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November 18, 2021

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

November 18, 2021
Perhaps you’ve heard the old story of the grandmother who was watching her grandchild playing on the beach one day when a huge wave came and pulled him out to sea. She immediately fell on her knees and prayed, “Please God, save my only grandson. I beg You, bring him back.”  The next moment God answered her prayer with a second big wave that came and washed the boy back up on the beach—as good as new.  The grandmother responded by looking up into Heaven with a frown on her face saying, “He had a hat!”

That’s gratitude for you isn’t it! So many times, we are not satisfied with—much less grateful for---God’s provision, especially here in the United States. One thing I have noticed on the faces of children in third world countries where we have sent mission teams, and in the picture above, is a perfect example is how thankful they are. This little girl lives in one of the most impoverished villages I have ever seen, but you can see the joy on her face as she runs with the VBS craft she made that day in her hand.

Those impoverished children were always smiling. They had next to nothing, but they were much more satisfied than their peers in our country who have so much. Sometimes I think our bounty is more of a bane than a blessing because if we’re not careful, having so many things makes it very hard for us to be thankful. Our possessions can blind us to God—the Source of every good and perfect gift.

In 2001, Stephen Post, a medical school professor of bioethics, created a research group called “The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.” It was dedicated to testing and measuring the effects of love, gratitude, and other positive emotions in human life.

Dr. Post’s research discovered that spending 15 minutes a day focused on things you’re grateful for can have the following effects on your physical health:
  • It increases your body’s natural antibodies.
  • It expands mental capacity and reduces vulnerability to depression.
  • It creates a physiological state of “resonance,” improving your blood pressure and heart rate.

That’s gratitude for you! Not only does it lift up the recipient, it also gives life to the one expressing it. This is why we are told time and time again in Scripture to give thanks. Our Creator knows that a grateful heart puts us in right alignment both with Him and one another.

Paul wrote, “And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:15-17)

During this season of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to test the results of Dr. Post’s research by obeying Paul’s admonition. Begin every day by looking for people and things to be thankful for. Take fifteen minutes to compile your list and then express your gratitude to God for His provision.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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