Gratitude Changes Everything

Sharon JaynesA Sudden Glory, Expectant Living, Living Free, Living Fully 24 Comments

“Give thanks in all circumstances,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

Paul wrote the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We read that verse and think it rather nice. So we slap a sloppy coat of thanksgiving on life and go about our day. In reality, most of us are thankful for very little.

Notice the Bible doesn’t command us to feel thankful in all circumstances. Instead it commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” When I begin to praise God in a difficult situation, even if I don’t feel like it, many times the scales fall from my eyes and I begin to see glimpses of His glory sprinkled on the black backdrop of the situation like diamonds on black velvet. Sometimes I don’t see glory in tragedy, but I still can praise God because I know He is there.

Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the circumstances in our little slice of time. Thanksgiving changes our perspective despite broken dreams, broken relationships, tumultuous circumstances, and unfulfilled longings. As you praise God for who He is and thank Him for what He’s done, your perspective of Him grows larger and your problems grow smaller. As a result, you will experience a deeper sense of intimacy with God as the emotional gap between what you know to be true and how you feel at the moment closes.

On many occasions in the Psalms, David complained about his circumstances (Psalms 42, 57, 62). But more often than not, about midway through David’s laments, he begins praising God for who He is and thanking God for what He’s done. And you know what happens? All of a sudden David starts feeling better! Life isn’t so bad after all! His problems grow smaller as his perspective of God grows larger, and he begins to see God’s glory shining through the situation.

Why is that? In the writing of one little Psalm, David shifted from depression to rejoicing. He didn’t wait until God changed his situation, solved his problem, or made him feel better before he began thanking Him. Oh friend, when we stop complaining and grumbling and begin speaking God’s love language of gratitude, our perspective will change as well. We will begin seeing moments of sudden glory through the lens of praise and thanksgiving—glory moments that were there all along, but hidden from the grumbling eye.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, I praise Your name. I exalt Your name forever. Even though I may not understand what is going on in my life, I trust that You are good and Your plans are good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What do You Think? 
Today, read Psalm 145,146, and 147. Take note of all the Psalmist praised God for.

If you’re really industrious, read Psalm 148, 149 and 150. How do each one of these Psalms begin?

Make a list of then things you are thankful for and share them on my blog page at www.localhost/sjold.

Want More?
Seeing God through the lens of gratitude and grace is one of the themes of my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. It’s a great book to help you experience God’s presence on a daily basis. But if you have trouble with grumbling, complaining, and controlling your tongue, I’d suggest delving into my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. What a great New Year’s Resolution: CONTROL MY TONGUE! You can find them both on my website at www.localhost/sjold.

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Comments 24

  1. I think God knew that I really needed to understand thankfulness today because I got hit over the head by three different devotions with the same subject. It’s all about thanksgiving. Reading those Psalms gave me words to thank God for his goodness in the midst of a difficult situation–the diamonds on black velvet. He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. Hallelujah!

  2. Wow! This is so true. I’ve experienced this last weekend when we were out an got a phone call that burglars had ‘visited’ our house. From the moment my husband and I sat in the car I began to thank God and praise Him. I just felt I had to do that. The enemy tries to rob our peace and joy but he’s defeated already. The battle is the Lords and if we have the right attitude the spiritual blessing God has prepared for us will start to flow. Gratitude should be our attitude. God bless you for sharing this with us

  3. I have been waiting for my situation to change the way I want it to me…this passage really spoke to my heart. I have read it hundreds of times…give thanks in all circumstances….Thank you Lord Jesus for loving me.

  4. I tried the rubberband trick – starting about 2 months ago, I started wearing a rubberband on my wrist and when I catch myself grumbling, I give it a pop and turn my attitude toward being thankful. And it has truly made a difference. I have begun to notice glory moments that leave me in awe, wondering why I hadn’t picked up on it before. Thank you for the gentle nudge in the right direction.

  5. I am thankful for God for everyday. I thank God for giving me strenght each other to gain strenght to be closer and closer to him. I know in due time, he will make all things possible and his timing is the best

  6. God has been dealing with my heart on this subject for a couple now. What you said today really struck my heart….you said the bible doesn’t say we must “feel” thankful. A light bulb came on when I read that. It says to give thanks ….even if I can’t feel it right then.

