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11.23.2016
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The answer to this question determines your happiness

The answer to this question will determine the depth of your joy and the intensity of your gratitude this Thanksgiving: …

post by Samantha

picture thanksgiving happy sign

The answer to this question will determine the depth of your joy and the intensity of your gratitude this Thanksgiving: 

What more do you need to be thankful?

Sitting in a dank prison cell, uncertain if he would eat or live another day, Paul said, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have…whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”  The key, he says, is all about a relationship with Christ that provides inner strength.  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)  

As long as you think you need something other than what you have right now in order to be thankful, you will never be thankful. 

Paul says “Jesus is enough. That’s where the strength comes from.”

It’s also where gratitude comes from.

That’s how we can “be thankful in all circumstances.” It’s important to master thankfulness. Because “This is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

picture thanksgiving boy at table

I love Thanksgiving for the way it calls me back to an attitude of gratitude. As Nathan McDade reminded us last weekend at Mountain , the key to happiness is…(*suspenseful, prolonged drumroll*) … gratitude. (If you missed that message, catch it hereIt should be required listening for everyone before Thursday.)

Happy people aren’t the ones with the most stuff, cutest dogs, and most amazing selfies.

Happy people are ones who every day grab the pump handle and draw up from the depths of their souls fresh waters of gratitude. Once primed, this reservoir of thankfulness learns to flow freely from the heart. On its way up it cleanses the bitterness, resentments, and other residual toxins that lodge inside us.

Keep pumping up gratitude. Soon your cup will be full – what a joy! – and then it will overflow onto someone else. You will find yourself an accidental dispenser of grace, unplanned kindness and thoughtful goodness that comes not from a grunting, obligatory desire to do a good deed, but naturally, from the overflow of thanks that oozes out of you.

Pump up gratitude, and you unleash love. 

How is this possible? Through Christ who gives us strength. He helps us work the handle on the pump even when it seems the gratitude well is dry.

Gratitude is in you. You just have to get beyond the notion that you need something other than what you have right now to find it.

Some say in their hearts,

If I had more love…

…if I was more respected…

if my marriage felt better…

if my family situation was different

…if finances improved…

if my health changed…

if my job didn’t stink…

THEN life would rock and I would be grateful.”

Guess what? THOSE. PEOPLE. ARE. NEVER. GRATEFUL. 

And that means they are never happy, lack joy, are frustrated, without peace, and ultimately gripe at the world for the shaft they are getting out of life.

What more do you need to be thankful?

Lord, help me learn to be content today, right now, in my current situation – without asking for a single thing. Forgive me for always wanting something I don’t seem to have, something perpetually out of reach. Bring the elusive peace I long for into my grasping hands today so that I may rest in simply having you. Please bring to mind the many bright blessings in my life that are hidden behind the clouds of my worry, want, and ingratitude. Prime the pump of my heart so that the waters of gratitude flow freely, cleansing me and blessing others. Thank you, for your constant grace — for your care given in so many unseen ways. Thank you for food to eat, a place to sleep, people to love and a calling to fulfill. And thank you for Jesus. Amen.” 

 

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