Week Two – you have all week to study, meditate, respond, and pray about this topic
Who feels like thanking God in the middle of a crisis? It was the last thing I wanted to do the night I fell carrying our newborn son to the car. As much as I tried to shield him, he hit the pavement with me. Stunned by the impact, his eyes failed to respond to light as he was examined at the neighborhood clinic. They called for a neurosurgeon. I remember following the ambulance down 10th Street to Methodist Hospital. Fear. Panic. Despair. My emotions overcame me. Until I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit. Go back to what you remember. Praise the Only One who can turn this for good. I sure didn’t want to thank God. But the promises I had known for years were there for me at that moment. So I made myself thank Him for His goodness. I didn’t feel like it but I made the choice to voice my praise out loud. I sounded like a crazy woman screaming truth out of my mouth while sobbing in fear. I was in a spiritual battle! And my weapons of warfare were praise and thanksgiving. And after a long night of waiting and prayer, we got our miracle. All reports came back normal. Our baby was perfect!
Psalm 92 has taught us that being thankful is beneficial to US. It sure helped me through that crisis many years ago. As so many of you are compiling your own blessing lists through this study, you encourage yourself as well as others. And remembering gives you an arsenal for the future. I know for sure that being thankful gave me the grace to endure that horrible nightmare many years ago.
Why do we call praying before a meal, “grace?” It’s part of the original Greek definition for the word, “thanks.” It’s interesting to connect thanks with grace. It seems to imply that being thankful imparts grace to us when we need it.
Perhaps a grateful heart can bring new vigor and a calmer outlook on life. Maybe if we want to improve the mood of our homes and create peaceful relationships within our families and workplace, we should practice praise.
I hope you’ve spent the week noticing God’s goodness all around you. Cultivating a grateful heart will promote power for victorious living, protection from the enemy, and a peace which passes understanding. It’s just plain worth it to be thankful. Need grace? Be thankful!
Read each week’s passage in two or more versions of the Bible. It’s a good idea to write your answers in a notebook and then post your comments on Facebook. It will hopefully prompt a lot of good discussion from those participating. Suggestion: download an app from Bible Gateway to bring up three different versions on the screen at one time. It’s a great tool.
Compare I Thessalonians 5:18 with Ephesians 5:19-20.
1. When and why and for what are we to be thankful? How can we express our gratitude from these verses?
Look at Philippians 2:14 with Philippians 4:4-7.
2. What should we NOT do as commanded here?
3. What should we do? What should accompany our prayers?
4. What are the benefits of praise, prayer and thanksgiving mentioned here?
5. What circumstances cause you to complain, grumble or fret? What’s making you anxious? What can you do to counteract negative attitudes?
Sometimes our response to a situation is often the solution to getting out of it.
As you study these verses and read what others have shared, take note of who is struggling. Do you identify with their comments? As you post your own hindrance to praise, let that person know you understand and are praying for them. They just might pray for you. It’s what the Body of Christ is all about!
Remember, I expect you to respond and interact with me and with others on our Facebook page. May God bless us as we study and interact together around His Word.
22 thoughts on “Week 2 – A Thankful Heart”
As a follower of Jesus, I have learned and am still learning that our God is in control of all things. Good and bad, but the way I react to situations and circumstances will either give Him glory or shame. Philippians 2:14 reminds me to NOT grumble, murmur or even question…because God is in control. Verse 15 says that if we don’t grumble, etc. we will be held blameless, innocent, without blemish, children of God in the midst of a “dark world” we are lights shining in the world. Not always easy I am still human, but by thanking God and praising God in everything we won’t have time to be grumbling or complaining.
Great insight, Anita! I agree that the right response to a situation is vital. We are reminded not to complain but how often we fall into the habit of murmuring when things don’t go our way. It’s a battle I admit to struggle with time and time again. I am so affected by my circumstances and my prayer this year is for grace to trust God no matter what. I love what you said that when we thank and praise God we won’t have time to complain. It turns our focus around, and we find grace to deal with the difficult stuff when we respond with thanksgiving. If nothing else, we can thank God that He is the only One who can work the difficult things out for our good. There’s enough reason right there to be thankful. Thanks for sharing. I know it will encourage others to read your comments.
I love Anita’s response –I am reminded when we thank and praise God there is no time to complain. I love the scriptures in this week’s lesson – I find when I begin each day with PRAISE AND THANK YOU’S – just for getting out of bed and our feet on the floor – GOD is so Good to each one of us and we know that HE is still on the throng and you know HE is working for each one of us during the whole day and night – such a wonderful thought. When we pray and ask for GOD to do things for us – we should just start praising him for the answer according to HIS will – I try to help others with sayings and BIBLE readings which have been such a help to me as I go through this life – I know GOD has HIS Angels guiding us each step of the way. Enjoyed this lesson so much – Thanks so much Karen.
Odella, you are an inspiration! Ever since my broken hip and replacement surgery, I no longer take getting of bed and walking across the floor for granted. I am so thankful to be mobile! And you reminded us that to get out of bed and put our feet on the floor is a reason to thank God. Great challenge that after we pray we should start thanking God for the answers that He is working out according to His will. Thank you for your comments. I’m so glad you’re studying along with us.
