Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
One way to develop an attitude of gratitude is to take an inventory of God’s blessings in your life. Make a list of every good thing in your life. To start your thinking, let me give you six things for which you should express gratitude to God.
First, be thankful for your material blessings. In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul said, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” If we have food and a place to sleep, then we are better off than millions of people in the world. Anything we have beyond that is extra. Thank God for those material blessings. Everything we have comes from Him.
Second, be grateful for your family. Do you regularly thank God for your children, for your parents, for your spouse? We ought to express that gratitude to them and to God as well. Do not wait until it is too late to express gratitude for that spouse or that family member God has given to you. They are an undeserved blessing from Him.
Third, thank God for your church. The church you attend is not a perfect church. There are no perfect churches. But can you imagine what your life would be like without your church? Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving.” Every time we go to church, we ought to give gratitude to God for providing that place of worship, the fellowship we have with one another.
Fourth, be grateful for answered prayer. How easy it is when we pray to God to start with “Do this, do that,” “Give me, give me,” without stopping to say, “Thank You, God, for what You have already done for me.” That is one reason I keep a prayer journal that lists the things I am praying for. Sometimes God says yes and sometimes He says no. When I look back, I am often more thankful for the “no” answers.
Fifth, thank God for your problems. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a superficial emotion that depends on circumstances. Joy is the calm assurance that no matter what happens, God is still in control, and He is working out His plan. The Bible says we can rejoice in difficult circumstances, not because we are happy about them, but we are confident that God is still working.
Sixth, thank God for your salvation. Before you were saved, you were an enemy of God. But for no other reason than because of God’s great love for you, He sent Christ to die for you. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Every one of us ought to continually praise God for our salvation.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Count Blessings, Not Sheep” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.