Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Byproducts of Gratitude

Daily Gratitude Year 4- Day 257: Today, I am grateful for the byproduct of choosing gratitude...joy.

Every once and awhile, it seems right to return to the roots of beginning each day with gratitude. As I mentioned not long ago, the lesson of
"Daily Gratitude:Year One" was: "Gratitude doesn't change God, it changes me."  

The lessons continued.

Daily Gratitude: Year Two: "Strength grows in a grateful heart." 
Daily Gratitude: Year Three: "Courage takes root in a grateful heart."
Year Four: I think I know...but the year isn't over.

Expressing daily gratitude is a simple little act. But. somehow...it changes everything that comes after it. Everything.

Gratitude opens the heart to the knowledge that this day was not made for me.  I was made for this day, this moment and this time. Like Esther, we never know when we will be called to make a statement or take a stand. Like Nehemiah...we may change jobs. Like Moses... we may be called to lead when we would rather let our brother do it. Like Mary... we may be surprised when he calls our name. Unqualified as we may seem or feel. 

That is why we use the term "called to ministry", as it is rarely where we planned on heading, but God's voice is hard to ignore. He gets a little bossy, and reminds us to refer to the "sovereign" line in his job description. I don't get to tell him where I am headed... I can and should make some plans... but He is the boss of me. Things always turn out better when I let him be in charge. 

For me, what began as a Facebook challenge has evolved into a daily habit of cultivating gratitude. And...in the midst of great loss and deep grief... there is joy. Deep, abiding, springing up joy. It makes no sense, except that I know it to be real and I know it is rooted in Christ. 

Change. Strength. Courage. 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." -Psalm 136:1

Silly me. The recipe is right here in the scriptures. 

Giving thanks reveals God's character and HE IS GOOD! 
Giving thanks reminds us of his unfailing love. LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Giving thanks wraps us in his unchangeable arms and strengthens us. 
Giving thanks is a glimpse into a true love that endures in a world where what many believe to be love doesn't. (Love confusion is chronic today.)

In our weaknesses, His strength is perfect. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9
The days ahead will be far from perfect. Still, His Grace is sufficient. He is our enough. He is our joy. He is our purpose and our chief planner. 

I have "my LIST" and my agendas. He says: "LISTEN". LISTEN to His heart and give thanks for today's provisions. See with His eyes and meet a need. Taste and know the Lord is good... in sunshine and in rain.  

Joy is a byproduct. Unexpected and not to be underestimated. It lifts us up and carries us through even the toughest days. 

Today, I am grateful for the byproduct of choosing gratitude...joy.

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