The Power of Thanksgiving, Joy, and Gratitude – the three together represent a powerhouse for your heart, soul, and life. These three life-changing principles of God can be turned into habits in your life.
The Power of Thanksgiving
You may not realize it but there is power in thanksgiving. You can change yourself and your outlook on life by practicing giving thanks or thanksgiving. It isn’t just a holiday, it is a way of life which will cause you to look up and see the good rather than being focused on what’s wrong.
We humans seem to find it much easier to point out what is wrong with everything than to state what is good, right, and beneficial to us. We complain about cloudy days without giving thanks when the sun is shining. Often, we complain about what our boss, our pastor, our family did wrong but don’t remember to thank them for the good and wonderful things they have done because we just take it for granted. In fact, at times, we don’t even notice.
Psychology Today says, “A 2009 study found that those who practiced gratitude, in this case through keeping gratitude journals, were more likely to make progress towards their various goals – academic, health-related, or interpersonal. This group also reported higher levels of motivation, attentiveness, determination, and energy compared to those who were not keeping gratitude journals. Additionally, research found that grateful people are more likely to effectively handle challenges by actively planning and finding growth in situations rather than avoiding a problem.” The title of the article is “The Secret Power of Thanksgiving.”
Scriptures on Thanksgiving:
“In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever.” Psalm 44:8 NASB
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 106:1 NASB
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.”
Psalm 86:12 NASB
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:8-9 NASB
“We thank You, O True God. Our souls are overflowing with thanks! Your name is near; Your people remember and tell of Your marvelous works and wonders.” Psalm 75:1 The Voice
Overflow in a Cascade of Praises and Thanksgivings!
“You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction. Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God. For this mission will do more than bring food and water to fellow believers in need—it will overflow in a cascade of praises and thanksgivings for our God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 The Voice
“give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)” 1 Thessalonians 9:18 The Voice
All you have to do is read the Psalms to see David giving thanks over and over. It was his life-habit. His words were recorded and he shouted out loud! He praised and worshipped openly, joyfully, and fully.
How to cultivate the art of thanksgiving in your life:
- Start a “Thanksgiving” Journal and write 3 things you are thankful for every day. You can do it on your phone using an app like Notes, or you can find a journal and write in it. Or, just open up a Word document on your computer and type it out. Do it every day for at least one month
- Look for one beautiful thing every day and write it down with the 3 things you are grateful for or take a picture of it with your phone. It can be a weed with a lovely little flower or a magnificent sunset.
Write Down All That You Are Grateful For
- Shut out the negative that might surround the thing you are grateful for. Negative and ugly is easy to find, Everyone can do that. NOT everyone can find the good and beautiful each day. Habakkuk was having trouble finding the good in things and here is what he said, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV He found goodness and beauty in his God no matter what his circumstances were.
- Name 3 things about God you can give thanks for and write those out as well. Do this every single day. After a few days, you might begin to repeat the same things. No problem. When we are praising and thanking God, repetition is good for us.
Thanksgiving Defeats the Negative
As a testimony in my own life, I can tell you that I kept grief at bay through the daily practice of giving thanks. When I would start to be overwhelmed by all the negative of my husband’s death, I would start giving thanks for every single thing in my life – my car, gas in my car, tires on my car, a car that runs, a home, food in the refrigerator, money in the bank, bills that were paid, etc., etc., etc. I know that this works. There is power in thanksgiving to transform your thinking and your outlook on life.There is also power in thanksgiving to send the enemy and his accusations right back where they belong! Click To Tweet
I found Give thanks 57 times, thanksgiving 32 times, thanks to the Lord 56 times, thanks to God 49 times in the Bible.
The Power of Joy
There is also great power in joy. Joy isn’t just happiness. It is also a lifestyle because our joy is in the Lord, not in people or circumstances. Joy is something more lasting because, while it is an emotion, it is also something felt in the heart and soul. I may have moments of happiness, but there are other things which bring me joy that lasts. Joy remains – “His wrath, you see, is fleeting, but His grace lasts a lifetime. The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.” Psalm 30:5 The Voice Emphasis is mine.
Scriptures on Joy:
” I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 The Voice
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
Psalm 119:1-3 NLT
“But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.”
2 Corinthians 1:24 NLT
We Are to Live Justly
“Light is sown in the just; as it grows, it brings joy to the pure of heart.” Psalm 97:11 The Voice
“When all this transpires, you will finally have the answers you have been seeking. I tell you the truth, anything you ask of the Father in My name, He will give to you. Until this moment, you have not sought after anything in My name. Ask and you will receive so that you will be filled with joy.” John 16:23-24 The Voice
“and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 NIV
Imagine God Dancing and Rejoicing Over You – Beautiful!
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
“You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!” 1 Peter 1:8-9 TPT
We are also told that joy is one of our sources of strength. It is joy in the Lord not dependent circumstances or emotions. “Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NASB Emphasis is mine.
So how can we cultivate joy in our lives?
- Ask God for it – Romans 15:13
- Maintain integrity and search for God with all your heart – Psalm 119:1-3
- Work together with other people of faith – 2 Corinthians 1:24
- Live justly – Psalm 97:11
- Love Him passionately and believe in Him – 1 Peter 1 8-9
- Remember His Grace – Psalm 30:5
- Recount your blessings to others and yourself
I found joy 242 times, joyful 28 times, and rejoice 154 times in the Bible.
The Power of Gratitude
So how does gratitude differ from thanksgiving? To me, gratitude is an attitude (pun intended). It is an established inner discipline. It is more than emotion. As it flows out, it becomes thanksgiving.
“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.” – Sonja LyubomirskySo how does gratitude differ from thanksgiving? To me, gratitude is an attitude - an established inner discipline. It is more than emotion. As it flows out, it is thanksgiving. Click To Tweet
Scriptures on Gratitude
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” Hebrews 12:28 NIV
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-20 NIV
Shout for Joy and Worship With Gladness
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 100:1-5 NIV
Thanksgiving is the Outward Expression of the Attitude of Gratitude
“my heart is always full and overflowing with thanks to God for you as I constantly remember you in my prayers. I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him. I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling —that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!” Ephesians 1:16-18 TPT
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
Gratitude and Thanksgiving Bring Peace!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8 NIV
How do we practice gratitude? First, with giving thanks. Second by cultivating joy in our lives. Third by doing it.
- Give thanks – it’s an attitude developed through repetition. You are giving it to God and others. Give thanks whenever and wherever you can.
- Do it out loud! If you are embarrassed to do it in front of others, go to a private place and shout out your gratitude, thanksgiving, and love to the Lord. You can do it when you are driving, taking a shower, going for a walk. While you don’t have to shout but say it out loud because – you hear yourself! You are affirming to yourself and God that He is good and has done good things for you.
- Be grateful in the hard times. It’s hard but it will keep your focus on Christ and will help you to remember the things that really matter.
I found gratitude 2 times and grateful 4 times in the Bible.
The Power of the Triple Threat – Thanksgiving, Joy, and Gratitude
Each element has power. When you combine all three in your life, think of what could happen.
- What if, every day, you purposed to be thankful, joyful, and grateful?
- How would that change your life?
- Can we be that way every second of every day?
- Probably not, but how much better off would we be if we at least tried?
Father, I pray that you help me and each person who reads this to practice thanksgiving, joy, and gratitude every day. I pray that You would make our joy overflow in our love for You. I also ask that gratitude would spring forth from us in all situations because no matter what is happening around us, You are the same loving and magnificent God. In Jesus name, Amen.
You might also enjoy The Benefits of Rejoicing in the Lord
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