Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Healthiest Emotion

Happy New Year!

I love this post-Christmas season, truly.  It is a quiet time, when the earth continues to sleep, resting and rejuvenating in preparation for spring.  Things look dead, but they aren't.  In a few short weeks, the Earth will once again "spring" to life, giving evidence by the beautiful, bright green shoots of vegetation.  For now, though, quiet and rest.

Do you know what I was doing on New Year's Eve?  Well, first I got my nails done.  Sitting on one side of me was a lovely lady my age, with whom I had a conversation about cooking turnip greens. My MIL taught me how to cook them so that they are not bitter.  I'm grateful for that lesson because turnip greens are, hands down, the Hubster's favorite vegetable.  I hope this stranger tried my recipe; she would not regret it.
On the other side was a beautiful younger woman.  We had a conversation about the New Year's Eve parties she was scheduled to attend.  She told me that the first party she was headed to was at her church and then rhapsodized about how much she loves it.  She spoke of the mission trips she has taken and how much the Lord means to her.  How refreshing to interact with a young sister in the Lord, one who so obviously loves Him!  I'm grateful for her and the encouragement God gave me through our "chance meeting".

Zig Ziglar calls gratitude "the healthiest emotion".1  Bob Jones, Sr., said it like this:  "The loveliest flower that blooms in the garden of the heart is the flower of gratitude; and, when gratitude dies on the altar of a man's heart, he is well-nigh gone"2  ("close to hopeless" would be a more modern rendering).  

As I move into 2017 I am grateful for so many things....but not nearly grateful enough.
So, this year, I want to be more grateful, cultivate more gratitude in my garden, because I believe that gratitude grows a believer's faith in God.  

When you can't control the perilous situation.....
When you are (like my precious sister in Christ) getting your bone marrow transplant today....
When you are in tremendous physical pain.....
When your marriage is over and you surely did not want that....
When your children are far, far from God with no apparent hope of return...
When you have lost your job and are consumed by fear for your financial future....
When you are excruciatingly lonely and know one sees.....
        choose to be grateful for God's grace and that He is with you 100% in the middle of it.

Did you know that the Greek word for grace (charis) and the word for gratitude (eucharistian) have the same root?  That is why the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:15 that, as God through us extends His grace to more and more people, our gratitude should be increased accordingly.  As we allow God to use us in ministry, to further His kingdom, His grace should flood our lives!  His grace is the engine that powers our gratitude.

Gratitude is a genuine heart-attitude toward one who has given us a good, often-undeserved gift. It doesn't come naturally to us humans!  (Every parent has learned that by watching the sin nature unfold in his or her own child!)  Gratitude is an emotion that goes hand-in-hand with grace. The Bible says "every good and perfect gift" comes down to us from the Father of Lights, that is, God (James 1:17).  But, what about those "gifts" we don't perceive as "good"?

"It's all good", when you are God's own child (Ephesians 5:20).  He is the perfect Father, who allows nothing to touch us that is not a part of His plan.  Even when life seems to "stink", even when we suffer for His sake, His love never wavers.  The latter part of James 1:17 emphasizes that God, as the Father of Lights, does not waver as a candle flickers.  His light is constant, as is His love for His own.  His grace never fails, is unending.

We can have not only confidence in this...we can choose and receive gratitude in this, a Holy Spirit-driven gratitude that soothes the troubled heart and nourishes our soul.



  1. Beautiful! We all have so much to be grateful for but nothing surpasses the gift of God's grace & mercy for us His children. Here's to a year of being grateful!

    1. Amen! Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting, Carolyn!