Part 4 of the post-Easter series, "Cristo Vive" (Christ Lives). People always say that it's important to maintain a heart of thanksgiving, an "attitude of gratitude" where we count our blessings and remember why life isn't as bad as we might think. However, the joy God wants us to have isn't just about being thankful for what we have, it's in being thankful for God himself: as the author of life and death, as the one sovereign over all things, as the one who loves us and knows what's best for us. This is a heart of thanks that transcends our circumstances, whether good or bad. It's a heart of thanks that calls us to live our lives returning the favor, to return to God everything he has most graciously given to us.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week we’re returning to sermons John delivered while pastoring a church in Honduras with his 2019 Thanksgiving message.) A heart of thanksgiving and gratitude raises our perspective and reminds us about the good stuff we were missing. Likewise, thanking God for his blessings raises our perspective even higher. But what about when we thank God for those around us? Too many live their lives empty of affirmation and grace. They don't know that God loves them unconditionally, that he wants them to come to him as they are and find healing, restoration, and transformation. For our part, we don't often thank others unless it's earned. But God's grace isn't earned, so when we thank God for others, deserved or not, we're simply passing along what God has given us. Live a life of gratitude. Thank God. Thank God for others. You'll be sharing the Gospel in a miraculous new way.