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Devotion for Nov. 27, 2009


Several recent books stress the power of gratitude, such as Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude by Alan Jones and John O'Neil. On the back cover of this book, one reviewer writes, "Most people are grateful because they're happy; wise people are happy because they're grateful. Thank you, Alan Jones and John O'Neil, for reminding us of this happy fact." In Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, M. J. Ryan writes, "All we need is an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full, complete; gratitude is the realization that we have everything we need, at least at this moment." But remarkably, neither book indicates to whom we should be grateful. It's one thing to say "thank you," but it's also very important to know the "You" whom we're thanking!

Throughout this month's study, we've seen that gratitude ultimately is directed toward God. It's always a good idea to say thank-you to someone for a specific gift or kind act. But a lifestyle of gratitude flows from the knowledge that God has extended His grace toward us. The most powerful example of this is the fact that God the Father sent God the Son to pay the price for our sin so that we might be reconciled with ourloving heavenly Father.

Perhaps no other biblical author captures this as well as Paul. We have seen his clear understanding of gratitude in several of our studies. In Colossians 3, Paul shows that we are to give thanks to the Father, through Jesus Christ.

Notice the focus on Christ in this short passage. First, the peace of Christ is to rule our hearts; second, the word of Christ is to dwell within us. And in everything, we are to give thanks in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice also the strong link between thanksgiving and worship.

Apply the Word

Perhaps this is the first time that you've considered the connection between praise and thanksgiving. To see this more clearly, look up the words thanks, thanksgiving, and praise in a Bible concordance. You'll find many entries in the Psalms. As you look up a few of these entries, you'll see that many times the psalmist moves back and forth between praise and thanksgiving. When our gratitude is focused on the One whom we should thank, praise is a natural response.

BY Dana M. Harris

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