Pastor Joe’s devotion below will be in the White House Connection newspaper on Tuesday.
THE VALUE and POWER OF THANKFULNESS
Thanksgiving Day is a good reminder for ALL of us to stop and “Give Thanks”. However, thankfulness is a daily practice that would serve all of us in a very positive manner. I believe, most if not all, would agree that it is pleasant and enjoyable to be around people who are thankful versus those who are unthankful grumblers and complainers. However, being pleasant to be around isn’t the only benefit to being thankful. There are many more benefits in maintaining an attitude of thankfulness: a stronger immune system, a healthier heart, more enjoyable and productive relationships, increased teamwork, greater opportunities in life and many more benefits.
But, what is important to know and remember is that God, man’s creator said it long before healthcare professionals learned the healthy and positive benefits of being thankful or having a positive outlook in life. God knew the value of a having a thankful heart and communicated that to us by Solomon over 3000 years ago. In Proverbs 17:22 it says; A merry heart improves the body but a depressed or negative attitude dries the bones (diseases of the bones like arthritis, compromised immune system). Proverbs 14:30 says that a calm and undisturbed heart and mind are the life and health of the body. In Matthew 15:11, Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth of a person that defiles or hurts him/her, but it is what comes out of their mouth. The words coming out of the mouth definitely reveals what is in the heart, negative or positive.
You might say that is well and good, but you have no idea what I have to put up with in this life. I have to agree with you that there are many challenges in this life. Even God realized this and said in Psalms 34:19 that, many are the challenges of those who walk uprightly, but He delivers us out of them all. Jesus said in John 16:33, that in this world you will have tribulations or challenges, but be of good cheer, because I have deprived the world of its ability to harm you. You see God knew all of this and that’s why he gave us further instruction on how to proactively approach these challenges and if we do what He instructs us in His Word we will deal with these challenges in a positive manner and have a better outcome.
A couple of examples; In Matthew 6:14, He said we are to forgive those who offend us, rather than hold a grudge. He said in Romans 12:21 that we are to overcome evil by doing good, rather than getting back or even. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, He told us to give thanks in everything rather than complain and gripe, In James 1:2-8 He says that we are to count it all joy when we encounter various trials and tells us that there is great benefit when we respond to them in this manner.
You see, He does deliver us out of these challenges by giving us the knowledge how to respond rather than emotionally react to these events. Medical and Social Sciences have shown in multiple studies the positive results of a thankful or grateful attitude. However, just knowing this information isn’t good enough we must realize it is in our court to decide if we will practice having a thankful and grateful attitude in this life.
Make a decision now to daily give thanks for all the good things in your life and then commit all those challenges to God. His Word says in 1 Peter 5:7, to cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you. You were never designed to carry the problems we all face in this world.
DO Set your alarm for 2-3 times a day, as a reminder to stop and give thanks and cast all your cares upon the Lord. He is waiting for you, (Psalm 50:15).
Gratefulness is linked with optimism, which in turn is linked with better immune health, WebMD reported. For example, a University of Utah study showed that stressed-out law students who were optimistic had more immune-boosting blood cells than people who were pessimistic, according to WebMD.
1995 study in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that appreciation and positive emotions are linked with changes in heart rate variability. [This] may be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension and in reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease