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DEVOTIONAL

Today's featured devotional...
We aren’t born grateful. It is something we have to learn. Every happy person is grateful person, and ungrateful people cannot be happy.

When we are grateful and teach our children to be grateful, those are the first steps to true happiness.

Thankfulness or an attitude of gratitude isn't merely "polite" or something that makes a great catchphrase—it is powerful stuff. Thankfulness opens up heaven, ushers in the presence of God, and gets angels moving on our behalf.

Thankfulness
We aren’t born grateful. It is something we have to learn. You hear it again and again from frustrated  parents, “We give our kids so much, and the more we give, the less they seem to appreciate it.

As parents, we all want our family to have things we didn’t have growing up and we try hard to see to it they never lack or want for anything. But sometimes they need to learn to work for what they get and not be handed everything on a whim.

A man once watched a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon. In an effort to help it, he took a razor blade and carefully slit the edge of the cocoon. The butterfly escaped from its problem….and immediately died.

It is God’s way to have the butterfly struggle. It is the process of getting out that causes it’s heart to beat fast, and send the blood into its wings. Trials make us struggle and stretch. They cause us to seek God and the wisdom found in his word. This produces faith and people who have faith are thankful people.

A Key To Happiness
Nothing irritates a person more than being kind or generous to someone who doesn’t appreciate it; that’s why we constantly prod our kids to say “please” and “thank you”. But the benefit of being thankful goes way beyond being polite. Gratitude is the key to happiness itself.

Every happy person is grateful person, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but what is really happens is it is complaining that leads us to becoming unhappy.

It says in Psalm 92:1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name.” In Psalm 107:8-9 it says, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

Learning to be thankful, whether to God or other people, is the best hedge against taking life for granted.

The less we take for granted, the more enjoyment we get out of life. If we never give it any thought that our health is good, that our home is comfortable, or our family is well fed, or that we have the privilege living in a free country, if we grow up thinking that good things in life are normal and to be expected without someone paying a price for them, then we decrease their value and the happiness we get from them.

Gratitude Is Where It's At
Gratitude is actually a product of humility. The Hebrew word for gratitude is, “hoda’ah” which is the same as the word used for confession. Being thankful is actually to confess dependence, or to acknowledge that someone else has the power to benefit you, to admit that your life is better because of their efforts. So let’s be thankful and not take life for granted.

The Bible says in Psalm 100:4-5, that we are to approach God with thanksgiving and praise, In Psalm 107:22, we read where we are to offer him thank offerings, and tell of his works with songs of joy. The Bible tells us not to worry about anything in Philippians 4:6-7, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present our requests to God who will keep us in peace. And finally we are to thank Him for his goodness according to Psalm 106:1, for his mercy endures forever.

God inhabits the praises of his people, not the complaints. We are warned in 2 Timothy 3:2, to stay away from unthankful people. The last stage of the reprobates talked about in Romans 1:21, was they were unthankful.  The following is a list of things parents can do to help kids live a thankful life.

Parent Check-Up
Am I The Person I Want My Children To Be?
  1. Show by example what thankfulness looks like. (Express gratitude yourself)
  2. Raise your expectations. (As for me and my house, we will be grateful)
  3. Everyone make a list of the things your grateful for. (See how it changes as the kids get older.)
  4. Describe what you have done for the child. (God wrote a book about what he’s done for us. It’s all good.)
  5. Establish family traditions. (Have family rituals that center on gratitude where children learn to express thanks.)
  6. Dare to say no. (We should give children everything they need, but if we try to give them everything they want, we’ll do them more harm than good.)
  7. Never give in to whining or ungrateful behavior.
  8. Involve your child in giving. (It’s gets their eyes off themselves and onto the needs of others.)
  9. Do sweat the small stuff. (We expect thanks for the big-ticket items – but we many times haven’t trained them to say thank you for the daily service we provide. That’s why we all of a sudden blow up over minor incidents – after 20 small, unacknowledged acts of kindness, the 21st pushes our button.)
  10. When embarrassing behavior occurs, don’t feel bad. (Apologize to anyone who was offended and use it as an opportunity to teach the child to appreciate the kindness they have received.)
Thankfulness is a teachable skill. When a child becomes truly appreciative, they have reached the point where they realize they are not the center of the universe. Now we are ready to do some real living.
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Prov. 22:6)
Copyright © Joe McGee Ministries
All rights reserved.

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