Change of Orientation Needed?

November 22nd, 2007 • Category: Thanksgiving
by Steve Adams

Today’s scripture: Psalm 103:1-5; Psalm 69:30 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

Oh, I don’t mean sexual orientation, but something else! It’s how we perceive the events of our lives; the things we have and the experiences God gives us. Are we oriented to being grateful? It’s one thing to go into “thankfulness mode” for one day while I gather with family or friends to eat turkey dinner, but it’s quite another to have an ORIENTATION of thanksgiving that causes me to see life through a grateful lens, and will endure throughout the ups and downs of everyday life.

One simple example is the painting that hangs over my front door. I’ve looked at it hundreds of times without giving it much thought, but yesterday, it was different! Instead of barely noticing it, I appreciated the fact that my great grandmother, who was a Christian, painted it in 1898. That caused me to be grateful that I was able to spend time with her as a child, which was possible because she lived into her early 90’s, a fairly rare occurrence in the 1960’s. The key is in seeing, and remembering.

Psalm 103 is so wise to exhort us not to forget God’s blessings, because we DO FORGET! But each time that happens, an orientation of thankfulness will cause us to remember them again with great intensity. And, with practice, we can become a lot better at not forgetting.

Do you ever have times when God seems distant and elusive? Psalm 69:30 says thanksgiving MAGNIFIES God, who appears bigger and closer when viewed through a thankful heart.

Sometimes I think we talk ourselves into the belief that thanksgiving is irrelevant, like when life is so difficult that it doesn’t seem to make sense to be grateful. I think this is an illusion. A thankful heart still has room to experience grief, sorrow, and other often difficult emotions. A thankful heart can still be “real.” It’s just that a foundation of thanksgiving can enable us to pull through trials and not lose sight of the reality of God’s love.

Thought for the day: So, what is my orientation? Is it toward being thankful? Do I see my world — the good and the not-so-good — with a grateful heart?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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