Start with Gratitude – Finding Peace

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Think back to your childhood. Remember how your parents taught you to say “thank you” from a very young age? Showing gratitude makes others feel appreciated, and it reminds us of our dependence upon them. Saying “thank you” formally recognizes the good in another person and brings it to the surface. In the weekend message, Perrysburg Campus Pastor Josh Whitlow noted that we should start with gratitude, glorifying God rather than grumbling, because gratitude paves the way to peace.

The same can be said about God. We need to recognize that God is good, faithful, and loves us very much. He answers our prayers in the way we would want him to, if we knew what God knows.

Many times, we find ourselves more interested in the things that God can provide us rather than in experiencing God himself. Or, in other words, we’re more focused on the creation than knowing the Creator.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

This weekend, Perrysburg Campus Pastor, Josh Whitlow, used the example of preventing his daughter from placing her finger in an electrical receptacle to illustrate how God protects us from things we might ask for in our prayers.

God loves to bless you. He is a good father, who wants good things for his children, but often, we think that God is withholding from us what we think we want. Because of his love for us, God wants to bless us, and this blessing reflects his heart.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Josh encouraged us to create a “Life-Giving List.” Recognizing and remembering the blessings in our life is something we can do every day, at bedtime or in the morning, to help us to stay in rhythm with a non-anxious life. Remember to include:

  • People: Who are the people who give you life? Your spouse, a parent, a group of friends? As you identify these people in your life, thank God for them. Also, share with them how thankful you are for them.
  • Places: What are your favorite places? Take time and identify the places that give you life—a vacation spot, a reading chair, or a park. Thank God for these places and for all he has provided around you.
  • Activities: What activities do you enjoy, look forward to, and find peace in? Perhaps a walk, playing a sport, watching a movie, or being alone. Thank God for this opportunity, for this time.

Numbers 6:24 (NIV)     
“The Lord Bless you and keep you.” He is the Creator of the universe, the Mighty One, the King of kings, and the Father.

James 1:17
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

Questions:
Have you expressed your gratitude to God? How did you feel afterward?

How can a spirit of gratitude help you live in a rhythm of non-anxiousness?

Next Steps:
Be willing to let God interrupt your schedule and change your plans as he sees fit. It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things don’t go as planned (I’ll be the first to admit that I do at times), but you need to consider that, maybe, things are going exactly according to plan—just not yours. Give gratitude to God today, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Prayer:
Abba, Father, I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with you. You know the times I have been ungrateful and the times I’ve held ill thoughts toward you and others. You know the times I’ve complained and grumbled about life and its circumstances, but you love me regardless—even when I don’t deserve it. I am thankful for the decisions that you allow me to make, and the life lessons that come from those decisions. Thank you for showing your love for me. Amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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