days ago we came back from an amazing weekend with our family. It was one of the first times our kids and their spouses and their kids were able to coordinate a trip together. I am so thankful for all the sacrifice each family made to make this trip possible. We took a trip to Northern California to a camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains called Mission Springs. My wife, Kristi, went there every every summer growing up and her parents lived there for a while. Also, when we lived in Northern California, our little family went to Kristi’s parents house often. So it was a fun trip for our grandkids to see and experience it all. Not only that, many of Kristi’s family converged at the camp as well. It was so fun seeing all the cousins and second cousins playing, getting time to reconnect with extended family, time with my kids and their spouses, and so thankful to have adventures with our grandkids. My heart is so full and I am so thankful to God for the way my kids have chosen to live their lives, for the amazing spouses they have, and the blessing of our six grandchildren!
Psalms 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
Psalms 103:1-2 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits
Yes, it is good to lean in and appreciate God, for we have what we have by His hand. Even when we go through some times of difficulty, we can lean in and appreciate God. When we do our perspective changes. I experienced this just a few days before our amazing family vacation. I was driving home from work just before an evening meeting, taking my normal route home, when all of a sudden a big utility van cut over 3 lanes into my lane. I quickly looked right, saw no one and spotted a driveway I could swerve into and rapidly applied my breaks while cranking the steering wheel to the right. My eyes darted forward and saw the car that cut off the van speed off. I missed the driveway and ran into a light pole, just missing one of those lighted business signs and a bus stop! As I sat there, stunned, but noticing I was not hurt, the light pole came down with a crash just next to my car. Just then, a swarm of people came up to my car saying they saw the whole thing, asking if I was ok, and encouraging me to get out of the car for smoke was coming out of my crumpled hood. I turned off the car, pried the door open, and asked if anyone else was hurt or affected. It looks like I was the only damage in this unfortunate event. I called 911, and within a few minutes, police, fire, and an ambulance were present. The police, after checking, waved off the fire truck and ambulance. So how can I lean in and thank God for this? My car was totaled! A car I was hoping to continue to drive for years, a car with so many family memories, a car I really enjoyed. Yet even in all this, I am thankful and appreciate God for having so many people see exactly what happened. I am thankful I was not more seriously injured. Sure I was sore for a few days, but that was minor. I am also thankful the Lord prompted the person who sped off to come back and make a statement to the police. The amazing thing that has happened is, as I continue to lean in and appreciate God, my perspective has changed. Instead of being angry, frustrated, or bitter at the whole mess, I feel at peace, even happy, knowing God took care of me.
Psalm 150:1-2 Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Psalms 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
What can you lean in and appreciate God for today? Why not try? It could bring about an amazing new perspective.
Church is a great place to lean in and appreciate God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We have just started a new Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. It would be great to have you join in.
Leaning in and thanking God along with you,