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Sunday, November 24, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

This week I preached at my church in Cincinnati. Here is a summary. It was too long to print the whole thing.  

Feeling gratitude isn't born in us - it's something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children.
Joyce Brothers 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John F. Kennedy


This week marked the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.  November 22, 1963.  This sermon did not start out as an expose on President John F. Kennedy, but as I read his quote I can’t help but to recognize the ramifications of speaking versus doing.  

The quote “Attitude of Gratitude” was coined by Zig Zigler, a motivational speaker that died November 24, 2012 at the age of 86. His childhood was not exceptional. Matter of fact his father died when he, the 10th of 11 children was age six. Poor, financially but not spiritually, his mother raised him with the notion that there is always something to be grateful for in life.  It was reported that even at the funeral for his young daughter, he was surprisingly composed and quite frankly found himself consoling others in this time.

I shared with my co-worker the fact that I would be preaching on ‘Attitude of Gratitude” coined by Zigler. His comment to me was that he was rather preachy. Well I guess so because what hisbeliefs came straight from his very strong Christian upbringing. He then mentioned Reggie Jackson. Of course my immediate response was “Who?”. What did he do? My co-worker continued with; Why, he just wrote a book, where he shared that when things were down during his Mr. October season, he focused every morning on things to be thankful for in his life. This in turn helped him to channel that thankfulness into victory. What a concept, overcoming all odds, meeting challenges that create almost impossible solutions and to not only speak but live it out.Wow

Remembering the crucifiction of of Christ, there was a point when one of the men that was crucified with him questioned his validity. "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Where are you in this scripture? Are you asking Christ to save himself and youor are you humbled to just to be in his presence, grateful just to be with him in the hereafter.  

As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.  

Paul was a firm believer in prayer. He states that living a life worthy of the Lord is connected with prayer.

Colossians 1:11-12 

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Enduring everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, is really a tall order and I am sure that I have fallen short of that.  When we are taught as children to say please and thank you, there were no lessons on endurance with patience. Where did that part come from?  To be Christ like, Christ(ians), means a lot more than we put in for in our lives. We have to live not just speak this life. To breathe it in and exhale.


Years ago, I did a skit with the Patty Labelle’s song, New Attitude. New shoes, new dress, new this, new that, feeling good from my head to my shoes,. I have a new attitude. Until I googled the words to this song, I thought she was talking about finances.  Think about the love that she never knew as the love we have from God. Recognizing that love as we welcome Christ into our lives. 


I'm in control, my worries are few
'Cause I've got love like I never knew
I got a new attitude!

I'm wearing a new dress, new hair
Brand new ideas, as a matter of fact I've changed for good
It must have been the cool night, new moon, slight change
More than to figure oh but I feel like I should, yes

Somehow the wires uncrossed, my tables were turned
Never knew I had such a lesson to learn

I'm feelin' good from my head to my shoes
Know where I'm goin' and I know what to do
I tidied it up my point of view
I got a new attitude

As I think back I believe there were more AA situations, Attitude adjustments required. Eventually, prayerfully we learn. The great part is that once we know and it is lived not just words we do take the stance of gratitude.


To recognize that Christ did it for me, just for me. How could I not take the stance of gratitude and acknowledge just how powerful that act was. Just how much understanding that love has changed me. We are continuing to learn;  Feeling gratitude isn't born in us - it's something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children.
Joyce Brothers


How can I say thanks for all the things that you’ve done for me. Things so underserved and yet you gave to prove your love for me. And the voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude, all that I am and ever hope to be. I owe it all to thee.

Just let me live my life and let it be pleasing Lord to thee. And if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.


So this week, think about the adjustments of Attitude. Are you enduring with patience and giving God thanks for all that has been done just for you.


I give my thanks first to those that have helped me on my journey, that taught me just how great God is and I posture with my “Attitude of Gratitude” to Give Thanks.

Give thanks, not just in words but in deeds, with a grateful heart for a God that has been and forever will be faithful. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that sermon! Thank you for continuing to teach what you've learned. What a beautiful picture of you!