"♥ We began with the "Thankfulness Test." (taken from Debi Pearl's Created to be a Helpmeet)
1. Do I feel discontent with my life?
2. Do I ever think "Poor me" or wish I were someone else? Do I ever have "pity parties?"
3. Do I verbally show thankfulness every day? When is the last time I said the words "thank you" to someone?
4. Do I daily remember to thank God for what He has given me?
5. Would my family and friends describe me as joyful, thankful, or content?
(20 pts. for each yes. Less than 100 total, and you need to keep reading. ;)
"Well, I'd like to be thankful, but... you don't know my situation...you don't know what it's like for me."
"Discontentment is not a product of circumstances; it is a state of the soul."
I drew a long line across the chalkboard with Anger and Bitterness at one end and Joy at the other end. Beginning in the center, if we complain and practice discontentment, we head to the left toward anger and bitterness. If we practice thankfulness, we move towards joy. It is our choice.
"Thankfulness is how you think; joy is the abundance it produces."
"A thankful heart spills out of a person, not with cards or gushy sentiment, but with service and delight. All of us can think of someone whom we know is thankful. It is manifested in her speech; it is written on her smiling face, and it is expressed in the way she serves others. God loves thankfulness." (Taken from Preparing to be a Helpmeet by Debi Pearl)
We read several examples of joyful and discontent women from Created to be His Helpmeet - pp. 27, 35, and 36 - if you have the book.
♥ JOY is...
1. Joy is attractive. Make-up and expensive clothes and hair do not compare to a genuine smile. ☺
2. Joy is a decision. Joy is the result of a thankful heart. A thankful heart is the result of a person who decides to be thankful. "And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord." (Psalm 35:9)
3. Joy comes from God. "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
Have you lost your joy? "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation." (Psalm 51:12)
Paul spoke of how in the last days, men would be "unthankful," having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Science has recently discovered that thankfulness is good for your health. (Does that humor anyone besides me?) "The Science of Thankfulness" on abc.news.
♥ How God views thankfulness:
Psalm 92:1 - "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name..."
Psalm 107:8-9 - "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."
Psalm 106:1,2 - "Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
Psalm 69:30 - "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving."
Psalm 100:4 - "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name"
Philippians 4:6 - "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
I Thessalonians 5:18 - "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
♥ What we miss by not being thankful:
Jeremiah 5:24,25 - "Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you."
Numbers 11/Psalm 81: The children of Israel provoked God until He yielded and gave them what they asked for when they could have waited and had so much more. "I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
This is the saddest verse of all to me: "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15) How many times have I nagged God until I was in that position?
What will happen if we don't praise Him? "...I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:40) God is worthy of praise; if we don't praise Him, the stones and the hills will cry out in praise to Him!
♥ So how can I learn to be a thankful person?
*Definition of thankfulness: (2 parts)
1. aware and appreciative of a benefit
2. expressive of gratitude
It is not enough to feel thankful; we must express our thankfulness for others to see and be blessed.
♥ 6 steps to a thankful heart:
1.) Realize how important thankfulness is in your life.
a. It determines your joy.
b. God values thankfulness and sees it as an act of sacrifice toward Him. ("...and let the sacrifice the
sacrifices of thanksgiving." Ps. 107:21)
2.) Ask God to forgive your sin and to fill your heart with thankfulness. (I John 1:9)
3.) Begin by saying "Thank you" to God and to others.
4.) Write notes to express your gratitude.
5.) Start a gratitude list. Add to it every day. This will help you to look for things to be thankful for and to be aware of the blessings you already have.
6.) Practice. Practice. Practice. Just as your fingers learn to find the correct keys until you can play an instrument, so will your heart learn to be thankful as you practice showing thankfulness. Unthankfulness can be practiced until bitterness is mastered just as well as thankfulness can produce joy. "