From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: A spirit of thanksgiving is a good medicine for those going through difficult times. A friend of mine went through cancer and before starting chemotherapy, she took a jar and named it “Gratitude” and filled it with little sayings and Bible verses that would keep her encouraged and looking to God for strength as she faced the journey ahead. This is inspiring. Does the Bible speak to such encouragement? – E.D.
A: When we praise God, our focus is on Him, not on ourselves. Many of the psalms are actually prayers, and it is no accident that the word praise occurs in the book of Psalms over 100 times.
The Bible tells us to give thanks to God and praise Him (see Psalm 100:4) with hearts of gratitude. One reason for this is because everything we have comes from God. All around us are people whose lives are filled with trouble and sorrow, and they need our compassion and encouragement. God enables us to reach out to others in this way and shine His light in the darkness. “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:38, NLT).
Our world today desperately hungers for hope, and yet uncounted people have almost given up. There is despair and hopelessness on every hand. Those who know God can proclaim this truth to others: There is hope in Jesus!
Grumbling and gratitude are in conflict. It is difficult to grumble when we are expressing gratefulness. Many people have found their times of despair lightened through the discipline of praising God for who He is. A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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