Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Power of Gratitude (Go with Grateful Series)

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The Power of Gratitude
Image Credit:  Samuel Scrimshaw - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos

The Power of Gratitude

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18-23
Gratitude is about perspective.  If we will stop and think about all the things we have to be thankful for, we will see how blessed we are.   When our perspective is right, gratitude will flow from our lives.

It is God's will for us to be grateful.

1.  Gratitude blesses our lives. 
A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones. - Proverbs 17:22
A Cheerful Heart
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A broken spirit saps a person's strength.

9 Scientific Benefits of Gratitude


1.  opens doors to relationships.
2.  improves physical health.
3.  improves psychological health.
4.  enhances empathy
5.  reduces aggression.
6.  improves self-esteem.
7.  reduces social comparisons.
8.  plays a major role in overcoming trauma.
9.  contributes to resilience.

Choose gratitude!

2.  Gratitude turns us to God.

I won't be prideful.

Every time we don't turn a blessing into praise to God, it will turn into pride.

I won't feel hopeless.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. - Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength.
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The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? - Romans 8:35

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry. - Psalm 34:15

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. - Romans 8:28-29
Gratitude attracts the presence of God and His power in our lives.  

When we are grateful, a gloomy situation will become glorious.

Read Acts, chapter 16 here.

When we choose grateful, handcuffs come off.

3.  Gratitude brings contentment.

Ingratitude robs us of all the blessings we've already received.  Gratitude turns whatever we have into enough.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
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4.  Gratitude is a spiritual weapon.  

If God is attracted to gratitude, then Satan is repelled by it.

Read Guard Yourself with Gratitude by John Piper here.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:7-8
What brings us closer to God?  Gratitude

Gratitude is spiritual muscle.

5.  Gratitude strengthens our prayers.

We need to remind ourselves to go to God with a spirit of gratitude instead of a list of complaints.  

Never stop praying!
Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name. - Psalm 100:4
When we pray, let's enter into His courts with Thanksgiving.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

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Are You Grateful? (Go with Grateful Bible Study Series)

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Are You Grateful
Image Credit:  Gabrielle Cole - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos

Are You Grateful?

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "Are You Grateful?"  "Are You Grateful is is part of our "Go with Grateful" series.

Ten Lepers Cleansed
While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.  As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” - Luke 17:11-19
Only one healed leper out of ten returned to give thanks to God for healing.  When we are not grateful, it is sinful and shameful.

View Pastor Jeff Crook's entire sermon here.
Go With Grateful - Are You Grateful? - November 25, 2018 from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

1.  Gratitude is a choice.  We either choose gratitude or ingratitude.

2.  Gratitude is an expression.

3.  Gratitude is a distinguishing mark of a Christ-Follower.

No gratitude in your life means you are not saved or not walking with the Lord.

Read Romans, chapter 1 here.

When we feel like we are not getting "what we deserve," sin enters our lives.  

Don't let Satan plant a spirit of ingratitude in your life.  

Satan will use:

unrealistic expectations.

forgetfulness. (Do not forget all God has done for you.  Avoid spiritual amnesia.)

entitlement.  Entitlement is believing something - anything - is owed to us.

comparison.  (Don't compare yourselves with others.)

blindness to God's grace.  (Let us not forget the grace of God in our lives.)

Consider the following progression from guilt to gratitude.

Guilt - Grace - Gratitude
Sinner -  Forgiveness - Gratitude

Difficult Times Will Come

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. - 2 Timothy 3:1-4

BUT Read Colossians 2:6-7
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
 Get involved!  You can't rock the boat if you are not rowing it!

There are thousands of things going on in our lives and around us that we don't see.  Be grateful.  We have nothing to do with any of it.

Are you choosing grateful?

Are you aware of God's presence in your life?  God walks with us and talks with us.

Do you have a humble heart, an inner peace of a child of Christ?   God gives His children an inner peace.

Do you have a generous spirit?   God has given so much to us that we want to share.  Gratefulness = Generosity.

Are you others-centered?  Are you always finding ways to serve others, always looking for someone to help?

Are you friendly and cheerful?  If we are ungrateful, we are always nursing a grudge.

Are you faith-filled?  A faith-filled Christ-Follower has seen God work time and time again.  A faith-filled Christ-Follower knows God is faithful.

Are you joy-filled?  A person filled with gratitude is filled with joy.

Remember the lepers.  Ten were healed, but only one came back and expressed gratitude.

My pastor's last statement might sting but it is for your own good.  Consider his statement carefully because it is true.
If you don't go to Jesus, you go to Hell. 
Do you want to learn more about what it means to know Jesus?  Click here.

Bible Fellowship

Communication is vital to any relationship.  Prayer is communication.  Why is communication through prayer important?

 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. - Ephesians 6:18

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. - Colossians 4:2

How do we get devoted to prayer?   We must be intentional.  

Prayer Changes Things
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Types of Prayer

Freestyle or Formed

Alone or Assembled with Others
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. - Matthew 6:6

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” - Matthew 18:20
Corporate Prayer

We must take care that we don't use prayer as a public show.  

Desperate Prayers or Prayers of Praise

Explosive (short and straight to the point) or Extended

Spontaneous or Scheduled

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here

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Grateful Praise - Go with Grateful Bible Study Series

Our pastor's latest sermon series is titled "Go with Grateful."  Gratitude is so important that it affects every hour of our lives.  Gratitude is not based on circumstances and it is not seasonal.  It is continual.  When we are grateful, we are blessed.

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon. 
Grateful Praise
Image Credit:  Azgan Mjeshtri - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos

Gratitude rescues us from resentment and bitterness.

Joy doesn't make you grateful, but gratitude makes you joyful.

I must ask myself:

Am I choosing grateful?

Am I expressing gratefulness?

The Theology of Gratitude

Grateful Praise

View Pastor Jeff Crook's entire sermon here.
Go With Grateful - Grateful Praise - November 18, 2018 (Message Only) from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. - Psalm 100
God is more glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. -John Piper
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When we are thanking God, we are praising God.  We should be thankful for who God is before thanking Him for what He has done.  
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. - Psalm 34:1
Gratitude starts with God.  Gratitude to God keeps us from idolatry.   Idolatry is misplaced gratitude.  Whatever we give our constant thankfulness to eventually becomes our idol source of worship.

Challenge:  For the next 7 days, go with grateful for a characteristic of God. For the next 7 days, post the following on your social media accounts.

I am grateful that God is __________________________.  Use the hashtag #Grateful.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. - Colossians 3:15

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Real gratitude does not make sports or any other things an idol because real gratitude is gratefulness for God.
Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. - Matthew 14:19
Looking up to Heaven, Jesus gave thanks.

We need to keep our eyes off the source and on the Provider.

We need to keep our eyes off the problem and on the Savior.

Grateful Praise:

keeps us from idolatry so we will not trust on wrong things.

resets our worship to the God of all things.

instantly brings us into the presence of God.

God takes our spirit of brokenness and puts on a garment of praise.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

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