Day 2: January 7th, 2019
GRATITUDE FOR THE PAST YEAR ~ The Unfair Advantage of Gratitude
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
A grateful approach to life and every circumstance in front of us puts everything and every situation in the proper perspective. It enables us to see the big picture and helps us to focus on God and His glory rather than on ourselves and our personal trials or triumphs. Such an attitude, openly expressed and lived-out, sends a powerful message to our family and friends; God is in control and I’m glad He is! We already know the ultimate outcome of life’s circumstances: “…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. If we forget this promise, two dangerous things can begin to be set in motion. 1) we begin to take God for granted, and gratitude gets out of focus and, 2) we will begin to accuse God of no paying attention to us, overlooking our difficulties and trials. We can become self-focused and lose sight of what God is accomplishing in the greater scheme of things.
Baking a cake requires using a number of ingredients, which, if eaten by themselves, are mostly distasteful: flour, raw eggs, baking powder, etc. But, if these same ingredients are carefully blended together and baked for the right period of time, you end up with a delicious dessert. God is at the “mixing bowl” of our lives. Our “flour and raw egg” experiences, however distasteful, are the ingredients of a wonderful outcome. We can give thanks in all circumstances because of our faith in God, knowing that the end result of all our experiences will be a perfect blend for our good and His glory. In your family, encourage each member to identify at least one good experience and one bad experience they have had recently. Take the time to give God thanks for both, remembering that from God’s perspective they are equally beneficial. It may be possible to identify the value of the finished product even as the discussion is going on. Conclude your devotion by reading Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV - “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Prayer Focus: Stir up gratitude and thank God for the blessings He has poured out on your life.
Let’s praise God for what He has already done before we seek Him for the future.