Joy & Gratitude

Gratitude illuminates our blessings, creating joy, peace, and hope in our hearts.

 We are now in the month of November, and as we head toward Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of gratitude and counting blessings – in all circumstances. 

Even during the most difficult trials of life, we can always find blessings.  When my heart is sad or I’m in need of an attitude change, I have a little game that I play.

I stop and count five things I’m grateful for.  They are usually simple:  my home, food to eat, my husband who loves me, the beautiful day, I’m alive… then I realize, “That was easy enough.”  Can I list five more?  As I reflect on areas in my life where I can be thankful and grateful, I feel myself soften and my heart changes. 

As I reflect, gratitude fills my heart with a joy that was missing and I realize those “simple things” were actually pretty big things.

I become flooded with gratitude for God’s provision, goodness, and abundant blessings. 

The more you practice gratitude to God, the stronger you become.  It is like building a faith muscle. 

A quote from Zig Zillar says, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.  The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

I want to share this short devotion from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  She writes as though Jesus is talking directly to you, so imagine that as you read…

“No MATTER WHAT your circumstances may be, you can find Joy in My Presence.  On some days, Joy is generously strewn along your life-path, glistening in the sunlight.  On days like that, being content is as simple as breathing the next breath or taking the next step.  Other days are overcast and gloomy; you feel the strain of the journey, which seems endless.  Dull gray rocks greet your gaze and cause your feet to ache.  Yet Joy is still attainable.  Search for it as for hidden treasure.

Begin by remembering that I have created this day; it is not a chance occurrence.  Recall that I am present with you whether you sense My Presence or not.  Then, start talking with Me about whatever is on your mind.  Rejoice in the fact that I understand you perfectly and I know exactly what you are experiencing.  As you continue communicating with Me, your mood will gradually lighten.  Awareness of My marvelous companionship can infuse Joy into the grayest day.”

Jesus Calling spoke of finding joy in the presence of God – our mood will lighten and joy will be infused even on the grayest day.

As we head into Thanksgiving… we will most likely be surrounded with family and friends.  Remember that we are called to be salt and light… no matter what we may be going through…

Salt has many uses such as a preservative, and as a seasoning that brings out the flavor in other foods.  The fullness of flavors is brought out of foods, as salt is added. 

Salt also causes thirst, hence the salty nuts on bar tops.  We want to be so filled with the Spirit and shine for Jesus that others thirst for what we have – Jesus in us.  We want to represent a full, abundant life, overflowing with richness.

Let’s allow others to see the power of Jesus in our lives as we celebrate this season.  We represent Jesus to family and friends, to the store clerks, and those who don’t know God at all.  We are being watched.

If you consider yourself belonging to Jesus, imagine that you wear a name tag.  It reads, “JESUS” and it is attached to you wherever you go. 

Those who don’t yet know Him, look to you as the example of who Jesus is.  Are you quick to give praise to God, slow to anger, tempered in speech, a peace-maker, self-disciplined, filled with love, and gentle in spirit?  

Maybe you are surrounded by others who know and love Jesus?  Is your speech and attitude reflecting the confident hope and peace you experience from an abiding relationship with Him?  Are you uplifting and encouraging one another?

I am reminding myself of these truths, as I reflect how I represent Christ in my life.  That name tag is written in permanent marker on my life, and I don’t want to tarnish His reputation because of my poor words, actions or attitudes.

In Colossians 4:6 it says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  This is written on the arch in our kitchen, because around our island is where family and friends gather, talk and eat.  We have many conversations there. I want to be reminded of words and the power of them. 

Paul teaches us in Romans 12:17 to “Be careful to do right in the eyes of everyone,” and in 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Let’s be protected by the Armor of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and let’s be “Prayed Up” so that no matter what circumstances are in our life, we can choose to let joy, love, and hope fill our hearts.  Then out of the overflow of our hearts, our mouths will speak well.

May God bless you and your families this Thanksgiving & into our Christmas season!

What are you most thankful and grateful for right now?  Please share your blessings and joy in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Joy & Gratitude

    1. LeannSeale Post author

      Selena! Thank you for reading. I’m so excited to see you here. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving too. Hugs to you 🙂

  1. Cheri

    Hi Leann,
    This is a great post, thank you. I have come upon a new practice in gratitude that I wanted to share, a sacrificial prayer of praise. Psalm 116:7 tells us that sometimes a prayer of thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God. “Lord, this (x) in my life is hard, I don’t like it, but I thank you for it as a sacrifice of praise to you” In Phil 4:6 helps me deal with anxiety…..pray about what is NOT working in your life, petition God, with thanksgiving (for that thing). VS 7 tells us that the peace of God will come to us, it will guard our hearts. When I praise God for strained relationships in my family I am telling God and my heart….that he is God, I relent my will. This has transformed my peace, thankfulness, and will. Love you my friend! Keep them coming!

    1. LeannSeale Post author

      Oh Cheri what a beautiful practice of praising God in the most difficult times and even for strained relationships. Praise as a sacrifice to God, and praying the Psalms is something I need to adopt as well. Thank you for sharing how your praise turns to peace & thankfulness. What wisdom! Thank you for reading and for your encouragement. Have a wonderful & happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

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