How To Have A Grateful Heart


This is a very general but true statement: Americans are richly blessed with freedom, resources and opportunities, but struggle to be happy, grateful and thankful.  Americans have a reputation oversees for being brash and demanding.  Those working in service industries report that “Thank you” is a phrase seldom heard.    Our youngest generations have a reputation for exhibiting negative behavior associated with entitlement. Approximately 300,000,000 prescriptions for anti-depressants are filled in America each year.  In general, Americans are not happy and not grateful.

Advertising companies shape public opinion and have done their job well. Joined by celebrities, music artists and the media the message is–the more you have the more happy you will be. The average teenager has been exposed to more than 500,000 commercials—most saying that you have  to have this, or you deserve this, you are entitled to this, you won’t be judged a success unless you have this, etc.  This sets the stage for a perfect storm. For many, when the realities of adult life  meet unrealistic expectations and unrealized dreams there can be generalized disappointment, bitterness and resentment. That is, rather than being disappointed with or angry at a particular person, there is a general dissatisfaction with life. When this is the case, it is very difficult to be thankful, or grateful. But that is what God calls us to be.

A 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being noted that individuals who are grateful sleep better. A 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Difference Medical Journal noted that individuals who are thankful experience fewer aches and pains, and report feeling healthier than others.  Dr. Robert Emmonds, a leading researcher on gratitude, has conducted multiple studies and verified the link between gratitude and well-being.

There are physiological, psychological and relational benefits to being thankful and grateful. Being able to see these benefits is not difficult— being able to be grateful and thankful in a world wrought with many challenges can be difficult.  The teaching video and study notes below are designed to provide encouragement, hope and practical  helps (particularly for the weary).  God is good, and does want His children to have joy in their hearts (John 10:10).  I believe that God will help His children do what He calls them to do, and will help His children experience all He desires them to experience—not the least of which is hope and joy.

Profiles in Gratitude:

    Matthew 26-27

  • There is a plot to kill Jesus
  • He is arrested
  • He is betrayed
  • He is denied
  • He is falsely accused
  • He is cruelly mistreated
  • He is rejected by His people
  • He is crucified
  • Hebrews 12:2


The Pilgrims   

  • In 1534, King Henry VIII broke with the Church of Rome and established the Church of England
  • Mary Tudor became Queen in 1553
  • King James (1603) re-established the Church of England
  • Tried to leave at a port in Boston in Lincolnshire—they were discovered and imprisoned. In 1609 they escaped, making their way to the Netherlands
  • 1609: Pilgrims were granted permission to settle in Leiden
  • 1618: Pilgrims decide to immigrate to Virginia
  • Landed at Plymouth Rock (Dec. 11, 1620)
  • 46 of the 102 pilgrims died that first year
  • Sukkot, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles
  • Abraham Lincoln (October 1863)
  • Governor Bradford’s Thanksgiving Proclamation



   It is commanded

  • Psalm 103
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Psalm 50:23


   God has a purpose for your life

  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Philippians 1:6
  • 8:28
  • Job 42:3
  • 1 Timothy 4:4


   God is always just a prayer away

  • Philippians 4:6
  • Hebrews 4:15,
  • Hebrews 13:5
  • Isaiah 43:2
  • Psalm 46:1


   There is the hope of heaven

  • 1 Corinthians 15:43
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9
  • “For the Lamb…will be [our] shepherd; and will lead [us] to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes.”        Revelation 7:17
  • “Tears come in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”      Psalm 30:5b  
  • “The troubles all around us will soon be gone, but the joys to come will last forever.”                  1 Corinthians 15:58 (LB)




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