The Benefits of Gratitude • do you want them?

November 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Proclaiming thanks is happening — all through this month — as a nation, as families, as friends, in our churches, in our homes, around our tables, in newspapers and publications, on TV, on FB, and in blogs ...

It is good to be grateful - to speak thanks for kindnesses • to call that friend you have been thinking about • to write the thank you note • to acknowledge the goodness in our lives • to create a gratitude journal or list (we can return to it and remember with joy a particular entry; we will be blessed by the sheer visual length of the list; one item will trigger the remembering of another!) • to pray • to respond to the nudging of the Holy  Spirit • to "pay it forward' (help others when you see need) • to worship with your family. To be aware of things all around that are just there is eye-opening. We didn't make them, provide them, grow them, develop them, influence them or invent them. We can just appreciate them.

thankful (1)thankful (1)

 When I give thanks for new morning with it's crisp air and the sun's light giving life and sparkle to the frost on the deck I feel happiness and joy. What blessings! I anticipate all this day holds.

When I watch the sky - clouds, sun rises, sun sets, storms - I rejoice in the awe-full beauty of the earth. 
The whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord. Isaiah 6:3

SDC12074_Sunset_D.2-BlogSDC12074_Sunset_D.2-Blog<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA>

Bridgers from our deckBridgers from our deck

We have a great and awesome God. 
He loves when we delight in his creation. He loves when we delight in him.
He loves when we have happiness and joy. He loves when we have happiness and joy in him.

He loves when we are thankful. He loves when we thank him, the Giver of all.

So my happiness and joy in the new day goes beyond the end of my deck. I delight in the creator of the new day, the frost, the sun, the ability to feel emotions.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad it in. Psalm 118:24
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Practicing gratefulness is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier. It helps to realize physical and material needs don't always satisfy our need for happiness. Studies speak of the mental health benefits of gratitude and recommend cultivating this state of mind. 
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7

Just look at these blessings - strength, protection, help, joy - gifts from God! Trusting his goodness, we give thanks -  for him, to him.

I Am With YouI Am With YouTitle: I Am With You
Media: watercolor on Arches watercolor paper
Size of original: 9 x 7 inches
Text: Isaiah 41:10

As circumstances in our life vie for more and more attention, Isaiah reminds us to call on God, he is always present, wanting us to call on him for his strength. The simple background wash is designed to suggest support, upholding, being held.

Isaiah lived in Jerusalem about 750-700 BC. Very little is known about him. The author of chapters 1-39 is identified as Isaiah, the son of Amos [1:1, 2:1, 13:1]. He had a wife [8:3], children [7:3, 8:3] and disciples [8:16]. The northern kingdom of Israel was wiped out by Assyria; his own southern kingdom Judah barely survived. Like many prophets, he spoke boldly about ethical & political issues—oppression of poor, foreign alliances —and called for repentance. The author of chapters 40-66 is not the same writer. These chapters have a more poetic, contemplative, beautiful style and were addressed to Jewish exiles in Babylon 150 years after Isaiah’s time! They stress hope, consolation and reconciliation.

Joy Strength IJoy Strength ITitle: Joy Strength I
Media: watercolor on Arches hot press
Size of Original: 5 x 7 inches
Text: Nehemiah 8:10

Nehemiah's book is a lesson in prayer, sacrifice and persistence. He had great administrative skills, strong emotions, rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, introduced economic reforms and rallied the Jews as a nation. He faced intense opposition. This book shows the need for prayer and firmness in the work of God.
In Chapter 8, Nehemiah, as governor, along with Ezra, the priest and scribe, and the Levites taught and encouraged the people with the words lettered in this piece.
‘Joy’ is light and open contrasted with the heavy, vertical and sturdy letter form of ‘strength’.

 

I speculate —  what if I woke up today with only the things I had thanked God for yesterday? Well, God just doesn't operate that way. It is not his nature. I am grateful that God, in his mercy … forgives all my forgetfulness … my take-for-grantedness. His mercy is no reason to cut back on gratitude, but rather to ramp it up … in gratitude for who God is! He continues to love and bless

Sometimes, I'm not too coordinated. Syncing the network --- the network of my heart, head and face. In other words — 
syncing my heart's desire to be thanks-living 
with
my head to think "grateful"
with
my face to show the joy of gratefulness — not always successful! Again, he forgives. His mercy is so great!

God loves when we delight in our family. He loves when we delight in his family — Father, Son, Holy Spirit, us. Jesus gives sacrificial love, light, forgiveness, his
presence, his example. Trusting Jesus I experience his grace making a
 change in my heart. I am thankful for the resulting benefits — joy, hope, peace, wonder, awe, patience, kindness, goodness, love, faithfulness.

john-1-5john-1-5

I am grateful for the joy of sharing and the path of faith and love from one generation to another. 20070728_214755_Ps100_3-5_C-Blog20070728_214755_Ps100_3-5_C-Blog

As we live into each day, be blessed by these words from Paul in Romans 15:13... 

God of HopeGod of HopeTitle: God of Hope
Media: Watercolor and collage on Arches hot press
Size of Original: 12.5 x 18 inches
Text: Romans 15:13, Hebrews 13: 20-21, Ephesians 3:20-21, Philippians 4:6-7, Numbers 6:26

The five Bible verses in this work - one from Numbers and the other four from the letters of Paul- speak of the blessings of a vibrant, abiding faith in Christ.
The Chinese character for peace was the first mark I made on the paper. The composition was then built up using watercolors and paper in collage.

What encourages you in your adventure in gratitude?
What is something on your thanks-living list?

In gratefulness for [physical, mental and spiritual] benefits of thanks-living,

For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit, thanks be to God.
For the wonder that astound us,

for the truths that still confound us, most of all,
that love has found us, thanks be to God.
from the hymn For the Fruit of All Creation, Vs. 3

 

Judy Dodds

PENSCRIPTIONS, owner, artist 
Making thoughts visible — calligraphy of inspiration & hope
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