  7. This reminded me of many years ago when I wanted a baby so very badly. I begged God for a baby. Every month when I found out I wasn’t expecting I was crushed but then one day God reminded me that I also prayed for HIS will. So then when I would find out I was not pregnant I would thank God for loving me enough to do what was best. After 13 years God did give us the baby that He wanted for us…she was in China 🙂

  8. God is good!!!! All the time. This morning I got emails from my boss and other higher boss, thanking me for what I’ve done at work. They said they receive positive feedbacks about me. They thanked me for bringing up a good service to the customers. I am blessed for having people blessed in what I’ve done to them. To God be the glory!

    Never been disappointed as my journey with God. God always lifts up His children and make the best 🙂

  9. Today morning my prayer was Thank you Jesus for helping me to lead a life on faith; the basic needs you provide, me more than I expected; and help me to be strong and courageous in all my life; not always seeking help from others, but bless me the one who can help others. Then when I started reading ‘verse of the day’ to my surprise I got Joshua 1: 9. After that I started writing in my journal my thanksgiving in March, Again to my surprise the subject in today’s GIG was also the same. here is my thanks giving.

    March 1 – The gift from my family friend for helping her.
    ,, 2 – I am the college first – 92 % mark, in Property Management course
    ,, 3 – so nice talking to my son, and his request to me to pray for his visa
    ,, 4 – the thing I prayed God today morning, and the verse I got after that Joshua 1; 9. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Now I am sure God is helping me to lead the journey by faith.

    Thank you Sharon for today’s teaching and encouragement

  10. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about persecuted Christians, who while being tortured and starved, humiliated and isolated, still praise God for His faithfulness and love. As I sleep in my own bed, in my own house, as I eat whenever I’m hungry, shower when it pleases me, or take medications to help with pain, illness and injury—I’m convicted by the Holy Spirit. “Give thanks in all circumstances.” ALL circumstances. And I wonder if I would give thanks as I was being beaten, as I starved on 3 ounces of food a day, as those around me were dying horrible deaths. Would I then, as Paul did, “Give thanks in all circumstances”?

    One of the authors, from North Korea, watched the lives and deaths of the Christians in prison with her, and wondered what they knew that enabled them to never, ever deny their God, despite the torture. She wondered what they saw when they went calmly and quietly to their deaths, often offering to die as a substitute for others, when in contrast, the non-believers would accuse innocents, hoping to avoid their own death. And it made me wonder—could give thanks in those circumstances? Would my actions, my behavior, my reactions—with no conversation, no friendship evangelism, no Bible study—lead others to Christ? What would they see, Who would they see when they looked at me?

    Thank you for the added reminder that we are to “Give thanks in all circumstances.” I pray that my giving thanks will be a visible witness to the work of Christ in me.

  11. i am so thankful that God brought my husband into my life. He is a Christian, loving, kind and a wonderful provider for our family. i am so thankful that I have a son that I know is from God because the doctors told me I would never be able to have children. So I call him my miracle child. I am so thankful that he married a Christian woman and they have given me two loving and wonderful grandchildren named Hope and Isaac. They are in church serving God and bringing my grandchildren up to know and love God. My husband has worked for a Christian family for over 40 years and they have treated him well and with respect for his abilities and the job he has done. I am thankful that my husband is now able to go part time and that took the stress off him that was wearing him down. We are able to do some traveling. We have traveled to Europe, Amsterdam, Ireland, Holland, Beligum and spent a day in Paris. We have been on several cruises and have seen most of the Carribean islands. But through all this travel I am thankful for my eyes that God gave me to see his creations all around the world. For feet, that even though are not in good working shape, that I could walk and see the beauty of his creation in the flowers, birds and rivers. I am thankful for my hands that can type this message and that can help other people. I could write all day with all that I am thankful for because God is so good and He blesses His children who love him. I am truly a thankful woman who has truly seen and felt many of God’s wonderful blessings in my life. And I know that God isn’t through with me yet. Have a great day.

