by J. Gerald Harris

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Thanksgiving: Celebrating God's Graciousness (3 of 4)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Ephesians 5:18-21

I was in an office several weeks ago waiting for an appointment. And while I was waiting, I decided that I would redeem the time and pick up a magazine and read. The magazine that I picked up was entitled "Today's Christian Woman," and there was an article in there by Madalene Harris. And I thought to myself, "Well, a Harris must surely have something good to say." And so I decided to read the article which was entitled "Being Grateful." And she started off by saying, "Deciding to be grateful rather than bitter is a choice anyone can make."

She continued, "Grouchy or grateful -- what makes the difference? The causes of ingratitude need to be discovered so that choices in the direction of gratitude can be made. Even Christians are not immune to the problem of ingratitude, which may have causes stemming from childhood.

"But underneath the more obvious causes lies the real culprit: unbelief, denying that God knows what is best for us. The results are 'worry, anger, self-pity and a judgmental, complaining spirit.' But gratefulness produces 'peace, faith, contentment and a positive attitude.'"

And then Madalene Harris gave some suggestions for conquering ingratitude:

1. Choose to give thanks. Decide to express gratitude "in all circumstances" (I Thessalonians 5:18). It will become a habit, though there may be some slip- ups along the way.

2. Change your focus from circumstances to God. Regardless of how bad circumstances may be, God is still good. Focus on that instead of complaining.

3. See the bright side. The same situation can prompt either gratefulness or cynicism, depending on how we look at it.

4. Wait and see. God asks us to give thanks in advance -- even before we see or know the circumstances. Practicing giving thanks can minimize and shorten the pain of a difficult experience.

Now, we're learning the facets of prayer. And one vitally impo ...

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