1. At all times we should give thanks for everything. This is God’s will. We can speak, sing, shout, write, or express our thanks in other ways.
2. We should not be anxious, fretful, or concerned.
3. We should pray presenting our petitions with thanksgiving.
4. One benefit we receive from being thankful is peace that is beyond human comprehension.
5. Money concerns can get me tied up in knots. When I remember that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is never late selling one in my behalf I become peaceful again. When I remember that God knows my needs before I even ask, and cares about my wants, then I usually relax.
Sharon, thank you for organizing your answers into what helps us get victory through the mundane times as well as intense trials of life. Praying with thanksgiving is huge! And exchanging complaining for voicing praise is promised to bring about the peace of God. I love that! Appreciate your vulnerability about money concerns, as I do think many of us often deal with the same anxiety. I pray that all of us will learn to pray with thanks and voice our praise at all times no matter what because God’s peace is a great benefit to our souls. It all goes back to trusting Him, doesn’t it!
Thanks for encouraging us today with your comments.
1. ALL the time, over everything no matter the circumstance, “any excuse for a song”….love that out of the Message!
2. Grumble, complain, bicker, fret…
3. Celebrate Him; delight in Him; revel in Him (love!); shape worries into prayer (definite requests) WITH thanksgiving; talk about Him; be gentle to all.
4. God’s peace WILL be mine; I will fear nothing from God and be content; His peace “will mount guard over my heart & mind” (love that!).
5. I grumble & fret mostly over things I feel I can’t control, mainly other people, or if I feel I’ve been wronged in some way. When I focus on what’s bothering me, turning it over & over in my mind, playing out all the different scenarios…what I should have said or done…what might happen if…how unbelievably wrong they are…why can’t they see my side?…I get so knotted up inside with turmoil that I notice it spilling out of me in the way I handle everything/everyone else around me, and even feel depressed/oppressed. I lose all my peace and it seems to get bigger & bigger, taking more & more of my thought life. But when I spill my guts to God, and “tattle” to Him about whatever/whoever has me so upset, honestly letting it come out as ugly as I want, if I can leave it there and focus on knowing that He’s got my back, He’s got “this thing”, I don’t have to make it happen or figure it out, once I realize/remember I don’t have to be god, I feel such relief! I pray for God’s guidance, a change of heart in me or them (whichever He chooses), help in releasing it, forgiveness for elevating it to almost idol stature, asking for a softening of my spirit if necessary, a redirection, grace to handle whatever’s coming….and I LET IT GO. (or I honestly try to.)
Tara, I can totally relate w/you on your number 5. I continually say in my mind..let it go, let it go, let it go, God’s got this and does not need my help. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!
I love the interaction we are having. We learn from each other. Encourage each other. That’s what this study is all about. Thanks for reading each other’s comments and sharing. Application of scripture is beautiful in the life of a believer! I read this week in Jesus Calling, “When you are occupied with praising and thanking ME, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself.” And “thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining.”
Seems like the message of this study is being confirmed from all directions! Love when that happens.
Brenda, just between you & me (haha) I totally FAILED today! Raging PMS got the best of me…or more accurately, I “allowed” it to get the best of me. I’ve been spewing all over the place all day! But…after just now catching up on all of the comments, I was reminded that grumbling & complaining is not excused by hormones. Oops. Better get myself back in check. Good thing it’s almost bedtime! Tomorrow’s a new day. ;)
Thank you, Tara, for reminding us how we need to go back to God’s Word and be thankful. The beautiful thing is that after we experience these “mood” swings, we can get ourself back in check like you said. It’s what we do with these situations that counts. We can stay there or move on. You honestly admitted your own weakness (with which we can all identify) and reminded us that God’s mercies are new every morning. Hope your day is going better as you continue to focus on Him and His blessings.
In reading Sharon’s comment about money concerns causing stress, I “reveled in Him” just a couple of weeks ago regarding an old DAILY prayer & heart tug-of-war I used have with God concerning $. It CONSUMED me. I lost sleep over finances, had many marital arguments, and would plead daily with God for financial freedom. We are in a MUCH better place financially now…and I was jolted into this realization of how incredibly good & faithful God has been to us, when I put on a really old cd I used to listen to those years ago when we were going thru that hard financial, emotionally devastating stress. A particular song called Gratitude by Nichole Nordeman, I can so clearly remember, time & time again, down on my knees, tears covering my face, pleading with God for relief and trying so hard to have a right heart before Him, trusting that no matter what, He would take care of us, that our needs would be met. And when I heard that song a few days ago, after all this time had gone by, remembering where I was then and knowing where God has brought us now…let me just say I was on my knees again!!! Bawling THANKFULLY for the journey He so faithfully took us on, and delivered us thru, money, marriage and all. <3
Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case…
We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If you never send us rain
Grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case…
We'll give thanks to You
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace
But Jesus, would You please…
Tara, Tara! I love your responses to these questions and how you apply scripture to your life. Thanks for being vulnerable, open and honest with us, because each of us can identify with your struggles with finances, relationships, and “things” in general. Thanks for sharing the lyrics of this beautiful song, reminding us that God is teaching us how to thirst for Him through trials. To be thankful for the sun that warms our face even if there’s never any rain! That’s awesome. Then the phrases about peace fit right into our study questions. Thanking God no matter what for lessons learned and blessings beyond our wildest dreams. The road to peace and God’s grace is through our thankful hearts of praise to Him. I want to walk in that! How about the rest of you?