  12. I’m thankful for:
    Our home, that keeps Will and me dry and safe
    Furniture that helps me be more comfortable
    Pets, that offer companionship and opportunities for affection and amusement
    Will, for bringing food home from work, doing grocery shopping, helping with bills, housework and caring for Zoey, and daily companionship
    Cheryl and her mother, for their faithfulness in praying for me
    Mom and Dad, Tricia and Eric, for praying for me
    For my chronic health situations, including my weakness, pain and lack of energy
    That I don’t have MS and for the easing of my IBS
    Good doctors who care, especially Dr. Squire and Dr. Goodkin
    My computer, and online shopping, since I can rarely leave the house
    My online groups, that provide support, share information, and offer friendship
    Appliances, that save energy I don’t have
    Warm sweaters and other clothing, and a working furnace
    For Mom and Dad’s relatively good health, and for their help and care during my health problems this past fall
    The lives of Ruthie, and all the other animals who are no longer with us
    Linda D and Jan, for their friendship and for keeping me connected to folklife education
    Eric’s love, in driving me to the hospital, to various doctors’ appointments, and to family holiday celebrations
    That Rachel got into both Central and Masterman, allowing her to choose Masterman
    That Corinne found a cyst, not a lump
    Online devotionals and other faith builders
    That I can turn my worries, fear and anxiety over to Him
    His promises, especially that He will always be with us
    Jesus’ life on earth, that we can see in Him the “human face of God”
    His sacrifice for us, that He forgives our sins because of His atonement, and so offers us eternal life
    That I can depend on God’s Word for guidance, wisdom, encouragement, and to help me to better know Jesus, and through Him, the Father
    That I can turn to Jesus for companionship, and in prayer, for all my needs and concerns

  13. I am thankful for every single thing in my life. Today I am really thankful for the friendship I had with a friend that just past away a couple of hours ago. He was a wonderful person and I loved him very much. I know that he is in heaven with the Lord and that crowd of host just waiting for me. blessings

  14. Reading Psalms 145-150 improved my mood dramatically. I came home, put dinner on but was mentally grumbling and complaining. I was saying “why me God? what do you have against me?” People have wronged me and I had a list of grievances against each and every individual. But then I read this blog…and the Psalms. All I can say is: Praise the Lord! Amen. The smile is back on my face!

  15. Well first I want to thank God for letting me read this article you wrote it is helping me a lot. I love your encouraging words and I thank God he has sent words from you through him. I thank God for letting my sister come home. I know the Lord will bring her home, and my mom and her relationship closer. I thank God for my mother for having patience with me while I am finding myself. I thank God for always being by my side no matter how much I fail him when I ask for forgiveness he remembers no more. I just thank God each day for these encouraging emails. I love him more and more each day. I thank God for helping me realize that no matter what people say I am special in his eyes. He love me. I thank him for being a Father to me when I did not have a father in my life. I thank him for everything! Oh lord I find delight in you and I never want to be so far away from you anymore. Build up my confidence and strength in you Lord. I love you.

  16. i have so many things to thank god for; the MOST IMPORTANT IS REDEEMING ME OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELLOUS LIGHT

  17. I’m thankful for everything I have in my life. Every morning I wake up, I thank The Lord for letting me wake up to another beautiful day. I’m thankful for my health, my family, my beautiful kids, my job. I’m thankful for having a roof over my head, having a place to come home to. Every second of every day I thank God for everything. Nothing exists w/o him. Father though I might not say it often, thank you in the name of Jesus for everything you have blessed me with. Amen.

  18. I’m grateful for God, His Word and His son Jesus, who died that I might live. My home, My family both close and extended. My Job and friends,
    The provisions the Lord has provided. My health, I’m grateful that I was raised in the Bible Belt. A sweet and loving daughter-in-law. The time we get to spend with our granddaughter. My mom and her good health. The church we attend. Our pastor and his family. There just isn’t enough room or time to continue with all I’m grateful for. Even in the dark times when I think there just isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel I can know that God is with me and give praise. For Women of faith like you and Beth Moore. That help me when I’m down.

  19. This lesson i have learned for quite some time and has kept me sane through difficult circumstances. Thank you so much for this very needed teaching. Right biblical thinking will make us effective evangelists as well. Praying that the Lord would imbed praise and thankfulness in all your readers to the glory of God.

  20. I thank God for
    who he is
    Grace and Mercy
    My Family
    My Church
    My Job
    My Home
    My Friends
    His Protection
    His Direction

  21. 10 Things I’m thankful for.

    Ability to worship freely
    Opportunity to go to school
    Place of worship
    My family

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