Oct 2, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

I'm teaching a group of young ladies at my church on Sundays during our small group discipleship hour. It's the first time I've led a class that consisted of anyone older than 10 years of age. It's a little intimidating. Anyway, we have been having a great time in the study. The class ages range from 18 to 30 and there are ladies who are single, as well as a few that are married and have children. I have had the best time with these girls. I enjoy watching them learn God's truth and I can't wait to see how God is going to grow them and use them.

The study that we are doing, called "Get a Life," by Vicki Courtney, is based on six myths we, as women, are led to believe. These myths many times rob us of the abundant life that God has for us.  The first week we studied about the myth, "If I follow Christ, my life will be trouble free." God never promised we'd be trouble free or that our life would be trouble free, simply because we belong to Him. That week we looked at the life of Joseph and how God was with him through all the struggles and trials of his life. And how God used all those things that were terrible - being sold into slavery, being falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, being thrown into prison, forgotten by the cup bearer - for His good. We were encouraged that week to "Keep on Keeping on" even through the struggles.

Week two we talked about our belief so many times that "A man will make me happy." We didn't man-bash. We just discussed how putting that kind of pressure on anyone in our life - whether it's our husband, a friend, a child - it's just too much. No one can make you complete. No one can know your every thought and meet your every need. And if you're looking for that in SOMEONE other than Jesus Christ, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. We discussed a few other things, but I'll keep that between me and the girls. ;-)

Last week we discussed how "A busy life (does not) = An Abundant life." We studied about Champions of the Christian faith and how we should surround ourselves with people who are Champions in Christ. We talked about avoiding burn-out and how important it is to pray and seek God in all areas of our life. The point of the week's study was that we can have JUST a life or we can have ABUNDANT life in Christ. 

Well, that brings me to this week, which is the point of this post. This week our title is "Material possessions will lead to peace and purpose." We're learning about putting "things" into perspective. We shouldn't be jealous of what others have. We should be content with where God has us and what He blesses us with. But the best part of the week has been the last day's lesson (I'm a day ahead because I try to finish up early and prepare what I'll talk about in time for Sunday.). "The Secret to Contentment: An Attitude of Gratitude." How many times have I heard my pastor talk about that? The scripture reference is Luke 17: 11-19. You know the story. There were 10 lepers and Jesus healed them all and told them to go back to town because they were healed. They all left, but ONE came back to thank Jesus for what He'd done.  This lesson has been one of my favorites so far. Here's a quote from the lesson, "I (do) not want to look back and regret that I had not made the most of every moment God gave me with my family... make a concentrated effort to see the positive side of everything." That's my prayer today, that I make the most of all God gives me and that I look for the positive side of things. Another quote, "We must never forget the wonderful things God has done. He is the author of every blessing we receive, every breath we take, and the very author of life itself... Regardless of circumstances in life, the Christian is without excuse when it comes to having an attitude of gratitude."

Now for my list. Here are some of the things I'm grateful for (some serious, some funny):

  1. Salvation through Christ Jesus
  2. A pastor that preaches the Word
  3. A husband who loves me as Christ loves the church, who knows how important security and stability are to me and who tries to provide me with that in every way he can
  4. A beautiful little girl who smiles at us EVERY morning when she wakes up (I'm going to have to post some pics of that.)
  5. An amazing group of friends who support me through the mountains and the valleys
  6. Pretty shoes (Well, I AM grateful for them.)
  7. Family members who are part of my life and the life of my husband and child
  8. Freedom to express these thoughts and feelings without fear
  9. Caffeine-free Diet Coke
  10. and the opportunity to study God's word and serve along side some amazing women in my church
Your turn. Think about it. What are you grateful for?

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