All through the year, let us be joyful and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us. Seek Him thankfully for God can bless us in more ways than we will ever imagine. Because we belong to God, spiritual power is available to us, just as it was for Paul and Silas.
What creates heartfelt gratitude? This does not come from an easy life. Struggles, hardship, pain, suffering and many difficulties help us to trust and praise God in every situation. We can thank God for not allowing life’s problems to defeat us. With strength from God, we can rise above troubles. As we focus on Acts 16, we learn how Paul and Silas were thrown in jail for converting a fortune-telling slave girl to Christ. They had been humiliated, beaten and then punished. What were they doing at midnight that can encourage us today? They were singing and praising God. They were knee-deep in troubles, but still strong in the Lord who was the source of their joy! Thanks to God when we face and overcome life’s challenges!
Can a sense of gratitude help stimulate personal and spiritual growth? Does a positive outlook about life affect us? With feelings of gratitude and a positive attitude, we face all troubles and periods of success knowing the love of God. The battles of life can be despairing, but God can make victory possible every day! Thankful Christians are happy for all God has done and also for what He will do in the future. Thankfulness creates space in our minds for God’s love. It helps to be in a position to receive the love of God. Are we in the right places at the best times? Let us never forget to thank God for our victories in graduations, possessions, purchase powers, healings, technology, job creations and promotions, better incomes, financial opportunities, retirement benefits and honors experienced. The list can be longer and for all blessings we say, “Thank you Lord”! We thank Him as the source of all help.
New Year’s Day as an annual holiday has recently passed and let us not forget in our many resolutions to thank the Lord for saving us from environmental disasters, criminal acts, healings of our bodies and minds, financial survivals and spiritual growth. During this time of new promise and expectation of change, what can we do to show gratitude to God for all of our blessings? How can we honor and show kindness to each other? We can continue to live as “servants of all” showing love, unselfishness and kindness when possible without expecting public praise for every effort. Remember how Paul and Silas were not seeking praise from people, nor did they use flattery to cover up greed. They also tried to encourage and comfort others to live lives that were worthy of God’s expectations. Thank God for such examples in our world today. Render prayers of thanksgiving for God cares and heals us.
As we continue to give thanks, we can focus on the reality of how greatly we are loved by God. Through study of the Holy Bible, we learn of His character, experiences, His empowerment of strength and embrace His unlimited love for us!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.