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Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Friend to Friend

When I turned forty, suddenly small letters and numbers got smaller. A trip to the ophthalmologist proved that I needed reading glasses. But I had a hard time keeping up with them, so the doctor fitted me with mono-vision contact lenses.

In my left eye I wear a contact lens for close-up and in my right eye I wear a contact lens for distance. And somehow, my brain figures all that out and I can see perfectly.

That is how I view gratitude and grace. With gratitude in one eye and grace in the other, I can see God more clearly. If there is one thing that should cause gratitude to bubble up and spill out of our hearts, it is God’s grace.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and so I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately. What is it? When should we show it? What does God say about it?

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Notice he didn’t write feel thankful in all circumstances. Instead, he wrote “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 God’s presence sprinkled on the black backdrop of the situation like diamonds on black velvet.

Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the circumstances in our little slice of time. Sometimes I don’t see God in tragedy, but I still can praise God because I know He is there.

Thanksgiving changes our perspective despite broken dreams, broken relationships, tumultuous circumstances, and unfulfilled longings.

As we praise God for who He is and thank Him for what He’s done, our perspective of Him grows larger and our problems grow smaller. As a result, we experience a deeper sense of intimacy with God as the emotional gap between what we know to be true and how we 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.

Here’s an example:

In Psalm 42 David cries out, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night (42:3-4 NIV). He is not a happy camper.

Then he has a little talk with himself and says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (42:5 NIV).

And you know what happens? Suddenly 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 sense God’s presence in the middle of his problem.

Why is that? In the writing of one little Psalm, David shifted from grumbling to gratitude. He didn’t wait until God changed his situation, solved his problem, or made him feel better before he began thanking Him.

I love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases David’s words in psalm 42:5: “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God” (MSG).

Oh friend, when we stop complaining and begin speaking God’s love language of gratitude, our perspective will change as well. We will begin sensing God’s presence in moments of sudden glory through the lens of praise and thanksgiving—glory moments that were there all along, but we just couldn’t see them.

Stop right now, click on comment, and share three things that you are thankful for today.

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 ways are good.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are 10 things that you are thankful for today?
Read Psalms 145,146, and 147. Take note of why the psalmist praised God.

More from the Girlfriends

Do you long for something more in your relationship with God. The good news is that “something more” doesn’t mean “doing more.” God wants to commune with you right smack dab in the middle of your busy life. Join me in A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More to understand how to recognize Him in the big and small.

© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

45 Responses to “Gratitude Changes Everything”

  1. Rachel S. says:

    I am grateful for the challenges that have brought me to my knees.
    Thankful for the opportunities that God helps me see in these challenges.
    Indebted that I have a living God who walks with me as I maneuver through the difficulties. Thankful for the meditations that I read here that remind me that grace and mercies are new each day.

  2. Sarah says:

    I am thankful:
    1) that I can be a stay at home Mom
    2) that my family is whole, healthy, and well
    3) that my Mom lives close by

  3. Deborah says:

    1. Godly women of faith as friends
    2. 2 little granddaughters
    3. My husband and adult children

  4. Janelle says:

    I am thankful for being alive, being able to wake early and start my day, that God never leaves me or gives up on me even though I often give up or doubt the outcomes of my situations.🙏🏽

  5. Stacey says:

    I am grateful for my sobriety.

    I’m grateful for the relationship I have with my adult children.

    I’m grateful that all of my needs are met.

  6. Nancy says:

    What a blessing this morning for me!! My heart is so full of gratitude and thanksgiving! I am thankful for:

    1. Our marriage of 20 years and 2 months being rejuvenated this past weekend at A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER! God is truly doing a new thing in us! Our Lord is the glue that holds us together.

    2. The calling on my life for families, especially women and children. Our calling for marriages! God is ready to use us if we are willing. Yes, Lord!

    3. God continuing to provide all our needs!

    Have a Blessed, Amazing, Thanksgiving!!!
    Love to you all!
    Nancy

  7. Jess says:

    1. I am grateful for my family.

    2. I am grateful that me and my husband have great jobs.

    3. I am grateful that I get to spend more time with my children this holiday season.

  8. Naomi says:

    1-i’m thankful for the roof over my head food on my table and a husband that has a job

    2-I am grateful that God gave my husband a second chance at life 18 years ago with a transplant

    3-I am so very grateful that I’m seeing more people returning to their face praise the Lord for he can only save this world

  9. Sherri says:

    1. God,the Father. Created me and in all my disobedience, he still loves me…sent his son to die for ME.
    2. God, the Son. Came from glory, took on my sin… he was disrespected, abused, beaten, betrayed and still never came down from that cross. BUT WAS RESURRECTED…and still intercede for me to this day!!
    3. God, the Holy Spirit…”Come along side” and help me navigate through life here on earth. To comfort and teach me!! Sweet Trinity, I am thankful!!!

