Fresh Hope – 6th October 2018

Our almost 3 year old son knows how to pray – his prayer is just made up of three words, whether it’s meal time or bed time or whenever we ask him to pray, it’s always ‘Thank you Jesus’.  Amen! I was thinking that sometimes that’s all we need to say, ‘thank you Jesus’.  Prayer is an important part – if not the most important part – of our daily life and depending on situations and circumstances each prayer is different. But how about just putting aside the situations for a moment, and the list of requests we all have and just set your heart to be grateful?  I love the saying that if Jesus never did anything else for us, we should still be grateful for what he has already done.  Many times we take for granted the little things in life, not that they don’t mean anything but because they’re so familiar and we forget that we have been gifted those things.  How about thanking God for good health? We don’t have to wait for illness to set in or something to go wrong so we can pray for healing, let’s thank him for wholeness now.

Thanksgiving—the giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Christ Jesus.  We must not allow ingratitude to harden our hearts for nothing causes us more dissatisfaction than being ungrateful. I am truly amazed at how two people can have the exact same circumstance, however one person can be negative, dissatisfied and hopeless while the other is optimistic and full of joy!  Praise makes all of the difference. Living life with a heart of gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us lifts our burdens and causes us to see everything in a different light. Regularly giving thanks to God not only helps us fully realise how He’s working in our lives, it gives us a new perspective—our mind is renewed, our attitude is improved, and we are filled with joy  (see Psalm  16:11).  
Like Paul, we ought to be radically grateful. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. That’s radical gratitude.  You can thank God in every circumstance because He is in control. He can bring good out of a bad situation. He can turn around the mistakes you’ve made. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you. There are a hundred things to be thankful for in any circumstance, even when it doesn’t look or feel like it.
To expand my awareness of God’s blessings in my life, I am learning to cultivate a heart that acknowledges the source of all the joys I experience each day, but especially the ones I often take for granted. Today those included a crisp walk round the block, the anticipation of an evening with friends, a new notebook to plan my life with; along with new colourful felt pens, a 10 minute soak in a hot bath, the beauty of the autumn colours outside my window. What is the “so much” that God has already given to you? If it is just to be thankful for another day then celebrate it and make the most of it because it is a blessing. Opening our eyes to all the blessings around us will help us to develop grateful hearts.
Christine Mudenha
A daily devotion for a better way of living.