In preparing a message this last Sunday I was reminded gratefulness is most certainly not…

*A positive attitude or personality
*A religious denial of reality, pain, grief. Not about denying what is real, in some distorted manner of loyalty check. God can handle your unvarnished doubts and cries to Him.
*Presenting a fake happiness, in presumed testimony for Jesus
*A faulty memory
*Something I do to ensure the favor of God
*What I might offer as rote habit before a meal
*What happens when God has been visibly beneficial to me
*Keeping a stoic, stiff upper lip.

Gratefulness=most certainly is the only reasonable response for those convinced of the character, sovereignty and purposes of God. Gratefulness emerges from believing, trusting:
*Every moment is all gift
*I, me, I had destroyed all hope.
*By all justice I should be left in my sickness, drained away
*His love reached all the way to make me clean
*The intention for my life has never been a string of mostly advantageous events but a dependence and beauty learned only in trusting God’s love through the entire spectrum of events common to all, but uniquely received with gratitude only by His own.
*No one is immune from disaster on this fallen planet
*None of it has the power to ruin my life
*No good fortune has the ability to give me a superior life
*No prosperity, no blessing is the proof of His favor
*No calamity, no reversal, no lack is proof of His disapproval
*He alone loves me most
*His redemption of me through the cross and resurrection-it never stops
*He alone knows what will give sense to my life
*He never makes a mistake regarding me
*He wastes no pain, no sorrow, no failure
*He is redeeming all that has befallen me, every moment
*He is able, He’s not weak.
*He is not forgetful, He is not unwilling
*He makes good out of all that is evil, dark, destructive. All.
*Sadness is not an aberration, but a channel to experience Him
*He stands in the middle of everything that won’t let me stand
*He never gets even with me for something
*He never mocks me, or says, “I told you this would happen.”
*Nothing added to this life=basis for gratefulness. He constantly forms the reason for my
gratefulness. He never changes.

May you and those God has given you enjoy this beautiful day, this sacred appointed day with authentic joy, from your intimate, authentic relationship with the God who is fused with you.

John. One of the Three Amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace