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Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: The gift of gratitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

It has been a fun summer around our house. Though we did not travel out of state or go on some exotic vacation, we had a great time doing local trips and fixing up the house. We added some new appliances, exchanged some plants in the yard, sorted out some closets, and put together some bunkbeds for the kid’s room so grandkids had a fun place to sleep over. And yes, we had a few sleepovers with the grandkids. Though it was a lot of activity as we went to the beach, out to eat, to a friend’s pool, visited a few parks, and of course a few Target runs to purchase rewards for good behavior, it was fairly exhausting. Both Kristi and I fell into bed each night with great memories, but tired bodies. One of the last nights I was just about at the end of my rope, cleaning up spilled milk, trying to get them to eat a bit more of the healthier things on their plate, and answering their many questions. One of them came to me, and looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you Papa. You are taking good care of me. You’re like my second dad.” Right then, several things happened at the same time: tears of appreciation started to fill my eyes, a renewed energy of affirmation flooded my being, and a settled confirmation of purpose pushed away the fatigue and filled my heart with a deeper sense of love. The gift of gratitude was fully experienced.

Being thankful, showing gratitude, and expressing affirmation all make a difference both to the people who we bless, but also to ourselves. Many psychologists, counselors, life coaches, and mentors will say there are great personal benefits to gratitude. One article from Psychology Today lists seven proven benefits of gratitude. Most of these types of articles say that people who work at showing gratitude are more positive and others want to be around them, so they have more and deeper relationships. The other listed proven benefits of showing gratitude include improved health, de-escalation of tension, sleeping better, balanced self-esteem, and greater mental strength! Wow! That is a lot. Makes me want to work a little harder at gratitude.

The Bible has been very clear to strive for an attitude of gratitude.

Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:15-16 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalms 100:4-5 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.

It’s taking inventory of life and expressing our thanks to others and to God for relationships, jobs, abilities, life, health, stuff, friends, family, God’s faithfulness, God’s protection, God’s provision, God’s way of life, and all the amazing experiences that come our way, even the tough things. What are you thankful for? Why not choose someone you know and give that gift of gratitude. Also, pick a few traits of God or ways God has provided or protected you and express thanks to Him. You will be surprised at the gift you receive when you give thanks!

Expressing thanks to God can be done anywhere at any time. But church is a great place to express thanks. If you don’t regularly attend church, maybe try to be more consistent. If you don’t have a church you regularly attend we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. We would love for you to join in. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site. Let’s be thankful!

Seeking to give the gift of gratitude along with you,

Mike