Posts Tagged “Gordon MacDonald”

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In his article “How to Spot a Transformed Christian” Gordon MacDonald identifies 12 outwardly visible characteristics of transformed Christians. Thanksgiving made his list as number 11:

11. Overflows with thankfulness. And that implies prone toward cheerfulness.

Some of us (me, for example) needed to learn the exercise of thankfulness. Our default pattern is to simply receive, to take, as if we are entitled and deserve the generosity of others.

But now and then comes along that unusual transforming person who literally walks through the day looking for things to be thankful for. With each expression of thanks, they press value on what someone (or God himself) has done. They believe that no human transaction is complete until it is covered with appreciation

Just as a marathon runner goes into training by running a bit more each day, we’ve gone into training in world-class thanksgiving by deliberately giving thanks a bit more each day.

In the first blog on thansgiving I suggested that you memorize Psalm 92:1-2. (Pause here in your reading to recite the passage for practice. If you can’t remember it, check out last week’s blog again.)

As I pursue God, I want my lifestyle to become characterized by giving thanks to God. The only way that’s going to happen is if I increase my thanksgiving muscle.

So how do I do it? How do we move from where we are to where we want to be – to where God wants us to be? How do we train our thanksgiving muscle to help it to grow stronger? Here’s some tips

  • Memorize Psalm 92, verses 1 and 2 if you haven’t yet done so.
  • Pray, asking God to make you aware of complaining and grumbling and to put a guard on your lips. When you’ve asked God to help you not do something, I’ve found that it becomes a little harder to do it!
  • Identify issues that cause you to complain and make a commitment to give thanks in those situations instead of complain – that’s putting the enemy in the corner. My guess is that you are tempted to complain and grumble about the same things every day. Turn those things into opportunities to be thankful.
  • Similarly, identify things that annoy you but you don’t actually complain about them (yet). There are lots of small things in my life that cause me to tighten my lips a bit or take a deep breath . I don’t complain about them because they’re not worth complaining about, but still, they annoy me. Turn these little annoyances into occasions for giving thanks.
  • Find triggers in your daily activities – anything you do regularly throughout the day – eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, putting your shoes or your sweater on or taking them off, putting your glasses on or taking them off, thinking about food – you get the idea.
  • Here’s a suggestion that links your behavior to Psalm 92. The last word of the last verse 2 – “proclaim God’s faithfulness in the evening” – means just that – evening or night…but it’s literally means “a twist away of the light.” It’s properly translated night, but I can use that literal translation as a trigger to remind myself to remember God’s faithfulness every time I turn off the light!

Giving thanks is a tangible way that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We can’t say that we love God and then grumble and complain about our circumstances. Well, we can, but the two actions are inconsistent. Yet we do them. Let’s not. Let’s become world-class givers of thanks. Lets live transformed lives. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

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