  10. Tamra says:

    1. I’m thankful for my parents who brought me up in a Christian home introduce me to our Lord Jesus.

    2. I am thankful and blessed that I know the unconditional love of two beautiful daughters

    3. I am thankful and blessed for my awesome family: still having my parents, sisters, my brother, and awesome nieces and nephews.

  11. Susan says:

    1 – I am thankful for a good night’s sleep
    2 – I am thankful for this beautiful, cold fall morning
    3 – I am thankful for Jesus, my Savior!

  12. Melissa says:

    1.) For God’s peace, the kind of peace that can only come from Him. Through everything my family and I have been through this year, His peace has been overwhelming.

    2.) For His son, Jesus. SO thankful that when that day comes God will not see me alone but will see me through His son.

    3.) My girls, 3 daughters can definitely have its trying times, but they too are teaching me.

  13. Amy says:

    I’m thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally and completely, for the privilege of being his daughter, and for the family He has blessed me with! Happy Thanksgiving!😊

  14. Lynn says:

    I am thankful for the True and Living God that leads and directs my path day by day.

    I am thankful for my family, friends, and frenemies.

    I am thankful for having an income to help supply my needs and some of my wants.

  15. Cathy says:

    I am thankful that God carried me through cancer treatments and stem cell transplant then two knee replacement surgeries in the past 24 months.

    I am thankful for a loving husband of 41 years, two wonderful children and the blessing of two grandchildren.

    I am thankful my faith that grows continuously and for women who write bible studies that I have been blessed to facilitate at our church over the past 15 years.

  16. Melinda says:

    I am thankful:
    1) that my husband got a job
    2) for God’s plan in our lives
    3) for the love God shows me every day!

  17. Kristin says:

    1) for kitties that climb in bed with me
    2) for a job where I can focus on others rather than what is going on in my life
    3) that my “problems” are issues of plenty not of need

  18. Chelleaux says:

    I am thankful for:

    1). My children, grandchildren and their physical health.
    2). My dad. He is a wonderful and loving man.
    3). My job for providing financial stability.

  19. Ryanne says:

    I’m thankful for:
    1. my husband
    2. my health
    3. my friends and family

  20. Jennifer says:

    I am so blessed! I am thankful for…
    1. Jesus and his constant love, grace and mercy he pours out on me.
    2. My health. A year ago a preliminary test showed that I might not live to see this year. However, God had a different plan. I’m healthy and thanking God every day!
    3. My friends and family are a true gift to me. I am beyond grateful for them.

  21. Carol says:

    I am thankful for:
    1- the freedom to worship our Father
    2- my family and friends
    3- being so healthy having had type 1 diabetes for
    56 years. No complications. Praise the Lord!

    Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving dear GIG.

  22. Spring says:

    1. The beach
    2. Spiritual growth in my oldest daughter
    3. The Lord healing my mom

  23. Miranda says:

    I am thankful for:

    1) Being raised in a family that taught me the importance of a relationship with God.
    2) A husband & family who loves me unconditionally
    3) Good jobs & a nice home.

  24. Carol says:

    I am so thankful for:

    1.)God’s loving kindness and His dogged determination to save His creation!
    2.)God sending Jesus to be my guide and Friend.
    3.)God sending a strong willed husband into my life, so I can be the best disciple and example of God’s love for him.
    And to all the GIG’S, may this Thanksgiving be a joyful and Blessed Holiday!

  25. Becky says:

    I am so thankful for:

    1) Jesus
    2) My family & their love for each other, and all the precious memories with our children & grandchildren.
    3) My husband and all he does for me & our family, and our Church family.

  26. Debbie says:

    Oh, Sharon, your post was so inspiring this morning that by the time I had read the third paragraph I had stopped to list things I was thankful for. A few of them are …

    God’s provision … He knows what I need before I do, and He supplies all that I need and even my wants

    Trials and tough situations … because of them I grow and learn

    Family … they make my life richer, teach me patience, make me feel loved, and help give meaning and a purpose to my life

    Forgiveness … when I’m thoughtless, unkind, selfish, and hard to live with God, and people, forgive me anyway

  27. CDavis says:

    Thankful for:

    1. A strong support system
    2. God’s continued blessing over my life…have not wanted for anything even during the highest point of the pandemic with no job
    3. The use of my body for movement, dance and fitness because it not only keeps me healthy but it allows me to poaitively impact the lives of youth and women

  28. Edith says:

    Precious Sharon, a daughter of the living King, thank you for this devotion! I am so thankful for:
    1. God
    2. Jesus
    3. Holy Spirit
    Without these three living essentials in my life, I would not even have a life. I am so thankful that I had a Jesus-loving mother who taught me the only thing that matters in life is my relationship with Jesus! And, because of that relationship, all other relationships in this life will fall into place! Happy Thanksgiving to all you GiGs and may God continue to bless your ministries!

