Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 14, 2022

Gratitude Focusing Outward

“I (Paul) never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16 (HCSB)

Sitting in a cold, dark prison thanking Jesus characterized Paul’s life. His situation wasn’t desirable or even thinkable, but Paul kept his mind focused. And that disciplined focus turned his attention outward rather than inward. Perhaps the secret to Paul’s survival in those dark places was found in his genuine love for God and others. Maybe the thing that kept him filled with gratitude was simply reflecting on how God had used others to minister to his life.

There’s not a day that goes by….or a moment that slips away…….that someone, that includes you and me, someone needs hope. And in the bleakness of a hard, dreary day there’s nothing more profound than hearing those words, “I’m praying for you.”

Paul knew that giving thanks and remembering others in prayer would be the catalyst for survival in his own soul. God’s faithfulness was sprinkled throughout the memory of those men and women who fed him, housed him, greeted him, prayed for him….an endless list of goodness from God through ordinary people. So, despite confinement and isolation, Paul’s heart wasn’t filled with “woe is me,” but rather “how rich I am.”

Genuine gratitude has a way of repositioning our human nature to see God’s loving kindness even in the most difficult places. Giving thanks reminds us that our lives are blessed and enriched by the people in our circle. Lifting others up in prayer reminds us of the sweet fellowship we share in the body of Christ, and every time Paul mentioned a name his heart was filled to overflowing.

Don’t know about you, but I can seriously get lost in my world.  I can easily get caught up in the day to day chaos and totally ignore God’s call to reach out and encourage someone else.  I can excuse away my absorption with busyness.  I can ignore those who desperately long for just one person to acknowledge their pain and loneliness. I can zero in on my struggles and trials rather than lift up others to the Lord. And if I continue down this road, I will miss the sweetest blessing ever – the joy of blessing others and being blessed by others.

Nothing sweeter dear friends than intentionally choosing to give thanks and remembering others in prayer.  Grab your calendar…..carve in some time this November to purposefully pray for others.  List those people who have invested in and touched your life.  Lift up your heart of gratitude to God for surrounding you with amazing people who have filled your cup to overflowing.  Ask God to enlarge your tent….be the reason someone else feels blessed this holiday season.

“Father, our lives are filled with gratitude for the sweet remembrance of Your people…… awesome friends who make this journey more enjoyable – we are truly blessed!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life


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