*An Attitude Of Gratitude

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1 *An Attitude Of Gratitude How important is it that we give thanks to God? Does it really make a difference in your life and mine? What is so great about gratitude and how do you develop it if you don t have it? *Maybe you re like Piglet, who noticed that even though his heart was very small it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude. Or *Maybe you are like the guy who confessed he had tried to develop an attitude of gratitude but all he could muster was a sentiment of resentment. I think we all struggle with our attitude. Beverly and I went to a store this week to buy a mattress. We were the only customers in the store. We introduced ourselves to the salesperson and started asking questions about the beds. The phone rang and the salesperson answered the phone and began answering questions about a bed over the phone. We waited for a few minutes. Then we excused ourselves quietly and left the store with the salesperson still on the phone. In a situation like that, it s easy to complain or to say something rude to the salesperson. But is that really what a follower of Christ should do? When you feel unappreciated, when you are trying to do your best and still get mean spirited criticism, when life seems to be unfair, when you are hurting emotionally or physically, when you don t get treated the way you think you should, it is hard not to complain. *It is easier to throw a pity party than it is to have an attitude of gratitude. But without an attitude of gratitude towards God, we develop the deadly disease of ungratefulness.

2 *Ungratefulness damages our relationship with God, destroys our witness for Christ, and it hurts our relationship with people. Who wants to be around a person that gripes and complains much of the time? The people in our society seldom pause to give thanks to God for the simple blessings of life. One reason is that we are used to having so much and we simply assume that it will always be there. Another reason is that it hurts our pride to be grateful. We do not want to admit that God is the provider of all good things. We do not want to humble ourselves and admit that everything we have comes from God. *Everything we have came from God and it belongs to God. We are to use it in a way that pleases Him. Being thankful requires humility and faith in God. So let s look at four things that will help us to develop an attitude of gratitude and maintain it. *1. THE EXAMPLE OF THANKFULNESS *(1.) WE HAVE THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. The New Testament records about 16 times that Jesus gave thanks. God wanted us to know that the giving of thanks was a characteristic of Jesus life. *Look at Luke 9:16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. NIV Jesus was able to do miracles because he had the right attitude. *On the night, before Jesus knew he was going to die on the cross he gave thanks. Luke 22:17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. NIV *Luke 22:19 he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." NIV

3 When Jesus appeared to His disciples on the road to Emmaus, they recognized Him when he gave thanks and broke the bread. (Luke 24:30) Following Jesus means developing an attitude of gratitude. *(2.) WE HAVE THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL. Paul was a prisoner on his way to Rome to stand trial and his only crime was preaching the Gospel. He had been in a terrible storm at sea for 14 days and the ship he was on was sinking. If there was ever a person who had plenty he could complain about, it was Paul. *But look at what he did in Acts 27:34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head. 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. Why was Paul able to lead so many to faith in Christ? One of the reasons was his attitude of gratitude. A part of Paul s daily life was giving thanks in prayer. *Look at Ephesians 1:16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. NIV Paul was constantly giving thinks for the members of the church in the city of Ephesus. I hope you are joining our church family in praying each day. We have sent a copy of the prayer guide to all of you who have and there are some copies on the table in the back. One of the sections in our prayer guide talks about thanks giving. I hope you will use it to guide you in offering prayers of thanks giving. It would be so encouraging to hear from you if you are joining us in corporate prayer. *(3.) WE HAVE THE EXAMPLE OF HEAVEN.

4 In Heaven, the four living creatures that are around the throne of God and all the angels give thanks to God continuously. *Revelation 4:9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. NIV If something is done in heaven, then we know it is God s will for our lives. T.S. In a world that is filled with terrorists, war, disease, disaster, death, despair, what do we have to be thankful for? Do you ever struggle with that? Look at #2 on your outline. *2. THE REASON FOR THANKFULNESS Let s look at some of the reasons the Bible gives us for thankfulness. *(1.) THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT OF GOD *2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! NIV What is that indescribable gift? It is the gift of God, His only son, Jesus. He gave his life for us that we might have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. That is a gift that we can all be eternally grateful for no matter what our circumstance. *(2.) OUR DELIVERANCE FROM CONDEMNATION AND SIN *Romans 8:1 there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. NIV Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Then thank God you are no longer under the condemnation of judgement.

5 *(3.) OUR VICTORY THROUGH CHRIST 1 Corinthians 15:57 thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV Have you asked Christ to be your Savior? Then thank God you are no longer a slave to sin. You have victory over sin and death. *(4.) OUR ETERNAL INHERITANCE *Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. NIV There is a wonderful inheritance waiting for every child of God in heaven. *(5.) OUR CHURCH FAMILY *Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another NIV Thank God He has given us our church family to encourage us. *3. THE TIMING OF THANKFULNESS T.S. When are we to be Thankful? We are to always be giving thanks, not for the evil things that happen to us, because God does not cause evil. *1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. NIV But, we are to give thanks to God because He brings good out of evil. *4. THE CAUSE OF THANKFULNESS We are to cause others to give thanks to God.

6 *2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. NIV What have you done this week that caused someone to give thanks to God, not you, but to God? Conclusion: We have many examples and many reasons to have thankful hearts. A thankful heart is a humble heart and God gives grace to the humble. We all need more of God s grace to be what He has called us to be. *Let s pray for each other that we would have a consistent attitude of gratitude towards God and that we would be the cause of others giving thanks to God.

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