  29. Vickie says:

    I am so thankful for so many of God’s blessings, but here are my top 3:
    1. My health
    2. My friends
    3. My family

    God is so good!

  30. Angel says:

    I love this devotional! Today, thankful for …
    1-my son coming home from USAFA after a grueling semester and him being so excited for this reprieve
    2-the ability to host 2 other families every year who don’t have anyone else to be with – an annual Friendsgiving
    3-my health especially this year while praying for dear friends who have cancer diagnoses, one who lost a spouse to because of neglect while in the hospital and my son who has chronic sinusitis and hamstring pain, making it hard to compete at a high collegiate level as a baseball player

    This Thanksgiving will be one for the books as it’s a first knowing my mom is no longer suffering from Alzheimer’s but in the arms of Jesus.

  31. Patti says:

    I am grateful for:
    1) For beauty of the sun on a cold windy day
    2) For God’s guidance throughout the mountains of joy and the valleys of despair
    3)For 3 days of rest when my life was so chaotic

  32. Debbie D. says:

    I am thankful this bright, cold November day for:

    God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit

    My family and friends

    My health and my family’s health.

    Praise The Lord! ❤️

  33. DeeAlice says:

    I am so thankful for so many things that God has blessed me with, and here are my top three.
    1) My health
    2) My family and friends
    3) His word

  34. Pat says:

    1.). I’m thankful for the morning sun coming in my window as I sip coffee and read my devotions

    2.) I’m grateful to be able to drive to see my mother today and spend the holiday with her

    3.). I’m grateful for the phone call this morning with my son.

    Praise God.

  35. Jennifer says:

    I am thankful that I live in a country where we can worship freely.
    I am thankful that my family is healthy, happy, and productive.
    I am thankful for the many opportunities that my country life offers.

  36. Anna says:

    I am thankful for God’s unfailing love.
    I am thankful for my husband and daughter.
    I am thankful that God has allowed me and my family to see another day.

  37. Diane says:

    I’m thankful for my health, my home near the beach, and ability to interact face to face with others: family, friends and strangers alike.

  38. Bernadette says:

    I’m grateful to God for NEVER forsaking me or taking his covering from me. I’m grateful for a Holy Spirit that continues to nudge me when I have engaged in an unconscious disconnect from God. I’m grateful to still have my parents here to call and to check on them, despite their medical challenges and concerns.

  39. Linda says:

    I am grateful a dear family member survived a life threatening event.
    I am grateful all my children are believers.
    I am grateful for my church and the pastor.

  40. Pamela says:

    1. Today is my birthday. I thank God for my time on this earth (however long it will be).

    2. For the times God was there even though I thought he wasn’t.

    3. For the wisdom and strength God gives me when I need it most

  41. Pat Schaeffer says:

    Hi! I am so very, very thankful for my dear husband of 46 years. His support and love and care is a gift from God! Number 2 I am so grateful for the strength God gives our daughter to homeschool 6 of our 7 grandchildren and shares personal time with them. Number 3 I thank the Lord for the friendships God has given me who come alongside me and my husband when God ministers grace and encouragement through them.

  42. Laurie says:

    1. My home being rebuilt after the wildfires that destroyed everything I own.
    2. The love of my family and friends.
    3. God’s never ending grace.

  43. Veda says:

    When I had a traumatic brain injury back in December, 2005, 1) I am thankful for my husband caring for me relentlessly, praying for me and loving me constantly, 2) I am thankful that I never fell into a deep well of depression but still am grateful for my personal relationship with Christ, 3) and I am thankful for my son & daughter-in-law, my two daughters who show me love and support in You. Being a shut-in has been bearable through the LORD’S everlasting love for me! THANK YOU JESUS!

  44. Veda says:

    When I had a traumatic brain injury back in December, 2005, 1) I am thankful for my husband caring for me relentlessly, praying for me and loving me constantly, 2) I am thankful that I never fell into a deep well of depression but still am grateful for my personal relationship with Christ, 3) and I am thankful for my son & daughter-in-law, my two daughters who show me love and support in You. Being a shut-in has been bearable through the LORD’S everlasting love for me! THANK YOU JESUS!

  45. Mary says:

    I am grateful for:

    1. God, the Father, and His grace given with the Hoky Spirit.
    2. Jesus, His Son, who chose to die for all sins even before He knew us all.
    3. Time I got to spend with the only 2 people in my life who genuinely show me care and live, my adopted adult ‘sons.’

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8