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I would like to welcome you as we kick off our series, The Power of Gratitude. My friend, Fleda from Women Ministering, has written the first guest post, not only in this gratitude series, but ever, on my blog. So please, let’s show her lots of love. You’ll catch her bio and website info at the end of the post. Without further ado, I present…
Peace in The Power of Gratitude
Glad or Grateful
We all use the term “I’m so glad……” in daily conversation. In fact, it’s so common that we don’t really think about what we are actually glad. Glad, though, is not the same as grateful. I have experienced things in my life for which I was glad and things for which I was deeply grateful. The things I am glad for are usually temporary and did not have any significant impact on my life.
Gratitude is a far more impacting occurrence. In fact, it can be life-changing whereas, being glad has significantly less power. Gratitude is a state of being. A person who practices continual gratitude is a more peaceful person and there is a reason for this. They have discerned what things matter most in their life and have set themselves to focus on only those. This person knows what brings them peace and they know what creates chaos. They choose peace and practice the power of gratitude which maintains that peace.
Peace or Happiness
Peace is not the same as happiness, just as gratitude is not the same as glad. You’ll find that peace and the power of gratitude go deeper, last longer, and once firmly established, are set on rock, not sand. Happiness is fleeting and can disappear with a word. I can be happy one moment and sad the next.
I have experienced deep peace in the midst of deepest sorrow. The sudden death of my husband brought the deepest sorrow and grief I have ever experienced. Yet, God’s peace remained steady while being beyond my ability to understand.
I have maintained a lifestyle of gratitude while going through cancer treatment and the great unknown which looms up in front of you when you are told you have cancer. The power of gratitude has caused me to be thankful, which is the expression of our gratitude.
Choose the Power of Gratitude
Peace, gratitude and thankfulness have to be chosen and maintained. Peace is an emotion and a state. I can feel peaceful and also be at peace. You have to manage your emotions in order to be at peace. You can experience the peace of God in the midst of terrible circumstances. This is what the Bible calls “the Peace of God which transcends all understanding,” Philippians 4:7 NIV The day my husband was killed in an accident, I was in shock. As I was being taken home from the accident site, my mind and emotions were everywhere. Yet, I distinctly remember this deep sense of peace and God’s voice in my innermost being. It was so tangible that I thought to myself that this made no sense. How could I be at peace when my entire world had just been destroyed? Yet, there it was.
Eleven months later, I went in for a routine colonoscopy (which is enough to lose your peace over all by itself!), woke up and was told I had cancer. A calm I cannot explain enveloped me and I was only afraid once. That happened in the first three days after I was told. I didn’t know anything – what kind of cancer, what stage of cancer – nothing. Just the word cancer.
A Lifestyle of Gratitude
I had already begun the lifestyle of gratitude and thanksgiving. In the months after my husband’s death, gratitude and thanksgiving kept me. When grief wanted to swallow me, I would start giving thanks out loud for everything from Kleenex to cash! I would do it for as long as I needed to in order to control the power of grief. Gratitude is also a decision. Thanksgiving is the outward expression of that inward decision. I absolutely, completely know the power of speaking thanksgiving and prayers out loud to yourself.
I have set of Scripture prayers that I can refer to if I am feeling overwhelmed. There is nothing more powerful than you are, when you take up God’s word and speak it out loud. You change yourself and the atmosphere around you. The Bible is so very clear about the fact that when you just stand in Him, the enemy has to flee. I stood against the darkness that wanted to overwhelm me when my husband was killed. And, I did it again when cancer came my way. I spoke the word and thanksgiving out loud over and over and over – day after day after day. It works. My life is completely different now and I still do it because it keeps me in God’s peace. Peace in the power of gratitude prioritizes choosing peace, gratitude, thankfulness, worship and praise to help you handle the twists and turns of life. The first in the series, The Power of Gratitude. #gratitude #powerofgratitude Click To Tweet
Remaining at Peace
I am no one special. I don’t have more faith than anyone else and God doesn’t like me more. In fact, God doesn’t favor any human over another. We all have the same amount of faith offered to us. The difference lies in what we do with what He has given us.
There are so many scriptures about God’s peace that I cannot list them all here, but here are a few.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who show in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:17-18 NIV
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
Here are some Scriptures on Thankfulness and Gratitude:
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:15-17 NIV
I love these verses in Colossians. We are told to:
‘let the PEACE of Christ’ rule in our hearts. It is a choice, a decision.
Realize we have been called to PEACE!
‘let’ the message of Christ live (dwell among us) richly. Richly means abundantly.
Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.
Use psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit – WORSHIP!
Sing to God with GRATITUDE in our hearts
Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus while GIVING THANKS to the Father.
This describes exactly what I have been talking about. We don’t just do these things when everything is going great. Instead, it is a lifestyle. Every day in everything we think, do or say, we are to maintain peace, be thankful, let Christ’s message flow, teach, worship, sing with gratitude in our hearts and do it all in the name of Jesus WHILE GIVING THANKS! This is so wonderful!
A Time for Everything Under the Sun
Is it easy? Not at all. There are times in life when we don’t want to do any of the above. We want to scream and cry, be sad and mourn. No problem. The Bible covers that too. It says that there is a time for everything under the sun. Take note of one word – time. This means that there is a start and an end. When I was grieving my husband’s death, I limited my own mourning. I would let it go on for a while and then stop it. Sometimes, it would surprise me and I could not control it beginning. I could however, put a limit on how long it lasted. It was hard to do but I knew I had to control it rather than it controlling me. No emotion or feeling is meant to control us.
When I had cancer, I set a time to have a pity party. I told God when it would start and end and I kept my word. He didn’t mind! He is so big that it was no bother to Him at all. After all, since He made us, He knows us and knows that we need those times. The key is that we do not stay there. The valley of the shadow of death is a place to ‘walk through.’ You don’t live there permanently. Anger is meant to be controlled as is fear and all other emotions. They do not rule our lives.
Praise and Worship
The other huge force for good in our lives is praise and worship. All you have to do is start reading through the Psalms to see how important it is. If you can’t think of what to say – just go to the Psalms. I like to highlight in my Bible and I use pink for praise and worship. Then, in my prayer time, I can just go to Psalms, find all the pink verses, and personalize them. For instance:
“One thing I ask from you Lord, this only I seek: that I may dwell in Your house Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on Your beauty Lord and to seek you in Your holy temple. In the day of trouble, You will keep me in Your dwelling; You will hide me in the shelter of Your sacred tent and set me high upon the rock.” Psalm 27:4-5 NIV
I encourage you to prioritize choosing peace, gratitude and thankfulness. Then add worship and praise. I believe you will find your ability to handle the twists and turns of life will improve in incredible ways.
Fleda Bennie, founder of Women Ministering has a passion to see women excel in life and in their service to the Kingdom of God by providing resources, connections, and support. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
I hope you enjoyed the first of my series, The Power of Gratitude. You can find the rest of the series in this compilation post called 6 Great Stories of the Power of Gratitude. Be sure to check them out!