"Thank You Power"

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By: Rachel Olsen
Proverbs 31 Speaker

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

In my part-time job, I’m frequently reading research. I know, I know … it sounds so boring. Sometimes it is but often I find interesting stuff. For example, not too long ago I read about a study from the University of California that showed just how great it is to be grateful.

The researchers found that grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, more satisfaction with life, and more energy and optimism. Who wouldn’t want more of these things?!? They also found grateful people show lower levels of depression and stress - two things many of us would like to experience less of in life.

What’s more, they found that people who keep journals about gratitude on a weekly basis are healthier. They exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, and feel better in general than people who journal about neutral or negative life events. That sounds great.

Finally, the research showed that people who daily count their blessings report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, and determination. Wow, the benefits of being grateful are remarkable and many! I guess that shouldn’t surprise me after considering today’s key verse. The Bible urges us to give thanks … all the time … in every situation … because this practice is the will of God.

Let me be clear, there are terrible things that happen to us that may not be the will of God, but our praising God and giving thanks in spite of them certainly is the will of God. As Christians, we can always find reason to give thanks – thanks for the salvation of Christ, the nearness of God, and the guidance of His Spirit for starters. The psalmist declared, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (Psalm 7:17, NIV). We can do that too.

Christian poet John Milton once wrote about every grey cloud having a silver lining. Making a point to thank God, no matter the weather, will train us to look for it. Continuing in this manner day after day ensures that gratefulness will become our normal mode of operation.

No wonder those researchers found that people regularly counting their blessings grow happier, healthier, and more optimistic. After all, that research wasn’t discovering anything new, but rather confirming the will and wisdom of God. God already knows how great it is for us to be grateful. Now “science” does too.

What can you give thanks for today?


Dear Lord, thank You for this day. Thank You for Your Son and Your Spirit, given to me. Thank You for the provision of shelter and food I have today. And Lord, thank You for this reminder to become more mindful of my blessings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Want More Life? By Natalie Lloyd

Think About It:

How often do I give thanks to God?

Do I notice, or remember, the little blessings in my days?

Live It:

Start a gratitude journal. At the end of each day between now and Christmas, take a few minutes to jot down 3-5 things you are thankful for. Keep the notebook and pencil by your bed. Your list can include “big” things like good health, or “little” things like cool weather. Thank God for all of these.

See if you feel any happier, healthier, or more optimistic after a few weeks of regularly giving thanks.

Power Verses:

Psalm 118:19, “Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.” (NIV)

© 2008-2009 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.


Tell Us About It:

What are you thankful for?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was my new years resolution for this year! I have a journal full of five things I am thankful for for each day of this year! Timely post! Thanks!

Anonymous Devin said...

Thanks for this! I was thinking about doing something like this. I read about this lady who did the same thing except her goal was to write down 1,000 blessings.

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