I have taken a question or two a day and now I have come to question #5. I do have to admit I struggle sometimes (don’t we all) with grumbling and fretting. I think I fret the most when someone doesn’t treat me kind, especially one in my family. After giving gifts and having dinner…there is no thankfulness or kindness in return. And quite frankly that is not the reason we are to be kind to others, it is to show the love of God to them, but when it is a family member especially one I want a closer relationship with it hurts. So I must remember…. God is in control, He has the best for me and the other family member, He won’t put me through a trial that He hasn’t already made a way of escape and I MUST TRUST Him with the situation and be thankful for what I do have in the relationship, let His peace cover me to guard my heart and mind!! So I must let God be God, and pray looking for the things to be thankful for in all situations.
Anita, how I identify with the grumbling and fretting. I’ve been asking the Lord to make me aware of it myself because it can overcome me so quickly. Little things can cause us to complain or fret. That’s why I love how you are bringing scripture right into your particular situation. The Lord does make a way of escape and I believe voicing our thanks for what we do have is vital, for it’s then God’s grace pours out over us and His peace becomes a garrison over our heart and mind. I truly believe in the power of a thankful heart. It can change everything…our outlook, our peace and even the situation itself. Thanks for being open and honest. We can pray for each other in these things. Lord, help us to look for the good around us and then thank You for it. Help us to pray with thanksgiving in our hearts. Help us to trust that You alone are in control and work everything out for our good.
Karen, I also read each day Jesus Calling. I have also heard this week on Moody radio station different speakers speaking into thankfulness through trials and circumstances. I am just echoing how I LOVE IT when I see God confirming His teachings through other people and media. THANKFUL THANKFUL!!
I really believe that repetition is how we know God is speaking specific truth for us to consider. You pick up a magazine, turn on the radio, or hear a sermon on the same thing. May we all be challenged to keep thanking God in the midst of our circumstances. Thanks for your encouragement, Anita.
1. We should be thankful in every circumstance, good and bad, and be thankful for everything God has given us and done for us.
I remember clearly that October day in 2001 when I was told my job had been eliminated. As I left, I stopped and called my daughter. I was not worried because I knew that God had everything in control and when He closes a door, He has something better in mind. My daughter and I went shopping. God was faithful and supplied our needs until the next door opened (paying the exact same pay I had been getting). After another year and half, that job was eliminated and, once again, I looked to God and praised Him for supplying all our needs. Once again, after 6 months, He opened the next door (paying exactly the same pay as the last job had left off at). My Father has been so loving and faithful. With the first job elimination, while I enjoyed the work, some of my work associates had really foul language and God plucked me from that situation. I love where He has me at now…I enjoy the work and work with a number of Christians so the atmosphere is much more peaceful.
2. We should not worry, or grumble and complain. We should pray about everything.
3. Even though God knows our thoughts, wants and needs before we voice them, we should pray and tell God what we need and want. He wants us to come to Him. With that, we also need to always remember to be thankful for everything that He has done for us and everything He has blest us with.
4. When we honor the Lord with our prayers and praise, we experience His peace which will guard our mind and heart.
5. What I catch myself worrying about the most, is not about things for my husband or me; it’s usually worrying and “trying to fix” things for my children. Even though they are adults, when they encounter some of life’s issues, I want to “fix things” (or at least try). I know full well that God is in control and can and will do a much better job. Maybe He’s trying to get them to come to Him more. So…praying for them is something I can do. I am thankful that my children and grandchildren love the Lord and serve Him.
Oh, how appropriate. I just read online in the “PeaceBeWithU” daily devotion…”When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts”.
Thanks for sharing such a personal testimony of faith and provision, Sue. This is a wonderful example of how thanking God can change our perspective and flood us with peace. You have encouraged all of us. You, too, are getting a repetitive message on the key to peace. I love reading these testimonies of God’s grace through trials. Remembering to present our petitions with thanksgiving results in God’s grace and peace. So simple yet so profound!
I want to thank all of you for sharing. I know I’m a little behind on the lesson. My family is going through a hard financial time right now. God has given me such a great peace about our situation. I have always worried about how everything will work out. Trying to figure out how to make everything work out the way I think it should! Over the last few weeks God has been changing me. I came home from church 2 weeks ago with the realization that I don’t have to worry or even try to figure out what is next. I only need to trust God! He has never failed me or let me down before. And I have been reminded to be thankful for everything! I have so many things to be thankful for. I had a friend tell me a long time ago, “what if we lost everything we didn’t thank God for?”
Dawn, I love that quote, “what if we lost everything we didn’t thank God for?” What a challenge. I want to remember that one. Thanks for sharing. Hope and pray you find provision and peace through thanksgiving.