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Courageous Thankfulness

I have been thinking about being brave. Wondering whether courage is something we muster up or is it something divinely given to us by the Holy Spirit? I’m still thinking . . And I was encouraged when I saw the title of the new Bethel Worship album, ‘You Make Me Brave‘.

Anyway while I was thinking about this it occurred to me how brave we have to be, sometimes, to thank God, to have a thankful heart in all circumstances. Sometimes it’s difficult enough to remember to thank God for the good stuff, and it’s really good to do this, ie ‘count our blessings’, every day. In fact, in the new so called, Science of Happiness or Positive Psychology, of the list of around ten or so things these people recommend, Gratitude/Thankfulness/Count Your Blessings always features (and interestingly, having a spiritual life).

But what about thanking God in difficult times or even for difficult times?

4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4: 4-5 (NIV)

John Wesley, had a list of instructions for the small groups that he set up all over the country. One of these instructions was to, ‘Thank God for everything as if it all comes from His hand.’

Why on earth would we want to do this?!?!?

  1. When we thank God for something we consecrate it. We submit it to God’s authority, we draw it into His kingdom, it now  has the possibility of being used for good
  2. We experience a deeper, unconditional, submission to God, whilst still believing for His good purposes to work out in our lives.
  3. Thankfulness turns our attention toward God, it’s the doorway to entering His presence, leading to worship. When we are in His presence we can begin to receive His love, care, healing, wholeness, provision
  4. As we come into God’s presence we are more likely to hear His voice and obey Him in a right direction – how often when something bad happens do we rebel and make a bad decision? Thankfulness is how we stay open to getting Godly wisdom for good decisions . .
  5. We can begin to see the restoration of Joy or moments of Joy in the middle of bad times. A paraphrase of James 1:2 could read, ‘let Joy lead the way when you are faced with trials of many kinds’. Perhaps that really is possible when we consider having a thankful heart?

There are times when thankfulness takes tremendous courage and often we are left with unanswered and painful questions. Yet to draw close to Father God in this way by thanking Him in every circumstance, making our requests in faith, trusting in the constancy of His goodness, has to be the way to go. See Philippians 4:6

Why not stop for moment and Thank God today?

Andy

Link to positive psychology http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/
Link to thankfulness verses. http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/thanksgiving-bible-verses/

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