Summary: The gratitude God gives changes my perspective about life.

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Philippians 4:4-8 (New International Version)

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

INTRODUCTION: Gratitude, Grit, or Grouch?

When it comes to life’s circumstances and what goes on each day, how do you respond with gratitude, grit, or grouch? And is your response determined by your circumstance or by your character?

I have come up with a quiz to assess your response. Let’s start with question 1: You are in the 10 item, cash only line at Vons with your 2 cans of green beans and 1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup with a fresh $20 bill from your ATM machine in your hand. The person in front of you has 15 items and a checkbook in their back pocket. How do you respond?

A. Gratitude for the Green Bean Bake your family will enjoy.

B. Grit your teeth and wonder if the guy ahead of you failed math or reading.

C. Yell at the cashier, “Checkout Line Violation -- 15 items! 15 items!”

Question 2: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will soon be receiving a $1,000 refund on your tax return, how do you respond?

A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

B. Grit your teeth about the other $10,000 you paid in taxes last year.

C. Rip the letter to shreds while demanding more.

Question 3: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will be audited. How do you respond?

A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

B. Clench the phone and call your accountant.

C. Write the Union Tribune an angry letter about tax oppression in the USA.

Question 4: You are driving your daughter to school, and as you drop her off, the car in front of you decides to just park there, trapping you in the school parking lot. How do you respond?

A. You look out the window and give thanks for this time to stop and smell the roses and car fumes.

B. Grab the steering wheel tighter as steam comes out of your ears.

C. Honk your horn continuously until you sound out “move your car” in Morse code.

Question 5: You are watching your football team play on Sunday, and they win by a touchdown in a close game. How do you respond?

A. Stand up and start singing “San Diego Super Chargers”!

B. Wring your hands over the game next week.

C. Call a sports radio station and complain how we should have won by 3 touchdowns.

If you had all B’s for your answers, you need to take a breath, chill out and relax. If you had all C’s for your answers, you may need therapy. If you had all A’s, you need to teach this message. If you had a mixture of A’s, B’s, and C’s, welcome to the club. I am not surprised when people are grateful when life goes right. I am surprised and a bit envious when life goes wrong, and people respond with a grateful heart. I want to be able to respond to all of life with gratitude, not grit, and not grouch, but a grateful heart to God. What I have observed in such people and in rare moments for myself is that the gratitude God gives changes my perspective about life. Today let’s look at 3 perspectives Paul shares about the gift of gratitude that God gives.

PERSPECTIVE 1: Release the past by receiving and giving forgiveness. Paul says in Philippians 4:7, And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. -- (The Amplified Bible)

Two days before Christmas in 1982, eighteen-year-old Ted Morris was killed by a drunk driver. Ted’s parents, Elizabeth and Frank Morris, plunged into a deep pit of despair and anger. In her grief, Elizabeth Morris fantasized about killing the drunk driver, Tommy Pigage. But eventually, Elizabeth realized that her anger was destroying her life, and she chose to forgive Pigage.

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