November 27, 2014

Choosing Gratitude...today and every day!

   It is so easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day, but do you carry a heart of gratitude throughout the year? Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book Choosing Gratitude helped me immensely as I try to form a habit of being thankful for everything! I followed the 30-day devotional included in this book and it was a wonderful 30 days...I need to do it again!

   CHOOSING GRATITUDE by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to JoyIs the gratitude that flows out of your life as abundant as the grace that flows into your life?

  You may think of yourself as a pretty grateful person, I know I did. I am one of the most thankful people for all the blessings the Lord heaps upon me! But what about the hard times? What about the lessons and trials of life which are sent by God?
As I force myself to realize, being grateful for God's work in your life a year after, is not true gratitude. Imagine how different your life would be if you maintained an attitude of thanksgiving?

As the author emphasizes, ''gratitude is a lifestyle.''
''The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.''

''True gratitude is not an incidental ingredient. Nor is it a stand-alone product, something that never actually intersects with life, safely denying reality out on its own little happy island somewhere'' (pg.23)

Without living with a true heart of thankfulness...
''Gradually, subtly, we become desensitized as layers of entitlement and resentment wrap themselves around our hearts until thankfulness is all but gone from our lives and lips.''
Oh, how I agree! I have felt this too often in my life. This holds true even day by day. As soon as we let go and retreat into our natural way of feeling sorry for ourselves, it becomes like a trap.
The author tells the story of a church leader from India, when asked honest opinion of Americans. He responded carefully ''You have no idea how much you have, and yet you always complain.''
Isn't that (sadly) the case?
What are we going to do about it?

''Where does gratitude rank on your list of Christian virtues?''
 Nancy explains that faith without gratitude results in a heartless practice of religion. Christian love without gratitude culminates in disappointment and disillusionment. Sacrificial giving of self without gratitude will drain you of joy.

   I can't describe what a blessing this book was to me. Nancy gently but firmly encourages the reader to examine his or her heart and to work on changing personal attitudes.
It's not simply a matter of applying a Pollyanna-like attitude to life. It's about how you view God's hand in your life. And about how you view yourself in comparison to God's perfection and holiness! We should be overwhelmed by all that He has given us! I quote loosely from the movie Courageous: ''The question is- are you going to be thankful for the nine years you had Emily, or resentful for the years you didn't have?'

 Nine chapters of wisdom. Plus a thirty-day devotional. I recommend this book with all my heart!

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